Category Archives: Trending

3 Key Steps to Effectively Improve Manufacturing Operations

As the name suggests, reducing manufacturing complexity is no simple task. Success in this area requires careful planning, analysis and implementation.

Manufacturing Operations

Simplifying manufacturing operations should always be done in a way that doesn’t adversely impact product performance or customer preferences. Top performing organisations typically take the following three key steps to identify opportunities to reduce complexity:

  1. Analyse drivers of complexity and key market trends

Higher customer expectations for customisation and service have increased manufacturing complexity. These expectations demand greater flexibility in operations, but can also improve overall revenue opportunities.

However, increasing complexity has also been highlighted as the cause of  significant cost increases. These cost increases can be attributed to lower performance levels, or increased inventories of materials or finished goods.

In order to reduce complexity, it is important for organisations to understand the key market trends that are driving demand. Once trends are understood, they can then be analysed in order to develop new manufacturing strategies.

  1. Examine best practices of top performing organisations

Understanding what top performing organisations are doing is a key way to establish industry best practice. However, best practice should typically act as a guideline rather than a hard rule. Any strategy for complexity reduction should be tailored to fit an individual organisation. What works for one organisation may not necessarily work for another.

It is often difficult to replicate the best practices of top performing organisations, as best practice will be linked to a number of factors. However, by using this as a guideline, organisations will be able to identify where changes can be made.

Data on best practice is not always readily available. You can use the Hackett Group’s repository of key best practices is a good place to start gathering data. This will ultimately allow you to carry out your analysis and plan new strategies.

  1. Benchmarking against Key Performance Indicators

Many potential metrics and KPIs are available to measure the performance of an organisation’s manufacturing complexity. Using these KPIs will allow organisations to benchmark themselves against industry leaders.

Of all the available metrics, there are several that The Hackett Group recommends using to indicate the overall effectiveness of complexity reduction initiatives:

  1. Production Rate as a percentage of Maximum Capacity
  2. Total Inventory Turns (Raw, Work in Process (WIP), Finished Goods)
  3. Finished-Product First-pass Quality Yield
  4. Scrap and rework costs as a percentage of sales (see below)

Manufacturing Complexity Reduction_Slide 6

As with all metrics, it’s important to be measuring the right things. The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) rule will also help you ensure that good data is output from them. You should be looking to limit the number of KPIs to around 6 or 7.

The Hackett Group’s Perspective

Reducing manufacturing complexity is a crucial element of a successful supply chain. Through reducing complexity, organisations will typically see a number of improvements. These include:

  • Reduced overall product cost
  • Stock Keeping Unit rationalisation
  • Improved product performance
  • Reduced product development cycle
  • More motivated and specialised workforce
  • Increased manufacturing flexibility
  • Better product planning and scheduling
  • Improved supplier relationships and performance

Reducing manufacturing complexity is a crucial performance indicator in itself for the supply chain. By driving changes across operations, organisations will start to see improvements in their supply chains, and will move towards being a top performing organisation.

If you want to learn more about trends, best practices and metrics you can use in manufacturing complexity reduction, download the Hackett Group Supply Chain Insight Report here.

Marcos Cominasa is a Director in The Hackett Group’s Strategy and Business Transformation Practice. He has over 18 years of management consulting experience, and specialises in improving supply chain operations for Fortune 500 companies.

What Tinder Can Tell Us About Job Hunting – Part 3: Playing the Game

Tinder can be a whole lot of fun. Like Snap, but infinitely more stimulating. But it’s not a game, and needs to be treated with the respect it deserves, or people can be left hurt and disappointed.

Tinder-Game-Match

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

This series of articles was co-authored with Andy Storrar, Digital Marketing Specialist.

Your search for a new job is the same. Like Tinder, you could take a YOLO approach, frantically swiping right on everything and waiting to see how many matches you get, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Recruiters and Employers keep databases of candidates. You don’t want your earlier flurry of applications for completely inappropriate jobs to undermine your chances of an interview for the perfect one next week.

