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Five Questions CEOs Should Ask Their Supply Chain Manager

By Rebecca Langdon

Many leading organizations such as Amazon are using their supply chains to delight customers. In fact there are a growing cohort of businesses that rely on their supply chain to deliver competitive advantage and a marketable unique selling point. We are not expecting CEOs to understand the minute details, but we do expect them to recognize the huge contribution the supply chain has to their success and to be asking the right questions. So what are they?

  • Is the supply chain strategically important?

For some organizations the supply chain does not hold the same level of strategic importance as it does in other organizations. Therefore the level of attention given to it by the CEO should be proportionate to its importance.

  • Is quality embedded?

The ideal situation is for quality of product or service to be built into the workings of the supply chain. You could consider this a TQM approach to the supply chain. It is important for quality to be integrated and checked at every stage, otherwise you are always operating corrections after the event. For example, is a customer happier with a faulty product replaced, or a product that arrives in perfect condition?

  • Is the supply chain optimized?

A lot of supply chains are complex and they have developed over time. This can often lead to inefficiencies which go unnoticed. The CEO of any company should be asking for the supply chain to be mapped, analysed and for any duplications or inefficiencies to be reduced, thereby streamlining the supply chain.

  • Where are the risks?

Each supply chain will have its own inherent high pressure/risk points. The key is to identify where these are and to have a back-up plan. An example might be a material in the supply chain which has a high risk of being unavailable from the incumbent supplier. In that scenario an alternative supplier or material should be pre agreed as a substitute.

  • Is the supply chain able to change?

The supply chain is not static and will need to change to maintain effectiveness and meet business demands. Therefore it is important what whilst change is overseen, it is not overly restricted by policies and procedures.

Summary

The strategic importance of the supplier change varies between organizations, but I can’t think of one where it should not warrant interest from the CEO. The supply chain will undoubtedly continue to gain interest as it is successfully being used by the likes of Amazon to gain competitive advantage. It is a great time to work within a supply chain role, and if you are interested, then have a look at the CSCP course information.

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 4 Quality Decision Making Six Sigma Tools

By Rebecca Langdon

Six Sigma has tools which allow organizations to make quality decisions. We all know that an organizations ability to make good decisions quickly is imperative to their success in the modern day economy.

Multi-Voting

The facilitator helps the team devise a list of potential decisions or improvements. Then a specific number of votes is given to each participant which they can then allocate to the options. The decisions or improvements with the most ideas may then go through another round of multi voting depending on the original number of options, and the desired number to implement.

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis

This is essentially a risk assessment whereby the team are asked to consider all possible problems which could arise in each particular improvement if it were to be implemented. They then rate the likelihood of it happening, the impact if it did, and the likelihood of early detection before the impact. That then produces a rating which allows the team to determine a solution.

Pugh Matrix

Team members compare improvements using a simple rating system whereby a list of criteria are established and a weight is agreed for each criterion. The weight itself relates to the importance of the improvement for reaching organizational or project goals. The criteria are compared against a standard which is usually the current situation. For each of the criterion the team member will decide if the improvement would be better or worse than the current situation. The total for each improvement based upon the weightings and ratings will guide the final choice.

Summary

Six sigma itself is a set of tools and techniques to improve processes. Of importance is making sure that the improvements to be implemented are going to contribute maximum organizational benefit, recognising that there will be resource constraints for any changes made. In all cases, Six Sigma encourages team based approaches to decide upon which changes will be implemented. To become accredited in Six Sigma, you could undertake a Certificates in Quality.

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The CFA Charter: The gold Standard for the Finance Industry

 

It was in 1963 that the first Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) exams were held with the aim of creating a benchmark for professional standards and a means through which to certify and raise the standards of the finance profession. With 2016 marking the CFA’s fifty third anniversary milestone, it also presents a time to reflect on where the profession is at today and where the CFA can still take you in the future.

 

Certainly a lot has changed in the last five decades and the finance world of today is still reeling from the implications of the global financial crisis and a series of financial scandals and disasters. This situation has only served toincrease the CFA’s relevance and demand in the workplace. As businesses have been made more aware of the need to protect their images and change their corporate culture, they are looking for human resources whonot only possess first-rate skills and competence but also integrity. Signing a commitment to abide by the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct is one integral part of achieving CFA status; the other parts involve passing three exams, and completing four years of work experience in the investment industry. Noting that the financial community continues to face a crisis of investor trust, John Rogers, CFA, president and CEO of CFA Institute, says, “The next generation of investment professionals is instrumental in shaping the future of finance,” and that successful CFA candidates have “the opportunity to build the kind of industry culture that puts investors first and better serves society.”

