The prerequisite to investing and creating wealth is quality in business and process management so we can achieve previously unequalled level of customer quality. Those not in good shape, especially SME’s, have an imperative to upgrade their management planning and performance control systems to survive. The “no excuse” customer and investor attitudes on performance failures demand this.
A colleague of 20 years past Ian Curry once told me once “quality costs nothing”. Ian was then General Manager at Colonial Mutual Life in my days as a finance executive. His vision for quality, under that tag, stuck with me as I become an evangelist of total quality management, or TQM. Under his leadership at the time, we embraced that prophecy and began invoking continuous improvement quality programs such as Deming’s PDCA in what became a watershed era of change. Since, we have all seen those visions come to fusion in a revolution that has changed completely, across the world, the way we work.
In the 90’s we saw information systems really start to evolve as quality change processes marshaled in the complete shift in the way the world supply chain processes worked. With the massive infrastructure upgrades resulting from Y2k completed, what followed was an absolute paradigm shift in work practices to the web information culture. With this also came a massive transformation of communication that now provides the base of all operations, be-it commercial, trading or control, that we take so much for granted now.
The benefit today is high end capability of business. Business can now deliver to ISO quality standards using business process management methodologies such as Six Sigma and business performance management tools like Balance Scorecard to control and make it happen. This sees customers now expecting products to be consistent, near perfect and fully warranted.
With performance measuring now seeing near zero or low risk failure rates in many arenas, the IT hardware and motor industries are perhaps the best visible examples. Competing today requires the ability to offer up to 3-5 year warranties on many consumer level products. One year now is a norm on most.
The IT hardware and enterprise level software enablers that made all this possible, is now again in transition with emergence of services based systems at a click or so called cloud technology. To go there, this ever changing industry also aims for perfection itself to mirror the needs of the imperfect and complex global marketplace.
Companies can no longer rely on seat of the pants methods and must have systems in place for consistent control. transparency of accountability and be able to show clear demonstration these processes are being used to effect. This is now a demand of investors and legislators worldwide who expect transparent forward looking performance control processes for business and financial management. A significant example is the far reaching 2002 Sarbanes Oxley legislation that can see directors go to jail for performance and corporate governance failures. IFRS as the international reporting standard is also going fully global this year, with the US adoption.
Affordability is also no excuse with cheaper technologies and relevant software now readily available in “all-in-one” planning, decision making, and control systems. Many leading global enterprises have such systems in 3rd and 4th generation of use as they reap the value of the competitive edge they bring. Also, the skills to drive them are now generally available at base levels from university graduates.
Reworks data confusion, processes with no stage transparency wrong and disconnected information, etc., are all legacies of a now obsolete way of working. But surprisingly, there are still so many who struggle with spreadsheets and cobbled system as convenient tools. Using such processes of the past limit growth and cause companies to so easily falter or often fail.
Is your thinking in the clouds?… Maybe it should be !!