So act with consideration, select your targets carefully, and the validation you gain from achieving a fantastic match will be all the greater. And you know that feeling of “Tinder Remorse” that can occur if you’ve swiped left too quickly (or swiped right without thinking properly)?

Well, it’s worse when it’s being pointed out to you by a recruiter that you’re not appropriate for this role either. So slow down, and give careful consideration to what you want from that big next step.

Stay Organised

Now, nobody’s suggesting you’re going to be as active as my friend Robin. She’s pretty much a Tinder pro. Last time I asked her, she was averaging 3 first dates and the same number of follow-ups each week. She barely has to buy dinner, let alone drinks, and is the proud owner of an insanely long list of matches, even after deleting the ones who open their messaging with “Hi, how are you?”

The number of dates she goes on is limited only by the miserly 7 days in each week and her own level of tiredness. But how does she keep track of where she is in these multiple simultaneous processes?

Robin keeps a spreadsheet. No, seriously. As a procurement professional, you’ll probably have come across one or two of these. I’d hazard Robin’s is a little less numerical than some, but the principle is exactly the same. It’s helped Robin keep track of conversations, venues, insights and key facts about her suitors, and helped her avoid embarrassing situations relating to her busy social life.

Robin may be an extreme example, but the tangled web that we can weave in online dating can often be reflected when job hunting. It’s quite usual to be chatting to and meeting several people in the same month through Tinder, and just as likely that you’ll be wooing several different employers simultaneously, and at varying stages of each relationship.

A simple spreadsheet can be an effective and diplomatic way of managing your information. You should be making notes of your conversations with recruiters anyway, but putting them all into a single document with sensibly indexed and easily referenced categories is a move you won’t regret.

Do Your Research

Information isn’t just gained from meeting a date or a potential employer, of course. Research is key too. We’ll deal with that in another article, but remember that it works both ways. Google will likely lead you to a wealth of insight about a prospective employer.

It will also allow them (like a Tinder match who knows your surname) to find out an awful lot about you. Remember your digital footprint, and consider restricting public access to any social media accounts that might not represent you in the best light.

There’s more than one game in town too. Tinder is certainly one route to meeting people, but if you’re looking for a partner you definitely shouldn’t restrict your search to Tinder alone. Apart from an ocean of different dating websites, you know that friends, colleagues, social activities and even chance encounters are all chances to ‘match’.

Vary Your Habits

And so it is that varying your job searching habits can reap rewards too. You won’t always find your perfect match via the search engines and even the most successful and broad-ranging of the job sites can only individually claim market coverage of a fraction of the whole.

Employers’ websites, industry publications and blogs, direct approaches and your own trusty network are all capable of revealing unadvertised opportunities. You’ve just got to make sure to keep your eyes open, remain alert to all of them, and be capable of managing the process efficiently and sensitively when opportunities appear.

The search for a new job can be a heady and exciting business – as of course can the fast-moving search for romance on Tinder – but you need to understand the rules, and learn the subtleties and complexities of the whole process, if you’re going to play this game well.

Will Amazon Over-Stretch Its Supply Chain with ‘Dash Replenishment’?

Back in March last year, when Amazon announced its ‘Dash’ button service, many people thought it was an early April Fool’s joke. As it turned out, the online giant was completely serious.

Amazon-Dash-Tide

The first Dash devices went live this week and, although currently there are only a small number of products available with Dash Replenishment, it’s clear that Amazon has plans to expand its range and deliver another service that promises to disrupt and change the way we shop for frequently used goods.

Dash Button Partners

For those of you who don’t know, the Amazon Dash Button is a wifi-enabled electronic device, aimed at making re-ordering commonly used consumables and household goods easier. Each Dash Button is unique to a specific product, and when the button is pushed, an order is placed for that product through the user’s Amazon shopping app.

The Dash Buttons exist in two formats. First, the Buttons are built into electronic equipment (think printers, washing machines, etc.) and are used to reorder consumables specifically for that equipment. The second format are buttons, sold individually, for specific products (washing powder, toilet roll) that users can leave in convenient places around the house to assist with their shopping.

To begin with the Buttons will only be available on request to Amazon customers who are already registered for Amazon Prime. Once requested, customers will then link the Buttons to their existing accounts.

