Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

At its heart, supply chain management requires a balancing of operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and quality. Managing the true cost to serve for each and every order is the aspiration to allow better negotiation and value creation across the supply chain. Customer- and consumer-centricity helps anticipate product and service requirements. Supply chains are becoming more extended and complex with a consequent increase in risk and the need for resilience. There are multiple data sources making it difficult to manage and measure end-to-end processes and metrics. Aligning priorities through integrated planning remains pivotal, but there is an explosion of data available that needs to be incorporated and the value extracted to understand how supply and demand issues impact profit and revenue targets.

New technology provides greater supply chain transparency. Strategic supplier engagement continues to be important as a way of reducing costs and mitigating risk. Effective supply chain management can be either a compelling competitive differentiator or, conversely, a source of risk, cost and poor customer service.

Organizations are looking to enable better and more consistent decision-making across complex processes with diverse systems and data. Many are leveraging business intelligence (BI) platforms to give them the capability to make decisions across the organization, including environments in which mobility and access to decision-critical information on the go is crucial. Putting the information in the hands of the people on the front line—those managing supply chain processes—is key to enabling decision-making at the point of decision. But this requires synchronizing an enormous amount of data that comes from many systems and sources in a way that it can be easily consumed by people who need to act on the insights.

Read more at Visibility Is Key when Driving Supply Chain Performance

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Cloud-Based Supply Chain Faces Scrutiny

Cloud-Based Supply Chain Faces Scrutiny

As the supply chain looks for new tools to manage increasing complexity, as well as a need to manage risk and other variables quickly and proactively, cloud-based solutions, which are relatively underutilized today, will become more common.

What are some of the common misconceptions around cloud computing and supply chain applications?

Supply chain has generally been a very slow adaptor to new technologies, and cloud computing is no exception. Besides data security and ownership, other factors come into play around how the infrastructure would behave in terms of excess volumes and concerns the in-house IT team may have with feeling helpless when it comes to issues around performance, managing downtime, and handling end customer pressures.

Often, lack of management support is cited as a reason for not adopting cloud technology. Why do you think the corner office is reluctant to support these sorts of initiatives?

Not all senior managers have yet to fully understand the implications of moving into cloud. They still look it as a pure cost saving initiative vis a vis the risks and the litigations they may end up facing in case they encounter issues around their data. Managers would like to hear success stories that [demonstrate that the concerns about] data security are all addressed by big product vendors, which are now moving over to cloud.

What are the best ways that supply chain managers can “speak the language” of business leaders to quantify the potential benefit of cloud-based apps for the supply chain?

The ROI of moving to a cloud-based service is very fast. Customers need not invest in capex for their expensive infrastructure, licenses, and upgrades. This can be very easily worked out. Another factor is that often, companies invest in large IT teams and have to constantly manage them – thereby deviating and investing in a division that is not their core business. By moving to the cloud, they can overcome this by maintaining a lean IT team.

Do you have any personal views about utilizing cloud-based system? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages?

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Asia Pacific leaders to boost supply chain performance by 10 per cent

Asia Pacific leaders to boost supply chain performance by 10 per cent

Political leaders in Asia Pacific have pledged to improve the performance of supply chains in the region by 10 per cent by the end of 2015.

At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting in Beijing, China this week, the region’s politicians committed to building capacity and offering technical assistance projects to meet the target. They also welcomed the establishment of the APEC Alliance for Supply Chain Connectivity to support the aim.

A declaration following the summit also called for increased resources for the APEC Supply Chain Connectivity Sub-Fund to be able to meet this goal. A network has also been set up to work on making supply chains more sustainable.

The leaders also promised to implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, which aims to speed up the movement of goods around the world and details co-operation measures between customs and authorities.

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5 Solutions For Supply Chain EHS Performance Neglect

5 Solutions For Supply Chain EHS Performance Neglect

The need to manage environment, health and safety (EHS) performance across our organizations and throughout our global plants has never been more apparent. While considerations of EHS performance were once limited to one organization’s performance within its four walls, things have changed. The increased reliance on supply chains extending across the globe, the visibility and traction afforded by online communications and social media, and the growing need to improve and report on end-to-end sustainability performance are compelling businesses to account for EHS performance across their supply chain.

As EHS regulations and best practices become more comprehensive and expansive, we’re seeing a new imperative in managing EHS supply chain performance. No longer is it acceptable to simply manage EHS performance within your own organization. And a number of high-profile examples in recent years have helped illustrate this trend. However, many global manufacturers are still grappling with how to extend EHS performance visibility beyond their organization and across their supply chain.

Five Ways to Improve and Integrate Supplier Performance

So, how do we proactively account for the possibility such adverse events will arise? We need to extend EHS capabilities across our supply chains.

1. Implement progressive policies that extend across the supply chain

As a global manufacturer, you may be dealing with a wide range of different levels of EHS regulations across various regions and jurisdictions around the globe.

