How Rolls-Royce Knows That a Plane May Fall From the Sky

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

We all know Rolls Royce as a luxury car maker yet most of us don’t own cars that cost upwards of $350,000. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t take advantage of other Rolls Royce products. The company has customers in more than 120 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 4,000 marine customers including 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers. Most of us have travelled on planes using Rolls Royce engines or are protected by one.

Back in July, Rolls-Royce made a big move. The company decided to take advantage of the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The company is installing tens of thousands of sensors on its tens of thousands of airplane engines that is sending data back to its engineers real time. The engineers are using this data to identify any potential problems, manage preventative maintenance and better utilize fuel efficiency so that things are running better and more reliably. Or to put it bluntly: ensuring that planes don’t fall from the sky. Read More…

An executive gets arrested in a dispute over whether his workers are full-time or part-time.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Finding good people isn’t easy, particularly in the information technology field where skilled labor is critical. I know this–my firm is also in this field.

Sowrabh Sharma is the part-owner of two IT firms in New Jersey and Ashburn, Va. In our business, it’s not unusual to go from project to project. If you ask anyone who runs an IT firm you’ll likely hear that one of our biggest challenges is how to keep our employees busy (i.e. profitable) when the firm is between projects and there’s not enough work.

Sharma thought he came up with an answer.

But it wasn’t legal. Read More…

Why food trucks are ‘on the brink’ in Chicago

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s hard enough running a profitable small business nowadays. But if you’re a food truck vendor in Chicago it’s getting pretty darn close to impossible.

Back in 2012, the city passed a regulation which established 37 “mobile food vehicle stands” around town, restricted food truck operations to not be within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants and required them to vacate their location if there for more than two hours. Oh, and they were also required to equip themselves with Global Positioning System devices to track their location. Those are some pretty onerous rules. Read More…

This company hosted a ‘bring-your-parents-to-work’ day, and not just because it might get kids to tidy up their desks.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Looking for a fun event to have at your company this year? How about offering your employees a chance to bring their parents to work. That’s what Amazon.com recently did. And, as reported by a local TV station, everyone seemed to have a blast.

Millennials–defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34–now make up more than half of the U.S. workforce. And as tough as they’d like us to think they are we all know they’re still young at heart. I always hear of the challenges faced by small businesses looking to attract and maintain good people from this generation. So here’s one good idea: what could make an employee more appreciative of where she works than by impressing her parents? Read More…

Yahoo Gets Hacked, Microsoft Is Curing Cancer And Other Small Business Technology News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 – Yahoo confirms that 500 million accounts were hacked back in 2014.

From Forbes: Bob Lord, chief information security officer at Yahoo, has stated that the data breach includes “names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

A diabetic gets fired over a $1.69 (plus tax) drink and Dollar General must now pay her $277,656.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

For God’s sake, if your employee needs a drink, especially if she’s diabetic, just let her have it already.

That’s what Dollar General learned after a federal jury sided with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a case against the retail giant.

The story goes like this. Back in September 2014, an insulin-dependent diabetic cashier in Dollar General’s Maryville, Tenn. store told her supervisor she needed to keep juice near the cash register in case of a hypoglycemic attack. According to testimony at the trial, the supervisor did not allow employees to do this, although the company has a policy that would allow it for those need. Read More…

Ever wonder how that shop stays in business? You’re right to wonder.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

You know that little boutique around the corner that never seems to have any customers? Or the frozen yogurt store that sits lonely in February? Or the little café that seems empty most of the time?  C’mon, you probably think to yourself: How do these places stay in business? How many dresses/vanilla cones/cups of coffee do they have to sell just to make the rent, let alone cover overhead and…oh…turn a profit? Read More…