Making the Case for Sustainability


The case for sustainability and business innovation.

Business sustainability has become a new mantra for many organizations, big and small as well as a new “normal” for the innovation and profitability. For this reason the increased talk at the C-Level of many organizations is geared towards how the business can make its case in organizations with non-sustainable products and processes.

The question from most employees is “How do we present the case for sustainability to management in such a way that they reason with a holistic mindset of the long term business impact “? These are some basic steps to follow:

1. Establish a sense of urgency-

- Perception, profitability, and prosperity are keys to getting management listen to your case of sustainability.

- Analyze the current status against future implications of the products, market (both current and emerging), risks and the expectations of the stakeholders.

- Explain the benefits of action and the consequences of non-action.

2. The next course of action would be to create a coalition to guide the implementation of sustainable practices-

- Educate management used fact based methods for example, use data from companies within your industry that have adopted sustainability in their business and changes in its operations and profitability.

- Include top management influencers within the decision making team of the organization.

- Use existing employees who have started incorporating sustainable practices within their work group.

- Utilize subject matter experts to make the case for sustainability.

3. Develop a vision and strategy

- The vision here is towards a bigger purpose for the organization with particular focus on the long- term gains as well as the short-term fixes.

- Then, size the opportunities for the organization

- After which comes the outline of the risks

- Project impact on business model, product portfolio, brand and business value

4. Empower broad- based action

- Outline the organizational set up because sustainability brings with it new organizational structures and roles.

- Identify new skills needed to effectively sustain new processes and the practices

- Identify the financial needs such as budget and mergers and acquisition as needed

- Outline milestone and targets which should be tangible measureable units against the baseline prior to the implementation of sustainability

- And of course, communicate the plan to all involved and also to the broader organization so they all know the why, when, and how the project is going to be implemented.

How to Know When You Need a Consultant


A consultant is someone who’s an expert, specialist, or has a wealth of experience and knowledge in their field of specialization.

Consultants can be found everywhere and in every field imaginable. Consultants come from all types of backgrounds, such as education, social work, business (corporate, medium, and small) government, politics, law, technology, science, and so on.

Over the years consultants have become more wide spread and more respected. Formerly, consultants were only used amongst the rich and the famous – today that is no longer the case. Consultants are a highly sought after class of professionals, who are quick to be called upon when an individual or a company needs their area of expertise.

The Internet birthed the information super highway. As a result, the knowledge age originated, which requires knowledge workers and lots of them. Just as knowledge has increased, there’s an increased need for knowledge workers, of which consultants fall into that professional category. Knowledge is still power, and those who use knowledge to advance their thoughts, ideas and inventions, know its importance and are willing to pay for it.

Using the services of a consultant is beneficial to all parties. As a consultant, it’s a way to use their knowledge, experience and expertise to expand their business and services. For individuals or companies who need the consultant’s expertise, it’s a way to hire someone temporarily and save on paying a large salary with benefits and retirement packages. It’s a win – win situation for both parties.

With the expanse of knowledge now available to the average person, no one has a monopoly on certain information, but individuals and businesses need specialists who can use knowledge to advance their organizations’ plans and strategies.

Ten ways to know you need a consultant

When you have a passion to provide services or products to a targeted group, but don’t know how to file the necessary paperwork to become a licensed for profit or non-profit business, you need a consultant.
When you have a passion to provide a service or product to a targeted group of people, but know nothing about starting a business, you need a consultant.
When you have a project or business venture requiring a certain level of specialized skills and knowledge that takes your organization to the next level, and you have no one on staff with those skills and experience, you need a consultant.
When you have a major project or task, and you have a drop-dead deadline; you’re understaffed, and you need someone temporarily with specialized knowledge and skills to join the team until the project is completed, you need a consultant.
When you are working on a major funding campaign; there’s a fundraising goal and deadline to meet, yet you’re short of staff and overworked, you need a consultant.
When you are a new start-up (non-profit or for-profit) business with limited knowledge or time to run the day to day operations of your business, and you need to grow the business to succeed, yet you need an administrative system in place to maintain it and keep it growing, you need a consultant.
When you are a new or fairly new non-profit or for-profit business and you need to establish an organizational system, which requires extensive business documents, such as business plans, strategic plans, employee manuals, departmental manuals, a cadre of marketing and promotional documents that include brochures, fliers, advertisable business cards and postcards, direct mail/email announcements, website content, etc., you need a consultant.
When you have a major business problem to solve and you need someone with great analytical, critical thinking and problem solving skills, you need a consultant.
When you or your company are planning to enter into a new market (local, regional, national, or global) to expand your goods and services, and you need a cutting edge, sophisticated or grassroots public relations and marketing strategy to make it happen, you need a consultant.
When you need specialized information within a very short span of time, and you want your staff to implement the new knowledge and skills, hire a consultant to come in and train you, your staff, and your board of directors. Based on the level of knowledge needed, the training may consist of a 2 – 4 hour seminar, a 6 – 8 hour (all day) seminar; a 2 -3 day conference, workshop, or staff retreat, or a longer training time. You need a consultant.

Elements of a Successful Procurement Transformation Strategy


The key to a successful globally efficient and effective operation is leveraging and enhancing the skill set of global resources through procurement transformation. It is therefore important for a business to develop a set of strategic actions that address challenges to effective procurement. Key to such a strategy is aligning the strategic actions into 4 imperatives that represent the nucleus of the procurement transformation strategic plan. Below is a look at these imperatives.

1. Transform global strategic sourcing and provide on demand supplier relationships

The objective of this is to transform the fundamental sourcing model. This is achieved by continuing to increase aggregation of spending across commodities locations, external suppliers, customers and internal partners. It is equally important to ensure that the business is able to leverage global reach by looking beyond the existing lower cost regions. Also important is the continual assessment of emerging supply sources (nomadic sourcing) and extension of support capabilities for strategic operations. This entails changing the management system to actively review the end-to-end sourcing model across all business units. This allows for the optimization of end-to-end cost, quality and supply prior to initial design sourcing choices by brand, development and manufacturing.

2. Influence and provide leadership to internal partners in delivering on demand innovative solutions

This drives collaboration and focuses on the business strategy of suppliers, internal partners and customers. A seamless integration of suppliers with the needs of the individual business unit allows procurement transformation to mold and influence product strategies, solution development and life-cycle management. This may prove to be a key competitive differentiator.

3. Grow profitable revenue from commercial procurement services

While continuing to focus on service offerings, businesses should also leverage the expertise, processes and IT of their procurement department. The aim of this procurement transformation imperative is to deliver and exceed committed cost savings to clients, while growing revenue for the business. In addition, the company should leverage client spend with the supplier base as a way of increasing the collective purchasing power, and providing clients with significant value.

4. Achieve excellence in class operational quality, efficiency and functionality

This enables a business to become more efficient, while developing tighter integration across key procurement processes. The central focus of this work is the rebalancing of resources across geographies to ensure the right balance between various skill sub-groupings, to automate and eliminate low value add activities, as well as improve resource utilization tracking. All this is done while consistently maintaining the appropriate quality standards.

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