April 2016 archive

How Does Soundproofing the Office Enhance Concentration?

As the popularity of an open plan office continues to grow, there are a variety of practical issues which many businesses neglect when beginning to design the office layout. Factors such as colour choices and acoustic control have a significant impact on the productivity of staff, despite the effects not being immediately obvious. Office design needs to create a comfortable environment which helps people to concentrate and while huge rooms with clean white walls and amazing hardwood floors look great, they are a horrible space to work in. In particular, when deadlines loom, the constant clacking of that beautiful oak floor can become unsurprisingly infuriating.

Many interior designers will now advise you based on acoustic as well as aesthetic design, but if you don’t have the budget to commission one, then it’s important to take note. While the overall look of your office has obvious benefits, it is the practical elements which need to be at the heart of the design. If you choose to have an open office layout, then you will be hoping to work towards a dynamic environment which allows relationships to flourish and creativity to flow. However, no team is perfect and over time as staff continue to work in the same space, gripes can begin to emerge and the environment which began as a great collaborative workspace can transform into a room full of tension.

One major element which contributes to this is sound, whether it is in conversations from across the room, phones ringing throughout the day or even just the sound of footsteps walking past you, these can all destroy your focus and concentration. To remedy this, many office designs now incorporate acoustic foam as well as more heavy duty materials which are tasked with absorbing ambient noise. A common misconception with acoustic foam is that it will be able to block out sound altogether, however, due to the way that soundwaves work, this would take such a meticulous and expensive design that you would probably be better off having multiple private offices.

Sound feels quite linear as our ears seemingly instantly detect the sound. However, the source of where that comes from is the result of vibrations causing the sound wave to go from the original source to our ear drum. For example, when someone is speaking to you, the sound causes vibrations in the air which bounce all around you. To interpret these, when the sound waves reach our ear drums, they cause them to vibrate. Initially these would be unintelligible such as if someone was trying to speak to you from far away. However, the louder the person speaks, the greater the vibrations are on the ear drum, which the brain can then interpret to understand the meaning.

So basically, as long as the sound is loud enough to cause our ear drums to vibrate, our brain instinctively begins to decipher the sound. For our ancestors, this would be fantastic as a warning system for oncoming predators. However, in an open office environment, it means that heated conversations, phones ringing and shoes stomping, all cause us to lose concentration. The reason that we don’t pick up absolutely every sound is because as the sound wave bounds off in every direction, they lose energy rapidly and once this runs out, the sound dissipates.

This is why it is crucial to integrate acoustic control into the office design, as while you will never be able to block out sound altogether, you can create an environment which helps to dissipate soundwaves and help people to concentrate. Simple additions such as carpets are great for absorbing noise, but more advanced solutions such as acoustic screens are fantastic at stopping the sound at the source. Here at Rap Industries, we have developed the Delta Acoustic Screens for this very purpose. Featuring a vibrant and modern design which is combined with innovate acoustic foam, these provide a very effective way of absorbing ambient noise in the office.

If you would like to know more about how Delta Acoustic Screens can help your open office environment, then please feel free to get in touch by calling 01733 394941 or by sending an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

 

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How the Colour Blend in the Office has Risen in Importance

Colour has always been an instinct for humans and can be so subtle that thousands of years of our ancestors probably never realised it. In the primitive times of technology, simple aspects such as colour formed the very first kinds of communication, many of which are still prevalent today. Think about how you feel when sat by a river, as the water gently flows past you and the chaos of urban life slowly ebbs from your mind.

If you were to ask someone what they associate with blue, chances are they will instinctively say the sea. How about yellow? Sunshine, obviously. By creating such an intrinsic link, you could then ask someone how they feel when they think of the colour blue? I would wager there is a reliable probability they will say it evokes the feeling of calmness and serenity we normally associate with flowing water.

However, it has only been in recent times where we have begun to realise how our passive understanding of colours can be used to maximise productivity and happiness. While many of us will decorate our home to our tastes, the concept of customising the workspace is very much a recent theory. In the past, the workplace has been the beacon of professionalism and efficiency, environments which were designed to maximise proficiency by resembling factories. Unsurprisingly, humans are not quite as straightforward as machines, and white, beige and dull grey walls only serve to increase stress levels and lead to more absenteeism.

