Supply chain management - are your systems the full ticket?

Written by: Daniel Chapman

In previous white papers in this series we have looked at the ‘gaps’ that commonly exist in manufacturing and supply chain IT systems. 41% of finance professionals in manufacturing, for example – are wholly or largely reliant on manual systems or at best on spreadsheet-based applications. Some will have ERP systems but they are not designed to give near-real-time support to day-to-day decision making.

Increased complexity in today’s supply chain makes integrated IT solutions a must. Gaps between systems give rise to cost and accuracy issues. With best of breed systems that are integrated, interconnected, work from common datasets and provide reports, managers can keep track of events across their manufacturing and supply chain operations. Furthermore they can readily model the impact of possible future changes.

An organisation can make good use of all the data at its disposal – without the need to make assumptions and they can be transformed by deploying business intelligence (BI). However, our surveys show that there is still considerable misunderstanding among business managers about what BI actually is. Only 16% of financial professionals say they are using BI today while 35% either don’t recognise the term of think it is a piece of technical jargon for the IT people to deal with.

A BI solution should simplify the way people use data by making it a natural part of the decision making process. When ordering extra stock, for example, the ramifications involve warehouse management systems, labour management systems and financials. It is vital that each manager knows that a problem exists and is working from the same data without gaps or silos. Achieving supply chain systems that give you the full ticket takes integration and connectivity.

To continue learning about the benefits and importance of business intelligence in supply chains, read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

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Business intelligence for smarter proactive supply chains

Written by: Ian Roper

It is vital that each manager knows whenever a problem exists and is working from the same supply chain data without gaps or silos of information. Achieving supply chain systems that give your organisation the complete picture requires integration and connectivity.

Why should this matter now, when many businesses have operated fairly successfully for decades with little in the way of IT systems? The simple answer is ‘increased complexity’, but that masks a perfect storm of factors that have combined to make integrated IT solutions no longer a luxury but an essential.

This all impacts upon an organisation’s costs and accuracy, and gaps cannot be afforded; it’s all about control, co-ordination and time. So a change in sales orders or forecast obviously affects production planning and scheduling – but there may be implications for purchasing, labour management, warehouse management, transport management, and financials, amongst others. To attempt to model even a simple change by re-running an ERP system would be too slow, too cumbersome, and in any case unlikely to reveal problems and issues at the level of detail required.

Using the approach advocated by Access Group, impacts can be assessed in hours not days, it becomes practical to explore alternative scenarios and strategies, and everyone affected, externally as well as internally, can see reports appropriately structured to reflect their areas of concern or responsibility, all of which derive from the same information and same iteration.

To continue learning about the benefits and importance of business intelligence in supply chains, read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

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This is the solution to simplify growing complexity in your supply chain

Written by: Ian Roper

As business management in supply chain grows in complexity and with businesses contracting and outsourcing areas of their supply chain to third parties, including the globalisation and amplification created by the internet, it is crucial for supply chain organisations to remain firmly in control with clear visibility over all their moving parts and business objectives.

The key to this is integration of information, being able to share data from systems, inter-company and third parties allows decision makers to strengthen their control and ability to make informed decisions based on real-time information. This is a worrying reality when 35% of finance professionals in supply chain don’t recognise business intelligence as an important asset and dismiss it as jargon.

Business intelligence will grow to become recognised as key to supply chain management. This will be apparent as firms gearing up for growth choose to involve contractors, third parties and adopt increasingly short product lifecycles that add to supply chain complexities. The key is to keep it simple.

Integrating data between systems, creating one centralised hub of information will enable visibility, control and efficiency between entire supply chain operations. This will help soothe complexities experienced in the likes of ecommerce and manufacturing with increasingly short product lifecycles – where being able to deliver exceptional service, based on real-time business updates can keep firms relevant, competitive and front of mind when dealing with globalised competition through the amplification of the internet.

This all impacts an organisation’s costs and accuracy, gaps cannot be ignored. It’s time for supply chain leaders to regain control, co-ordination and make efficient use of time. By using best-of-breed systems that are integrated, interconnected, work from one centralised data hub managers can leverage this information in a format that best suits the business and team through the adoption of dashboards and visualisation. This will enable decision makers to drill down on key, crucial information that allows for informed decisions that will grow business opportunity and success.

