COVID-19: Planning for the unpredictable

When it comes to managing unusual, unanticipated and unplanned events, such as the potential spread of COVID-19, or environmental disasters such as floods or wildfires, the key is planning.

But how do you plan for an unanticipated event? If you’re experienced in health and safety you already have a tool that you are an expert at using to plan for routine tasks such as manual handling or work at height, identifying emergency scenarios and planning for those – a risk assessment.

While we can’t predict whether COVID-19 will burn itself out, or turn into a pandemic, we can use a risk assessment process to consider what the consequences would be to our organizations of widespread illnesses.

Start by identifying essential resources, and considering what would happen if it were lost or reduced. You don’t need to be able to predict precisely what the cause of the loss could be to work through the consequences. We’ll look here at some of the top resources to assess the risk, and some mitigation you might need to put in place. The planning approach provided here relate to health, safety & business continuity can be used to assist develop your pacific organizational planning for the anticipated 

 

RESOURCE: PEOPLE

Hazard

If people are ill, or have to ‘self-isolate’, if the schools are closed and they have to look after their children, if the roads are closed or the transport means are restricted or stopped, the impact on the organization is the same – insufficient people to carry out work safely. Consider critical roles such as:

  • Service / production crew
  • HSE & Emergency management staff
  • Supervisors, security and maintenance staff
  • Customer handling staff. 

Solution

  • Identify critical roles in the organization. Understand your minimum and critical safe staffing levels.
  • Make arrangements for remote working where possible.
  • Train people to be multi-skilled, to provide flexibility in covering critical roles with the people available. For example, cross-training operational and maintenance staff.
  • When planning Emergency provision such as first-aiders & fire wardens, consider the impact of absences, and decide priorities & arrangement in advance. 

 

RESOURCE: SUPPLIERS

Hazard

Insufficient supplies to work safely and to ensure the continuity of the business. If your suppliers are suffering from a labor shortage, or logistics issues, how many days of critical supplies do you have? Consider what additional supplies you might need in an emergency, critical raw materials for production & service, including soap, tissues, cleaning materials, sanitizers and additional collections of waste. 

Solution

Identify critical supplies to ensure health & safety and continuity of the business and determine appropriate inventory levels.  Apart from this, think too about supply & service contracts, what happens if the fire alarms or emergency lighting stops working? What if the fire suppression or gays shut off systems fails? If your service contractors can’t get to you to do an emergency repair, what back up do you have? What happens if your critical materials supplier stock runs out? What is your contingency plan, who is your alternative suppliers?

 

 RESOURCE: UTILITIES

Hazard

Insufficient water resulting in hygiene concerns, lack of power for safety systems and safe working conditions. Continuity of business effected by critical utility failures.

Solution

Some organizations can’t operate without water and electricity or gas, while others can carry on - for a while. Find out how many hours of water is stored in your water tanks, and what back up power there is. Identifying critical roles in advance will speed decision-making. If you know there is only enough water for 100 toilet flushes, and there are 100 people in the building, sending 90 home so that the critical 10 people can work for longer will be an easier decision to make.

 

RESOURCE: BUILDINGS

Hazard

Buildings become unusable because of conditions (eg: need to isolate due to infections, floor, storm, and riot). This could also be a consequence of a lack of people to maintain and manage a building.  

Solution

Can essential functions be moved to alternative facilities? In advance agree:

  • Which functions are essential?
  • Where people will go?
  • How they will find out where to go?
  • Which facilities can support service, production & product / service deliveries?

LIMITING THE SPREAD OF A VIRUS

As the world is coming together to fight against covid19 coronavirus, workforce & public safety are becoming key concern for any organization, importance of implementing and following comprehensive control measure with adherence to latest QHSE managements system (IMS) standards and regulations is even more crucial. Get in touch with us at Business DNA to know how iAssure, our state of the art software solution can help you manage all these requirements while compliance with local, federal and international regulations and guidelines is achieved.

iAssure is a Quality, health, safety, environment & food safety management system. With iAssure all incidents are preventable via its training, monitoring, documenting and proactive attitude. iAssure is a 100% compliance system with governmental rules and regulations such as (Abu Dhabi Public Health center (OSHAD) ADAFSA, DOH, TCA, IDB, AD Municipality, Zonescorp, DOT - etc).

iAssure Features include:

  • Integrated food safety management system (FSMS).
  • 100% ISO Compatible, 360 Degree management tool.
  • Live Monitor to all Health & Safety activities (HSMS).
  • Integrated Environmental Management and Smart QHSE Partner with e-Waste Management Tool (EMS).
  • QHSE End to End Mobility Solution.
  • QHSE Business Intelligence Applications (BIA).
  • Full Documentation eco-management system.

Feel free to contact us directly at +971 4 422 7725 or email us at sales@businessdna.ae. Visit our iAssure page /our-portfolio/erp-solutions/qhse-management.aspx to request a free demo or for a free brochure. Safety is our Priority and iAssure is definitely the Eye that never sleeps!

