Senate Bill Addresses Drone Delivery Protocol

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Senate committee has approved legislation that gives the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) two years to develop comprehensive regulations for commercial delivery drones. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada says the provision calls on the FAA to develop protocols by the time technology for drone deliveries is more widely available.

“I think this is an opportunity for technology to advance in this country,” Heller said in an official statement after the committee’s approval. “I’d hate to think we’re in a caveman mode here.”

The mandate was part of the proposed 2016 FAA Reauthorization Act that was evaluated by the Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation. Under the act is an amendment that mandates certification for operators of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), the formal name for drones.

The bill also would allow for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight, stating that it should be made a “top priority” by the FAA. Current regulations state that drones cannot be flown beyond the visual line of sight of the operator. The bill states that “BVLOS operations of unmanned aerial systems have tremendous potential to enhance research and development both commercially and in academics, and to spur economic growth.”

The bill would also require, as requested by the Airline Pilots Association, that drone operators pass an online FAA regulations test before flying and maintain official documentation confirming the passage. The Senate foresees the test as a companion step to drone owner registration, a process that officially began in December and now includes 400,000 owners that are officially listed under the FAA’s UAS Registration.

Under the legislation, the federal government would be in control of drone policy, asserting that states may not pass their own drone laws.

The committee approved the entire bill by voice vote, and it’s now expected to be on the Senate floor in April.

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Give Your Employee Loyalty Program a Boost

Every year a typical company loses between 20%-50% of its employees (the average turnover varies by industry), and replacing each of those lost employees costs about 150% of each employee’s annual salary, according to a recent report by Bain & Company, a management consulting firm. Companies looking for a better retention rate need to implement strategies to keep employees loyal, says Kyle LaMalfa, a loyalty expert at Bain & Company.

The smartest way to safeguard employee loyalty is to make sure employees are engaged by giving them meaningful work and showing them how what they do contributes to the company’s bottom line, LaMalfa says. Employers need to make sure employees are connected to their businesses. Bain’s research shows that “emotionally connected employees are the best employees because they’re engaged and productive, and they feel validated and appreciated.”

But where some companies lag, LaMalfa says, is in properly recognizing and rewarding their best employees. Here are three steps to create a successful employee recognition program that will keep everyone happy (and encourage them to stay!).

Step 1: Don’t wait too long to dole out awards. Establish of program of regular, short-term rewards. Jane LeFebvre, an incentive consultant, works with a large health-care institution to reward employees on milestone anniversaries. “When I first started working with them, they provided rewards to employees every five years,” LeFebvre says. The problem was that the health-care firm lost most of its employees within their first few years, before they even had a chance to receive an anniversary award.

“My idea was to give lots of rewards to employees earlier in the process, at two, four and six months,” she says. As an example, the hospital’s nurses (who often brought their own lunches), received branded lunch boxes after their first two months on the job, along with a thank-you note from their new managers for an outstanding first two months and coupons for free drinks at the facility’s cafeteria. At four months, the nurses got a plant or floral arrangement with a handwritten note from their managers commenting on how well they were doing. At six months, the nurses received logoed ink pens with their name and the hospital’s name on them, along with an attractive branded wall calendar that would help them keep track of their busy work schedules.

“As an employer, you want people to feel like they matter right away,” she says. “If you wait until a big anniversary, you’re going to lose people.”

Step 2: Put it in writing and make sure your company’s leaders are involved. Experts from Bain & Company state that rewards are more powerful when they come to employees in several forms at the same time. For example, a manager who presents a floral arrangement or plaque to an employee can verbally thank and praise them, and write a note that documents the reason why he or she deserves the reward. Around the same time period, someone a level above the manager might also stop by or write a note acknowledging how much he or she appreciates the employee. Susan Healthfield, an HR expert, says that often in company exit interviews, a common complaint is that the employee never felt the company’s senior leaders knew he or she existed. So involving leaders in the rewards process is important, she says.