To date, Amazon has announced Dash deals with a number of electronics manufacturers, including Samsung, Whirlpool and Brother, as well as with large FMCG organisations like P&G, for products like Tide and Bounty.

Supply Chain Pressure

It is a testament to Amazon’s willingness to push the boundaries of their business model that they would even try this sort of service. Not known as a site where household items are commonly purchased, Amazon are looking to leverage their experience in current activities and try to change our shopping habits. Again.

However, some experts have warned that Amazon might be putting too much pressure on their service management systems and supply chain by introducing another service that is built around fast delivery and high levels of customer service.

With an increasing number of customers using Amazon’s Prime next-day delivery service, the launch of Amazon Prime Now one-hour delivery in some cities around the world, not to mention the roll-out of Prime Now Restaurant delivery in some American cities, it’s not difficult to see where issues may arise.

Neil Penny, product director at Sunrise Software, comments: “Amazon’s Dash Replenishment is the retail giant’s foray into instant gratification and user convenience, with the model using connected devices to potentially provide limitless access to products while also removing any effort from the user themselves.

“However, the more seamless and predictive a service appears, the more work must go on in the background to meet these mounting expectations. While the idea is great on paper, it is questionable how realistic it will be for most firms with their current fulfilment strategies.”

Customer Expectations

As with anything else that Amazon does, customer expectations will be high. The retailer will have to work hard to ensure that the expectations are met for both product availability and delivery times.

In order to make sure that this venture succeeds, Amazon will have to work closely with its own service providers and supply chain to ensure that the products currently available under Dash Replenishment are available when required, and that the service providers can meet deadlines for stock delivery, delivery capacity and order prioritisation.

And should the current model succeed, it may see Amazon expand the products available, both for the inbuilt and individual buttons, as well as having other companies follow suit with their own products.

Penny states, “While Amazon’s new service is launching with products like print and washing supplies, the automatic model is likely to see widespread adoption across other companies and industries in the next few years.  With IoT-enabled devices becoming increasingly more commonplace, more firms will come under pressure to adopt similar approaches.

“Being able to keep track of the complex web of suppliers and service level agreements and respond to demands quickly will be an absolute requirement for any service provider hoping to keep up with demand.”

Is There A Case For An Annual Price Decrease Letter?

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI), the UK’s key measure of inflation for goods and services, was negative for two consecutive months in September and October 2015, and recorded a tiny increase of 0.1 per cent in November 2015.

PriceDecrease

This article was originally published on Future Purchasing.

This is a world away from when I first walked into a purchasing department in 1982. Back then the inflation rate was 8.6 per cent and older buyers could still tell war-stories about the eye-watering 24 per cent inflation rate in 1975.

As L. P. Hartley said in his novel The Go-Between “The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there”.  And, of course, suppliers and buyers did do things differently to deal with continually rising labour and raw material prices.

One of the main differences was that every supplier sent an annual price increase letter (and we were fortunate if they limited themselves to just one increase a year).  In the weeks leading up to the arrival of the letter there would be a phoney war of leaked information and rumour from the suppliers until the fateful day, usually just after the supplier had settled on a pay increase for their workers, when the post trolley would come rattling around the smoke-filled office and deliver the bad news to your in-tray. Typically there would be a couple of paragraphs highlighting major cost rises in raw materials, energy and labour, followed by an explanation of how the supplier had sought to minimise these increases before the sting in the tail: “therefore, we have no alternative other than to apply a price increase on all corrugated cases and trays of 6.5% to be effective in 4 weeks time”.

Both parties knew that the letter was simply a signal to let negotiations commence. For me it was also a signal to review volume allocations between suppliers, look for alternative sources and trial different specifications. Then, after a few rounds of negotiation, we would settle on the new, usually higher, price for the coming year.

The idea of an annual price increase has been consigned to history. But given the recent deflation statistics is there a case for an annual price decrease? Suppliers are still making capital investments in manufacturing plants, implementing quality programmes and achieving manufacturing efficiencies to reduce costs and increase margin, so why not?