2. Appoint an EHS and/or sustainability champion

Just as an internal EHS executive would champion exemplary EHS and sustainability performance within his or her own organization, this individual also ought to be afforded the power to apply similar requirements and accountability mechanisms across the supply chain.

3. Build a robust supplier EHS review process

Reviewing supplier EHS performance is not a new thing, but it tends to take a back seat to managing EHS performance internally.

4. Extend risk management capabilities across the supply chain

If you have risk-based capabilities built into your internal EHS performance programs, consider extending the risk frameworks you apply internally across your supply chain.

5. Drop suppliers that underperform

It’s tough medicine, but just as executives boot key members of their leadership team when a scandal arises or when systematic deficiencies persist, making an example of suppliers that underperform on the EHS front will show you’re serious about EHS

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Six Best Practices Utilities Can Employ to Improve Collections Performance

Six Best Practices Utilities Can Employ to Improve Collections Performance

Utilities face increasing pressure from stakeholders and communities to improve their financial performance and profitability by minimizing write-offs for uncollectible accounts. West Monroe Partners recently benchmarked clients to identify best practices used to improve utility collections performance. While collections performance is highly measurable, visible, and actionable, it is also influenced dramatically by local ordinances and challenges that are unique to each utility. Our benchmarking effort identified six best practices that utilities can employ to improve their collections performance. Some utilities are hesitant to change collections practices, fearing a corresponding drop in customer satisfaction. West Monroe’s benchmarking found the opposite to be true — generally, utilities that implement and strictly enforce collections policies have higher customer satisfaction.

Best Practice #1 – Collect and Maintain Good Customer Data

To enhance collections performance, you first need to know your customers and debtors. At account setup, utilities should positively identify customers by requiring a social security number or driver’s license number. With this information, utilities can review past payment behavior (if available), or perform soft credit checks.

Best Practice #2 – Practice Premises-Based Billing

It is difficult to verify tenant demographics, and tenants’ transient nature increases utilities’ risk of not collecting payment. To address this risk, some utilities capture both tenant and property owner data, and will bill property owners or landlords in the event of tenant non-payment, especially in high tenant populations (e.g., college towns).

Best Practice #3 – Employ Customized, Risk-Based Processes

Aggressively treating all past-due accounts in a similar fashion is expensive, unrealistic, and could impact public-perception of utilities. To combat this, and to maximize effectiveness of treatment, utilities should use analytics to segment customers into low, medium, and high-risk pools.

Best Practice #4 – Make it Easy to Pay

By sending timely bills, with actual meter reads, and presenting bill information in an engaging and clear layout, utilities can improve on-time payment. When necessary, estimated bills should leverage customer history, seasonal usage patterns, and weather trends to mimic the actual amount due as closely as possible.

Best Practice #5 – Leverage State Laws and Local Ordinances

Multiple utilities surveyed cited issues of political pressure when attempting to perform collections activities. Survey results indicate that utilities which have a published delinquency policy, including fees, timelines, and cutoff practices, face the least political pressure.

Best Practice #6 – Make Utilities Accessible

While our firm typically works with utilities to improve business performance and enhance customer experience, we also strongly believe that utilities provide a commodity service that everyone deserves access to. Fortunately, this is something utilities can incorporate into their collections strategy.

What do you think about this topic? If you have any opinions, please share with us in the comment. You may also contact us for a discussion.

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Performance Management or Employee Development? Is there a Way to Merge Both?

Performance Management or Employee Development? Is there a Way to Merge Both?

If you ask an employee on what a performance management is, he or she will mention that it is nothing but the annual appraisal of his or her performance followed by salary revisions. Employees also tend to view performance management process with a lot of skepticism, as generally they are not happy with the subjective appraisals and get dis-satisfied with their salary revisions.

An effective performance management system should not stop with just once a year performance appraisals and salary revisions. It should be much more comprehensive, and one of the key goals of such an effective performance management system should be to develop employees.

What is employee development?

Employee development consists of activities that are initiated by an organization that would help in the overall development of an employee. An effective performance management system is one which gives high priority for employee development.

Benefits of employee development

When a performance management system focusses on employee development as well, the return of investment from such a system would be good due to the following reasons:

1) Well trained employees become more competent and execute their responsibilities productively.

2) Employees become happy as their development is taken as the prime focus.

3) When leaders are groomed within the organization, it helps in succession planning and reduces the associate costs and risks in hiring a new employee.

4) When facilities are created for employees to do their job effectively and obstacles are removed, it ensures that organization goals are met.

How do you convert your Performance Management System to Employee Development System?

Most companies do performance appraisals once a year and use performance management software for streamlining the process (self-evaluation, 360 degree feedback, manager’s feedback & rating, recommendation, etc.). Due to the volume of the work and stress associated with this process, the process stops with the salary revisions. Ideally, the HRs and managers should extend this process to identify the training needs, strengths & weaknesses of the people/organization, people development needs and put a clear roadmap for addressing them.