For more benefits of an integrated supply chain read Access Group’s fourth whitepaper in the series, ‘Mind the Gap: are your systems the full ticket?’ here.

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3 things successful leaders do differently

Written by: Daniel Chapman

Not all leaders have the right tools in place to become successful. Here are 3 simple tips to help you achieve your goals.

1. Trust your intuition

Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and intuitive thinking. There is a science behind it. If you are ever in a situation where there are conflicting facts or a lack of information, your intuition really counts.

       

2. Empower your workforce

Enable your team to collaborate and take ownership of tasks by providing access to data. Setting up the framework to allow information to flow freely between teams is essential in achieving your overall goals.

       

3. Embrace technology

With the right software to help support your business decisions then you are on the winning road to success.

 

Find out how you can succeed by downloading

The Little Book of Success.

News

  • 21 July 2015

    Leading West-Midlands social organisation, Black C…

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    8 July 2015

    Oliver James Associates (OJA), the market leading …

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  • 2 July 2015

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Mind the Gap – are your systems the full ticket?

Written by: Daniel Chapman

In previous white papers in this series we have looked at the ‘gaps’ that commonly exist in manufacturing and supply chain IT systems. 41% of finance professionals in manufacturing, for example – are wholly or largely reliant on manual systems or at best on spreadsheet-based applications. Some will have ERP systems but they are not designed to give near-real-time support to day-to-day decision making.

Increased complexity in today’s supply chain makes integrated IT solutions a must. Gaps between systems give rise to cost and accuracy issues. With best of breed systems that are integrated, interconnected, work from common datasets and provide reports, managers can keep track of events across their manufacturing and supply chain operations. Furthermore they can readily model the impact of possible future changes.

An organisation can make good use of all the data at its disposal – no need to make assumptions and they can be transformed by deploying business intelligence (BI). However, our surveys show that there is still considerable misunderstanding among business managers about what BI actually is. Only 16% of financial professionals say they are using BI today while 35% either don’t recognise the term of think it is a piece of technical jargon for the IT people to deal with.

A BI solution should simplify the way people use data by making it a natural part of the decision making process. When ordering extra stock, for example, the ramifications involve warehouse management systems, labour management systems and financials. It is vital that each manager knows that a problem exists and is working from the same data without gaps or silos. Achieving supply chain systems that give you the full ticket takes integration and connectivity.

To find out more how BI can work for your supply chain read Access’ ‘Mind the Gap: Is your system the full ticket?’ whitepaper to identify opportunities for success.

News

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Recruiting talent analytics and big data into your team

Written by: Daniel Chapman

Big data and talent analytics are slowly emerging in HR departments, and unlike big data – have a more personalised approach to ensure that employee’s happiness and wellbeing is directly enhanced as a result. This ensures greater productivity and increased efficiencies throughout the organisation and enables a more personal approach to HR through data driven indicators. 

What is meant by talent analytics?

Talent analytics is underpinned by the data collected about an employee’s work, performance patterns and KPIs enabling you as the employer to make informed predictions based on captured data. This can vary from, attrition, head count and competencies.

Using metrics based on the above, for example, enables you to acknowledge and understand what is needed for employee retention, who works for your organisation and how to best leverage competencies and skills. This isn’t just another business process that contributes to operational efficiency but an intelligent state of mind for HR professionals to increase their understanding and ultimately, business performance through the utilisation and satisfaction of employees.

Technology’s role in talent analytics

Talent analytics are the latest trend in HR. As data is becoming more and more crucial for organisations to remain at optimum performance it is now important for HR to harness raw data and turn them into usable insights, as the growth of both employee and organisations become even more competitive.

It is therefore important to implement the right technology solution that can process the data into a powerful, usable and understandable format that will allow you to create, explore and develop data strategies in HR.

Talent analytic strategy and approach

Creating the right approach to talent analytics should go hand in hand with the systems you use to process employee data. The ability to consolidate, collaborate and integrate data is key for organisations to make the most out of big data in HR, making it manageable and effective through integrated HR solutions that streamline and distribute available information ensuring that performances, processes and insights are instantly available for HR decision makers to analyse.