These days, whenever buyer requests for a price decrease are reported in the media we invariably read about “strong-arm tactics” from “bully-boys” who have sent an “extraordinary letter”. But why is a price decrease so abhorrent when it was perfectly acceptable for suppliers in the past to demand price increases?  Is it simply that we have some long-held conviction that prices only increase over time? I know that when the more sophisticated suppliers receive price decrease letters today they view them as a call to the negotiating table (just as I did back in the eighties) and, perhaps, an opportunity to increase volumes or secure longer agreements.

There are less contentious ways of securing short-term price decreases and certainly better ways of securing long-term value improvements from suppliers but there is a little bit of me that wishes the annual price decrease letter was a more acceptable part of the toolkit – if only because I had to field so many of the annual price increase letters all those years ago “in a foreign country”.

We’d like to hear your views on the best ways to achieve short-term price savings without creating bad press.Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and share using the social media icons below.

Lessons in Accounts Payable Fraud

In these days of greater reliance on technology to save us from the perils of fraudulent activity, it’s interesting to consider that tip-offs and accidental discovery remain the two most pertinent methods of detection.

AP Fraud

This article was originally published on APN.

So what does this tell us about the way AP departments are run?  Overall, it points to a degree of complacency and perhaps overwork.  With more people unemployed, the remaining employees are expected to do more with fewer resources.  Without doubt this is an environment where fraud can flourish.

In addition, perhaps because of the new technology, there has been a move away from the labour intensive checking evident in the past.  In a busy AP environment, some managers are happy to leave the ‘checking’ and controls to the technology.  However those controls and that technology are only as effective as those who monitor it.

Yes, technology can stop duplicate payments going out for example, but if it’s flagging up errors in the vendor file time and time again without the appropriate action being taken – then somewhere along the line the checking systems have broken down.

Look out for the Warning Signs

  • Unexpected Invoice Number Frequency

Using “Benford’s Law” we can expect numbers to behave in a certain way – i.e. that the number one will be the first digit 30 per cent of the time, and the number six roughly 7 per cent of the time.  Therefore if you have invoices starting with the number seven, 40 per cent of the time – it could be time to investigate.

  • Multiple Invoices Under Checking Radar

A supervisor may only be allowed to process invoices up to a certain amount – i.e. £3,000 or less.  The easiest way to skim a few pounds off would be to create an invoice or two just below the approval amount at say £2,900.  Therefore a part the checking process should include a routine check on all invoices at just below any approval levels in the department.

  • Rounded up Invoices

It would seem unlikely – but this is one of the most frequent reasons why fraud is uncovered – fraudsters use rounded up figures.  So a simple test would be to go through your vendor list and flag up any with a suspiciously high volume of rounded up invoices.

  • Unusual Employee Activity

While 99 per cent of the time employees are working for the benefit of their organisations, occasionally they are working against.  If an employee is consistently and unexpectedly in the office early and/or leaving late, works weekends or nights – it’s probably worth running a quick check.  By nature perpetrators are those who don’t play by the rules, ignore internal controls and who may be contracted workers or temporary.

As I mentioned earlier, fraud is rare and is not something which many of us will come across on any large scale during our working lives.  However, during times of difficulty very occasionally the ethics of some begin to get a little blurred around the edges – whether that’s petty cash, payroll or travel and entertainment fraud – it still impacts on your organisation’s bottom line and ultimately its viability.

How an Agile Supply Chain Can Enhance New Product Development

Is your Supply Chain bolstering or hampering the success of your company’s new products?

new-product-development1

Josh Nelson, a Director in The Hackett Group’s Strategy and Business Transformation Practice, discusses Supply Chain and New Product Development.

An agile supply chain can deliver value to the new product development (NPD) process (outlined in Figure #1) by quickly and pragmatically supporting new products / innovation through the core supply chain processes – plan, procure, manufacture, and deliver.

NPD SCIR Report Slide 1

Figure 1: The New Product Development Process

The Hackett Group’s Perspective

Supply chain plays a critical role across the NPD process, because it drives both the investment of capital into production and distribution capabilities and, in many cases, the critical path for launch dates. Yet, the large task of driving agility and flexibility throughout the supply chain may seem daunting to leaders.

