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  • Writer's pictureMicha Veen

Using operational adaptation model to meet evolving global challenges

In the last weeks, it has become clear that businesses require to adopt a more flexible operating and supply chain model to allow them to serve their customers and end-consumers during the various health and environmental crisis's. Although we have seen in the last two decades, how many organisations have implemented initiatives to stream-line their business, these initiatives have been mainly focused on either cost reductions or creating a "specific competitive edge" (based on expected changing consumer-behaviours).

Even though these efforts have taken a lot of operational costs out of these businesses, they have also made them vulnerable for global challenges. If you only look at 2020, Australia had at least three "natural" disasters, being bush fires, floodings and COVID-19. Many organisations, small, medium and large, have made significant investments to execute "operational excellence" improvements. Examples include;

  • Cross-functional ERP implementation (often referred to a Business Transformations) - (mainly) Oracle or SAP implementations aimed to create full end-to-end process visibility across the multi-functional and country organisations, allowing further identification of potential cost reductions and/ or efficiencies,

  • Consumer-alignment initiatives - introducing health-focused product portfolios, transition from bricks-and-mortar to on-line/ eCommerce sales models, introducing social and group-buying behaviours (influencers),

  • IT/ Technology enhancement - the transition from on-premise to cloud software solution (e.g. Windows to Office365), introducing "rich" cloud-solutions which aim to solve a specific function (e.g. Xero - finance, Salesforce - Sales, etc.), move from cash to cashless payments,

  • Lean manufacturing/ lean operations - Introducing continuous improvement models to meet evolving yield & waste management targets

  • Supply Chain effectiveness - transition to supply chain outsourcing, or invest in transport, operational and/ or warehouse management solutions to further automate internal supply chain practices

  • Procurement Cost Management - identification of low-cost countries (suppliers), conduct bulk-buying with "single supply source" to deliver continuous savings for the organisation

  • Transition from Human Resources to People Management - adapt to the different employee requirements (e.g. millennials) and the continuously changing workforce model

The latest health crisis (COVID-19) has re-emphasised the need for businesses to adapt faster. It's not acceptable anymore to have a single, linear operational business model. There are too many sociocultural, political and legal, technological, economic, health and other global influences that continuously challenge established business practices.

From early 2019, Unique Excellence identified these trends and has started to work with some leading SME businesses to introduce operational adaptation models which allow organisations to easily adapt to these global influences. We have seen how organisations are able to overcome these continuous challenges, when they adopt a flexible, outward operational model where external operational collaboration is core to their operating model.

So, how has Unique Excellence been able to work with their clients and business partners to implement operational adaption? (part of our Operational Innovation service) And what does this mean for your existing operating model? Below we have listed a number of examples which successful businesses have introduced to combat these global influences;

  • Introduce a combination of local, regional and global suppliers. In our current "climate", it's imperative to have suppliers on local, regional and global basis, especially if your organisation is dependent on certain specific raw materials or semi-product requirements. As this will affect supply chain, procurement and finance, it's key for these functions to work hand-in-hand, ensuring that all options are continuously evaluated to ensure operational adaptation, while reducing financial risks and costs

  • Focus on collaboration technologies to extend the end-to-end visibility outside your organisation. ERP's have done a tremendous job to create internal visibility, but to gain and remain competitive, it's crucial to establish external collaboration models with partners and technology providers, to deliver end-to-end supply chain visibility (and traceability), which allows:

    • pro-active supply chain management - allows re-direction, re-allocation or retrieval of products during global influences

    • increased communications and insights when changes occur to expected processes - use Artificial Intelligence to identify trends and exceptions

  • People-centric operating models which introduces a "work-from-anywhere" model, which includes:

    • Offices will transition to collaboration-spaces, instead of workplaces

    • People interactions are output focused, instead of "process focused", changing performance management models and creating a more enhanced organisational output model (resulting into higher profitability)

    • Talent pool is extended outside the "office location" and focuses on capability, output and communication effectiveness

  • Businesses can't survive on solely a bricks-and-mortar or eCommerce model. Organisations which are able to combine these two models to their advantage, and support their continuously evolving consumer-base, will be able to maintain and grow their customers.

Through working with our clients, we have introduced a number of these operational adaptation models in some leading businesses, creating a refreshing level of flexibility that allows them to easily adapt to the continuously changing macro- and micro-environmental elements.

We, at Unique Excellence, believe that the success of our clients and partners will have a direct positive impact on our business and learning curve to assist business owners, organisations and industries to meet the global evolving challenges...

For more information, contact us!

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