Outsource Magazine Issue 29 - (Page 62)

Steering the Flow How can we create a culture that fosters an environment in which continuous improvements flourish? As Madelein Smit explains, big changes are made one step at a time, but these steps can be accelerated to ensure rapid and lasting progress. Madelein Smit, CEVA Logistics Madelein Smit is VP Global Finance & Accounting at CEVA Logistics, one of the world’s leading nonasset based supply chain management companies. S 62 ince prehistoric times, the tributaries to the Amazon delta have undergone numerous changes to their main course: large and small movements, as well as additions, deletions and other changes constantly change the landscape around it. A natural process, known as avulsion, shifts the courses of rivers because the deposits of silt and sediment begin to clog the river’s channel, thereby raising the level of the water in the river and causing it to eventually finding a more efficient (steeper, more direct) route to the ocean. Over long periods of time, this process builds a pattern that is characteristic of a river delta. The expression “everything flows, nothing stands still” (as quoted by Plato) probably can be equally applied to the way processes are established in companies over time. Much like rivers, a new process is designed to be efficient at first, but over time the tributary gets clogged up with additional checks and balances imposed – or simply the deposition of the sediment resulting from incremental changes in IT systems, mergers, staff changes and the like. An example of how these things happen slowly over time was relayed to me recently. During a project to look at better working capital management – i.e. making payments on time – the central team found that the Colombian team always made all payments as soon as possible – i.e. very early – despite numerous requests to adhere to global pay terms. The response from the local team was that the Colombian peso was “always devaluating against the dollar” and that it was therefore cheaper to pay early, which is true in times of devaluation. A quick review of exchange rates clearly show that the peso goes up and down against the dollar, but this measure was instigated at a time of severe currency distress and somehow got stuck as the new process, even thought it was not necessary anymore. In the same way, different departments, with different upstream interests, may reflect the meeting of the sandy coloured Rio Solimoes, that confluence the darkly coloured waters of the Rio Negro, and for several miles these waters run side by side in the Amazon without mixing. These conditions can often be found when the business development team’s interests meet those of the Finance team downstream. Any business has the need to understand how their revenue develops “The happiness of the drop is to die in the river.” – Al-Ghazali www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk ●●●●● http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 29

Call Me Maybe?
Optimising Your supplier Portfolio
Application Development Outsourcing
Are You Fat?
The Future of BPO
Digital by Default
The Face of Finance
Procuring Excellence
The Importance of Being Secure
NOA Round-Up
Steering the Flow
Changing Shape
Legal Transformation
Getting to the Real-Life Win-Win
What’s the Point of Outsourcing?
The Legal View
Top Ten
NelsonHall Round-Up
The Oral Review
Online Round-Up
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 29