As a starting point, The Hackett Group suggests assessing your current capabilities across the supply chain function against best practices to quickly identify the overall maturity level of your NPD process and highlight improvement opportunities. For example:

  • Can procurement identify and incentivise suppliers to participate in enhanced open innovation capabilities?
  • Can the supply chain and finance organisations develop NPD COGS estimates quickly and accurately?
  • Has the company made the correct investment in piloting plants or scaling up facilities?
  • What is the ability of the planning function to mitigate risk by developing inventory build strategies, identifying NPD demand projections accurately, and aligning lead times to common launch date?

Additionally, when assessing improvement opportunities for supply chain’s role in NPD, consideration should be given to:

  • Marketplace trends
  • Establishing or standardising global metrics to track and assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the NPD process

From there, a transformation roadmap can be created to develop the needed structural and infrastructural elements to enhance and enable new product development though agility and flexibility. This enables your organization to:

  • Identify and develop product concepts with the greatest likelihood of success.
  • Reduce costs by relying on your network of suppliers, customers, and other partners to generate ideas and test products
  • Select and manage a portfolio of projects that are aligned with the company’s revenue and margin growth strategies

Download the full Hackett Group Supply Chain Insight Report here to learn more about trends, best practices, and metrics which help supply chain enable the new product development process.

Josh Nelson has over 18 years of both consulting and industry experience, managing and leading large-scale product development and supply chain improvement programs.

Is Brand Paranoia Stifling Debate on Social Media?

More and more people enter the world of social media every day, each with their own thoughts, opinions and values. Surely this is a recipe for open debate? Perhaps not.

Digital-debate-007

True, you see plenty of heated conversations on social media – people airing their views on a host of subjects, from television programmes to films, restaurants to products – but all too often they descend into arguments, instead of a proper debate.

Argument vs. Debate

Take the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014 as an example. Social media was full of posts from both sides’ supporters, but in many cases these posts only contained campaign rhetoric, rather than hard facts, and frequently resulted in personal insults being thrown around.

When we talk about debate, we mean what you might have learned at school or university – two sides with structured, well-informed and well-supported arguments for or against a topic, which were presented and listened to respectfully, even if you didn’t agree with it.

Social media platforms seem to be set up perfectly for this to happen. Take the concept above, add in a global audience, all with different facts, figures and experiences, and you should have the recipe for quality, informative debate.

But this sort of debate is so seldom seen on social media. Why?

Personal and Professional Brand

The rapid growth of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, et al., have enabled people to have a publicly visible account of their CVs and career histories, likes and dislikes, thoughts and opinions and pictures of their favourite things.

From a personal point of view, this is great. Our most meaningful social networking interactions happen within a group of friends, most of who will probably shares these interests in some way.

However, taken from a professional point of view, you have a diverse group of users and stakeholders, all of who have access to this public information, and who are able to link you as a person to all of these accounts.

Try as you might to remain anonymous, or limit your public exposure, as soon as you have a social media account, you are there for everyone to see. And in a professional sense, this means your peers, colleagues, managers, right up to the CEO and owner of the organisation.

Brand Paranoia

Like it or not, your public digital face represents your organisation. What you post, Tweet or share could potentially be attributed to both you and your employer. Even the ‘magic’ words, “My views are my own”, used as an attempt to separate individual and organisation may not stop people making the connection.

And there are plenty examples, like this one, of an employer taking a hard line if they think their brand is being misrepresented or negatively impacted by association.

The key here is brand. Whether it is personal brand, something that has taken on a much greater relevance in the digital world, or organisational brand, people are very (and rightly) concerned about how their brand is perceived by the public.

For organisations, it could mean the difference between retaining and losing customers. For individuals, it could damage their chances of landing their dream job, thanks to an errant post on a social network.

A friend recounted a story to me about how she had been contacted by a colleague regarding a post of hers that was “out of the norm”. It turned out it was her son who had posted, while logged into her account. No harm done, but an object lesson on the reach of social media.