Now in modern times, the workplace is become increasingly diversified as many seek to create spaces which represent their brand. A key proponent behind this is the use of colour and many of the colours found in a company’s logo are increasingly being transferred across to the office. Have you ever taken a moment to consider why major brands use the colours they do in their iconic logos? BP makes the most of green and yellow to present an image of health and growth, Apple solely uses neutral colours to promote the idea of calm and cleanliness, meanwhile Virgin uses a bright red to emphasise its boldness.

The same can be applied in the office, whether it is on the paint on the walls, the colour of the floor, or the colours of partition screens. Creative departments are increasingly surrounded by yellows and purples to encourage creativity and imagination, meanwhile financial departments utilise greens and blues to promote calmness and serenity. There is a huge variety of colours available which passively lead our minds astray and encouraging emotions which we would not otherwise have had.

In open offices, it is best to avoid huge colour clashes for aesthetic purposes, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular to utilise vibrant partition screens to accent various departments with relevant colours. This allows the walls to be blanketed with a universal brand colour, meanwhile, closer personalisation can be applied through the use of partition screens. The Delta Acoustic Partition Screens from Go Displays are perfect for this kind of environment as they incorporate a modern design with 20 different Fizz fabric colours.

If morale is beginning to dip, or absenteeism is steadily beginning to rise, then consider a re-design of the office. Not only does the process encourage a degree of excitement, it can become symbolic for a fresh start, one in which you can create a more enjoyable working environment for employees and help to project your brand values through them. If you would like to learn more about how Delta Acoustic Screens can help you to achieve this, then please give us a call on 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com

 

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Why Managing Acoustics is Crucial for Boosting Productivity and Health

For modern interior design, the focus falls on transforming spaces into aesthetically pleasing open offices which encourage collaboration and teamwork. The traditional cubicle style has evolved drastically in recent history into hubs designed towards bundling teams together to work towards the collective goal. But while these environments are pleasing on the eye, the practicality of them is often limited as they often do more to hinder teamwork than they do to encourage it. Wherever we are, we use all of our senses to absorb our surroundings and something we often neglect is sound. Whether we are sat alone in a room or in a bustling train, sound can have a seriously detrimental impact on us.

This is especially the case in open office environments where phones are ringing constantly throughout the day and the inescapable earworm of your neighbour chatting away persists. For many workers, the biggest disturbance at work is overhearing the conversations of others and no matter how much we may try to ignore them, we always passively concentrate on what is being said, regardless of how mundane it may be. Studies have shown that disturbances such as these can occupy up to two thirds of the attention that we can muster, leaving very little room to concentrate on the work at hand.

Constant disturbances can be frustrating at the time, but when left to linger, they can foster a range of mental and health implications. When deadlines are approaching, having to listen to your neighbour discussing their plans for the weekend can aggravate stress levels. If this is the case for one member of staff, then you can be pretty sure that it is common amongst the majority of the workforce as well. In the end, what began as frustration, can lead to increased absenteeism and bouts of sickness as noise levels continue to spiral.

The answer fortunately, is not to condemn your office to complete silence. While tricky, the key component of office design is to create an acceptable level of ambient noise. This allows conversations to continue, but adds a degree of control to distort sound and removes that impossible allure of listening in to what others have to say. Eradicating conversations altogether merely creates an oppressive environment, which defeats the whole point of the open office in the first place. For example, blood pulses will only continue to boil when a phone call does have to be made and the whole office has the pleasure of listening in.

Employing an interior designer to take these concerns into consideration can be an expensive option, but there is still plenty you can do, especially if you have a smaller office to contend with. Neat tricks such as blindfolding yourself and picking out areas where noise peaks can allow you to identify places where acoustic control is required. An important factor to recognise is that sound bounces off of hard surfaces, so unfortunately hardwood floors are incredibly impractical for your offices. This also means that adding soft surfaces such as carpets as well as padding on the walls and ceiling, are incredibly effective at soaking up ambient office noise.

