What advantages does the creation of a detailed business and monitoring plan provide?
The obvious answer is a better allocation of resources so that returns on available investment are improved.
This simple statement misses the other valuable contributions that the development of the plan provides the enterprise:
It focuses staff on achieving essential goals;
It builds skills in information management, information analysis, risk assessment and project management;
It helps in team building;
It helps in the identification of future business leaders;
It provides a continuous monitoring and development system which reduces the need for major discontinuous change management – change occurs on a regular and systematic basis.
Above all it makes the enterprise stand back from operational concerns and look at the wood rather than the trees – an objective assessment of where the enterprise is and where it should be going.
How can one summarise the Ibis approach to the creation of a business and monitoring plan?
Ibis has found that a standard approach works for all organisations and enables them to take control on a step by step basis.
Step 1 : The creation of the planning platform (where are we?)
Step 2: Environmental audit (where are we?)
Step 3: Forecast developments over the planning horizon (where do we want to be?)
Step 4: Choose options for enterprise development (how do we get there?)
Step 5: Optimise, implement, control (how do we get there?)
How do the improvements in operating performance occur?
The improvements in operating performance come about because the enterprise, its strategic business units (SBU) and knowledge centers become:
More focused in their investment policies as a result of the shift towards an emphasis on management by objectives;
More efficient at monitoring key performance indicators and understanding their relationship to both enterprise and operational unit achievements;
More involved in operational performance as the knowledge center plans, manages and implements the budget for their area of operation significantly improving cost cutting initiatives;
More effective at applying software solutions to the range of opportunities and problems that the knowledge center faces (working “smarter” rather than harder);
More able to gain competitive advantage through better understanding of customers, suppliers, operational processes and improved speed of delivery (time based competition);
More team orientated as a result of changed levels of responsibility and authority;
More motivated as the result of a “bottom up” rather than “top down” approach to planning
Cost management is a central concern for most enterprises. How does the planning platform help?
Cost management is best achieved through a project management approach where each option (Ibis has identified around 250) is evaluated through a rigorous cost benefit approach. The knowledge center based budget and planning system is ideal to act as a platform for continual cost management, with the identification of the best returns from the options available.
How are knowledge centers different from normal operating units?
Knowledge centers emphasise skills based planning and implementation with:
Improved team building (including quality circle creation) and reporting;
A concentration on labour productivity and the application of appropriate systems;
Better and faster skills development;
A focus on external comparisons through key performance indicators and benchmarks;
A business orientation with an emphasis on project management and investment appraisal;
Improved cross business links through joint business monitoring.
Ibis propose wholesale decentralisation of almost all functions. Why?
Modern research suggests that with sophisticated manufacturing equipment and/or software solution based service supply that many of the investment arguments for centralisation are no longer valid. Greater returns from decentralisation are the norm for most enterprises. Most new product development consists of small, customer driven demands, ideally provided by a unit close to those customers and able to carry through the entire development and commercialisation. Personnel services should be close to employees rather than spatially separate. Centralised purchasing creates enormous bureaucracies and delays.
Building in as much autonomy as possible into the operating unit or strategic business unit (SBU) enables the enterprise to keep close to the customer, to react quickly and positively, and motivate effectively while lowering costs.
Different types of plans have obviously different requirements. How does Ibis deal with these variations?
Both the plan for the start up business and the existing business have a common analytical framework. The creation of the planning platform is central to all types of plan, including survival and recovery, exit planning, and any type of change management. The degree of analysis and detail will then depend on the exact demands of the plan. In each case, Ibis starts with an evaluation of the existing planning platform with a detailed questionnaire which generates a free review.
Ibis has a detailed analytical framework both for existing businesses (a manual in excess of 150 pages with incorporated worksheets) and for start up businesses which is designed to act as a template on Business Plan Pro, the ideal software for start up business plan development and presentation.
What barriers are commonly found during the development of knowledge centers?
Two problems normally exist. The first is senior management resistance to decentralisation and bottom up planning. The second is opposition from centralised departments to the transfer of responsibility and authority to strategic business units and knowledge centers.
How much assistance does Ibis provide in the development of the planning platform and overall plan development?
Ibis has always emphasised hands-on action and implementation, with their involvement in the rolling program of knowledge center creation and business monitoring initially, followed by assistance with the other components of the plan, including optimisation and trade-offs.
What documentation does Ibis provide to assist the enterprise in plan development?
Two basic documents are available for the majority of demands. Ibis provides a model plan as part of its training programmes but also as part of plan implementation. A standard operating procedure is also available which takes the enterprise through plan development in a step by step fashion. Other standard operating procedures are also available for specific areas of management, such as the development of a contingency plan or for competitive analysis and action planning and implementation.
What is the likely timescale involved in the introduction of knowledge centers throughout the enterprise?
It is important that the enterprise sees that the knowledge center concept is working to the advantage of all. A phased introduction has proved to the most successful approach with one or two knowledge centers created per month, and incorporated into enterprise wide business monitoring, with the incorporation of benchmarks and targets. As the knowledge center expansion continues, other parts of the plan can be completed. Working for a few days per month through attending planning sessions and assisting with software choices, benchmarks, budgeting, investment appraisal and targets, Ibis plans to convert the enterprise planning into an expert system over a six month period.
Is there more information available on Ibis training?
Fact sheets are available on:
Three day business plan training;
Key performance indicator training;
Contingency plan training.
Can I set a quiz for my team on their existing knowledge?
The business health check page was created for this very reason. A sample of the entries on this page provide a valuable quiz. Short notes have been written for each entry.
What is Ibis pricing?
Ibis maintain a standard pricing policy for in-house training of 1000 euros per training day, regardless of the number of delegates. It does not charge for traveling time. The three day course at Poitiers is 1000 euros per head, which includes all materials, accommodation and meals.
Plan development and implementation costs depend on the length of the programme and the complexity of Ibis involvement.