Bringing Debate Back

However, I think this has all gone a bit too far. For sure, I would expect to be hauled over the coals by my manager if I insulted someone on Twitter, which was then associated back to the company.

But engaging in a real debate with one or more other parties, where an argument is built around facts, and everyone is treated fairly, where’s the harm in that?

Procurious has over 9000 members in its community, with another 20,000+ followers across its various platforms. The chances are high that not everyone will agree with me (even about this article), and that’s great.

We want to stimulate debate – it’s one of the best ways to learn and develop as a person and a professional. The Procurious Discussion forum is a great place to start, and everyone can get involved.

So the next time you see a point that someone has made on social media that you don’t agree with, and you can back up your opposing point, don’t shy away, post and start a dialogue. You never know what will come of it.

Big Ideas in Technology: 2016 and Beyond

We’ve rounded up some of the biggest disruptive technology trends we expect to see in workplaces the world over in the next twelve months.

Drones and drone lanes

Drones and drone lanes

What: As drones have begun to take over our skies in 2015 concerns have grown over the fight for airspace.

Currently the FAA only prohibits drones from flying near airports and their associated airspace, but is this enough?

How: As we peer into the future we expect commercial delivery services from Amazon (and others) to begin rollout, as well as increased numbers of hobbyist pilots carving out lanes for themselves.

Tighter regulations will likely divide the sky with pilots of commercial and business drones utilising the 200-400 ft zone, while those using drones for recreation are limited to 200 ft and below. This will not only better promote safety in the skies but keep lanes clear for priority transport. This advantage will come into its own for those looking to improving logistics solutions in disaster zones, battlefields or delivering aid to inhospitable terrain.

Despite being used for good we should also remember that drones are already being used to the detriment of our profession. Drone surveillance is increasingly on the rise and advancements in camera technology mean drones are capable of spying on factories, warehouses and ports from afar. Thus firmly putting the threat of corporate espionage, competition and imitation back in the spotlight.

Bots

What: Chances are if you’ve been active on the Internet since the late 90s you’ll already be familiar with one of the surprising new trends for 2016: Bots. But while the bots we’ve likely grown accustomed existed solely to frequent chat rooms or perform basic monitoring tasks, the bots of the future are intelligent and much like us, learn with each interaction.

Not to be confused with the likes of your Siri or Cortana (smart virtual personal assistants) living on our mobile phones and tablets, those in the know believe that bots capabilities are now so advanced they could quietly boost our productivity levels and help transform time-consuming processes.

How: In business press offices and newsrooms bots will be poised to automatically sort and tag articles, as well as actively monitor and react to social media. While we’re not a point where bots can realistically replace your social media teams, automation could be used strategically to help manage the strain. Elsewhere bots will be utilised to manage stocks and HR teams will rely on them for getting new employees up to speed. We can also expect to see more automation in services like Slack, making the organisation of meetings and status updates a thing of the past.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality

What: Virtual reality (VR) has been the word on the lips of tech tastemakers since the sixties, now it looks like 2016 will finally be the year to usher in the VR dawn.

VR is best described as a computer-simulated reality. Modern technology grants us full immersion within the imagined environment through the use of a head-mounted display.

How: With backing from some of the biggest names in interactive technology (Oculus VR, Sony, Valve and Google to name but a few),

Unlike Augmented Reality (AR) which uses text, graphics and sound to add a useful extra layer of data to your immediate surroundings, VR transports the user into a carefully constructed world.

Although synonymous with gaming, virtual reality also offers-up an intriguing wealth of uses in the manufacturing, health and transport industries. Dassault Systemes – a European software company that specialise in 3D design and product life cycle management, works with organisations to ensure that costly mistakes are confined to virtual reality and the products rolling off production lines are perfect. Vehicle designers can explore the chassis of a car (both inside and out), food and drinks manufacturers can see their products on shelves, while advanced 3D modelling techniques have even recreated the Pyramids of Egypt and the Normandy D-Day landings.

Wearables

What: Despite wearable titans like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Fitbit, Pebble, Garmin, Xiaomi and Jawbone sewing the market up in the last few years, wearable tech is only just beginning to deliver on the promises teased at its inception.

