Process Improvement – A How To Guide

Process Improvement - A How To Guide


? To help enable process improvement for better performance?do it better, cheaper, faster.

Would you like a simple, effective approach to process improvement? This is a generic method for almost any type of process and is intended as a guide of things to do, rather than an in-depth tutorial. Because it?s generic, it doesn?t contain discipline-specific technical advice. While it outlines a methodical approach, we also encourage creativity in concert with it, because the biggest breakthroughs happen when method and creativity find a way to co-exist.

This paper first defines key terms, then discusses how to improve inputs to the process, the process itself, and wraps up with some ?lessons learned? advice. Although production and manufacturing terms are employed, nearly everything herein works for service businesses and office operations. It is currently fashionable to say that value is only added on the factory floor, but little would happen on its own without the intelligence value-added of such ?non-value- added? activities as marketing, selling, planning, designing, contracting, buying, shipping, etc. The ?value-added? concept needs expansion beyond the narrow realm of production that it is now so myopically focused upon.

This article is an excerpt of a paper originally written by George Miller, Founder of PROACTION. It has been modified and updated by Paul Deis, PROACTION CEO.



? A process is a collection of related activities that adds value to a product or service, that a customer would be willing to pay for. A process accomplishes specific objectives. Products consume processes, which consume activities, which consume resources, such as money, manpower, material, and machine. They may also require information, in the form of specifications, instructions and schedules.? ? George Miller, PROACTION

? A collection of activities that takes one or more kinds of input and creates an output that is of value to the customer.? ? Hammer and Champy, in Reengineering the Corporation

Typical potential process improvement areas are:

? Speed
? Cost/Return on Investment/Assets
? Quality
? Flexibility
? Product Innovation/Improvement
? Compliance/Safety

And will help enhance:

? Profitability/asset return/shareholder value
? Customer service
? Market share
? Reputation

Select from the targeted improvement areas above to support your company/project strategies. The most critical areas should have ?metrics? to track performance and possibly, targets.

Excellent processes have or utilize:

? Mission
? Objectives, Metrics
? Responsibility-- who is in charge of process to see that it is right
? Resources, such as:

  • Material
  • Manpower
  • Energy
  • Equipment- machinery, tools, technology
  • Information- specs, direction, instructions, procedures, software, schedules
    ? Activities
    ? Cycle Time
    ? Inputs
    ? Outputs-- Products, by-products, waste
    ? Defects (even excellent processes usually have)
    ? Policies/Procedures
    ? Tools/Technology

Do yours have these? Make sure their availability and quality are addressed in your process review.


Activity/cost that actually increases the value of a product or service in a customer?s eyes. Fabrication and assembly are examples of this category. The ideal process consists of only Value-Added Activities


Activity/cost that does not increase the value of a product or service in the customer?s eyes. Example: storage. Decide if the activity is needed at all, is it duplicated anywhere, can it be done better or differently? Can the timing, method, material, equipment, speed, training, technique, setup, specification be altered to improve the results? An activity may be all value-added, all non-value-added, or a mixture. Certain non-value-added activities may still be needed, such as a storage requirement due to a capacity imbalance or a wait for a required inspection. Customers may see value in some of these activities, if only to ?Band-Aid? a weak process.


Non-productive asset. Assets kept working are more productive, but only if the output is actually needed and soon. The classic asset misuse is ?keeping machines or people busy? even though the results aren?t needed. This wastes investment by inflating inventory, tying up material, space, capital, manpower and equipment resources. It is often aggravated by misapplication of metrics. For example a production manager who is measured by raw unit production ?efficiency? measures is likely to commit this ?sin.? If assets cannot be kept productive under this rule, then divestiture, replacement or outsourcing should be considered, as feasible. New metrics may also be needed.


The total elapsed time to produce one unit. This includes all delays including elapsed set-up, queue, move, inspection, rework and also the actual processing time. Typical processes have 60-95% idle time, while product is not actually being worked on. Therefore the greatest cycle time reduction opportunities are normally, but not always, in delay time. Lost time may be recovered by balancing operations, reducing: storage time, handling, waiting for approvals, queues, handoffs, inspection, etc. Shorter cycle times usually improve competitiveness by cutting costs and response time.


