With the significant political and economic developments in recent months many observers continue to stress that markets are yet to fully adjust to the new conditions and we are still in a period of financial uncertainty.

This raises increasing challenges to executives and businesses already operating in competitive conditions. As a result as a company Director, Shareholder or other Stakeholder you are likely to be facing the following issues:

  1. Businesses need to rapidly identify and implement sustainable profit improvements;
  2. Urgently need visibility and control over cash;
  3. Businesses need to release enhanced cash from current operations;
  4. Businesses require robust management and monitoring of change programmes; and
  5. Need to develop and implement a plan to maintain stakeholder support.

It is important that businesses facing financial pressure act early to drive rapid change; deliver improvements in cash; working capital and profitability – before it is too late. We find improvements can be delivered across three principal areas – people, processes or technology.

People

Widely recognised as the most valuable asset across many leading organisations. Your people must accept, drive and sustain change to bring lasting benefits to your organisation.

What investment have you made in developing your staff in recent years? How are you attracting and retaining critical staff? Do your people understand and support your business strategy and direction? Are you maximising the potential in your talent base? Are your people providing a consistent positive customer experience?

Processes

As organisations organically grow, make acquisitions, merge or restructure their requirements (and often those of a regulatory and compliance nature) change which puts more pressure on working and thinking in different ways. Processes are increasingly reviewed and re-designed to improve operational effectiveness and support change initiatives.

What turnaround or change plans are in place? Can you develop and implement a pragmatic and realistic performance enhancement plan? Have you identified all available “quick wins” in working capital improvement or other cash generation actions? When was the last time you reviewed the efficiency of the way you do things? Do you have sufficient management capacity to drive, monitor and deliver change at the same time as running the day-to-day business?

Technology

With rapid developments in technology, organisations are tapping into increasingly sophisticated systems, tools and techniques to drive value from technology and improve opportunities for growth, innovation and competitive advantage. Organisations need to consider how they can position, change, manage and source technology services and harness the benefits of the latest strategic thinking around IT operating models and supporting systems.

Does your organisation have a data-driven culture? Do you have access to the right information to make fact-based decisions and actions? Could you transform your organisational model and workforce strategies with better insights? Is your IT system sophisticated and does it support you in driving revenue and profitable growth? Have you recently reviewed the adequacy of your IT infrastructure and considered alternative products on the market?

Whilst many businesses have functional expertise in areas such as business planning, cost reduction, cash generation and change management, management teams are often time constrained limiting their ability to make the desired improvements in either the people, processes or technology areas, thereby constraining the financial performance and potential of the business.

In this post Brexit and Trump world it is increasingly important that businesses and organisations react with agility to opportunities and threats by delivering ongoing performance improvements in people, processes and/or technology to allow them to gain and protect competitive advantage.

About the Author

John Baker
John Baker - Senior Manager Advisory Services, PwC

John Baker is a senior manager in the advisory services team at PwC where he focuses on operational consulting, performance improvement, restructuring and turnaround.