Do you need more money to fuel your business growth? Is there a hole in your bucket (dear Liza)?

Posted by Lynne on October 14, 2019  /   Posted in Process, Procurement

With all the volatility and uncertainty in the world, we all need to make sure we are making the most of the money we invest and spend in our businesses, to ensure their future strength. Is procurement effectiveness on your agenda? If not, why not (dear Henry)?

Recently, one of our clients, a fast-growing international manufacturing and distribution business, approached us about cost optimisation. Despite being profitable, they felt they could make each pound go further – and that would help fuel even greater growth going forward.  

We quickly identified significant cost saving opportunities through an analysis of spend and business processes, with a scale of ease to realise these benefits. Due the credibility of this first piece of work, we were asked to go back and work with the business to deliver them.

This involved a mixture of coaching the internal team and providing specialist support in key spend areas. We were able to deliver all the benefits we identified across a massive range of categories within just nine months.

Then to ensure its sustainability whilst still leading the buying function, we were asked to recruitment a permanent long term leader – which we did through our expansive network.

So if you’ve a hole in your procurement bucket, take proper steps today to mend the leak. Straw won’t fix it! But talking to Mobius just might…

A third off courier costs for a PE-backed distribution company. £0.5 million off cleaning costs for a fashion retailer. 1.5% off labour costs for a privately-owned hotel group. What can we achieve for you? 

Posted by Lynne on May 03, 2017  /   Posted in People, Process, Procurement, Strategy, Systems

These are just a few examples of the work Mobius business performance consultants have delivered for clients, which has enhanced the value of the businesses to improve the sale value of the business or provide greater funds for future investment.

In all these examples the ingredients have been similar; we’ve provided a business leader with relevant experience and the strength to seek out the opportunities, and not be put off by the inevitable internal and external pressures.

These are people who have had operational responsibility as well as consultancy experience. They can carry out a rigorous analysis of how things are working now for your business and establish the actual data to validate an objective assessment. They have the knowledge to root out the gems, and the ability and resilience to land these as tangible and sustainable benefits. We know it sounds simple but we also know that it isn’t and that it needs the calibre of person and the processes that Mobius bring to make it happen.

Our experienced team of commercial winners have the skills and expertise to identify and deliver these very tangible benefits for your business, whatever the sector. If we can’t find a benefit we will tell you quickly but we haven’t been in this position yet!

Contact us now to start a discussion about how we can help you make the next step to improving your cost base and the profitability of your enterprise.

Is it all systems go for you? Companies often invest heavily in systems, but how often do they deliver everything you need?

Posted by Lynne on April 07, 2016  /   Posted in People, Process, Systems

chris benham surprisedSystems can take ages to produce, even longer to implement and then instead of “Eureka”, it’s a case of “How on earth do you do …”, or “This is just too complicated, why can’t we go back to the way we did things before?” Or “We’ll do this if we have to, but I will carry on with the old way of doing it as well.”

You might be surprised to learn that this is a really common problem. We’re often meeting companies of all shapes and sizes who tell us they are only getting half the expected benefits from their ‘complicated’ software or, worse still, are not using it at all. “What a waste of money that was…” they say.

Our research has shown that the most common cause for the lack of return is actually because employees are not being trained fully in how to use it. Moreover, they are not passing on the knowledge they have gained to all the users. Instead the temptation is simply to blame the software. After all, we all like something or someone to blame, don’t we?

But for any program or system to work, all staff that use it will need straight-forward and effective training. Not just a quick ‘sheep dip’ session or training for one person who left the business ages ago, but relevant and engaging sessions, train the trainer sessions and something for new starters. So if your system is not giving you what you expected, maybe it isn’t the software’s fault after all.

That’s not to say there aren’t bad systems out there. Of course, there are, that’s a given. There are also some that are better than others. All we are saying is that sometimes we have to look closer to home to see whether we are realising the full operational and financial benefits from our initial investment.

For example, whilst working recently with three national, consumer-facing businesses (serving millions of customers across the UK), we discovered two were under-utilising tools for effective rostering of the workforce, and a third a stock management system. In each case we speedily gained an understanding of what the client had bought and its full functionality – and also what they initially wanted to achieve. In all cases, it turned out that the right things were bought; they just weren’t being used properly.

We developed new processes for the businesses so they could reap the benefits of their investments, and then developed training and coaching sessions for their teams, which our experienced trainers ran. By highlighting simple steps for the users, we brought the systems to life – and quickly realised cash benefits many times greater than the investment in the training.

So if you are currently feeling hacked off about your software purchase, give Mobius a call. You never know, you might have bought a better system than you think.

Oh no, not another initiative!