Time required or spent actually working on the product.


Interval of time for each unit to be completed?the rate of production. A product may have a 2-hour cycle time, but have three 20-minute operations and one 30-minute operation. One unit comes off the line an average of every 30 minutes. Resources and work content should be allocated to adjust Takt Time to the desired rate of production.


Anything about the product which is legitimately not acceptable to the customer or internal authorities (normally, but not always, documented in specifications). Defects result in added cost, lost time or lost utility of the product to the customer, as well as delays in response time, wasted inventory and capacity.


The ability of the process to meet the desired quality and speed at an acceptable cost.


Important performance indicator to be measured. Examples: Inventory turns, cycle time. Metrics should be meaningful to the level of the people held accountable. For instance, ?average plant level cycle time? is not meaningful to a team responsible for assembling a certain model computer disc drive. They need their own metric.


Production unit designed to make one product/service line or process. Ideally, all resources needed to complete a product or process are contained in the cell. Cells may be arranged as component/assembly feeders to final assembly test cells. Functionally-oriented cells have resulted in improvements, but product or process cells have generally shown superior results.


Any portion of an activity performed, resource assigned or utilized that is not absolutely essential to meeting the mission/objectives of a legitimate process.


Manufacturing process with as much waste as possible eliminated. A Lean Manufacturing manifesto and body of knowledge has been created and is available through the Agility Forum. This is having a profound influence on current thinking.


External to the Process

Don?t jump right into the detailed guts of the process. Start at the top, with the product or service to be provided. Make sure it is defined to meet customers? expectations?technical specifications, service requirements, quality and pricing. First make sure you?re working on the right process, with the right objectives! The biggest, easiest improvements often occur right here, before even getting into the actual process in question.

?Frame the process??Look at things external to the process first. Before you do anything, make sure you know what you need the process to do. There should be a clear, simple, strong overall mission statement. Examples: ?Eyeglasses in one hour,? (Lenscrafters) or… ?When it [your package] absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.? (FedEx). Don?t waste time improving the wrong process with the wrong mission or approach. As you break the process down into lower levels of detail, each piece may not satisfy the overall mission statement, but it should be clear what role it plays in doing that. Accomplish this by formulating simple objectives for each piece.

The mission statement potentially has enormous power to improve the process. For example, a while back, we were brainstorming the warehouse ?process? with a client. The ?owner?? of the process stated that her ?mission? was to receive material, move it to inspection, store it, issue it to production on work order kits when requested, replace shortages and rejections, move finished goods to inspection and stores and ?generate paperwork? (how?s that for a mission?). After much discussion, the new mission agreed upon was to ensure that material was safeguarded, provided to production as needed and then accounted for. This triggered a flood of changes, questioning the very existence of warehouses, inspection, work orders, kits, etc. The company ended up starting to certify key suppliers, using supplier-managed inventories, eliminating most work orders, using kanbans, pull systems, point of use storage and much smaller warehouses, inspection and overhead.

? Decide on scope of change, process boundaries. Are you reengineering the whole company, one process, several products, a department? Are you looking for a complete redesign or major improvements in the current approach or just incremental enhancements?

? Formulate objectives and metrics--Preferably quantifiable and measurable. More important ones will be assigned quantifiable metrics, such as cycle time minutes, or defects for significant attributes. Don?t set them and measure them unless they are important, because it takes valuable resources and time just to do that. Most metrics will fall into speed, cost and time categories. Others may relate to flexibility, innovation and compliance/safety. Still others may meet quality of life and even aesthetic objectives. Metrics themselves are non-value-added activities, to be used only when needed.

? Analyze process inputs and outputs--Study inputs and outputs to see if they are appropriate and what improvements could be made. Also decide if the cycle time is acceptable for competitive purposes, regardless of how easy or difficult it would be to improve it.

