1. The BPIR.com and recession proofing your business

    October 20, 2009 by

    How has the recession affected your business and what are you doing about it? With the current economic climate organisations everywhere are thinking one thing: “How can we survive the recession?”

    There are a number of ways your business can survive the recession. Some positive (reducing costs, optimizing, expanding), and some negative (layoffs, downsizing). Either way the BPIR.com can help you to research ideas and provide information on best practices for successful implementation.

    The strength of the BPIR.com is found in its vast amount of content in the form of research and case studies, and the fact that it is all accessible by keyword searches. Our research can help to prove or disprove your current plans, and you do not have to reinvent the wheel but refer to case studies from award winning industry leaders.

    If you haven't already – why not join the BPIR right now? Our resources will not only help you to get through the recession they can also help to take your business to the next level.

    As a follow-up to our previous post on the telecommunications industry , check out the snippet below from one of our many cases studies.

     


    Digital Island Communications in New Zealand

    The following is a refreshing account of some well earned success achieved by Digital Island Communications in New Zealand. DI are a top ICT company that provides internet & data services, toll calling, phone lines & systems, mobile phone services, conference calling, phone cards and fax-to-email services. They were also winners of the Deloitte Fast 50 "Fastest growing technology company in 2008", and "Fastest growing telecommunications business" award in October 2007.  Ruth Le Pla [1] in NZ Business magazine writes that in a slowing economy DI was losing a lot of revenue and to overcome this it worked at improving its total operations and closely examined its underlying business model.  As a result instead of retrenching this led DI to make the following improvements:

    • Carrying out a re-branding exercise in order to put a new sparkle into its image,
    • Examining the products offered and eliminating poor performers,
    • Dropping some suppliers and picking up new ones as appropriate,
    • Proactively offering key customers better prices i.e. reducing costs!
    • Assigning additional staff to focus on loyal customers,
    • Improving service levels,
    • Leveraging technology by implementing sales-force software and efficient document management systems,
    • Implementing cost reductions by targeting areas where the greatest impact and maximum gain would be achieved and not by “nit picking”,
    • Managing debtors closely by following up personally on the 21st of the month.
    • Communicating well internally so that staff were always in the picture,

     As a result of these actions Digital Island achieved more than 25% revenue growth for the 2009 financial year. Blair Stewart of Digital Island said that "When times become tough, you need to make better decisions faster than ever,” and offered the following advice for achieving growth:
     

    • Stay in touch with cash flows.
    • Add value to customers.
    • Personalise offers.
    • Develop ways to up-sell.
    • Carry out contingency planning.
    • Work closely with key suppliers and banks developing a relationship of openness and honesty.
    • Guide customers through sales processes and keep them informed, customers value the experience just as much as they value the result.
    • Don't read newspapers. They spread negativity.
    • Be positive. (The attitude projected by management teams has an incredible effect on an organisation.)

      [1]  Le Pla, R., (2009), The tough get going!, NZ Business, Vol 23, Iss  6, pp 24-28, Adrenalin Publishing Ltd., Auckland
     

     
    Members may read the full article (click here)   which provides further helpful tips regarding three organisations that have bucked the trend by rising against the recession.


  2. Information Communications Technology (ICT) & the BPIR.com

    September 23, 2009 by

    Hi guys,

    In a series of posts coming over the next few months, we will be demonstrating how the BPIR.com can appeal to specific industries.

    With the broad industry coverage offered by the BPIR.com, some organisations may feel intimidated in joining such a large resource, when they only want industry specific information. We hope these posts will help show our readers that we do have industry specific information!

    For today we will be focusing on the telecommunications industry.

    Even for non-members, we have resources that can help you. Searching for 'telecom' from the search bar, we get results for 5 management briefs.

    Members however can acess a lot more information. Searching the BPIR database for 'Telecom' returned over 200 results:

    • 3 Tools & Techniques Articles
    • 64 Case studies
    • 43 Research Studies
    • 11 Competitors analysis'
    • 2 Business Periodicals
    • 83 Award Winners

    Straight away we can see 206 telecom results. Thats a lot of related reading for any telecom business.

    But lets look one step further in how the BPIR can help you. The BPIR resource is designed to do far more than to find relevant articles. It can also be used to gain access to comprehensive best practice materials. There are a variety of ways to do this.  The BPIR best practices model is one way to find some useful pointers.

    Self assesment –  The first part of the BPIR model involves self assesments. There are 65 assessments in 8 categories. Assesments are sourced from Educational institutes and real world companies, and range from Risk management, to customer orientation assesments, to even assesing your Performance measurment system.  In 3 clicks a self assessment relating to project management can be downloaded and printed. Potential weaknesses or training needs to be evaluated.

    Next a research study could be examined concerning project management tools and techniques. The BPIR site has a rich database of best practices conveniently arranged in “snippet” format to enable you to quickly assess the topic matter’s relevance and then to delve further as required.

    The following snippet outlines a one of many survey's of the tools and techniques used in project management:

    A Web-based survey of 750 US project management practitioners in the Engineering and Construction, Business Services, IT and telecommunications and Industrial Services sectors, examined project management tools and techniques. Analysis revealed that of 70 well-known tools and techniques specific to project management, the top ten tools and techniques used were, in decreasing order, the following:

    1. Progress report.
    2. Kick-off Meeting.
    3. PM Software for task scheduling,
    4. Gantt chart.
    5. Scope statement.
    6. Milestone planning.
    7. Change request.
    8. Requirements analysis.
    9. Work Breakdown Structure.
    10. Statement of work.

    The five least used tools were: Monte Carlo analysis; PM software for simulation; Pareto diagram; Critical chain method and analysis; Cause and effect diagram.

