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Supply chain Management

Supply Chain Management had, of course, been around for some time before it started to be used as a description of any computer systems. In the automotive world one of the lessons brought home by the Japanese-inspired JIT revolution had been the key point that purchasing involves far more than simply negotiating deals with and managing supply from direct suppliers. Ford, GM and other western car manufacturers saw many differences in the approach adopted by their counterparts in Japan. Many of these were cultural - the idea of 'partnership sourcing' for example where the car manufacturers and suppliers worked together to attack quality and cost issues, and then shared the benefits. This was in marked contrast to the established western approach where cost reductions were negotiated (or, more accurately, imposed) and the suppliers then worked on alone to try to retain some measure of profit from the deal. Inevitably this meant corners being cut and resultant supply problems. What the Japanese taught us here was that if our suppliers have problems then it is not only they who suffer.

The other key point that purchasing professionals learnt from Japan was that their success was dependent not only on dealings with their direct suppliers, but with the companies further down the procurement cycle who supplied the suppliers! They saw that the companies supplying them with components did not have the same purchasing power in the raw materials market as they themselves. This led to them assisting their suppliers in dealings with providers of, for example, metals, plastics and electronic components.

They also understood that the people supplying them with assemblies were dependent in turn upon their component suppliers. Most importantly, they understood that the processes by which these components were made had a direct bearing on the car plants' own costs, quality and delivery reliability. They could only improve these critical elements if they worked with the businesses supplying their own suppliers. We thus began to hear talk of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 suppliers. Where we had thought of our suppliers as being only those companies with whom we dealt directly, the automotive world taught us differently. Many business who did not deal directly with the car manufacturers found themselves being visited by manufacturing engineers from the car plants who initiated and supported programmes to address cost and quality. Where we had only previously managed our supplier base, they taught us to think of every link in a chain.

At the other end of the spectrum we all learned that we must ensure that our business provides good service to the end customer. Understanding exactly what our market demanded of us meant that we could not limit ourselves simply to simply serving the people who bought from us - if they lost market then so would we. The additional complications of the Forrester Effect (time lags and distorted reaction to demand changes at each step in the distribution channel) all led to the understanding that the supply chain from end customer back through to our own business, and then back to the point where raw materials came out of the earth had to be managed.

Time Management

This online course provides an overview of gauging how time is being spent and how to better organize and use time more efficiently.
Time Management: Meetings
Learn how to control the length and effectiveness of meetings.
Time Management: Managing Work
Learn how to efficiently manage everyday tasks like paperwork, telephone conversations, and electronic mail.
Time Management: Co-Workers
This course explains how to maximize time spent communicating with co-workers.
Manufacturing Management

A new Certificate in Manufacturing has been launched by The Manufacturing Institute to equip manufacturers with the world class skills to accelerate transformation in their factories.

Over the past decade The Manufacturing Institute’s prestigious Professional Diploma in Manufacturing has set a blueprint for modern, results-led business education, and now it is also being offered in a more flexible way on a modular basis – so that manufacturers can select which elements they study while still gaining a professional certificate.

There is also the option to subsequently complete the entire programme – thereby qualifying for the higher level Diploma in Manufacturing, which is quality assured by The University of Manchester on behalf of all the Greater Manchester Universities.

The Certificate in Manufacturing Management programme will begin this October with the three personal effectiveness modules, to help students lead and manage change and develop themselves and others; followed by four business awareness modules covering economics, enterprise, marketing and finance.

The Certificate in Manufacturing Operations will commence in 2009 with the seven manufacturing education modules, which cover all the essential aspects of world class manufacturing, from strategic decision making, through tools and techniques for lean and quality performance, to performance measurement, project management, supply chain innovation and IT and automation.

Nearly 300 manufacturers have graduated from the hard-hitting Diploma programme since 1996 – delivering real bottom-line business benefit by applying their learning. 

Designed and driven by manufacturers, exclusively for manufacturers.

Option to complete the Diploma in Manufacturing - a prestigious, nationally recognised qualification that is quality assured by Manchester University.

Delivered by manufacturing experts from leading companies, such as Jaguar, Hewlett Packard, Sun Microsystems, Unilever, as well as top UK universities.

100% relevant to what’s happening in successful factories.

Focused on applying learning to maximise business payback.

A rare opportunity to share best practice and benchmark with other manufacturers.  

Business continuity planning versus business resumption planning and disaster recovery planning

A Business Resumption Plan describes how to resume business after a disruption. A Disaster Recovery Plan deals with recovering Information Technology (IT) assets after a disastrous interruption. Both imply a stoppage in critical operations and are reactive.

Recognizing that some services or products must be continuously delivered without interruption, there has been a shift from Business Resumption Planning to Business Continuity Planning.

A business continuity plan enables critical services or products to be continually delivered to clients. Instead of focusing on resuming a business after critical operations have ceased, or recovering after a disaster, a business continuity plan endeavors to ensure that critical operations continue to be available.

What is business continuity planning?

Critical services or products are those that must be delivered to ensure survival, avoid causing injury, and meet legal or other obligations of an organization. Business Continuity Planning is a proactive planning process that ensures critical services or products are delivered during a disruption.

