1. Benchmarking in year 2030, any idea how it will look like?

    June 1, 2010 by
     
    Future of Benchmarking
    The Global Benchmarking Network is embarking on a project to look at the future for Benchmarking up to the year 2030. This project will take into account new technologies and social networking opportunities as well as issues such as global financial crises, governance, political, social and environmental trends and changing natural characteristics.  However the project also needs to look well beyond the current issues.

    Any inputs would be greatly appreciated.

    This project will answer the following questions – What will Benchmarking look like in 2030 – and in between? What are the tools, methodologies and technologies that Benchmarkers can use now to help organisations and economies to improve their outcomes? The main outcome will be to report on results of a  Roundtable at end 2010 – as part of the Dubai GBN AGM and Annual Conference.

    The project will investigate the use of benchmarking and the future use of benchmarking techniques: It will connect Benchmarking experts with people from politics, science and companies and discuss the use and future use of benchmarking (e.g. survey, roundtable discussion, delphi study). Key parties to the proposal are Bruce Searles, Benchmarking Partnerships (project leader), Dr Robin Mann, bpir.com and Dr Holger Kohl, Fraunhofer.

    Best wishes,

    Bruce Searles
    Director
    Benchmarking Partnerships


  2. Innovative employee rewards and recognition schemes

    May 31, 2010 by

    David Harvey, managing director of U.K. research company Business Intelligence (BI), writes [1] that employers are turning to innovative approaches for rewarding their staff.

    In a recent BI survey of small and medium-sized U.K. enterprises a large majority of respondents reported that recognition was as important to them as pay and benefits.  BI’s research identified the following key practices that helped maximise the value of organisational rewards:

     

    • Promoting the value of rewards; communicating all the aspects of an individual's reward package was seen as being essential in creating a better appreciation of the value that the package actually represented.

    • Being innovative; often it was not the most costly perks that employees appreciated the most.
    • Giving control to employees; self service using Web-based flexible benefit "menus" helped to minimise costs.
    • Delegation of payment options to line managers; enabling IT systems so that line managers were able to analyse and devise pay policies which improved local performance.
    • Introducing health and well-being programmes; the provision of gyms, health checks, on-site medical and dental services, health advice, and health-education sessions was shown to cut absenteeism and to raise performance, while contributing significantly to profitability.
    • Improving loyalty through engagement strategies; e.g. allowing staff to work on their own projects, or to qualify for superior perks.
    • Introducing employee recognition schemes; these underpin performance based cultures.
    • Consulting employees; to find out which rewards they value most.

     

    [1] R10723 Harvey, D., (2008), The morale high ground, Director, Vol 61, Iss 7,pp 60-65, Institute of Directors, London

     

    Members can click here to read the full article.

     

    Neil Crawford

    BPIR


  3. 16 companies present their best practices at BestPrax Conclave 2010

    May 10, 2010 by admin

    Another fascinating event organised by the Indian GBN member BestPrax Club, over the two days of the Conclave 2010 the BestPrax Club held the “Benchmarking aspects of Business Excellence” at Mumbai where 16 teams from manufacturing and services organisations  such Hindalco Industries, Yes Bank, Grasim Industries, Tata Power and others shared more than  30 best practices they developed and implemented in their organisations to successfully drive excellence in their operations.

     

     best practices Conclave 2010            best practices at BestPrax Conclave 2010

    best practices at BestPrax Conclave 2010

    Media press release:

    The Best Prax Club’s Conclave 2010 on ‘Benchmarking aspects of Business Excellence’ held at the Taj President on 28 and 29 April drew an enthusiastic response from professionals engaged in promoting business excellence across a wide spectrum of Indian manufacturing and service industry.The conclave focused on leadership and strategic planning covering the theoretical underpinnings of the benchmarking practice as also the ‘hands on’ field experience and expertise gained by various organisations through the best practices. These included diverse groups representing the academia, healthcare, mining, manufacturing, consumer products, insurance, banking and other domains.