An alternative to those is to invest in acoustic partition screens which combine acoustic absorbent foam with a stylish design to help confine conversations to each desk while contributing to the overall design of the office. At Rap Industries, we manufacture the Delta Acoustic Screen which incorporate this vibrant design and each screen can be tailor made to adapt to each office environment.

The benefits of managing to keep volume levels under control can be subtle, but you are certainly more likely to notice the negatives when the noise becomes unbearable. Failing to keep a lid on things can lead to it spiralling out of control as employees clamber to speak over each other, so it is pivotal to keep a track of levels, especially as your business continues to grow. If you would like to learn more about how the Delta Acoustic Screens can help to contain ambient office noise in your workplace, then please give our team of advisors a call on 01733 394941 or send them an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

 

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A Brief Overview of How the World Has Changed Since 1975

In the 41 years since Rap Industries began as a fledgling start-up, much of the world around it has changed significantly. Considering that four decades before 1975, the Second World War had not even started, the amount of development across the world in the subsequent 40-year period has been startling. The emergence of globalisation has had a significant positive and negative impact on every country worldwide and has led to rapid development in the fields of healthcare, technology, politics and many more. Obviously, covering 41 years in detail is somewhat unrealistic, so we are going to take a glance over how the landscape around us has changed since 1975.

Globally, the world changed drastically as the Soviet Union came to end in 1991, effectively marking the end of the Cold War which had been brewing since the end of World War Two. Conflicts in general revolved around democratic versus communist governments, meanwhile, dictatorships crumbled around the world. As we entered the 1990s, there were ramifications which continue to affect us today, as conflict splintered into east vs west as countries sought to retain their distinctive cultures.

A product of globalisation, these tensions led to two separate attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York (1993, 2001) as well as many other terror attacks around the world including London (2005). Elsewhere, it has led to wars in Iraq (2003), meanwhile the Arab Spring (2011) which was initially fought to overthrow authoritarian leaders in Africa, has since been hijacked by splinter groups seeking to return the area to its cultural roots.

In events which affect us directly closer to home, the past 40 years has seen technology transform from manual typewriters to being able to access almost any piece of information in the palm of our hands. In the days when requiring information usually required us to consult a library, we can now simply consult the world wide web (1990) on our mobile phone (first released in 1979). Pretty much everything has now gone digital as we begin to leave the paper world behind and everything we know is stored within the hard drives of our computers.

Considering how in the past many people died to mundane diseases, the advancement in medicine since 1975 has increased exponentially, leading to greater life expectancy and a bulging global population. Smallpox which had plagued many civilizations was finally eradicated in 1980, meanwhile vaccines were formulated for chicken pox, pneumonia, measles and mumps. Advances have stretched beyond just curing diseases and research into human genetics has led to the first test tube baby being born in 1978 and the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep, being created in 1996.

1969 was a landmark year as the first people were able to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin). Since then, developments have led to regular trips into space and the creation of the International Space Station which was first used in 2000. Ten years before that, the Hubble Space Telescope (1990) began its orbit around the earth, beaming back images deep into unchartered space. From a period in time where we could only dream of the world beyond the stars, recent innovations mean that exploration of space is now becoming increasingly feasible.

Certainly, the world has developed faster in the past 40 years than it perhaps has at any other point. With such furious global competition, the drive to continue to innovate is more prevalent than ever. Major technological creations such as the personal computer have opened up a multitude of options for people to develop their own ideas and the internet has provided the basis for many to develop their own ideas of the world around them. It would not be unfair to expect similar progress in the next forty years, and when the time comes, we will be able to have a look back at how far Rap Industries has come from now.

 

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How Office Design Has Evolved Since the 1970s

When Rap Industries first began to manufacture office equipment back in 1975, the way that offices operated was significantly different. It was before the advent of the computer as Microsoft was only just being established, therefore offices hummed with the clacking of typewriters and in a select few, the resonating hum of the very first computer terminals. The widespread trend of cubicle offices grew dramatically as economic necessity saw office pods littered around open plan offices in the vast majority of businesses across the United Kingdom.

