Our blog

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?

Celebrating our tenth anniversary on the Solent

Posted by Lynne on July 01, 2015  /   Posted in People

This year is the 10th anniversary of Mobius Services and to celebrate Chris and John had the brilliant idea of arranging a high octane team building sail on the Solent on 13 June 2015 hosted by Blue Box Sailing. One of those on board was keen sailor James Head, who shares his thoughts on the day with us…

The crews were predominantly members of the team, which Mobius deploys to work with its clients.

Thousands of people go sailing on the Solent every weekend. Much fewer yachtsmen and women get to sail on either a Clipper 60 or a Whitbread 60.

The Clipper 60 is a robust vessel designed for amateurs to race to windward travelling around the world from east to west.

View photographs taken from the Clipper 60

The Whitbread 60 was designed to fly around the world, crewed by professionals, with the wind predominantly behind her in the 1993/94 Whitbread round the world race. This boat was named Intrum Justitia and was the 2nd W60 to finish. Intrum Justitia also gained the record for the most nautical miles travelled in 24 hours by logging 428.7 miles.

Blue Box Sailing provided wet weather gear, lifejackets and a thorough briefing on the history and working of the boat.

Imagine working this hard, 24/7 for 9 months, as you sail around the world? It puts what those guys achieve into some perspective.

The weather was challenging. 25-30 knots over the deck out of the SW. In order to sail and not simply spend all day ‘over on our ear’, we had the mainsail set with three reefs in it and we were down to # 3 headsails. We had very little sail showing on the rig, but trust me, we had power to spare.

We had a good beat to windward into the western Solent with everyone perched on the ‘high side’ or amid ship on what the skipper called the ‘sun deck’.

More photographs taken this time from the Whitbread 60

In these conditions everyone had to quickly get to know each other and under the guidance of our skippers work together as a team. The sails weigh a ton. It requires about five people to rig and hoist the headsail. It takes three or four teams of two people on the grinders to even hoist the main. Everyone took turns with helming the boat, letting off and hauling in the headsail on the tack, easing and grinding in the mainsail and generally keeping our eyes open in order to stay safe.

Imagine working this hard, 24/7 for 9 months, as you sail around the world? It puts what those guys achieve into some perspective.

Despite the hard work, there was plenty of banter and happy smiling faces. What more could you ask for.

Full marks to the Blue Box Sailing team for keeping everyone focused and safe. The boats were very well found, we had a short lunch break on the downwind leg and a good look around the Solent.

Team work is what Mobius is all about. Our teams fitting seamlessly into your teams. So if you want to enjoy some plain sailing through troubled waters, just get in touch!


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!

Congratulations to Roy Watts on his MBE

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

Roy-Watts-MBEThe team at Mobius would like to extend their warmest congratulations to Roy Watts on receiving his MBE recently.

Roy, who was one of Mobius’ first consultants, received his award for his services to railway heritage and preservation in Her Majesty’s 2014 Birthday Honours List. Since 1968, he has been a member of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society in Sussex, becoming Chairman in 1999. His many years of experience have enabled him to offer help and guidance to other preserved railways on a wide range of issues including organisational structure, rules, grant applications and capital projects. He even arranged for a Somerset and Dorset 7F locomotive to spend a day in its former home station but now a Sainsbury’s car park in Bath (Green Park)!

His first job at Mobius involved writing the ‘Standard Operations Procedures’ for a chain of 25 stores in an agri-retailer business, where he also delivered training in first-class customer service. Fast-forward eight years and it is so good to see Roy now being recognised for his hard work and contribution to the Heritage Railway sector, a subject that is close to his heart.

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!

Racking up the savings for a leading automotive company

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

With little control over their packaging stocks and often having to react to short-term changes in their schedule, the UK arm of a global car manufacturer, was forever running out of critical items. This resulted in them having to pay a premium for quick supply or alternatives, which often meant airfreight packaging.

This is the picture Tony was presented with when he was asked to look at reducing the overall packaging costs. He soon identified that a better process could be established. By outsourcing the packaging supply, the supply chain methodology could be changed.

The new packaging was delivered into a consolidation area, where it was ‘pre-constructed’ into a format that could be delivered ‘line side’ on a same or next day basis. The cost for this consolidation was offset by the reduced cost in the packaging itself, through optimisation of quantities and standardised specifications – and, of course, the avoidance of costs for emergency logistics.

Having discovered the benefits of Tony’s expertise, the company continued with the outsourcing, enabling the procurement of products to be reviewed. The result – further costs were taken out of the supply chain, by establishing the consolidation process at key suppliers who delivered 24 hours prior to usage. Any additional costs were offset by the removal of costs of the additional warehousing. Furthermore, having vendor managed inventory meant significant gains in working capital.

Outsourcing can be a ‘win win’ situation. To find out how it could work for you, talk to the outsourcing experts – call Mobius today!

Workplace pensions – a headache for your business?

Posted by Lynne on September 03, 2013  /   Posted in People, Process, Systems

We’ve all seen the TV adverts promoting the new Workplace Pensions but when it comes to implementing the scheme, do you know where to start? It might not be so difficult to calculate if you’ve 25 employees or less but with multi-nationals who employ hundreds and thousands of people, it’s a whole different ball game.

When we received a call for help in July (for an August go-live), Mobius quickly mobilised a specialist team. Working closely together, we set about establishing the business requirement and then developed a reporting system to determine who would be affected and what the company’s contribution would be in each pay period. We created a database and dashboard that allows the payroll and HR teams to monitor and maintain the scheme.

We had to consider factors like eligibility before calculating and producing a summary of pension contributions by both employer and employee, and breaking down the pension contributions by individual employee based upon their earnings. The system had to be a robust one that was easy for the payroll department to use going forward.

The next part of the project involved developing an internal ‘user’ application that amalgamates multiple forms of information, which in-turn populates pre-defined templates for entry/upload to companies external to the business.

Given the timescale from initial brief to delivery, collaborative working between Mobius and the client was essential from an early stage. But that it is what Mobius is all about – two teams working together seamlessly. The end result has been successful in providing the client with an easy to use process that can be relied upon to determine, report and manage employee pension contributions.

If you’re struggling with this new compulsory pension scheme and how best to incorporate it into your business, why not give us a call?

Coaching global strategists in the Czech Republic in the art of 3d negotiation

Posted by Lynne on September 02, 2013  /   Posted in People, Strategy

Prague, where the flood defences had been erected along the River Vitava, was the destination for a recent assignment. Donning our raincoats, we braved the awful wet weather and jetted off to coach the consultants of a well-known global strategy specialist in the principles of 3d negotiation. There we used an exercise deliberately designed to provoke their thinking, and role-play negotiation to put the learning of the day into action. The main aim of the coaching was to help the delegates to understand where they might make personal improvement in crafting ‘value creating’ deals. Is this something that might be of interest to you? Remember all our training is tailored to suit specific situations and clients, so whether you are in retail or banking, healthcare or the public sector, we can help you hone your negotiation skills.

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