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Souq Planet’s adoption of Zebra Technologies

Customers Enjoy The Ease And Efficiency Of Self-scanning

ABOUT SOUQ PLANET

Emirates (UAE), opening its doors in 1968 under the name Abela. It now has five outlets in the UAE, with thousands of customers, and has been an enthusiastic adopter of digital innovation as a means of improving the customer experience. This has included rolling out smart shopper cards offering a lot of benefits to loyal customers.

When it opened its fourth Souq Planet in 2014, a store with a floor area of 2,000 square metres, NCC decided to offer a self-scanning service to holders of its smart shopper cards.

There are plans to expand Souq Planet outside the UAE.

Solution

The retailer engaged Business DNA, a Zebra Technologies’ partner, to implement a self- scanning system in its new Abu Dhabi store. Business DNA rolled out the Zebra MC18 personal shopper retail mobile computers using the Re-vision Omni-Channel Platform, which connects the scanners to Souq Planet’s backend systems. Shoppers can also download the Re-vision software onto their mobile phone.

Now when customers arrive at the store, they go to the location where the scanners are held, present their smart shopper card to a handheld scanner, then pick it up and place it in the cradle on their trolley.

Customers scan the barcodes of the items they want to buy by pressing a yellow button on the scanner. They can then pack their shopping immediately or, if they prefer, put it in the trolley so that staff can pack the items for them when they have finished.

When they have completed their shop, customers go to the self-scan cashier point and hand their scanner to the cashier, who will check the total value of the goods and ask for payment.

Challenge

Souq Planet’s priority is to make its customers’ experience as smooth and easy as possible. At busy times, customers can find themselves queuing to pay, and Souq Planet wanted to reduce checkout waiting times.

It decided to introduce self-scanning for customers in its new Abu Dhabi store. The scanners would need to be robust, reliable and easy-to-use. Souq Planet wanted the scanners to have a good battery life, an efficient barcode scanner and strong wireless connection to transfer data to its enterprise resource planning (ERP), point of sale (POS) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems

Results

The Zebra MC18 scanners have proved extremely reliable and robust. They have been extremely popular with customers, who adopted them quickly.

Shopping is much faster: shoppers no longer need to queue to pay, unload their shopping cart or pack it into bags when they have finished. Souq Planet has seen customers return more often to the store and buy more goods at each visit. Souq Planet now plans to roll out the self- scanning system to its other stores.

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Why Your ERP Selection is Critical? 5 reasons to answer that question

Let’s face it: being a CFO these days is not what it used to be. The role of the chief finance function has evolved beyond the narrow financially-centric viewpoint. Today, it involves providing strategic visionary leadership alongside the CEO.

Financial tools that once worked are now falling short for meeting these changing needs, which now include deeper insights into business intelligence, metrics, reporting and analytics all in real time and at your fingertips.

So what are your options? Sound investment and selection of the right ERP solution is a game changer for this new brand of strategic CFO. It can provide a powerful way to gain sharper insights that drive both the company’s growth and bottom-line agenda.

Here are a few of the benefits that accrue from having the right ERP solution:

  • End-to-end company visibility – Of all key fundamentals: financials, inventory, operations, sourcing/supplies, service/support obligations and statuses, etc.
  • Decision-making support – Access to data, metrics and reporting provides the ability to act on all of this critical information quickly and with favourable profit and cost ramifications.
  • Customer/market responsiveness – Trends, issues and/or sales or service opportunities are quickly identified and made actionable.
  • Business Process Automation – removing manual processes and inserting standardized alerts on key performance indicators can be the difference between running in the black or the red.
  • Auditable compliance with government/industry/financial/customer/partner regulations – This can range from legal regulatory reporting to product recalls and adherence to contract terms.

In these uncertain economic times, today’s financial heads are increasingly aware that their effectiveness is extremely compromised without a comprehensive and highly-integrated set of technology tools at their fingertips. A strong, integrated technology foundation that is created by the right choice of ERP can assist manufacturers and distributors to rise to the next level of growth.

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Learn how Data Visualization Adds Value to Your Business

 There is much evidence that the human brain can process and react faster to images compared to text content. This means data presented in a visual form can be a valuable strategic business tool as people respond to it positively and absorb key information and performance indicators in new and constructive ways.

Data visualization was sometimes seen as a, ”new age gimmick” in the past, probably because of shallow and flashy visuals used at the time, but insightful visualization, including a combination of graphs and Gantt charts (giving a visual representation of planning and tracking) for example, can be a very useful business tool across the organization.

One of the greatest strengths of data visualization is how it brings actionable insights to the surface. Unlike one-dimensional tables and charts that can only be viewed statically, data visualization tools enable users to interact with the data and reveal the patterns within. For example a well-designed Sales data visual comparing sales trend over the last 6 months will very quickly highlight if sales are on the rise or decline.

No matter which form is used, the visuals must focus on the primary areas of the situation at hand and is dependent on the data used. Heat maps are good for areas/region related data and graphs can provide historical data, but there are a variety of mediums.