With the introduction of new data mediums comes the rise of new roles and responsibilities for the HR department. The ability to handle, process and analyse data in the world of HR and is effectively KPIs on steroids. It takes the tech savvy or those who are striving for modernisation of performance related processes to grasp this new technique and ultimately drive the performance of an organisation forward through the responsibilities of HR.

The impact of talent analytics

The ability to analyse information processes through a system requires a data analytics approach. Then being able to understand key metrics to make informed decisions is an area that needs to be welcomed – much like the importance of KPIs. Developing performance related strategies from performance related processes ensures efficiency and productivity of the larger picture, harnessing talent through data.

Many new practices are often welcomed with a large amount of scepticism; these may be habitual or cultural or may even require tackling some obstacles along the way such as ensuring that there is the right system in place that can handle these measurements and data management requirements, or even the capabilities amongst the HR department itself.

For HR to develop an appropriate strategy to handle talent analytics, it is important to ensure that the right strategy, systems and tactics are available to drive a data-driven strategy.

If you enjoyed this blog you might also be interested in our latest research which sheds new light on the areas of focus for the HR industry when it comes to their people management, how HR directors are responding to issues and trends, and what they aspire to for future success. You can read more here.

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3 things successful leaders do differently

Written by: Steve Sawyer

Not all leaders have the right tools in place to become successful. Here are 3 simple tips to help you achieve your goals.

1. Trust your intuition

Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and intuitive thinking. There is a science behind it. If you are ever in a situation where there are conflicting facts or a lack of information, your intuition really counts.

       

2. Empower your workforce

Enable your team to collaborate and take ownership of tasks by providing access to data. Setting up the framework to allow information to flow freely between teams is essential in achieving your overall goals.

       

3. Embrace technology

With the right software to help support your business decisions then you are on the winning road to success.

 

What can we really learn from successful people and their stories? Download The Little Book of Success and find out what inspires us.

Download The Little Book Of Success

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The Ideal Host

Written by: Rob Barr

As any guest knows, the best hosts always offer a range of choices. This should be no different whether you’re at a hotel, a dinner party or in partnership with a software provider. But surprisingly, sometimes it can be hard to find a provider that offers flexibility in how its’ solutions are delivered.

When we launched Access thankQ CRM we decided to open up all options for our customers to fit their requirements - whether that’s keeping software locally on-premise, hosted by us or by a third party supplier. After all, hosting is all about choices.

Would you expect any less from any other supplier? Take cars as an example, whether you’re looking to buy a Fiat, a Ford or even a Ferrari, they come with a gargantuan range of options. Walk into any Starbucks and there’s an array of choice designed to give you exactly what you want… so why should your software provider be any different?

As an organisation you might have long standing relationships with a current hosting provider. We wouldn’t want to get in the way of that, after all at Access Group we’re all about building strong partnerships. Having talked to many of our not-for-profit customers we realised that there are many reasons why an organisation might choose one path over another, and we didn’t want to preclude anyone from benefiting from thankQ CRM because of the delivery mechanism.

For some organisations it was important that their CRM system was on their own premises; they didn’t want it hosted elsewhere because this approach quite simply works best for them. Equally other not-for-profits, welcomed the fact that they could keep their current hosting provider, whilst other want the simplicity to deal with one provider for their whole software/hosting solution.

Since the Group acquired hosting specialists StratoGen last year, we’ve been able to add an invaluable, robust hosting service to our offering. Having everything under one roof, brings many advantages for our customers because it means dealing with a single point of contact. Coupled with the Access personal touch, provides the opportunity to build a stronger working relationship. One where we can both understand what you want from your hosting and from your product. 

Offering flexibility in the solution’s delivery helps to ensure that the whole package is right for the individual organisation. When you’re choosing a CRM system it’s an investment – and one that shouldn’t be about compromise. So, when it comes to deciding on which package to go for, it’s important to consider what options are important to your organisation – and not what the software vendor thinks is right for you.

This article is the third in a series of seven blogs relating to our 2015 Manifesto.

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Project management, technology and information sharing

Written by: Steve Sawyer

Technology is transforming the way projects are managed. One of the most fundamental advances technology has made in relation to project management is its ability to provide access to real-time data. This ultimately provides increased visibility of a project to enable it to be managed more efficiently and effectively. 