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10 BPM tools every manager needs to know

10 BPM tools every manager needs to know

Managing business performance is everyone’s everyday job. You could argue that making sure the business is performing well is THE job of any manager. The challenge is that there are many different tools available to mange business performance, here I want to look at 10 popular BPM tools that every manager should know.

1. Planning and budgeting

This is probably the most widely used BPM approach in businesses by which plan ahead and set budgets for the following year. This is traditionally done annually where organisation set goals for the next 12 months and negotiate a budget to achieve the goals.

2. Key performance indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are the navigation instruments that companies use to understand whether they are on track or veering off the prosperous path.

3. Balanced scorecard (BSC)

The BSC is another popular management tool that has been designed to articulate the strategic objectives of a business and then align performance measures and action plans to these strategic objectives to ensure the strategy gets executed.

4. Benchmarking

Companies use benchmarking to compare their own performance with those of others. Benchmarking is traditionally seen as comparing your own performance with external best-practice performance (where best practice performance can come from outside the sector or industry a company operates in).

5. Business excellence model

The business excellence models come from the quality movement and have been developed by national bodies to assess quality standards in companies. There are various national standards that are often used as the basis for quality awards.

6. Enterprise risk management (ERM)

ERM represents a set of tools and approaches to identify, assess and manage corporate risks. While risk management started its life very much as an internal control back-room function, today it has moved up onto the boardroom agendas of most businesses.

7. Six sigma

The six sigma is a tool that was pioneered by Motorola in the late 1980s and later adopted very successfully by global giants such as General Electric and Honeywell as well as many other companies of various sizes.

8. Performance dashboards

Most organisations today are bursting with data, metrics, reports and analyses. Dashboards provide single-page at-a-glance overviews of areas of performance (eg corporate overview, sales, finance, HR, business units, etc).

9. Customer relationship management (CRM)

Most companies want to make sure they not only have satisfied customers but that they turn their customers into profitable and loyal customers.

10. Performance appraisals

Another popular performance management tools is the performance appraisal. It is basically a tool to assess job performance of individuals in a company.

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New Business Performance Management Solution from Offers One System for Optimal Visibility

New Business Performance Management Solution from Offers One System for Optimal Visibility, a leading provider of reporting, budgeting and reconciliation solutions for Oracle E-Business Suite and JD Edwards, today unveiled three new products designed to empower business users with the information they need to directly impact business performance, while also helping them realize a new level of value from their existing enterprise software systems. The products, announced today at COLLABORATE 2014, include two new additions to the award-winning InsightUnlimited product suite – InsightUnlimited Planning and InsightUnlimited Reporting for PeopleSoft – and a new business performance management solution called Hubble.

“New technology does not always equal business gain. Our goal with these new solutions is to help users gain a new level of value, not only from the data in their ERP, but also from their existing software solutions,” said Paul Yarwood, General Manager for “Data and technology is meant to empower – not slow you down. Hubble and our expanded InsightUnlimited solutions empower users with their information and their software so they can do their jobs better and directly impact business performance.”

With Hubble’s complete visibility, users can collaborate across multiple departments and through various levels of detail. Hubble also allows users to:

  1. Connect finance data from multiple sources into a single consolidated view;
  2. Easily search for metrics, discussions, workspaces and even people;
  3. Create an intuitive layer of organization, without the burden of traditional file structures, using innovative tagging capabilities;
  4. Share data with people inside and outside the organization without having to worry about permissions and privileges; and
  5. Make data powerful with infographic-style metrics that define goals and highlight important corporate milestones.

Thank you for reading, feel free to leave a comment if you have any opinions or send us a message.

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Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy

English: This is a picture of Tony Hsieh, CEO ...

English: This is a picture of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy

During the 4-hour meeting, Hsieh talked about how Zappos’ traditional organizational structure is being replaced with Holacracy, a radical “self-governing” operating system where there are no job titles and no managers. The term Holacracy is derived from the Greek word holon, which means a whole that’s part of a greater whole. Instead of a top-down hierarchy, there’s a flatter “holarchy” that distributes power more evenly. The company will be made up of different circles—there will be around 400 circles at Zappos once the rollout is complete in December 2014—and employees can have any number of roles within those circles. This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal.

What do you think about this style of management? If you happen to be in Asia, do you think this kind of style is suitable for Asian culture? Feel free to leave us comments or contact us for discussion.

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How to Develop a Performance Management System

A "dashboard" is like a speedometer ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Develop a Performance Management System

Performance management involves more than simply providing an annual review for each employee. It is about working together with that employee to identify strengths and weaknesses in their performance and how to help them be a more productive and effective worker. Learn how to develop a performance management system so that you can help everyone in your organization work to their full potential.

  1. Evaluate your current performance appraisal process
  2. Identify organizational goals
  3. Set performance expectations
  4. Monitor and develop their performance throughout the year
  5. Evaluate their performance
  6. Set new performance expectations for the next year

Setting performance expectation for the next year is one of the important keys. What is your new year’s resolution? Feel free to leave us a comment or send us a message.

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