The sight of partition screens scattered across the office is gradually coming to an end, but it has been their widespread success which has helped Rap Industries to grow. With so many unique working environments, initial suppliers sold standardized screens, however by manufacturing the partition screens, Rap Industries have been able to create bespoke partition screens for customers for over 40 years. Well before the days of soft touch keyboards, even the sound of co—worker’s voices were drowned out by the ratcheting sound of multiple type-writers on the go, which led to the development of acoustic partition screens to keep ambient office noise under control.

Personal computers first began to emerge in offices in 1977 with the release of the Apple II PC, which has since gone on to revolutionise how businesses operate. Four decades on, as computers spent 40 years as a mainstay in offices around the world, we are finally beginning to see the end of rigid workplace structures. With the advent of portable technology such as laptops and tablets that are combined with the power of the internet, employees no longer need to be seated at their desk to get work done. This has led to flexible working hours and office design changing drastically to keep up with a more dynamic workforce.

Elsewhere in the office dynamic, as fashions have changed, the typical suit attire has slowly ebbed away barring the key figures in each business. For women, the past 40 years has triggered a drastic shift in workplace perception. In the 1970s, the general consensus was still that women should serve in menial clerical roles before taking up their supposed true calling of being the homemaker. In fact, the term ‘sexual harassment in the workplace’ was not even coined until the 1980s, which demonstrates quite how far we have progressed.

While 40 years may not appear like a long time, much has changed. From computer terminals which could operate basic functions to being able to access an unlimited bank of information that we can hold in our pockets, the way we live and the places we work in have advanced significantly. Office design has been one of the key factors attempting to keep up with this pace, as design briefs now focus on creating environments which enable employees to work to their best ability.

At Rap Industries, it is this focus which has led to the development of the Delta Acoustic Screens. A far cry from the cubicles which dominated open plan offices 40 years ago, the Delta Acoustic Screens adopt a vibrant design and combine it was acoustic foam, ensuring that there are subtle tools available within office design to help soak up ambient office noise. If you would like to learn more about how Delta Acoustic Screens are revolutionising the workplace, then please give our team of advisors a call on 01733 394941 or send them an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

 

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Leaving the EU – How We Can Learn from The Last Referendum

For many, when the first British referendum on whether to remain a part of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1975 occurred, we were either too young to vote or simply were not particularly interested in the prospect of European politics. While the latter arguably still applies for some, the upcoming decision on whether Britain remains a part of the European Union (EU) feels as though it carries much more significance this time around. 41 years ago feels like a significant period of time, when an emerging Margaret Thatcher was seen sporting a jumper with the flags of Europe emblazoned on it for the first and last time.

Despite this, the situation was very similar to the position we are currently in. Economic difficulties have stunted Britain’s growth, sectarian discrimination is rife and the struggles of the Euro have become synonymous with a ball and chain around Britain’s neck. In 1975, hyper-inflation was emerging, violence and animosity between Britain and the Irish was boiling over, but membership in the EEC was seen as a highlight during a particularly dreary decade. At the time, it was still growing and since, the number of participant countries has grown from 9 countries to 28. However, now, with the EU in turmoil as the Euro and immigration crises tighten their grip, Britain is the best placed country to consider its position.

With a strong currency, it’s geographical dependency from the rest of Europe and the powerhouse of London at its core, there is a fair degree of substance behind the campaign to leave. Convincing the uncertain will be crucial to victory as while the ‘Yes’ campaign represents safety and continuity, choosing to vote ‘no’ essentially equates to taking a gamble, which could either make Britain broke, or break it free from the chains of the European Union. In 1975, the majority voted to remain with the European Union and ever since, Britain has neither gone broke or succeeded. Recessions have felt like a regular occurrence and opting to remain a part of Europe has indeed been the safe option, because nothing has really changed economically.