One of the most common mistakes that can lead to an unsuccessful project is a failure to keep control. Businesses can only ensure a project is successful (and profitable) through both current and forward visibility, and technology is key to this.

Businesses need to instil building blocks to effectively monitor projects in terms of both time and workforce arrangements. One way technology achieves this is by making finance systems and timesheets available electronically.

For example, employees are now able to complete timesheets online and, more importantly, do this in real-time rather than filling in a paper version at the end of a busy week at work. Meanwhile emerging finance systems enable employees to instantly record every purchase order and invoice that is made, while also tracking project changes on a daily basis.

This real-time information is absolutely vital to a successful project as it alerts a business when things are going wrong. It is therefore easy to review and react instantly by changing tactics or strategy if necessary. Having the ability to review progress around the clock also means results can be easily presented to a customer or client to show regular progression or help explain any changes that have occurred.

Within the next five to ten years I fully expect that emerging technologies will continue to create drastic changes to the way projects operate – and for the better. The improvements in mobile technology means workers will have the chance to become increasingly field-based, with paper documents becoming a thing of the past. For example, a mobile phone can be used to capture the time committed to a certain project, approve invoices, revise a timesheet or even record a travel expense wherever and whenever.

Technology is essentially removing the potential constraints of project management by enabling real-time business insights to be shared while also allowing people to easily and efficiently work on multiple different projects in the same online space. This not only creates both time and cost efficiencies, but it ultimately means that businesses have the ability to operate, and grow, on a global scale.”

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Fourth relaxation in the RTI penalty regime

Written by: Kate Upcraft

This week HMRC announced a fourth relaxation in the RTI penalty regime. Let's recap on the history...

 - February 2014:

      - the introduction of late and non-filing penalties delayed until October 2014

 - August 2014:

      - a phased introduction of late and non-filing penalties for PAYE schemes with 50+ payees beginning in October 2014 and all other schemes beginning in March 2015

      - automated late payment penalties to be introduced in April 2015

 - 17 February 2015:

      - late payment penalties to be risk-assessed, not automated, from April 2015 and a 3-day easement introduced to the 'on or before' rules for filing introduced retrospectively to October 2014 to reduce the number of penalties that would be incurred. Penalties that had already been sent for the period October - December 2014 could be appealed  

 - 17 June 2015:

      - automated late and non-filing penalties scrapped for 2015/16 and moved to risk assessed (the same as late payment)

This week's announcement is at pains to point out that schemes that file late ie outside the 3-day easement, are non-compliant and risk a penalty. 

The announcement came in the middle of the quarter 4/month 12 penalties being received by agents and employers. I have seen a number of these over the last two weeks and would make the following observations:

 - A significant number have not been preceded by a GNS warning message as should be the case

 - The first default in the period October 2015 - March 2015 for a scheme with 50+ payees should be unpenalised. Any penalty notice where the first default has a penalty shown is wrong and should be appealed. Some do correctly show a zero as the first default, but this is not consistent

 - Only schemes with less than 50 payees are penalised for the first default which cannot be before tax month 12 i.e. 6th March to 5th April

 - There is no requirement to pay the penalty if you intend to appeal even though the notice says you must!

The Penalty and Appeals Service (PAS) can be accessed by employers through their PAYE Online Id and by agents through their portal. HMRC confirmed in the Employer Bulletin published on 18 June 2015 that where the 3 day easement is the basis for the appeal then 'Reason code A' must be selected for the appeal with ‘Return filed within 3 days’. This is a change of policy to the original instruction about these appeals that asked for the ‘other’ reason to be selected and the same text to be inserted in the free-form text box.

It now appears that any appeal where ‘other’ is selected causes the appeal to be referred for clerical investigation. This will be an issue for HMRC as they do not have the resource to consider these appeals just as they cannot handle SA appeals, as all resources are now focused on tax credit renewals. So wherever possible use the specific appeal codes for your reasonable excuse as this appears to lead to an automatic penalty cancellation. You should look for the GNS message that will arrive within a couple of days and the postal cancellation of penalty notice that will follow.

If your referred appeal is subsequently refused you can still request an internal review of the decision and HMRC should tell you this but appears to be omitting to do so. 

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