Business Optimization

Post a global pandemic

In 2008 we saw the Global Financial Crisis and in 2020 we saw the global effects of a pandemic (COVID-19).  Both external environmental impacts that rocked the world, our businesses, our livelihood and made us all take stock of what matters. Both of which we could not have been foreseen and have been out of our control, making it very difficult to respond.

In Australia during 2019-2020 we have seen a staggering 297,821 (12%) businesses close, 344,472 (14.5%) new businesses established, large organisations pivot, such as Unilever – focusing on it’s packaged food, surface cleaners and personal hygiene over other products and others thrive, such as AMCOR, Sonic Health (SHL), Wesfarmers (WES), and technology companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Zoom, TenCent, PayPal, DocuSign and Twilio all have seen exponential growth.

We, according to the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics, we also saw a turnover rate of personnel hit its highest at 57.3% for 2020 (29% involuntary). All the factors have had a direct impact on how we live our lives and run our businesses, regardless of size.

There are many ways to respond:

    1. Do nothing – go about our business as though it does not impact us
    2. Make small changes to get through the event
    3. Take charge and the 3 RRRs – Reflect, Redirect, Reinvigorate

Introducing RRR’s

It takes courage to do RRR when change is being forced by external events that are out of your control.  Because you don’t know how long it will persist.

It takes vision and leadership to do RRR – when you are in the driver’s seat – you can control the change and what it means for you.

With the maturity of Digital capabilities over the last 20 years, and the advent of cloud in the last 10 years we are seeing that transformation is more accessible and can have significant impacts on a business.

What would typically take a mid-size organization with a turnover in the range of $50m – $500m, in excess of $20-$80M to transform, with technology advancement – for example – smarter, simpler integration APIs, the cost to transform is significantly reduced.  New solutions, whether they are BPO or Cloud SaaS solutions, plug and play mindset, socially conscious organisations who are designing cyber security into their systems and more tech savvy personnel is allowing businesses, large and small to transform easier and at lower cost.

This does not, however, happen overnight. It requires a conscious effort to change or risk being left behind.

Three RRRs
Three RRRs

Introducing RRR’s

It takes courage to do RRR when change is being forced by external events that are out of your control.  Because you don’t know how long it will persist.

It takes vision and leadership to do RRR – when you are in the driver’s seat – you can control the change and what it means for you.

With the maturity of Digital capabilities over the last 20 years, and the advent of cloud in the last 10 years we are seeing that transformation is more accessible and can have significant impacts on a business.

What would typically take a mid-size organization with a turnover in the range of $50m – $500m, in excess of $20-$80M to transform, with technology advancement – for example – smarter, simpler integration APIs, the cost to transform is significantly reduced.  New solutions, whether they are BPO or Cloud SaaS solutions, plug and play mindset, socially conscious organisations who are designing cyber security into their systems and more tech savvy personnel is allowing businesses, large and small to transform easier and at lower cost.

This does not, however, happen overnight. It requires a conscious effort to change or risk being left behind.

Reflect, Redirect, Reinvigorate

RRR Explained

Reflection – WHY. Your company purpose.

I always ask my clients, WHY does your business exist? What purpose does it serve? And is it a product or service that is still needed in the market today?  How do you know? What are your measures?  Is it sustainable?  Can you do business better? WHY do you do the things that you do? Is it compliance? OR is it just because that’s how it was always done and you have not wanted to change it.

If you STOPPED doing something today, what would be the impact?

Do you have a clearly documented service catalogue that if picked up from someone who does not know your business, they would know what you do and the value you offer?

This can be both internal and external!

WHY is a powerful question. It requires awareness and self-reflection and the commitment to act – whether its to pivot, pursue or perish.

RRR Explained

Reflection – WHY. Your company purpose.

I always ask my clients, WHY does your business exist? What purpose does it serve? And is it a product or service that is still needed in the market today?  How do you know? What are your measures?  Is it sustainable?  Can you do business better? WHY do you do the things that you do? Is it compliance? OR is it just because that’s how it was always done and you have not wanted to change it.

If you STOPPED doing something today, what would be the impact?

Do you have a clearly documented service catalogue that if picked up from someone who does not know your business, they would know what you do and the value you offer?

This can be both internal and external!

WHY is a powerful question. It requires awareness and self-reflection and the commitment to act – whether its to pivot, pursue or perish.

Redirect – FOCUS

This is where you are able to focus on core services and understand whether the supporting processes, people and technology are aligned to the needs and desire of the business.

With Small Businesses that have had a growth spurt, I have found they this is often where they get stuck.

Am I big enough to have more formal processes and controls in place? What is the value in doing this?  Over, if it’s not broke, then you don’t need to change it.

However, with growth, comes more complexities and regulatory requirements.  Partners and Clients expectations grow, and best endeavors are no longer good enough.  Key people are often stretched, and the quality of work/life balance can become an issue.

With Medium and Large organisations, it’s often the case that they have been running like a fat Labrador, the more you feed it, the larger it gets, until one day it cannot operate at the same level.  Productivity requirements are asked of the Board, 10% productivity and efficiency gains are asked for. Operational costs come under scrutiny and pressure on finding ways of doing business better at lower cost is required.  Putting a business on a diet for want of a better word.

