Business Process Management (BPM): it’s an important subject for every business. Unfortunately, the organization of core business processes often fails to get the attention it deserves; be it through insufficient time or the feeling that there isn’t much room for improvement left. That improvement is usually possible though, and in many cases seriously necessary.
Tablet computers, smartphones, and other communications technologies are rapidly changing the way we do our business. And this doesn’t just apply to the office. Studies from analyst firms like Gartner have shown that some manufacturing businesses are also successfully boosting efficiency by adopting this technology on the shop floor.
For consultancy businesses it’s essential that they are able to tightly manage the progress of a project. When every project involves a degree of risk, relevant information needed to manage that risk can’t only be stored in the laptop or head of the project manager. The key is to ensure that the necessary data is available to all, something made possible with the appropriate project management IT solution. The question is, how do you choose the right one?
Project management is still a major challenge for many organizations. Bringing structure and accurate reporting to the process remains difficult. Where do you start, and how do you get the maximum out without over-stretching your people?
The traditional picture of the supply chain often depicts a cash guzzling monster. As a result, when considering their logistic processes, many businesses have focused primarily on stopping it from eating up their hard earned profits. Reducing operating costs and limiting damage to the P&L were the order of the day, managers sniffing out opportunities to stretch the margin by streamlining here or trimming there.
No sale is complete until the product or service is paid for. It is cash flow, more than profit or sales or accounts receivable, that underpins the sustainable success of any business. Extensions of credit begin with a decision to provide a service or product up front, but that’s a long way from the end of the process. The health of any company is intrinsically linked with how these credit customer relationships are managed – before, during and after the sale has taken place.
Why do some manufacturers now prefer to buy from Dutch suppliers? It’s because sustainable competitive advantage is no longer just about the lowest possible purchase price, but about ‘lean co-operation’ throughout the supply chain. Outsourcing to the low-wage countries is becoming a thing of the past. Faster time-to-market and more flexibility to move with demand – that’s now the primary focus.
Inefficient collection of accounts receivable stagnates cash flow, a significant problem for many businesses already operating on razor thin margins. If you’re taking longer to get hold of your money than you’d like, a reappraisal of the role your IT system is playing could help.
Whilst small professional services firms remain in the majority, many of the businesses that dominate the sector have successfully realized growth in volume and complexity through geographical expansion. Whether organically or through M&A, they have successfully sought out new opportunities abroad and committed to creating genuine in-country presence overseas.
The future seems to hold the promise of increased international expansion, supported at least in part by the adoption of more flexible workforces. Global enterprises will offer high quality services, leveraging empowering digital communication to blend external niche expertise with a core of more traditional employees. That said, whatever the chances awaiting these businesses, it’s also clear that these changes will bring significant new operational pressures – for both management and IT.