 

The new reality of the post financial crisis world is also shaping the career opportunities available to CFA charterholders. Morgan International instructor Darren Degraaf teaches materials to candidates taking the CFA exams, and he is quoted as saying that charterholders are seeing a shift in the types of roles for which they are in demand.  “Job growth for candidates or members besides other front office roles are moving to mid office roles, especially in risk management and compliance,” he says. Indeed the CFA Institute notes that there has been a “hiring spree” for these functions, which are seen as critical by firms trying to rebuild reputations and comply with regulations.

 

Another shift that Degraaf notes is the high growth of candidates in Asia Pacific, especially in China and India – where candidates from this region are closing in other 50% mark, with roughly half of those students from either India or China. The United Arab Emirates is also among the top 10 in terms of student numbers from the 39 countries worldwide where the exam was administered. This shift in origin of candidates is an indication both of Asia Pacific’s increasing importance in the international financial markets and the globalization of the industry. In total 58,677 students around the world took the Level 1 CFA exam in June 2016 and recorded a 43% pass rate.

 

In addition to contributing to the ethical standards of the financial industry, those that pass the CFA Program can feel assured that they hold a globally recognized certification capable of opening doors in what is an increasingly competitive job market.

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HR Management Theory and Practice

Human resources management is one of the most challenging and dynamic areas within an organisation. Successful leaders know that that people in their corporation is what makes it competitive in today’s world. This is why is important to know how to manage Human Resources effectively.

To answer this question, we first have to understand what is meant by management theory and practice. Management, as we all know, is a challenging skill to master because trends in management styles are constantly changing, the value of the employee is ever increasing and recruitment is becoming a virtual minefield. So where do the new trends come from? The answer is from two different but complimentary directions – management theory, which relies on observation and mathematical probability to create the perfect business model and management practice, which draws upon case studies and genuine experiences to drive improvement.

Is one better than the other?

Actually no; both of these elements need to be combined to achieve truly great management and leadership skills and one of the most important areas in which we must get this balance right, is Human Resources.

 

Human Resources is about people; fostering appropriate cultures and values, recruiting the right people for the right job and challenging difficult or inappropriate behaviours whilst valuing individuality and diversity. Management theory offers a multitude of valuable advice and techniques for achieving the business ideals. By researching management theory, the HR director will come to understand the best ways to manage a disciplinary procedure, the best format for forms, policies and procedures and the best practice for difficult conversations. The theory will be based on factors such as human psychology, IT advances and proven cost efficiencies.

 

Management ethics is the application of moral standards into management behaviour. It’s great to understand the theory but unless you also understand the best management practice you will fall short of providing a caring, moral workplace that values the individuality of its employees.

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Why Is Social Media Marketing So Important For Online Businesses?

By Richard J O 

There are 2.3 billion active social media accounts this year. Needless to say, social media plays a predominant role in our everyday lives - on average, internet users spend 0.7 hours to 3.7 hours in any one of their 5.4 social media accounts.

 

Given the popularity of social media networks, online businesses have a great opportunity to interact with their audience and raise brand awareness. Not to mention the rack of benefits:

 

  • Improve your brand reputation
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Free to use
  • Increase sales
  • Get closer to your customers
  • Reach a wider audience

 

Not only do brands have the chance to position products in front of customers, social media networks are an invaluable resource to learn about your audience; what they like, what they share, what they need and how your products can make their life easier. This type of consumer data is marketing gold.

 

What are the benefits of social media channels?

 

Consumers follow brands they resonate with and social media networks are powerful platforms to promote your brand identity and improve customer loyalty.

 

More brands are embracing the power of social to interact with their customers and even use it to conduct customer service. Social platforms help to humanize your brand and connect with your customers on a personal level.

 

By publishing engaging content, you can drive traffic to your website. Your followers may even share your content amongst their network of followers and introduce you to potential customers you may otherwise not have reached. And that’s without having to pay marketing costs.

 

Social influences buying decisions

 

Interacting on social media networks also influences buying decisions. It is estimated that 74% of consumers make a purchasing choice based on peer-reviews left in the comments fields of social media accounts.

 

Furthermore, four in ten social users buy goods from brands they follow either online or in-store. And now social networks make it possible for brands to install one-click buy buttons, the number of shoppers coming through social channels is likely to increase.

 

However, creating a successful social strategy requires knowledge of social media marketing. Not only do you need to be familiar with the capabilities of the various networks, you also need to know how to find, communicate and interact with your audience.

 

To improve interactions with your customers, learn how to master social media with a professional diploma in social media marketing.