Posted by Lynne on November 02, 2015  /   Posted in Process, Strategy, Systems

What? Change doesn’t necessarily mean transformation? The next thing you’ll be telling us is that the Earth is round and not flat!

Chris-PlanningOver the past 30 years, Chris has been personally involved in many companies’ change ‘initiatives’, and watched from a distance as many others try to remake themselves. Such as Barclays, Rentokil, Wolseley, to name a few.

Personal involvement has included large companies who were successful in their markets, such as Sainsbury’s, recognising the need to evolve through some remodelling of process, people and IT. Through to much smaller ones like Travelodge, where the threat of failure created an immediate engagement in a Company Voluntary Administration for survival.

Initiatives come with a multitude of titles: re-engineering, business transformation, leadership through teamwork, supporting teams to achieve results, simplifying store operations, SMART, building better business, rightsizing, total quality management, performance improvement centre of operations…

Yet in the most simple form they all have one aim: to maximise competitive advantage in their market, or to change the ‘way things get done round here’ in order to be better placed to cope with the challenges of their changing market conditions.

In some cases, the results may not reach the intended benefits but, in each and every case, something – or more likely someone – will have changed a working method, their thinking, attitude or something else, as a result of that ‘initiative’ being signed off to fly. However, change can be just another initiative but transformation cannot!

The most general learning is that whilst change can be achieved in a ‘one off’, successful transformation follows a series of steps: some iterative, some in parallel and always over a considerable amount of time. Shortcutting or missing steps may create an illusion of pace and of achieving the desired future state sooner … but inevitably, by not following the given path, mistakes are made with a resultant and hard bite on the bum that slows momentum and reduces the appetite for change.

So, what are these steps?

  1. Create the burning platform – no going back, the choice is no choice, forward only. Dissenters are listened to and influenced through encouragement, but are not allowed to slow the rolling stone of inevitability. An engaging approach where right upfront you’re clear that your aim is to understand your business, your people and your business aims, such that together you’re aiming for outcomes that are meaningful, supported and measurable.
  2. Establish a strong vision that allows simple clarity for all and is sold by the leadership, who ‘walk the talk’ at all times to all people. From birth, we adopt and adapt our ways from the actions, words and compromises of those we see around us – and business change works in much the same way. Getting your hands dirty in your business for honest, and to the point, opinion based on the ‘live’ observation of your business, its market, the economic and political forces it faces will help build knowledge. Armed with this, you can publish a Project Charter that really gets the clarity of objectives that will bind your organisation together and ensure delivery of your initiative.
  3. Recruit an empowered team (and don’t compromise) with the right capabilities for the specific project: a team that will enjoy what they have to do. ‘Right people, right place, right time’ makes for an effective and high performing team.
  4. Plan the project thoroughly, taking the time for ruthless analysis in order to get to the ‘nub’ of the matter. Deep dive through the layers and complexities of your business to unearth both the opportunities and, as importantly, the ‘sacred cows’. This will help you create and agree realistic change actions that will deliver the vision.
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate the vision – the benefits, the consequences, and the current position. It should be totally unacceptable for anyone affected by the change to have missed its point. Tell it from the rooftops to the foundations to ensure that you maximize soaring eagles and minimise the squawking parrots!
  6. The Earth is round – start it all over again!







Opening doors to the bigger stores

Posted by Lynne on August 13, 2015  /   Posted in People, Process, Procurement

When you possess the knowledge bank of how blue chip retail businesses operate and, more importantly, what they look from their suppliers, it can really open doors.

In fact, some of our consultants, with their in-depth, high level retail experience, can guide you through the whole process from product concept to checkout. During which you will gain an insight as to how a buyer in a large retailer thinks and acts when building a range architecture.

As part of the process, they will teach you:

  • How to build a critical path (everything from product set up to product launch and all key stages in-between);
  • Which series of buttons to press to get the buyer’s attention;
  • How to open a dialogue and build a rapport with the right category partners;
  • How to pitch your product;
  • Which mediums to use;
  • How to get the timing just right;
  • How to avoid potential pitfalls; and ultimately
  • How to get the sale.

Acquiring this knowledge and these invaluable skills from experienced consultants, like John Green, Anita Pearse or Jonathan Clark, who have all successfully brought directs and indirects to the shelves of Tesco, Sainsbury, the Co-operative et al, will pay dividends. For help in bringing your products to market, make sure you get to the front of the queue!

Our top tips for dealing with a troublesome outsourced provider

Posted by Lynne on July 07, 2015  /   Posted in People, Process, Procurement

1. Is the issue you are facing covered in the contract terms? If not, and it is material, you could renegotiate the terms.

2. How effectively are you engaging with your supplier? Have you asked them why there is sub optimal service rather than just tell them? This approach may well open up avenues that create a positive way out of the issue.