The trick or art to data visualization is using the right medium to get the best result out of the data. The data visual/dashboard cannot be too busy as it distracts from the task at hand. So the visual must be simple and must focus on the key areas or objectives of the task at hand so as not to lose its value.

Used properly, to reveal key insights into the business, data visualization adds a wealth of strategic knowledge to plot a prosperous course ahead.

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Organizational Culture and ERP, the inevitable relationship.

ERP is the backbone of business intelligence for an organization, giving managers an integrated and holistic view of all processes. It effectively coordinates the instrumental actions within the business, converting the company’s culture to one primarily supported by technology. This technology empowers employees to do their jobs better and more efficiently, boosting employee morale and contributing to the company culture.

Impact of Organizational Culture on ERP

Change management is critical when implementing an ERP system into any business.  ERP systems bring new methods, processes and procedures, and easing employees into this new transition is imperative. When you implement ERP you are changing the way people work. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges an organization can face is migrating from a culture of disconnected silos of information, where the reality is one of using multiple, disparate systems, to a fully integrated enterprise-wide solution platform with ERP as its foundation. Company management, in cohesion with the software vendor, must make a priority of educating users of the new system so that they gain a solid understanding of the impact their contributions make to the successful deployment and utilization of the new system.  If there is not a total “buy in” of the new solution by each and every employee, the organization cannot leverage the levels of efficiencies and accomplishments promised by the ERP software.

Employee attitude is the key ingredient for success. This is best managed through user training and change management, reducing any resistance to change.

If implemented and introduced properly, ERP can be a beautiful unfolding of the next chapter in a company’s culture and progress.

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The Cloud Vs On Premise Choice

Before any business can constructively recommend a Cloud or On Premise solution without any bias, they must first engage in dialog with the ERP purchaser in order to understand and consider their requirements.  This dialog must ensure full coverage of the associated risk and rewards associated with purchasing a solution for running on either of the platforms.

The typical dialog we witness would normally go…

Up Front Cost Vs SaaS (Software as a Service) and Upgrades 

Customer:We are looking for an ERP solution on a monthly subscription, perhaps on a per user/per month model.  We are looking to do this to put a flat line through our budget and avoid any lengthy capital expenditure proposals along the way.

Provider: That’s great, but note that leasing is now a common option for on premise ERP purchases, in the long term SaaS would always eventually cost more than an on premise solution. Regardless of Cloud or On Premise – they would both come with a minimum number of days to implement the software (on top of SaaS model), this could range from 15 to 5000 days.  A business could also be locked into a 12-month contract with no visibility of the future price you would pay.  You could also be forced into software updates on set dates, unlike the flexibility of on premise, where you plan, test and update when convenient to your business.

Integration Aspirations

Provider: Whilst running your ERP solution, what services might you be looking for a real time connect to, for example, Finance management system, HR and Talent management System, procurement and warehouse Management System?

Customer:   We are a growing business and want to ensure we have the opportunity to use these services as quickly and cost effectively as and when we need access to them.

Provider: Then you need to carefully research which ERP offering, regardless of platform, has the most open, reliable API and has a reputation for integrating to the best of breed software offerings on the market. You will probably find that, due to the maturity of most on premise solutions, they are often the most effective solution from this perspective. 

Business Criticality 

Customer:  It is critical for our business that the machine and labor tracking solutions that we use for monitoring and posting data to our ERP solution are up 24/7. Any downtime here would see us without visibility and the result could be a loss of vital customer contracts.

Provider:  Although a Cloud ERP provider might be able to offer you the guarantee of very high up-time, you would typically have to pay for a very expensive internet connection in order to guarantee this.

Hardware & Administration Costs 

Customer: As a business, we want a cloud solution because we can’t afford expensive hardware and software licensing just to run an ERP system.  We also can’t afford to pay someone to administer this ERP system.

Provider:  Financial leasing could help here, it would help you spread the cost of your investment and any expected ROI could help to pay for the investment.  Separately, it cannot be emphasized enough just how important the role of the ERP administrator or business system owner is in ensuring the success of the ERP implementation and ongoing extraction of value for your business. Even Cloud deployed ERP requires a high level of ownership and management.  Often those Cloud system providers will charge more for the backup and restoring of data. Some providers will also hold rights over your data and charge you to obtain your data in a database format should you need it for local analysis.

Summary 

The above conversations are important in the Cloud Vs On Premise debate.  They show that, at present, there is still a strong argument for on premise ERP, especially for a technically savvy, forward thinking business that runs its business in real-time and demands maximum value from its systems.

But this is only now.  In 5 to 10 years’ time, the technological barriers governing our connectivity will be gone and the race for the mature ERP solution at the cheapest price with the most functionally will prevail.

This is why we find that Business DNA commitment to a cloud approach, covering aspects of deployment, flexible consumption, diverse accessibility and more, and the perfect answer to these upcoming advancements in technology.

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