 

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Top 7 Reasons You Should Get into Accounting

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Thought accounting was boring? Here are out top seven reasons that’ll prove otherwise.

Getting qualified opens up a world of opportunities

Before J.P. Morgan went on to become one of the most famous figures in the world of finance, he started out as a junior accountant on Wall Street. And he is not alone; dig deeper into the world of accountancy and you’ll find there are many like Morgan who went on to achieve great things. In fact, whether you choose to stay in the accountancy field, set up your own business, or branch out in a completely different direction (like accountancy graduate turned best-selling author John Grisham), the consensus is that accountancy sets you up with skills for life and a vast range of opportunities.

Being a detective

Did you know, for example, that passing the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam is one of the areas of expertise considered essential for becoming an FBI agent in America? Thomas J Pickard, who reached the second highest position in the FBI, is a CPA, and used his skills to investigate white-collar crime along the way to reaching his prime position.

Meeting celebrities

Maybe you secretly wish to be a part of the entertainment world or rub shoulders with celebrities: finance and accountancy can still secure those dreams for you. Achieving Certified Management Accountant (CMA) status can be one way to enter a high-level accountancy or finance job in any domain. A CMA, for example, paved the way for Colin Kotchik’s appointment as Senior Finance Manager at Nike, which gave him the opportunity to meet Kobe Bryant (who was even nice enough to sign him a pair of his shoes for him). Monique Keshishian, on the other hand, used her CMA to become a Senior Financial Analyst at Warner Bros. Records, which means alongside putting together financial reports she’s also spent time in the studio with top name artists.

Aiming for the board

Indeed most audit / accountancy-related qualifications set you up for multitude of career avenues. Being a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) is a profession whose skill sets are highly transferrable to other departments within an organization. That’s because the work of a CIA involves spending time working with people in various departments, getting to understand the risks and opportunities of each, and learning about company operations inside out. This broad knowledge can not only be useful for moving careers, but eventually can propel a CIA towards a board position.

CEO in sight

If taking your accountancy career further into the world of finance is your goal, Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is the qualification to look for. It’s widely regarded as the key certification for professionals in investment, especially when it comes to research and portfolio management. It is also your key to unlock careers in insurance companies, pension funds, banks, universities, or even governments (in the areas of public policy and regulation). A good percentage of CFAs also end up as chief executives.

Globally in demand

If you’ve got an eye on the future and your role as an accountant in it, the DipIFR stands out as a qualification that offers global opportunities. The certification is designed to give you the knowledge to apply International Financial Reporting Standards, the set of standards that are currently required or permitted for use by publicly-traded companies in more than 113 countries.

More popular than ever

Today it’s clear that the sky is the limit with accountancy careers, and there’s a wealth of qualifications available to get you started or further your career options. Earlier this year global exam results for ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) showed that a record number of students around the world had successfully completed their final exams. It seems that news is finally out that accountancy is one of the hottest, most versatile fields to be in.

Unsure about the right qualification for you? Contact our team today for a one-on-one career consultation session.

 

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Who Am I and Where Am I Going?

Defining yourself is a highly personal process, and there is no wrong method in the way you define yourself. You are the one who decides what best describes you, whether it be by your job description, your relationship to someone, your belief system, etc.

 

However, it is important to note that whatever way you chose to define yourself, there is much more to you.

Your identity and path should be an ongoing process. Rather than a fixed status, you should embrace the ups and downs of your life path where you are re-thinking, re-organizing and re-carving.

 

Think of it this way: How much more flexible and understandable would it be if instead of asking yourself “Who am I”, you asked “How would I like to engage in every step of my life?”

 

Every one of you should seek a deeper sense of self. However, the more flexible you are with defining who you are, the more you will understand yourself.

 

The important thing to remember is that who you are in the workplace, at home... are all small pieces of a much greater whole and the key to being true to yourself is to be more than your component parts. You are a product of your upbringing but you also have your own experiences, achievements and enlightenment; you decide upon your own goals and make your own sacrifices to achieve them.

 

Who you are is determined by the choices you make. Where you are going is entirely up to you. Hard work, determination and dedication - to follow your own path and achieve your own objectives - is what defines you. Your accomplishments motivate you and the confidence you gain from pursuing those accomplishments is what drives you forward to bigger and better ambitions.

 

At Morgan International we can help you to keep moving forward. To make the decisions that allow you to be yourself and to gain the qualifications, accreditation and achievements that will give you the direction and ambition you are seeking.