    Setting the context for the conclave, Suresh Lulla, founder and director, BestPrax Club India, dwelt on the evolution of the concept of quality over time, starting with the consumer’s expectation of better quality of the goods/services he purchased to better quality at less cost to better and cheaper plus faster delivery to the current quality paradigm of better, cheaper, faster and different offerings. Emphasising that consumers were no longer looking for clones of established product and service offerings but rather offerings that incorporated the wow factor, which innovation alone could best deliver, he said, this called for integrating the key core value of ‘managing for innovation’ in fostering performance excellence. Innovation itself would involve ideation which would come from ‘Cross industry benchmarking’ involving knowledge mining and bench marking survey.

    Robin Mann, chairman, Global Benchmarking Network, offered an overview of the global benchmarking network and its activities and projects across 22 member countries. He said the current use of improvement techniques involved Informal benchmarking (68 per cent of organisations), Performance benchmarking (49 per cent) and Best practice benchmarking (39 per cent), according to a study conducted in 2008 by the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN). The study also showed an average financial return of $100,000 to $125,000 per best practice benchmarking project with over 20 per cent reaping benefits of more than $250,000 per project.

    Elaborating on the theme, Bruce Searles, director- business development, GBN and managing partner, Benchmarking Partnerships, Australia, explained what constituted business excellence and how implementing a benchmarking framework could help organisations deliver improved and sustainable business results.

    Following the proceedings on the opening day, the second day of the conclave saw 16 teams from organisations across manufacturing and service sectors, including banks, health care providers, heavy industry, utilities etc share 10 best practices they developed and implemented in their organisations to successfully drive excellence in their operations.

    Hindalco Industries, Mumbai with the vision to emerge as a premium metals major, global in size and reach with a passion for excellence outlined the 10 best practices implemented in the organisation, including fostering a culture of transparency and integrity with external and internal customers, unleashing employee potential, nurturing a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

    Yes Bank, which pursues a brand strategy to build one of the finest financial brands in the India, has set its vision of being recongised as the Best Quality Bank of the World in India. The bank nurtures values of growth, trust, technology, knowledge driven human capital, transparency and responsible banking and aims to champion the “Responsible Banking” in India where the concepts of corporate social responsibility and sustainability are integrated in the DNA of the organisation. The 10 best practices the bank has implemented include leveraging technology for workforce empowerment, innovative recruitment and onboarding practices, total outsourcing and co-creation of value and mobile banking.

    Grasim Industries’ white cement division manufactures white cement, wall care putty, and a range of surface preparation products. The company’s vision is to emerge as the most preferred supplier of quality products in the category and to achieve sales revenues in excess of RS1,000 crore. The company has instituted various best practices, including a knowledge integration programme, vision formulation, creativity index, benchmarking 100 companies and a leadership driven innovation culture. The company seeks to inculcate values of integrity, commitment, passion, seamlessness and speed through the organisation.

    Tata Power is engaged in power generation, transmission, distribution and trading in power, fuel and fuel logistics with transmission lines and distribution network being the delivery mechanisms. The company envision’s emerging as the most admired integrated power and energy company delivering sustainable value to all stakeholders, with a strategic intent of generation 25,000 MW by 2017. The company has adopted creation of sustainability mindset, organisational excellence through TBEM, multirater process and Tata Power Energy Club as some of the best practices for driving excellence.

    ACC- Gagal Cement Works produces Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) 43 Grade and Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC) with 98% of its output being blended cement, ie, PPC, which is an eco-friendly and durable cement. The company’s vision is to be one of the most respected companies in India recognised for challenging conventions and delivering on its promises. The company has implemented a slew of best practices, including sharing of best practices among sister works, promoting cost consciousness among employees, afforestation, and ACC Ashwamedh among others.