This is where Lean and Six Sigma Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) come into play. You need to understand what is Value adding, value enabling and Non-value adding.  By undertaking a BPR review, aligning it to your WHY, you are able to ensure that everything you and your team does is aligned to the PURPOSE.  You are able to see what processes can be optimised, what can be automated, and what can be sourced using alternative models.

By applying lean change, we found that on average we were able to achieve 25-30% productivity gains. The difference between achieving these numbers is whether you have the appetite and the business has the willingness (support) to change – these changes impact your operating model, which means PEOPLE.

RRR Explained
RRR Explained

Redirect – FOCUS

This is where you are able to focus on core services and understand whether the supporting processes, people and technology are aligned to the needs and desire of the business.

With Small Businesses that have had a growth spurt, I have found they this is often where they get stuck.

Am I big enough to have more formal processes and controls in place? What is the value in doing this?  Over, if it’s not broke, then you don’t need to change it.

However, with growth, comes more complexities and regulatory requirements.  Partners and Clients expectations grow, and best endeavors are no longer good enough.  Key people are often stretched, and the quality of work/life balance can become an issue.

With Medium and Large organisations, it’s often the case that they have been running like a fat Labrador, the more you feed it, the larger it gets, until one day it cannot operate at the same level.  Productivity requirements are asked of the Board, 10% productivity and efficiency gains are asked for. Operational costs come under scrutiny and pressure on finding ways of doing business better at lower cost is required.  Putting a business on a diet for want of a better word.

This is where Lean and Six Sigma Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) come into play. You need to understand what is Value adding, value enabling and Non-value adding.  By undertaking a BPR review, aligning it to your WHY, you are able to ensure that everything you and your team does is aligned to the PURPOSE.  You are able to see what processes can be optimised, what can be automated, and what can be sourced using alternative models.

By applying lean change, we found that on average we were able to achieve 25-30% productivity gains. The difference between achieving these numbers is whether you have the appetite and the business has the willingness (support) to change – these changes impact your operating model, which means PEOPLE. 

Take Action

Reinvigorate – Business is optimised

When you decide to reinvigorate a business, this is mostly a cultural and mindset shift.  It may be that you are pivoting, changing not only how you do things but what you do.  The AVR Lab is a good example of what I did to reinvigorate my workforce and business. Accuteque always had an Emerging Technology service where we would assist with Digital Transformations however when COVID-19 became a significant threat to our organization, all Digital Transformations were put on hold.  Non-essential initiatives were put on hold, so we needed to pivot.  In January 2020, we saw that with remote working – the need to socially distance – the need for access to experts from across the globe for Certifications – that there was an opportunity to focus on AR and Virtual Reality (VR). We redirected all our strategic investments into a startup. It was a huge risk but with even bigger rewards.

We downsized our Consulting operations and smart sourced through such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Business Process Automation (BPA) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

RPO – we have automated our business processes, everything from our Sales through to our Billing process these are supported by our BPO partners for Payroll, Recruitment, and IT.

We partnered with other small businesses who’s business is supporting other businesses in these general functions. We have became cost effective, and have realised greater than 30% efficiencies in our BAU practices. We embraced remote working, visual communication, daily stand ups – we became intrenched in agile practices and ceremonies. We optimized our business model and re-invigorated our team. We have reset the business, ready for the next challenge.

Take Action

Reinvigorate – Business is optimised

When you decide to reinvigorate a business, this is mostly a cultural and mindset shift.  It may be that you are pivoting, changing not only how you do things but what you do.  The AVR Lab is a good example of what I did to reinvigorate my workforce and business. Accuteque always had an Emerging Technology service where we would assist with Digital Transformations however when COVID-19 became a significant threat to our organization, all Digital Transformations were put on hold.  Non-essential initiatives were put on hold, so we needed to pivot.  In January 2020, we saw that with remote working – the need to socially distance – the need for access to experts from across the globe for Certifications – that there was an opportunity to focus on AR and Virtual Reality (VR). We redirected all our strategic investments into a startup. It was a huge risk but with even bigger rewards.

We downsized our Consulting operations and smart sourced through such as Robotic Process Automation (RPO) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).

RPO – we have automated our business processes, everything from our Sales through to our Billing process these are supported by our BPO partners for Payroll, Recruitment, and IT.

We partnered with other small businesses who’s business is supporting other businesses in these general functions. We have became cost effective, and have realised greater than 30% efficiencies in our BAU practices. We embraced remote working, visual communication, daily stand ups – we became intrenched in agile practices and ceremonies. We optimized our business model and re-invigorated our team. We have reset the business, ready for the next challenge.

Wrapping It Up

As leaders we have a responsibility to our businesses to help them operate as efficiently as possible. We have a responsibility to take opportunities to improve and optimise.

We have the accountability to ensure that our people understand our WHY, our PURPOSE so that they are aligned and they too can deliver on our goals. The three RRRs helps deliver these.

Take Action
Take Action

Wrapping It Up

As leaders we have a responsibility to our businesses to help them operate as efficiently as possible. We have a responsibility to take opportunities to improve and optimise.

We have the accountability to ensure that our people understand our WHY, our PURPOSE so that they are aligned and they too can deliver on our goals. The three RRRs helps deliver these.

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