Systems

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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?

Project management skills and retail knowledge

Posted by Lynne on February 06, 2013  /   Posted in Systems

We were awarded this project largely based on our skills and expertise in these areas. Between us we have worked in retail, trading and procurement for retailers and carried out projects across most operational areas.

Our project management skills have been deployed successfully across a wide range of projects from implementing new structures in businesses, integrating acquisitions, implementing new operational processes and setting up sales structures for new markets. These have been across a variety of sectors including financial services, hotel and leisure, retailing, restaurants and pharmaceuticals.

We have a standard approach to project management, which is still flexible thanks to our experienced project managers who work well and deliver across such diverse projects and business sectors.

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