    Sterlite Industries (SIL) manufactures copper cathodes of LME grade ‘A’ and copper rods as its main products. The company’s vision is to be the worlds’ leading copper producer delivering sustainable value to all stakeholders by leveraging technology and best practices. Among the best practices implemented at SIL are SPIDER, Management Assurance Services, Project Parivartan and Total Quality Management.

    PT. Elegant Textile Industry & PT Indo Liberty Textiles, Indonesia produce 100% rayon, polyester and rayon/polyester blended spun yarn. The company has a mission to deliver superior value to customers, shareholders and employees and envisions emerging as a leading producer and exporter of premium quality man-made fiber spun yarn globally. Best practices implemented at the company include two-way communications, knowledge management, SAP, re-engineering, quality function deployment

    Hindustan Zinc’s Lead Zinc Complex is the largest zinc and lead production facility in the world. It envisions emerging as a world class company creating value, leveraging mineral resources and related core competencies. The company’s mission is to be the lowest cost zinc producer on a global scale and maintaining market leadership. The best practices at the company include integrated water management approach, transparency and reporting on corporate governance, triple bottom line among others.

    Aditya Birla Chemicals, Palamu, produces caustic soda lye, liquid chlorine, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite, anhydrous aluminum chloride. The company’s vision is to emerge as the benchmark in chlor alkali industry with clear focus on each business process. Ancillarisation, CSR activities through Jan Sewa Trust of ABCIL, Group Synergy for strategic are some of the best practices being followed at the company.

    ITC- SBU, Packaging & Printing Division, services both domestic and export markets and supplies packaging solutions to various industry segments, including food and beverage, consumer electronics etc. The unit envisions emerging as the most preferred supplier and key marketing partner for all customers and has implemented Triple Bottom Line Approach, Green Packaging, constant innovation and continuous learning among other initiatives as best practices.

    Sesa Goa is India’s largest exporter of iron ore in the private sector and is majority owned and controlled by Vedanta Resources Plc, a London listed FTSE 100 diversified metals and mining company. Sesa Goa has three major inter-related business segments – iron ore, met coke and pig iron. With the vision of emerging as one of the top four iron ore mining companies in the world, the company strives to foster values of entrepreneurship, growth, excellence, trust and sustainability. Among the company’s 10 best practices are initiatives such as Energy Recovery Technology, Knowledge Sharing and Management, Nurturing Young Talent and JOSH Improvement Scheme.

    Castrol is engaged in manufacturing and marketing of automotive, industrial and marine and energy lubricants and counts Castrol Edge, Castrol Activ, Castrol Tection Globa, Castrol Hyspin, Castrol Cyltech 70 among the brand leaders. The company’s mission is to be a global differentiated player focusing on material and sustainable markets leveraging its brand strength, consumer/customer relationships through a cost disciplined approach and some of the best practices it has implemented to drive operational excellence are Brand Management, Individual Performance Management, Innovation, Road Safety, Self Advocacy and Self Certification.

    P D Hinduja National Hospital and MRC is engaged in healthcare delivery in personalised form either in the hospital or at home in an ethical way, respecting the dignity of the patient. The hospital’s vision is to deliver quality healthcare and the organisation strives to foster the values of Work to Give, Work is Bond, Act Local & Think Global, Partnership for Growth, Advance Fearlessly. The hospital has adopted a number of best practices, including Innovation in Healthcare, Six Sigma, Value Enhancement Strategies and Performance Review Mechanism.

    Eureka Forbes envisages a happy, healthy, safe and pollution-free world built on lasting relations. Eureka Forbes manufactures and markets products that provide solutions for water purification, cleaning technology, air purification, and security of domestic and commercial establishments. The company’s mission is to build sustainable relationships with customers by satisfying their evolving health, hygiene, safety and lifestyle needs. Among the best practices it has implemented to drive excellence are rewards and recognition, Euro Business Partner, EuroSenate, Product & Service improvements from Customer Insights.