3. Is this a personality issue, or more fundamental in terms of the actual goods or services not being delivered. You may be able to mediate or even change the personalities involved in managing or delivering the service.

4. Was the issue identified in the tender when you sourced the provider, or in other potential suppliers responses? Are there any solutions to be found here?

5. If you have a multi-supplier arrangement, can you share the issue with the other provider(s) to help find a solution?

A name that delivers change and transformation using a 7-step project management process

Posted by Lynne on June 23, 2015  /   Posted in People, Process, Strategy, Systems

What’s in a name? Well it isn’t by sheer coincidence that we chose to name ourselves after the Mobius Strip. More so that it is enshrined in our company values by our demand to work seamlessly in partnership with our clients.

Referencing this to our ‘Change and transformation’ offer, this translates into:

  1. An engaging approach where right ‘upfront’ our aim is to understand your business, your people and your aims such that together we deliver outcomes that are meaningful, supported and measurable;
  2. Ruthless analyses to get to the ‘nub’ of the matter; deep diving through the layers and complexities of your business to unearth both the opportunities and the ‘sacred cows’ to create and agree realistic actions; and
  3. Getting our hands dirty in your business for ‘honest and to the point’ opinion, based on our actual observation of your business, its market, the economic and political forces it faces. This allows us to build knowledge for publication of a project charter, giving clarity of objectives that binds the organisation to its delivery.

The result: effective change via a tried and tested 7-step project management process

Change, assessed, created and deployed using a simple but effective 7-step project management process that starts with observation, ends with measurement, yet importantly contains a healthy chunk of analyses and consultation in-between:

  1. Observe
  2. Collect data
  3. Analyse
  4. Determine actions
  5. Consult
  6. Take action
  7. Measure results

Change deployed by an appropriately skilled team – selected against a project specific ‘skills and capability’ matrix – to maximise adoption of the ‘new’ and minimise disruption through a thorough and uncompromising approach methodology and multi-type team structure.

If your company is in need of change, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll demonstrate first hand how the Mobius strip works!

Signed, sealed, delivered!

Posted by Lynne on November 11, 2014  /   Posted in People, Process

We love getting great feedback at Mobius! We couldn’t say it any better ourselves, so we’ll let the client tell you the result of our recent customer care training programme:

Well what a brilliant couple of weeks! After 31 [yes, you did read right, 31] Customer Care district events and three support centre events, I think everyone deserves a great weekend. The feedback we have received from district managers, hotel managers, directors and support centre managers, about the events has been absolutely fantastic – and the buzz you helped us to create is overwhelming. I speak on behalf of [the client], and the L&D team in particular, when I say we could not have got this far without you. It is clear that with the enthusiasm, skill and knowledge you have provided our teams with, they certainly have the desire to go out there and train their teams in the same way.

So if that was the post-event feedback, exactly what did we do to receive such praise?

Well in a nutshell, we provided experienced trainers for 39 two-day training events across the UK. We supplied seven of our team of associate trainers, who worked with the client to refine the structure of the days, and tweak the content of a ‘Train the trainer’ workshop ahead of the start. All workshops were completed over a three-week timeline. Because that’s where we excel!

Growing businesses without the pains

Posted by Lynne on November 11, 2014  /   Posted in People, Process, Strategy

Reporting in to the Chief Operating Officer, Mobius was responsible for programme managing the critical project work streams within a ‘Top 5’ programme. Our aim was to ensure timely delivery of the five individual projects, whilst keeping the overall programme in line with agreed milestones.

We’re happy to say that all went to plan with our consultants steering stakeholders through the necessary communication channels. They also carried out on-going assessment of the awareness of the channels at all levels of the business, and highlighted areas both for improvement while measuring employment engagement and customer satisfaction. In fact, they did all this and maintained awareness of other direct/indirect projects within the organisation, managing any clashes for the stakeholders as necessary. It’s easy when you have the available ‘know-how’! Do you? If you answered ‘no’, we’d be happy to help.

Proof that outsourcing can pay dividends

Posted by Lynne on July 21, 2014  /   Posted in Process, Procurement

Often it pays to outsource … especially when savings of £1.3 million on an annual spend of £6 million can be achieved!

Part of a major group, a supplier of seafood to leading supermarkets already realised that there were significant benefits in outsourcing their packaging procurement team.

After consulting with Tony – and within just 60 days – a new team was in place providing high-tech packaging technology, specification and design support. The decision was then made to outsource packaging management and stock control too – reducing the headcount and other associated costs.

The procurement team established key working practices that led to a reduction in the total cost of the packaging to the tune of £1.3 million in the first year, with further cost savings over the next two years of the contract.

If you’re interested in finding how much you could save by outsourcing your packaging procurement, give Mobius a call today!

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