A Business Continuity Plan includes:

  • Plans, measures and arrangements to ensure the continuous delivery of critical services and products, which permits the organization to recover its facility, data and assets.
  • Identification of necessary resources to support business continuity, including personnel, information, equipment, financial allocations, legal counsel, infrastructure protection and accommodations.

Having a BCP enhances an organization's image with employees, shareholders and customers by demonstrating a proactive attitude. Additional benefits include improvement in overall organizational efficiency and identifying the relationship of assets and human and financial resources to critical services and deliverables.

Why is business continuity planning important

Every organization is at risk from potential disasters that include:

  • Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, blizzards, earthquakes and fire
  • Accidents
  • Sabotage
  • Power and energy disruptions
  • Communications, transportation, safety and service sector failure
  • Environmental disasters such as pollution and hazardous materials spills
  • Cyber attacks and hacker activity.

Creating and maintaining a BCP helps ensure that an institution has the resources and information needed to deal with these emergencies.

Creating a business continuity plan

A BCP typically includes five sections:

  • BCP Governance
  • Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
  • Plans, measures, and arrangements for business continuity
  • Readiness procedures
  • Quality assurance techniques (exercises, maintenance and auditing)

Establish control

A BCP contains a governance structure often in the form of a committee that will ensure senior management commitments and define senior management roles and responsibilities.

The BCP senior management committee is responsible for the oversight, initiation, planning, approval, testing and audit of the BCP. It also implements the BCP, coordinates activities, approves the BIA survey, oversees the creation of continuity plans and reviews the results of quality assurance activities.

Senior managers or a BCP Committee would normally:

  • approve the governance structure;
  • clarify their roles, and those of participants in the program;
  • oversee the creation of a list of appropriate committees, working groups and teams to develop and execute the plan;
  • provide strategic direction and communicate essential messages;
  • approve the results of the BIA;
  • review the critical services and products that have been identified;
  • approve the continuity plans and arrangement;
  • monitor quality assurance activities; and
  • resolve conflicting interests and priorities.

This BCP committee is normally comprised of the following members:

  • Executive sponsor has overall responsibility for the BCP committee; elicits senior management's support and direction; and ensures that adequate funding is available for the BCP program.
  • BCP Coordinator secures senior management's support; estimates funding requirements; develops BCP policy; coordinates and oversees the BIA process; ensures effective participant input; coordinates and oversees the development of plans and arrangements for business continuity; establishes working groups and teams and defines their responsibilities; coordinates appropriate training; and provides for regular review, testing and audit of the BCP.
  • Security Officer works with the coordinator to ensure that all aspects of the BCP meet the security requirements of the organization.
  • Chief Information Officer (CIO) cooperates closely with the BCP coordinator and IT specialists to plan for effective and harmonized continuity.
  • Business unit representatives provide input, and assist in performing and analyzing the results of the business impact analysis.

The BCP committee is commonly co-chaired by the executive sponsor and the coordinator.

Business impact analysis

The purpose of the BIA is to identify the organization's mandate and critical services or products; rank the order of priority of services or products for continuous delivery or rapid recovery; and identify internal and external impacts of disruptions.

Create continuity plans

Plans for the continuity of services and products are based on the results of the BIA. Ensure that plans are made for increasing levels of severity of impact from a disruption. For example, if limited flooding occurs beside an organization's building, sand bagging may be used in response. If water rises to the first floor, work could be moved to another company building or higher in the same building. If the flooding is severe, the relocation of critical parts of the business to another area until flooding subsides may be the best option.
Another example would be a company that uses paper forms to keep track of inventory until computers or servers are repaired, or electrical service is restored. For other institutions, such as large financial firms, any computer disruptions may be unacceptable, and an alternate site and data replication technology must be used.
The risks and benefits of each possible option for the plan should be considered, keeping cost, flexibility and probable disruption scenarios in mind. For each critical service or product, choose the most realistic and effective options when creating the overall plan.

Response preparation

Proper response to a crisis for the organization requires teams to lead and support recovery and response operations. Team members should be selected from trained and experienced personnel who are knowledgeable about their responsibilities.
The number and scope of teams will vary depending on organization's size, function and structure, and can include:

  • Command and Control Teams that include a Crisis Management Team, and a Response, Continuation or Recovery Management Team.
  • Task Oriented Teams that include an Alternate Site Coordination Team, Contracting and Procurement Team, Damage Assessment and Salvage Team, Finance and Accounting Team, Hazardous Materials Team, Insurance Team, Legal Issues Team, Telecommunications/ Alternate Communications Team, Mechanical Equipment Team, Mainframe/ Midrange Team, Notification Team, Personal Computer/ Local area Network Team, Public and Media Relations Team, Transport Coordination Team and Vital Records Management Team

The duties and responsibilities for each team must be defined, and include identifying the team members and authority structure, identifying the specific team tasks, member's roles and responsibilities, creation of contact lists and identifying possible alternate members.

For the teams to function in spite of personnel loss or availability, it may be necessary to multitask teams and provide cross-team training.

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