    DAV Public School delivers educational services through mechanisms, including classroom instruction, books provided by the school and other learning resources like library and laboratories. The school’s stated vision is to produce academically accomplished students equipped with competencies to enable the country to be counted as the world leader in human, intellectual and financial capital. The Best Practices at DAV Public School are Building Social  Capital,  Internal Audit Process, Legal and Ethical Behaviour and Internal Benchmarking of Icons/Leaders among others.

    ICICI Prudential Life Insurance is engaged in offering life insurance, retirement solutions, health insurance, and group insurance. The company envisages emerging as the leading life, health and pension player building on trust. The values the company strives to foster are Customer First, Ownership, Passion and Integrity and counts Business Case for MIS, Business Case for Sales force Automation, TATVA among its Best Practices initiatives for driving excellence.


  4. Social Networking A Boon For NZ Businesses

    April 18, 2010 by

    Goodbye corporate brick wall. See ya later marketing spin doctors.

    It's hello to social media – the thing many write off as being "only for the young" – but is now being used by businesses to talk directly with customers. Companies are now also reaping the rewards of engaging in the new media space where others have been criticised for spamming users with marketing guff. And the main ingredient to the success? Humanisation.

    "Social media" is a term to describe tools such as Twitter and Facebook that people use to share and discuss information.

    Neil Forster, one of around eight regular staff members who tweets from Telecom's Twitter account @TelecomNZ, said customers were often shocked that a "real" person responded to feedback left about the telco. "One of the first comments was 'I didn't think Telecom could do this'," he said. Telecom opened a Twitter account around two years ago as part of a conscious shift in the company's culture. It now has more than 6000 "followers". "It's not a controlled marketing stream. We're an eclectic bunch of people," he said. "We think we have done a really good job."

    The team of technology enthusiasts has used Twitter to deal with customers' queries during arguably one of the toughest times the company has faced during the various XT outages. "The really good thing that I saw come out of that event was the increase in improvement of communication," said Mr Forster. "It's a lot more dynamic – there's really powerful value in it. "From a business point of view there's brand benefit, better communication with customers. It's really enhancing that whole cultural change." So while some customers were using the portal of Twitter to "rant", a lot of "positive stuff" was also coming in, he said.

    Telecom's success with social media is mirrored at Air New Zealand.

    General Manager of marketing, Steve Bayliss, said the company began to get more serious in the social media space around 18 months ago "both as a channel to gain valuable customer feedback and as a channel to share brand messages". Air NZ have dedicated staff working on a social media strategy and execution of its accounts, including @flyairnz (with more than 12,600 followers) and @airpointsfairy (with more than 3400 followers). Mr Bayliss said the Airpoints Fairy – an account set up with a fictional Tinkerbell-like character who "grants wishes" to do with AirNZ products – was set up after a Wednesday morning idea from the internal team and went live by 3pm the same day.

    "That's the speed of these new social channels," he said. "The reaction has been terrific. We keep being tempted to expand the Fairy as she has such a strong following, but then taking a breath and reflecting that a broad scale commercialisation would spoil the intrigue." Mr Bayliss said the biggest benefit of social media has been the speed with which you get customer feedback. "It's unfiltered, free form, instant, and brutally honest." He said social media will be a "massive area of growth and change" in the marketing industry over the next 24 months "especially in the way we do customer surveys and gather insights".

    Others businesses not only use social media but were actually born out of the communication medium.

    Tom Reidy, co-founder of Wellington-based company @Tweet4yourtee, puts it simply by saying his company wouldn't exist without Twitter. The company, which helps people promote their Twitter profile through personalised t-shirts, began in November. The response, says Reidy, has been "awesome". "The sales were a lot more than we expected. We're selling t-shirts globally – that wouldn't have happened without Twitter," he said. Tees are being worn by customers in Australia, Denmark and United States. "It has been a really fast growth. It's been pretty surprising though, especially the speed it's picked up."