How: Fitness bands, sports watches and smartwatches are clever pieces of kit for sure but we’re on the cusp of welcoming wireless body area networks, neuroenhancers and earables which will shift wearables away from the wrists of the consumer and into real-world applications.

Think of earables as little computers that sit in your ears – according to patent reports, Apple is working on earbuds that are capable of both monitoring and relaying temperature, perspiration and heart rate. Head gestures could also be used to control electronic devices paired with the earable.

Wireless body area networks will also share similar recorded data with medical servers, computers and other interested parties. Utilising data from body-mounted sensors or ingestible devices, they will be able to keep tabs on every minutiae of employee wellbeing and the monitoring of trigger points like stress.

Plus location-aware services will be able to track movements – as manufacturing.net has noted, think of the improvements in efficiency such technology would mean in production lines: “The wearable device tracks their location, “knows” that they have moved to a new production line, creates a job transfer, assigns a new work order, and automatically starts tracking their work. There is no need for employees to interact with a computer or time clock. The technology has already taken care of that for them so they can focus on what’s really important — the work at hand.”

Neuroenhancers will monitor your brainwaves through electrical activity and over time collect data and make assumptions based on its recordings and observed patterns. Crucially this will allow it to pinpoint those times your concentration is at its highest, when you’re at your most productive and when you should take a break.

Such innovations in wearable tech could help to lead a revolution on productivity and effectiveness in workplaces across the world, no matter what the field.

Embracing Technology and Bring Dynamism to Your Workforce

Decision makers can bring dynamism to their workforce in 2016 by embracing technology. Paul Statham, CEO and Founder of workplace technology expert Condeco Software, examines the office trends of 2016.

Hot Desking

The office world is changing beyond recognition. Within a generation, the cigarette smoke-filled paper world has been streamlined and replaced by one of personal computers, tablets and clouds. As we move further away from the traditional hierarchical structures of the past, to a much flatter organisation, the need for new technological solutions facilitating this framework becomes more pressing.

In 2016, business leaders will be increasingly turning towards innovative tech to create a full picture of their companies’ office and meeting room requirements. This wider viewpoint of how their workplace operates will not only allow decision makers to rescale their office space and make significant savings in running costs globally, but also introduce lasting organisational change fostering better working cultures and environments across the world.

  • Dynamic Working

One of the main office trends is the push for dynamic working, necessary to accommodate a younger and more tech-savvy workforce that does not share the idea that they should be sat at their desk all day to prove they are doing a good job, but who feel rather that they should be up and about, keeping in touch with colleagues and clients anywhere and at anytime through the use of mobile technologies.

Dynamic working also reduces the need for desks and meeting rooms, which can be an expensive business as they often remain under-utilised, as highlighted by a study by Condeco Software which discovered that overall desk utilisation is as low as 58 per cent.

  • Hot Desking

Hot desking offers another solution to office space waste, as it renders unused space immediately available and allows for a smaller number of desks. Furthermore, hot desking can also contribute in the push for a less hierarchical organisational culture, as senior and junior employees share more and more desk-space together, which encourages a  more collaborative and informal working culture.

By utilising the power of technology and gathering vital analytics, companies can redesign their working space according to the newest organisational needs. This can promote better communication, improve collaboration, and help create a streamlined work environment.

  • Flexible Working

At the same time, hot desking and dynamic working fit perfectly well with new trends in flexible working, where working from home or from different locations is becoming more and more common.  This trend is only set to increase in 2016, as 82 per cent of managers believe that flexible working benefits their business.

However, flexible workers do need to return to the office from time-to-time, so it is vital to have a system in place which allows workers to easily check where available desk space is, rather than having to search around the office looking for an empty chair.

  • Greater Internationalisation

Businesses also need to adapt to the greater internationalisation of workforce. Technology can enable overseas workers to find a place to work in any foreign office while on a business trip, helping firms overcome one of the complications intrinsic to transnational teams. It can also help foster greater interaction and unity in dispersed teams.

  • Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

Another growing trend is the current push for big data and artificial intelligence, whereby data can be stored an analysed in order to inform business decisions. The reliance on data and automated systems is becoming ever more pressing and, in the future, many more management solutions will be performed by automated intelligent systems, capable of gathering and processing data.

Previously innocuous human tasks, such as booking a meeting room, could now be conducted by smart systems. By using intelligent systems, allocating work-space efficiently, and utilising big data, companies can implement the required workplace changes needed to succeed in the 21st century.

What Tinder Can Tell Us About Job Hunting – Part 2: “My mother warned me about people like you”

In the second part of this series, we look at how to make sure a recruiter sees you as the right person for the job.

Tinder App 2

You can read Part 1 of the series here.

This series of articles was co-authored with Andy Storrar, Digital Marketing Specialist.

The worlds of romance and recruitment have this fundamentally in common: someone is looking for the right person, “The One”, and they know that they may have to kiss a lot of metaphorical frogs before they find that person.

And you, my friend, want to connect with your ideal person or work for your ideal company, so let’s think about the lessons we can learn from Tinder.

In the heady early days of someone’s Tinder usage, all that exploratory frog-kissing is pretty damn fun: everyone looks exciting, glamorous, attractive and intelligent. We love them all! But after a few months, and a number of bad dates, the shine has worn off somewhat.

Make Them Feel Loved

Now let’s imagine that your Tinder user is instead part of the recruitment process. It doesn’t matter whether they’re working for a potential employer or for a recruitment agency, you can be sure of this – they’ve kissed a whole swamp full of frogs and they’ve got a rather nasty taste in their mouth. You are wooing a much more cynical audience, and so you need to take care about how you make your approach.

You want the object of your affections/approaches to feel wanted and appreciated – you wouldn’t start a love letter “Dear Sir/Madam” unless you were writing to a horrifyingly undiscerning audience – so make sure that when you make that first approach you show you’ve made the effort. At the very least you need to know the person’s name (and spell it right!), and as far as possible you should try to understand what they’re looking for.

You might be surprised by how many people, when applying for a job, use a template cover letter without bothering to change any details or to explain why they are an ideal match. To a slightly jaded CV-reviewer this doesn’t seem very different from the “numbers game” person at a disco who doesn’t care about nine offended rebuttals as long as they get a kiss the tenth time.

Why Are You a Good Match?

At the same time, if you’re applying for a job for which you’re not quite right, don’t just fire in your CV without making any effort, like someone trying to hoover up a kiss from the drunken singletons at the end of a party. Take the time to emphasise the areas where you do fit and what makes you a good match: in the end, that job may not be quite right but it may still have an attractive sibling in search of “The One”.

Just as you wouldn’t use clichés in your Tinder profile because that would make you sound unimaginative and stupid, it’s not a good idea to glibly claim on your CV that you have a “unique combination of skills” if two million other people in the country can say the same thing. Another common cliché is to claim that you are “the ideal candidate” – this sounds presumptuous and more than a little conceited. The person reviewing your CV has a strong urge to swipe left.

Of course you want to stand out from the crowd…but in a good way. You won’t achieve this by posting Tinder pictures of yourself with drugged tigers or swilling champagne in a helicopter – these are the people your mother warned you about, although frankly she hardly needed to.

A potential employer also wants to know what is special and individual about you, so make sure to highlight the things that you have achieved: don’t try to boastfully claim the achievements of the whole team but instead flag up the specific difference that you made.

Recruiters read a lot of CVs that just list what happened on a project, without showing the contributions that the individual made, and they tend to think that, no matter how glittering the project may sound, the person probably achieved nothing – fairly or unfairly, the individual behind the CV has just sunk into the swamp. Swipe left.

The “One” Is Out There

Does it sound like your ideal partner will never swipe right on you? Not so. That person (or company) is still out there looking for their ideal match, and they really, really want to find them. In the world of Tinder, we know that Romance never dies (although it does sometimes get very cross indeed and give up for a month or so); in the world of employment, those hiring managers want to get the right match and they are being paid to kiss frogs to do it.

It’s your duty not to make the mistakes that might prevent them from seeing that maybe, just maybe, you’re “The One”.