Step 3: Go public. It’s just human nature that people like to be recognized among their peers. At the health-care firm that LeFebvre works with, there is a monthly recognition lunch for nurses where the milestone rewards are given out. In addition to the semi-monthly awards, the company gives out special awards to nurses who are nominated by their peers for outstanding work that month. The rewards vary from spa gift baskets to logoed soft jackets, but they’re always appreciated, LeFebvre says. And the fact that they’re given out in front of the nurses’ peers is very important. “People want to know that they’re appreciated, so recognizing them in public is one way to do that,” she says. Besides a public ceremony or lunch, Healthfield says the company can do other things to make the recognition public, like including it in a company newsletter, or the company Intranet, or on a bulletin board in a break area. Another idea is to give the employee a letter of recognition, in addition to the gift, and make it clear that the CEO will get a copy of the letter. “It’s impossible to over-recognize someone,” she says. “Most employers do the opposite.”

Printing, Promotional items, Screen Printing and Embroidery – Two-Tone Bistro Mug – 14 oz. – 45127

Enjoy the modern styling of this attractive mug with just a subtle hint of color Color coordinated base and halo Large C handle Glossy exterior interior 14 oz capacity when filled to the rim

Source: Printing, Promotional items, Screen Printing and Embroidery – Two-Tone Bistro Mug – 14 oz. – 45127

Printing, Promotional items, Screen Printing and Embroidery – Flashlight with Lantern – 21068

This slim flashlight provides you two different ways of lighting your way Simple press the on off switch at the back and light your way like a traditional flashlight Or simply pull the front to expand the barrel and create a lantern light Metal flashlight Lantern feature Wrist strap

Source: Printing, Promotional items, Screen Printing and Embroidery – Flashlight with Lantern – 21068

Promo Items Help Raise Funds For Guide Dogs

Most charity runs and walks have a ‘no dogs allowed’ policy. Not so at the Southwestern Guide Dogs walkathons, a series of walking events in Florida that raise money for the organization.

“It’s wonderful to see people bringing their dogs to these events,” says Andy Kramer, the development director of the Palmetto, FL-based nonprofit that has trained hundreds of guide dogs. “You can’t help but see families with their dogs and not smile.”

At each of the nine events held during the summer, Kramer says, the organization’s guide dog trainers are also invited to bring their puppies and current trainee dogs to the event. The puppies, which Kramer calls “Goldadorables,” are a special cross breed of Labradors and Golden Retrievers. “This breed produces wonderful guide dogs that are able to form and nurture partnership with visually impaired individuals, facilitating their life’s journeys with mobility, independence and integrity,” he says.

Promotional items play a major part in the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathons, starting with fundraising awards. “For example, if someone raises $100 for an event, they get a monogrammed T-shirt,” Kramer says, “$250 gets you a branded tumbler. In addition, every attending dog gets a logoed bandana and we also bring lots of branded promotional items from our gift shop, including hats, shirts and leashes, for sale at our events.”

This year’s events raised a whopping $835,000 for the charity – a new record.

The Guide Dog Walkathons are expanding to two new locations next year. “We’ve been able to grow new events in markets where we are not as well-known via grass roots fundraising campaigns that net us more friends and sponsors and help us provide more dogs to the visually impaired,” Kramer says. “Recently, Publix and Subaru came on board, which shows that success breeds success.”

Also on tap for the 2016 season: Participants will be invited to design the logoed T-shirts that will be used as event giveaways. “We work really hard to build excitement for these events each year, and the promotional products we incorporate really help do that,” Kramer says.

Strategies For Marketing The Popular Summer Staple

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Summer is here, the pools are open, the beach season is going into high gear, and an apparel staple will be on distributors’ radar. Flip-flops continue to maintain their top-dog status on the list of must-have summer items.

In the promotional industry, flip-flops have proven to be a popular branded item. Distributors continue to show off their creativity with embellished soles and straps to make a statement. “Our flip-flop designs this season allow customers to choose wider straps that can be branded with larger imprints,” says Laura Maichel, vice president of sales at Harvest Industrial & Trade Co. Ltd. (asi/61670). “We offer four-color process and full coverage on the sole to create a fun billboard for the brand.”

Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100) offers flip-flops with vinyl or fabric straps, and one of their styles comes with the option of a die-cut sole that leaves an imprint in sand. Because flip-flop straps remain largely unobstructed, whether on the foot or off, “decorating on the strap is by far the most popular and the most visible method of branding,” says Chris Flynn, national sales manager.

When pitching them, flip-flops’ natural popularity should provide significant momentum in making the sale. “They’re fairly inexpensive, and they round out apparel selections after jackets, hats and other add-ons may have already been used in a campaign,” says Maichel. “They’re also unisex, and one size fits most, so they have broad appeal.”

Hot markets for flip-flops, says Flynn, include universities, restaurants and hotels. Also look to the craft beer industry, an emerging market segment for flip-flops that has turned to apparel and accessories to promote brews.

While the traditional flip-flop with a Y-shaped strap remains a strong favorite, don’t discount other sandal styles at comparable price points. “One of this season’s hottest trends is soccer slides,” says Maichel. “Players can slip these on after games or practice for a quick and comfy recovery. They’re also great for a day at the beach and feature a large branding area on the wide strap. One of our clients distributed these to first responders as an appreciation gift, so they definitely have wide appeal.”

“The fanny pack is making a huge comeback,”

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They’re back! Here are ways to capitalize on a retro apparel accessories trend.

Despite a decidedly mixed reception since they became popular in the 1980s, fanny packs, also known as waist packs, are proving their staying power with a revival that continues to gain momentum. Among the celebrities recently sighted sporting them are Sarah Jessica Parker, Jared Leto and Fergie, and they’ve also been popular in retail and on the catwalks. Designers Alexander Wang, Lilly Sarti and Rudsak all featured waist packs in recent Spring/Summer 2015 fashion shows, and Extreme80s, a Web-based retail store dedicated to 1980s-inspired apparel and accessories, offers a variety of vintage styles.

“The fanny pack is making a huge comeback,” says Alex Morin, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Debco (asi/48885). “They’re no longer relegated to the ’80s, particularly the sporty variety that are making huge waves these days.” Currently, Debco is meeting client demand with the neoprene Thirst Breaker waist pack (N6453) that holds two water bottles, perfect for hiking, camping and fishing.

Two of the most popular styles from Nissin Cap & Bag (asi/30107) are the single-zipper fanny pack (1012) and the three-zipper fanny pack (1015), made of 600D polyester with a heavy vinyl backing. “We’ve had a number of inquiries for waterproof and water-repellent styles,” says Vice President Julia Hong, “particularly from customers who might be using these near water, such as water park lifeguards.”

Possible applications for fanny packs run the gamut, says Kevin Xiao, vice president of Atteff International (asi/37455), who cites camps, lifeguard stations, YMCAs, banks, conferences and travel agencies as promising clients. “Some of our high-end fanny packs, such as the Mossy Oak camo outdoor pack with gun compartment (BF1729MO), are good options for outdoor/hunting events and activities,” he explains.

For end-buyers who want a super streamlined look in addition to quick, hands-free access to essentials, check out goband (asi/61103), which offers a flattering, fitted hip-band organizer that’s ideal for active lifestyles. “They’re perfect for yoga studios, gyms, swim clubs, schools and walks/runs,” says Christine Santori, sales representative. She notes that the editor-at-large of Oprah’s O magazine, Gayle King, wore a fanny pack in a fall issue, calling it the “perfect accessory.”

When looking to embellish fanny packs, consider screen printing and heat transfers. Goband even offers bling and rhinestones. Embroidery is a possibility, though often, Hong says, the pockets prove too small for the hoop.

“Many companies are now gravitating toward full-color decorating options,” Morin says. “Lately, decorators have been incorporating cool wraparound artwork that showcases brilliant graphics and contemporary taglines. We’ve also seen some pretty awesome sublimation.”