    Kevin McKenna

    BPIR.com


  5. Learn the five secrets of innovation

    March 11, 2010 by

    Have you ever wished that you or your staff could be as innovative as Steve Jobs of Apple or Larry & Sergey of Google? Well, the good news is innovation is not an inherited characteristic – it is a learned skill that all businessmen can develop.

    Mark Tutton, CNN.com reporter. reported that researchers say anyone can learn to innovate like Steve Jobs. Coming up with brilliant, game-changing ideas is what makes the likes of Apple's Steve Jobs so successful, and now researchers say they have identified the five secrets to being a great innovator Professors from Harvard Business School, Insead and Brigham Young University have just completed a six-year study of more than 3,000 executives and 500 innovative entrepreneurs, that included interviews with high-profile entrepreneurs including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell, founder of Dell computers.

    In an article published in December's Harvard Business Review the researchers identified five skills that separate the blue-sky innovators from the rest — skills they labeled associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and discovering.

    One of the men behind the study, Insead's Hal Gregersen, told CNN, "What the innovators have in common is that they can put together ideas and information in unique combinations that nobody else has quite put together before."

    The researchers describe this ability to connect ideas as "associating," and say it's key to innovators' ability to think outside the box. But they add that the secret to how the great innovators think is the way they act.

    "The way they act is to observe actively, like an anthropologist, and they talk to incredibly diverse people with different world views, who can challenge their assumptions," Gregersen told CNN.

    "For them, everything is to be experimented upon — for example, if they walk into a bookstore and they're used to reading history they might try psychology. All these behaviors are powerfully enhanced by a capacity to ask provocative, challenging questions of the world around them." Because the ability to think differently comes from acting differently, Gregersen says anyone can become a better innovator, just by acting like one.

    "Studies have shown that creativity is close to 80 percent learned and acquired," he told CNN. "We found that it's like exercising your muscles — if you engage in the actions you build the skills."

    To improve your questioning skills, Gregersen recommends identifying a problem and writing nothing but questions about it for 10 minutes a day for 30 days. He says that over that period the questions will change, and so will your understanding and approach to the problem.

    To build your observation skills, identify a business, customer, supplier, or client, and spend a day or two watching how they work so you can better understand the issues they have to deal with.

    Mark Ventresca is a lecturer in strategic management at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, and he agrees that innovation is not an inherent trait, but a set of skills that people can learn.

    He told CNN that one key to being a better innovator is building a diverse network of contacts.

    "Data says that people who have more varied connections hear more diverse information, and see patterns before other people," he told CNN.

    "They are able to put together something they hear from a conference they were at last week with a briefing they're at tomorrow and come up with a new idea."

    He says the goal is not simply knowing lots of people, but knowing people from varied backgrounds, who work for different companies, in different industries, have different skills, and deal with different issues, so that you are exposed to varied ideas.

    When it comes to developing your ability to innovate, Ventresca recommends simply setting aside 30 minutes a week to talk with a contact you wouldn't normally talk to — for example someone you met at conference six months ago.

    Ventresca told CNN, "If you do that every week, that's 52 conversations in a year taking up 26 hours of time. 

    "Say 10 of those yield something interesting, and two of those 10 let you do something new and valuable — by investing just 26 hours a year you've come up with something pretty remarkable."

    FIVE KEYS TO INNOVATION

    Researchers say they have identified five skills that drive innovation: 

    Associating: The ability to connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems or ideas from different fields. 

    Questioning: Innovators constantly ask questions that challenge the common wisdom. They ask "why?", "why not?" and "what if?" 

    Observing: Discovery-driven executives scrutinize common phenomena, particularly the behavior of potential customers. 

    Experimenting: Innovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots. 

    Networking: innovators go out of their way to meet people with different ideas and perspectives. 

     

    Best regards
    Robin
    Dr Robin Mann, Commercial Director and Part-Owner, BPIR.com Limited,
    r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz