1. The benefits of analyzing your competitors

    July 12, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Nowadays, staying relevant in your industry is impossible without keeping track of and gaining an insight into the practices of your competitors. This explains why companies are increasingly outsourcing experts in the field to conduct competitive analyses on a routine basis and gather all the essential information about the situation on the market.

    While people generally think that competitive analysis is a major expense and a highly complex and time-consuming process, the truth is considerably different. Analyzing your competitors is an investment indeed, but you get exceptional value for the time and financial means you invest. Not only can you learn a lot by exploring your competitors’ business strategies, but you can also avoid making some serious mistakes your competitors have made.

    Some helpful hints on how to undertake competitiveness analysis are provided below.

    Prior to conducting the analysis
    Before you start with competitive analysis, it is of key importance to understand who precisely your competitors are and how you are going to compete with them. Define your brand clearly and visualize how you want it to fit into the market. Be confident about what you are offering and be clear with the features of your brand.

    What should you observe when analyzing your competitors?
    When conducting competitive analysis, one can track various parameters. Most often, these include products and services, pricing, staffing strategies, development speed, social media traffic and customer feedback, and promotion schedules. By collecting all this data, it is very easy to understand your competitive landscape, realize your strengths and weaknesses, and finally use the favorable opportunities to expand and improve your business while you avoid all the potential threats.

    A better understanding of the relevant market
    If you can be objective and completely unbiased while analyzing what both you and your competition can offer to current and prospective clients, you can easily detect the parts of your business that have to be changed to better adapt to the relevant market and the clients’ requirements. Competitive analysis is your chance to walk in a customer’s shoes and analyze your own and your competitors’ products and services from their perspective. You will be surprised by the findings most business owners obtain from doing this.

    Keyword building SEO strategy
    The great technological development in recent years has switched focus to the online sphere. Now more than ever you can use the full potential of the Internet to conduct research of your competitors’ websites, content, and social media and discover which keywords help them gain a high ranking. Then, you can use their keywords or create variations. Also, one of the viable solutions is to use the same keywords but with other, slightly different content. To help amateurs cope with digital marketing smoothly and hassle-free, numerous companies offering premium-quality digital marketing services have emerged.

    Recognizing a chance for a merger
    One of the benefits of analyzing your competitors is certainly an opportunity to recognize a chance for a merger. An analysis of this type helps business owners understand which products or services their customers need and what they have to offer. However, sometimes, an evident lack of resources presents a serious obstacle on the way. So, to increase customer satisfaction, business owners merge with their competitors to reach their goals.

    Identifying a market gap
    Competitive analysis can help you to easily spot a market gap. What does that exactly mean? By analyzing the competition, it is possible to detect the services and products that they provide but are not offered by your business. The sooner you spot the necessary changes you need to introduce, the better you will cope with the harsh competition on the market.

    You can learn from competitors’ mistakes
    Gaining your customers’ trust and earning a high reputation is directly related to the quality of the customer service you provide. Exploring the mistakes your competitors make through competitive analysis enables you to detect bad marketing strategies and reasons for negative customer feedback. Then, it is possible to recognize and introduce the necessary changes in your practices to achieve better results, stand out among competitors, keep your current customers, and gain some new clients on a regular basis.

    A safe road to a unique brand
    Though it is not the only factor that matters, competitive analysis can significantly help in creating a unique brand on the market. By analyzing your competitors, your aim should not be to replicate those that are successful, but to build on their successful practices and make yourself different enough to be able to stand out.

    What is it that you can offer to the target audience that will make you different from myriads of similar business owners operating in the same market? If you succeed in answering this question, you are on the right track to beat the harsh competition and gain a considerable number of satisfied customers who will prefer the unique products or services you offer.

    Final thoughts
    These are just some of the benefits of analyzing your competitors. If you conduct this analysis periodically, there will be no difficulties in tracking and following the latest trends on the market, quickly adapting to them, and always detecting changes in the needs, requirements, and preferences of your current and prospective clients.

    Author’s bio
    Carla Wilson is a freelance writer working for marketing companies such as Digital Dot New York. She has gained valuable experience in the field of marketing and hopes to pursue her career in that direction. Carla is also a mother of two and an owner of two small dogs.

  2. The E and C Question: Who Comes First – Employee or the Customer?

    July 2, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    So how genuine, are you really about ‘Customer First’?

    Is it Customer First or Employee First?

    These are questions that probably bother and confuse us.

    In this piece, let’s talk about customer first. If one is truly serious about it, is it just about developing customer insights, surveys, research, customer value mapping and so on? Or is there something more?

    Have you asked yourselves, “Does this activity benefit our customers? And if not, can you stop doing it?” At times, this calls for ‘Sacrificing’ something that you would have earlier ‘valued’ or perhaps something that is actually making money for the company.

    But if you don’t feel like you can make every sacrifice required yet, then let’s not talk about ‘Customer First’. Let’s not talk about treating our employees with maturity, dignity and honesty, when they can see quite clearly, that you are not serious about placing Customers First. What’s worse is that leaders would be viewed as hypocritical. The Corporate Values, displayed prominently in fancy frames, become meaningless.

    So are there companies that actually sacrifice profitability (and thereby, forfeit profits) at the cost of being true to their principle or motto of ‘Customer First’. Are there companies who truly ‘live their values’?

    Here’s an example from my own experience:

    Over these last few weeks, most companies have struggled to cope with COVID-19 pandemic related pressures, and e-commerce companies have just about begun operations. I placed an order with Amazon. Everything went well and my order got confirmed. But, a few days later, I received a call from Amazon to apologize that they cannot deliver the order and that the item ordered was unavailable and restocking was not expected in the near future.

    My expectation was that they would simply apologize for the inconvenience, offer the refund, and close the transaction.

    However, this was different. This caller, obviously an employee of Amazon:

    1. Was empowered to take a decision
    2. Had a basis for what he went on to offer i.e. there was a process and a policy in place
    3. Had a well-understood procedure to follow.

    The employee informed me that since it was their error, for which they are very apologetic, they would now send a replacement of a similar product. This product was being sent for the price of the original product, when it was actually Rs 2500 (around US$ 33) more expensive than the originally one. “Good service recovery”, I thought.

    This was a big sacrifice which was made to keep a loyal customer (me), truly loyal.

    To be honest, had they simply apologized and refunded the money, I would have been a bit disappointed, but given my past experiences with Amazon, I would have continued to place my orders and shown my Loyalty towards them. As a customer, I would have ‘sacrificed’ and perhaps overlooked the inconvenience, given that I am loyal to the Amazon Brand and Organization.

    I am sure we all have had similar experiences and stories to share.

    What is your view? Customer First or Employee First?

    President and Lead L&S Custodian

    email: prashant@striking-ideas.com
    website: striking-ideas.com
    the L&S platform loyaltyandsacrificehuddle.com

  3. Watch Dr Robin Mann’s Webinar on COER’s Research and Projects on Business Excellence and Benchmarking

    June 29, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited
    On 28th May 2020, the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation (NZBEF) hosted a webinar with Dr Robin Mann, Head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research, Founder of TRADE and the BPIR.com, Chairman Global Benchmarking Network, and also NZBEF Board Member. In this one-hour webinar, Dr Robin covered different topics related to Business Excellence and Benchmarking in New Zealand and worldwide.

    Webinar topics:

    • 00:00 NZBEF introduction
    • 3:53 Excellence Without Boarders: Exploring how business excellence frameworks are promoted and used globally
    • 13:54 An Exploration of the organisational excellence architecture required to support an award-winning business excellence journey
    • 16:00 How to build a positive workplace culture in economies recovering from COVID-19
    • 18:20 Sharing best practices – BPIR.com
    • 21:09 International Best Practice Competition
    • 22:12 Business Excellence / Productivity frameworks are the ultimate productivity tool
    • 29:10 TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology
    • 23:27 Dubai We Learn – Excellence Makers initiative
    • 39:04 Dubai We Learn – Managing and Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • 46:48 Example of a 7 Star Best Practice Benchmarking project
    • 52:19 Q & A

    You can also listen to the audio-only version of the webinar from here

    Further information:
    If you would like to study for a PhD at COER click here

    For information on the international best practice competition click here – dates for the next competition will be provided soon…

    To read our latest Dubai We Learn book of benchmarking success stories click here

    To read Dubai We Learn’s report on Managing and Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic click here

    To read a BPIR.com Best Practice Report click here

    To support COER/BPIR’s research please consider becoming a BPIR member, join here

    If interested in TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking or Training or for further information about COER contact Dr Robin Mann at r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz

  4. An Example of Customizing the Criteria by Industry

    June 26, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited

    Originally posted on Blogrige by Dawn Bailey

    When the concept of performance excellence was first introduced, it was widely perceived as prescriptive by the American Contractors Insurance Group (ACIG), a group-captive insurance company that is owned by the policyholders it insures. “The executive team at ACIG were skeptical that performance excellence—and the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence in which it was defined—could be meaningfully translated into construction-industry terminology,” said Larry Owen, Quality Division manager at ACIG.

    Then, a small group of employees began breaking down concepts from the Baldrige Criteria and turning them into questions related to construction, and a new, beneficial understanding emerged.

    “Once we established the [Baldrige Criteria’s] applicability to our industry, the benefits became apparent,” said Owen. “We began to see buy-in on the concepts of business improvement, sustainability, and succession planning of current and future leaders.”

    Performance Excellence Journeys Begin
    Owen said that because ACIG’s mission includes reducing the overall cost of risk for its Members, the company created a Quality Management Department focusing on the narrow discipline of quality in construction. Now, however, those quality-specific initiatives sit within the overall context of performance excellence. According to Owen, the refreshed focus of the Quality Department includes each aspect of the performance excellence business model while continuing to provide management guidance on basic quality controls, quality assurance, quality risk management, and proactive construction-defect mitigation. This strategy more clearly aligns the business results of ACIG and its Members, said Owen.

    “The more our Members improve their risk mitigation/prevention, the better our underwriting results,” said Owen. “Members have an incentive to continuously improve as it relates to risk reduction.” He added that ACIG individually supports each Member in its performance excellence journey.

    The Performance Excellence Peer Group (PEPG)

    ACIG’s Performance Excellence Peer Group listens to BMWC’s CEO Brian Acton as he describes the company’s Strategic Planning & Development Process prior to the group’s round-table breakout and report-out sessions on the subject.
    Owen said that some Members had initial challenges with their performance excellence strategies due to the lack of dedicated internal resources to capture best practices. In response to this challenge, ACIG established the Performance Excellence Peer Group (PEPG).

    “Initially, we convinced a few Members to take the [Baldrige Criteria] self-assessment written by Ph.D. Denis Leonard, which helped as a catalyst,” said Owen.

    The PEPG shares specific best-in-class practices guided by the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence categories: 1. Leadership; 2. Strategic Planning; 3. Customers; 4. Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management; 5. Workforce; 6. Operations; and 7. Results. ACIG Members also discuss best practices related to change-culture management and exchange ideas on how to manage continuous improvement initiatives.

    “We believe that our Members who continuously improve in these principles will improve the value to their customers and ultimately reduce the overall cost of risk with their operations,” Owen said.

    Currently, ACIG conducts a half-day, semi-annual PEPG meeting in conjunction with its semi-annual shareholders’ meeting. PEPG, which started in 2017 with the involvement of two company presidents, now has achieved a 73% participation rate among its Members. Typical attendees include principals, chief executive officers, chief operation officers, chief financial officers, executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and vice presidents of construction companies.

    Prior to each meeting, the 54 participating executives answer 15–20 adapted, Criteria questions developed by the ACIG staff. Each participant is required to complete the assignment before the meeting. The ACIG staff, which consists of one national Baldrige examiner and two state examiners, analyzes the responses and identifies gaps. New questions are then generated and discussed during break-out sessions and report-outs during the half-day meeting.

    “The ensuing discussions, interactions, and exchange of ideas are energizing, and everyone leaves with a sense of accomplishment and yearning to do more,” said Owen. “Our ultimate goal is to promote business improvement, continuity, sustainability, and a robust self-sustaining culture of continued learning and improvement. Achieving these goals helps to reduce the overall cost of risk for each Member. As they become more aware of the advantages, members may also consider engaging their state Alliance for Performance Excellence program.”

    To date, five companies (including ACIG) have begun Baldrige Criteria performance excellence assessments by writing Organizational Profiles, and the company encourages all group Members to write profiles within the first year of joining the peer group. Four companies have sent employees to Baldrige-based training at an Alliance state program.

    Industry Benefits

    “I think any industry would find value in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence,” said Owen. “If you lead with industry-specific knowledge, you are able to develop your own vocabulary.”

    He added that the Criteria can help industries and organizations focus on four things:

    1. Listening to the voice of the customer,
    2. Replying with the customer’s voice,
    3. Developing and sharing comparative data, and
    4. Improving your competitive advantage.

    ACIG provides insurance and related services to Members of the construction industry. Its major insurance offerings include workers’ compensation, general liability, automobile liability, subcontractor default insurance, and contractor-controlled insurance programs. Its services include underwriting, claims management, policy issuance and compliance, safety, quality assurance and quality control, performance excellence, and risk management services. The company is charged with providing a long-term stable insurance market to its Members who desire very broad coverage and specialized services for the construction industry.

  5. Managing and Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic – Dubai We Learn Research Report

    June 22, 2020 by BPIR.com Limited
    Source: Dubai Government Excellence Program – https://www.instagram.com/dubaiexcellence/

    In this time of crisis, benchmarking and learning from global best practices have never been more important. It was for this reason the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) launched an accelerated benchmarking initiative called “Dubai We learn – Conquering COVID-19” to provide best practices and ideas to Dubai Executive Council’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management with the aim “for Dubai to become a Global Best Practice in Managing and Recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

    It is our pleasure to share with you a joint publication by the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) and its partner the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research (COER). This report shares some of the findings from the international research that was undertaken for the project. A later publication will share information on the project itself and the best practices that have been implemented in Dubai.

    This special report seeks to capture global best practices, specifically from countries that have achieved some success in their approach to managing the crisis. The report is organised into five key aspects of civil society, and focuses primarily on how various governments and the WHO have tackled – and, indeed, are still tackling – both the pandemic and its effects.
    The five aspects are:

    • Pillar 1: Crisis Management
    • Pillar 2: Health
    • Pillar 3: Food Security & Supply Chain
    • Pillar 4: Economy
    • Pillar 5: Societal Behaviour

    Click here to download the report

    For information on Dubai We Learn please contact:

    Maha Al Suwaidi,
    Project Manager, Dubai Government Excellence Program,
    The General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
    Email: maha.alsuwaidi@tec.gov.ae


    Or contact Dr Robin Mann to learn more about the TRADE Best Practice Benchmarking Methodology, r.s.mann@massey.ac.nz