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Sustainable Supply Chains

 

By Rebecca Langdon

Many organizations speak about increasing the sustainability of their supply chains. In reality this can be achieved in many areas of the supply chain and it is something that you will learn more about if you decide to study for your CSCP. In the meantime, here are some key ideas.

  • Logistics

Planning routes effectively to minimize fuel use, and also utilizing lower emission vehicles where possible. As a Supply Chain Manager, ensuring these things happen will likely be part of a tender process if the organization outsources haulage for example.

  • Reverse logistics

The idea behind reverse logistics is giving re-use to a product or parts of the product at the end of its normal lifecycle. For example, once a mobile contract is up, encouraging the user to send it back for component re-use. Very often there is a small reward offered for trading the mobile device back in.

  • Recyclable packaging

This is of course only relevant for products as opposed to services, but ensuring that suppliers use recyclable materials where possible is a good way to increase the sustainability of the supply chain. It is recognized that some recyclable materials will be less expensive than the non-recyclable equivalent, therefore this will be a consideration.

  • Giving back or taking less

Many organizations that take from the environment to fulfil their supply chain requirements give back via schemes such as the planting of trees. Others run low energy offices whereby they make use of technology such as solar panels and LED lighting.

In Summary

Sustainability in the supply chain is an important and much publicized topic. Supply Chain Managers should have awareness of the key methods to achieve increased sustainability, although it may not be among the strategic objectives of all organisations.

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Effective Project Management

I have worked in organizations where Project Management has become an industry in itself, becoming an overhead and a burden. In this specific case, no matter the type of project, the value, complexity, or risk, a Project Manager was assigned. This caused frustration:

  • For managers and teams within the business who felt like projects were being overwhelmed with bureaucracy that added no value.
  • For the Project Managers assigned to work on projects that clearly could be more efficiently run by the line managers within the business.

Process Layer or Process Improvement

In the same organization I referred to in the introduction, this frustration went on for a number of years. The result was overspending on Project Management and slow delivery of business change. Line Managers started to try and find ways to implement changes outside of the formal process. So how can an organization strike the balance and use Project Management effectively, and not introduce an unwanted process layer?

The answer itself is very simple. Organizations must have thresholds and measures to decide if a piece of work should be done by the business itself, or if Project Management is required. Factors will likely include budget, risk, complexity and so on. If this framework is implemented correctly, Project Management can be used for what it was intended, and empower the business to manage everything else.

A Step Further

Once an organization has found a way to put all business change into these two groups, it can push its maturity a step further and introduce project delivery methodologies such as a ‘lite’ and a standard. This recognizes that some projects will require more or less support from the PM’s. This then drives the process that particular project would be supported by.

In Summary

The good news about organizations taking the above approach is that Project Managers will only work on the more interesting and complex projects. If you are considering undertaking a Project Management qualification such as the PMP, please do take a look at the course details.

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Why Time Value of Money is Crucial to Any Business!

 

By John Alexander Adam

Financial management is a wide ranging field of knowledge but, as with any discipline, there are some absolutely central pillars of knowledge that are applicable across the board regardless of the nature of the business you are in. The concept of the ‘Time Value of Money’, undoubtedly numbers amongst those! Its central maxim is roughly equivalent to the old idiom ‘a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. That is to say that money a business has in its bank account now is always of significantly more value than the equivalent sum promised or expected to be received at a future date. The theory underpins the concept of interest rates and is central to financial modelling used to assess any ‘investment’ that has an interest component, such as cash reserves, loans, mortgages or bonds.

Cash that you have today can be invested in any number of ways that can earn a return on that investment. Marketing, additional staff, stock, or dividend payments if invested on the stock market, you name it. Calculating the Time Value of Money involves looking at figures such as what you would be certain of earning as a minimum if that money was put to work over a certain period of time. An approximate example would be looking at how much money you would have to deposit now to have $100,000 in 2, 5 or 10 years if it earned a return of 7%. The difference between that future $100,000 and what you would have to deposit now is the Time Value of Money, or opportunity cost.

Certain and Uncertain Payments

When calculation the Time Value of Money there is of course a significant difference between certain and uncertain payments. If the money is invested into a government backed bond, or placed in a savings account with a bank, the promised interest would be considered to be a ‘certain payment’. If it is invested in marketing or something other higher risk investment, then the risk involved must also be factored into the formula you use to calculate the Time Value of Money.

Time Value of Money is therefore an integral part of the financial management of any business. Its principles effect decisions from investment in R&D, technology, stock or staff to allowing clients credit facilities.

If you would like to improve your understanding of business and finance, why not take a qualification such as the CFA® Program. Morgan International offers a number of different professional finance, investment and accounting qualification programs at locations across the Middle East.