     Source article for members: Link (opens in new window)

     Lets continue with a Kickoff meeting. What is a kickoff meeting you may ask? Searching for this under Strategies, tools, and techniques from the main menu will locate the following description:

    “Project Management – Kick-off Meeting”

    Definition : A meeting at the beginning of the project or at the beginning of a major phase of the project

    Description :
    A kick-off meeting is typically a workshop type meeting to align peoples` understanding of project objectives, procedures and plans, and to begin the team-building process. It may last from 1 to 3 days. It generally include several activities such as a project charter, a business plan review, team building exercises, a team charter, risk analysis,

    A typical project planning kick-off meeting agenda covers the following aspects of a project:

    – Build a project framework: what are the project objectives? who are the stakeholders?
    – What are the criteria for successful completion? What are the business objectives?
    – Update the business plan or business case
    – Organize the project governance: Who does what? What are the responsibilities of each member? What are the reporting procedures?
    – Build or revise the master planning (key milestones, sequence of activities, dependencies)
    – Initiate the risk analysis
    – Team building activities
    – Define the quality management plan, and in particular the change control procedure

    Next you might want to research best practice case studies. The following is an example relating to a UK telecommunications Provider, dated october 2008:

    Customer Focus approach involves back office 

    This snippet and its associated article report on an approach to improve customer focus.

    Concerned that its back office staff had lost customer focus, a UK telecommunications Provider introduced a programme that allowed back office staff to spend a day per year with customer- facing colleagues. The face-to-face experience reconnected the back office staff with the customer and provided them a greater appreciation and focus on the customer needs.

     Source article for members: PDF download

     

    Thats all for now folks! We will continue with some similar posts relating to how the BPIR can help your organisation.I hope this has given some insight as to how the BPIR can help your organisation.

     

     Thanks for reading!

    Neil Crawford
    BPIR team


  3. Social Networking – Get on board the trend

    August 27, 2009 by

    By joining the BPIR.com you will be able to network with other experts in your field.

    And get on board the trend.

    In a recent article found at smartcompany.com.au, Patrick Stafford said that if a business doesn't have a social networking presence, then it is already behind and may be hit hard by being late in jumping on the trend. The article drew on a range of experts who identified the next 15 social networking trends as being:

    1. Social networking goes mobile

    2. True business networking goes online

    3. Social networking search allows advertisers to target

    4. Social networking takes on traditional email

    5. Advertisers must converse, not just sell

    6. Networks get smaller

    7. Why businesses will need to find the leaders of a social network

    8. Crowd source or else!

    9. Get set for the rise of the social entrepreneurs

    10. Social networks connect to each other

    11. Online retail harnesses the power of social networking

    12. Twitter will be sold to Google

    13. Online, money can buy you friendship

    14. Don't forget the spectators

    15. Defend your reputation

    The detailed article can be found at:

    http://www.smartcompany.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=33750&Itemid=282

    Kevin McKenna

    Senior Researcher
    BPIR.com Limited

    Local Directory for Palmerston North, New Zealand


  4. Survey on Business Improvement Initiatives – Can you help?

    August 14, 2009 by

    Hello all,

    I’m Musli, a PhD student at the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER), Massey University (BPIR.com’s founding organisation). I’m conducting a survey on business improvement initiatives. This survey is part of my doctoral study, which is supervised by Dr. Robin Mann and Dr. Nigel Grigg.

    As you know, there are numerous business improvement initiatives that can be used by organisations to improve quality, productivity and sustainability towards achieving excellence. The initiatives can be approaches, systems, tools and/or techniques, such as, Six Sigma, Lean, ISO9000, ISO14000, Business Process Reengineering, and Benchmarking. The right initiatives to be used may vary depending on several factors, for instance, the current maturity level of the organisation, organisation type and size, and the capabilities and responsibilities of the workforce.  Moreover, there is also a lack of clear understanding by people regarding when, where and how to implement the initiatives. In order to help organisations to select suitable initiatives according to the contexts, this survey attempts to identify where the main business improvement initiatives should be used according to the following areas: leadership and social responsibilities, strategy and policy, customers, processes, workforce, and, partnerships and resources.

    All practitioners, managers, executives, consultants and/or academicians who have a good understanding and experience on business improvement initiatives are invited to complete the on-line survey – click on link below:

    http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/140713/initiative

    I hope you can participate. If you have completed the questionnaire and request form, you will be sent a copy of the survey findings through email, once it is ready.

    Please complete the survey by 28th of February 2010. For further details, please refer to the front page of survey instrument

    Your kind participation would be much appreciated. Thank you very much.

    Best regards,

    Musli Mohammad
    PhD Student
    Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER)


  5. Culture for Continuous Improvement

    August 13, 2009 by
    There is some exciting research going on at the COER (Centre of Organisational Excellence Research) at the moment.
     
    Past research shows that culture plays a key role in sustaining continuous improvement in organisations. Continuous improvement, in turn, is often viewed as critical for organisational efficiency and waste reduction. However, the effect of culture in the specific context is less well understood. Several levels of culture such as the national culture, corporate culture and organisational sub-cultures, are present simultaneously. Which ones are important, and under what conditions do they become important? What needs to happen to ensure that the existing cultural diversity results in continuous improvement? Which role does – and, in fact, can – management and organisational leadership play?
     
    This doctoral research is seeking answers to these questions using a multiple-case methodology. For participating organisations, this presents an opportunity to benefit from cutting-edge research and at the same time help advance the scientific understanding.
     
    Participation in the study is free of charge. If you are interested in having your organisation participate, please get in touch with me for further information – either by email (J.P.Wagner@massey.ac.nz ) or by leaving a comment.
     
    Jürgen 'Phil' Wagner

    PhD Student
    Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER)
    Massey University