As the proverbial battle lines are drawn as politicians of both parties take sides, the referendum conjures up the added consequence of permanent rifts in the major political parties. With Labour in power in 1975, various key ministers such as Tony Benn and Michael Foot supporting the campaign to leave, citing the view that a more socialist system could only be implemented without the intervention of the EEC. Now, the same has happened with Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. While Labour during the first referendum were ultimately able to hold the party together, the split in the current Conservative party is something which has not been publicly seen during their tenure in government.

The way we consume the media has changed drastically in 41 years and could be a key factor in voters opting to leave. During the 70s, a great deal of public perception relied on the words of national newspapers and television stations. However, now in the era of social media and a diluted market, there is far more choice for the public. Only the Morning Star supported the original referendum to leave the EEC and the same can be said for 2016 as only the Express are vaguely siding with an independent Britain. The fact that Britons now have far greater access to information regarding the European Union and different perspectives are bombarded at them from various different angles, it will take a lot more transparency to convince the voting public.

As David Cameron brokered a deal with the EU to benefit Britain, the same can be said in 1975. At the time, Harold Wilson confined renegotiation conversations with only senior civil servants and Foreign Minister, James Callaghan, leaving very little time for parliamentary or public debate. The same cannot be said for David Cameron and his ‘deal’. With information freely accessed, the opportunity for criticism is widespread and if there is even a hint of the deal not benefitting Britain or the reforms not stretching far enough, it is guaranteed that this information will be available in the public domain almost instantly.

In 1975, the campaign to remain in the EEC claimed a two-to-one win on the back of slick advertising, cross-party support and big business cash. The same almost certainly cannot be the case in 2016. With substantial backing for the campaign to leave and the ease of access to information, the referendum will boil down to which side can pose the most convincing argument. As the deepening global economic and immigrant crisis continues to dominate headlines, both sides will need to convince voters which option will ultimately be better for Britain. While remaining in the EU certainly offers continuity and safety, the allure of a free and independent Britain is much stronger now than it was in 1975.

 

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How Far Has Britain Come Since The 1970s?

The 1970s may be a distant memory for some, but for many they evoke feelings of warm nostalgia, looking back on simpler times. When Rap Industries was founded in 1975, Britain was in the grip of a double-dip recession and British manufacturing was for the first time feeling the breath of foreign competition on the back of its neck. In the years that have ensued, Britain has emerged from the recession, recovered to some degree, dipped straight back into another recession and now seemingly have recovered once again. During this period, much has changed in Briton’s attitudes as well as the way we live our lives.

In modern times, Britain’s economy is propped up by its services sector and specifically, the powerhouse at its heart, London. This was not the case 40 years ago when the heavy industry sector was still the titan which had made Britain great following the industrial revolution. But in 1975, this sector was in crisis; the mining, steelwork and shipyard industries were in disarray, out-manoeuvred by foreign competition and crippled by trade union practices.

The 70s were typified by frequent miner strikes which then ultimately provided the death knoll for Edward Heath’s tenure as Prime Minister. In the years since, these core industries have collapsed as the tough reforms of Margaret Thatcher’s government guaranteed Britain’s economic survival, but ensured the decline of much of Britain’s manufacturing industry. In fact, while foreign investment kept British steelworkers in a job, even that industry is quickly disappearing in this day and age.

In 2016, we like to think of ourselves as a mostly open-minded bunch as a march of progress towards equality for all continues. However, in 1975, this was far from the case as the Sexual Discrimination Act (1975) was only just introduced to implement equal pay for both men and women. In fact, the National Abortion Campaign was only just formed in the same year. Considering how we now take these things for granted, attitudes were very different 41 years ago.

While many younger people can be heard listening to grimy rap or computer generated sounds through a set of buds in their ears today, this is a far cry from the 70s when anti-establishment punk rock burst onto the scene with The Clash and The Ramones. Lyrics back then addressed political issues and the way of life, yet what we can hear today simply drifts away into the mainstream with the focus placed on catchy melodies rather than powerful messages.

As cultural change swept the country, the introduction of package holidays revolutionised how Britons spent their free time. In the 1970s alone, the number of Britons travelling abroad trebled from 4 million to 12 million, giving many the opportunity to view the world without the need of a television screen. In fact, in 1975 in a feat which is pretty much unimaginable today, more people emigrated from Britain than those who immigrated to it. The stats which show this have considerably reversed, which reveals how living conditions have drastically improved in the past 41 years.

So, from the point where Britain faced ‘possible, wholesale domestic liquidation’, things have improved significantly. Each period has its own issues, but for the crux of each country, the people at heart of it, times have generally improved. Disposable income has risen, giving families and individuals greater access to consumables, meanwhile values and beliefs have diversified, allowing people to have greater freedom in life than many of our ancestors before us.

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How The World Looked in 1975

When Rap Industries was first established in 1975, the world was very different. In the remnants of the Cold War, many countries were beginning to steer away from communist rule. Meanwhile, the technological revolution was beginning to gather pace as manufacturing processes began to become more advanced and the commercial use of computers beckoned. Elsewhere, the first films considered ‘blockbusters’ were screened for the first time and The Beatles each began releasing their solo projects. Certainly, times have changed significantly since then, but here are some stand out moments which continue to have connotations to this day.

1975 marked a significant moment in the Cold War as the Vietnam War finally came to an end. What had emerged as a dispute between the communist North Vietnam and the non-communist South Vietnam, later became enveloped in a proxy war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Following twenty years of fighting which led to the deaths of 3.5 million people, North Vietnam was eventually able to claim the southern capital of Saigon and mark the eventual retreat of the South Vietnamese and American troops.

As communism swept through the southeast of Asia, 1975 was also a significant year in Cambodia as it coincided with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge rising to power in the middle of April. Inspired by the works of Karl Marx, the Khmer Rouge sought to return Cambodia to an agrarian economy which was prevalent during the Khmer Empire (802-1431AD) when the region was at its most prosperous. In the years which followed, the Khmer Rouge were personified by the Cambodian genocide in which their social engineering policies were put into place. In this time, approximately 25% of the population, many of whom were educated intellectuals deemed unworthy to work the land, died due to malnutrition, disease and executions.

Elsewhere in the world, significant technological advances began to emerge which have since revolutionised the way we work and have streamlined industries across the globe. While you have probably never heard of the Altair 8800, this microcomputer which was only initially designed for hobbyists, would emerge as the pre-runner to the modern day personal computer. Significantly, it spawned Microsoft which was founded as they designed a programming language for the Altair 8800. While their early success was developed utilising this programming language, it wasn’t until 1980 when they moved into creating the operating systems that many of us continue to use the incarnations of today.

As the development of personal computers began to grow, so did the expansion of home entertainment. In 1975, the ‘war’ over the video cassette market broke out as Sony launched the Betamax, meanwhile competitors JVC, launched the VHS. In the advent of the populace being able to record television at home, the race was well and truly on to take control of what would prove to be a lucrative market. JVC was ultimately able to triumph simply due to the fact you could record two hours of television, whereas the Betamax could only record one. Since then, Sony triumphed in a similar battle between their Blu-Ray DVDs over Toshiba’s HDDVDs in an industry which is worth millions or even billions of pounds.

The world has evolved significantly in the 41 years since then. As Microsoft was taking its first steps into computer programming, Rap Industries was beginning to take its first steps into creating office equipment which was tailored to suit the customer’s specifications. Since then, we have been manufacturing office furniture and exhibition stands for companies across the United Kingdom and all over the world.

 

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Why A Family Run Business is a Seal of Quality

The statement that a business is family run is often laid out without relevant context and ultimately what it actually means for a company to be able to trace its heritage back to a family with the same surname. On the surface, the idea of family generally rubs off on the company with traditions of creating trustworthy partnerships and promoting sustainability at the heart of the company ethos. What this means for customers is being able to work with a supplier which is committed to giving you a quality service, where the product you receive matches exactly what you need it for.

One major difference between family-run businesses and privately owned companies is the aims and objectives of both. Private organisations which are run by an elaborate chain of command which ultimately listen to the word of shareholders, will in general focus on short term gains such as profit margins. While this is great in theory, companies such as these do not show growth, instead profits are received by the shareholders without significant further investment in infrastructure of the company to further promote sales.

Alternatively, family-owned businesses work on a long term strategy which ultimately focuses on 10 to 20 years down the line when incumbent family members prepare to take over at the top of the hierarchy. Rather than the family consuming the profits, they are instead re-invested in the company to encourage growth in the years to come. This emphasises growth in premises, staff as well as innovation to ensure sustained growth.

A defining feature of this investment is the retention of labour which can be found in family-run businesses. Rather than aiming to retain staff on a financial basis, they instead create strong company cultures by promoting from within and investing in training for staff. As a result, employees are encouraged to remain with the company with the prospect of personal growth. This provides significant advantages in the long term as staff have extensive experience in the inner workings of the company, meaning that customer service is often exceptional due to the detailed knowledge held by employees.

This long term model is often reaffirmed by a family-run business’s commitment to support local communities around which they are based. Private companies are generally driven by the need to boost sales through aggressive advertising, whereas for family-owned companies, the emphasis is centred around creating a reputation in the local community. This is built upon the foundation of quality service where they can be contacted directly by customers who can identify exactly what they need and can work closely with the company to acquire this.

The basis for success amongst family-owned businesses is built upon the foundations of continual improvement with the long term prosperity of the family at heart. This is tempered with passion, professionalism and a strict assessment of their impact in the local as well as wider impact in the community. It is companies that manage to strike this balance which show consistent success, during both the good times and the bad. Being able to create a business which is reputable in the community for quality products and services as well as giving back to those who are employed by the company and have completed business with them, has been the keystone for the success of family-owned businesses for centuries.

 

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Then and Now – What Britain Was Like the Year Rap Industries Was Founded

41 years ago when Rap Industries was first founded, Britain was very different, but during a period which was rife with terrorism and economic turmoil, the reality was surprisingly similar to the Britain we live in today. The monarch, Queen Elizabeth II remains the same to this day and we have been through a wealth of prime ministers both good and bad. It was the year when Britain last voted on our participation in Europe and also the last time that junior doctors went on strike, showing many issues which affected Britain back then continue to affect us now.

In 1975, Harold Wilson’s Labour Party led the country during a double dip recession, which was very similar to the situation we have recently come through in Britain. At the same time, Margaret Thatcher rose to become the first female leader of the Conservative Party, all while miners accepted a 35% pay increase which would serve as a pre-cursor for the years to come. Meanwhile, the country voted on whether to leave the European community which was the international body that would later develop into the European Union. With a similar referendum occurring in 2016, it is well worth noting that 67% voted to remain in Europe over 40 years ago.

There is further correlation between the economy then and now as Britain entered a double dip recession in 1975 in scenes that have since been replicated far more recently. In fact, two of the major issues facing the country were rising inflation and unemployment rates which were setting levels unseen since records began in 1750. History showed that reaffirming our relationship in Europe led to an economic recovery, however whether that effect is direct or indirect, it will be interesting to see the direction Britain takes later this year.

While terrorism may only feel like a fairly recent phenomenon after the rise of groups such as Al-Qaeda, its origins began much closer to home. Britain has long had a tumultuous relationship with Ireland ever since Oliver Cromwell invaded during the 17th century as he sought to integrate the Emerald Isles with Britain. Ever since, Ireland has been divided between the Republic in the south and Northern Ireland who are ultimately split over whether to remain part of Britain. This boiled over during the 1970s as bombs were set off by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) in tube stations as well as the London Hilton hotel.

In terms of popular culture, 1975 marked the beginning of cult classic television series including ‘Fawlty Towers’ and the now controversial ‘Jim’ll Fix it’. It also marked the birth of classic songs such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen and ‘Fame’ by David Bowie.

Certainly, a lot has indeed changed since Rap Industries first began manufacturing office equipment 41 years ago. Although, some of the similarities are quite remarkable, meanwhile others continue to have substantial impact on society today. One thing for sure is that as the world has continued to innovate, so have we, but not without keeping track of what matters most, the satisfaction of our customers.

 

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