? Estimate Improvements?For principal metrics. Do this at the start and again after the internal process has been analyzed. For each one of the performance improvements, write up how you will accomplish it. When work actually starts on improvement planning, other ways will be probably also be found.

Now you?re ready to look at the internal process steps. . .

Internal to the Process

Analyze the overall process flow, preferably using pictorial charts and problem identification techniques. Repeatedly walk through the process physically with employees, customers, suppliers, consultants, objective bystanders and learn all you can about what is right and wrong. This seems to work better when one performs the external steps first. Look for continuity, search for gaps or redundancy, delays and defect generation. It helps to do a map of the area, superimposing activity, paper and material movement.

Finally, it is also helpful to prepare a summary of activities chart, showing: responsible person, cycle time consumed, delays, inspection, movement, wasted time, defect generation, process Takt time, value-added component, non-value-added, probable reduction and whether step is needed under current conditions, wait time, defects produced, resources consumed, applicable policies, procedures and instructions. The number and complexity of worksheets used is a function of the complexity of the process and the mindsets of those in charge. Space limitations don?t allow us to show you enough samples.

See if the broader, overall process, or even parts of this process are interfering with the portion you are working on. For example, in a recent project, a company discovered that its order picking effectiveness was being severely hampered by improper stock and record keeping practices that eroded inventory record accuracy. This prompted the company to properly redirect its energies on improving this critical upstream activity first. Redo Figure 6 when you are done, including the additional ?how-to? write-ups.

Focus on eliminating defects, problems and constraints.

Rather than detail planning, followed by a ?big bang? implementation of changes, it is desirable to test and incrementally implement new changes. In the case of radical process change, this is not always possible, although prototyping and parallel operation can help alleviate the risk and pain of major change.

? The performance of a process may often be improved without a change to the process itself, but just by better clarification, training, measurement or emphasis on it.

? Tips for organizing a process:
Determine WHAT is to be accomplished and WHY first, before determining HOW, WHEN, WHO and with WHAT, pretty much in that sequence. This can best done correctly by putting the process in perspective with the overall enterprise, business unit and workflow.

? Internal Process Improvement Checklist
Here is a list of improvement ideas to help out. Keep in mind that some of these are radical and may require planning and coordination. For example: don?t eliminate inspections of nuclear pressure vessels without some overarching quality strategy in place, along with customer and regulatory approvals!

? Identify or assign process ?owners? and accountability for implementation of improvements and ongoing performance results.
? Compress time, do things faster and cheaper, by overlapping operations, eliminating hold points and inspections, scheduling better, eliminating capacity and defect bottlenecks.
? Eliminate non-essential activities.
? Eliminate non-value-added assets, such as excess inventory, space or unneeded equipment. Some say this is impractical, because the assets are already there and the money is spent, but they might be sold, scrapped, transferred, leased or converted, with some thought. For instance, a company had four factories, with much unneeded space. Employees were encouraged to consolidate layouts, move out unneeded assets, rope off unused spaces and place ?FOR RENT? signs on them. Result from this and other actions: Plants were consolidated, one plant closed and employees transferred, some to better jobs, remaining plants saved from closure.
? Do activities in parallel or other optimized sequence to get high resource utilization while reducing cycle time.
? Reduce queue, move, setup, inspection, storage, wait/administrative time.
? Time-phase improvements to improve payback while reducing risk.
? Eliminate bottlenecks, which might be inadequate capacity, excessive setup time, bureaucratic check-in/out or approval procedures, etc.
? Reduce defects, through awareness programs, personnel screening, process training, set-up training, equipment tune-ups/maintenance, rebuilding/replacement, poke-a-yoke approaches, revised material specs, better screening, reworked tooling, redesigned processes.
? Reduce capacity constraints/bottlenecks.
? Reduce number of required approvals, sign-offs.
? Reduce steps, complexity, in general.
? Reduce number of hand-offs. Reduce number of organizations, people, facilities involved- Change organization and facilities to fit the desired process if feasible.
? Increase flexibility- avoid ?hard wiring? the system, design it for change.
? Use standardized approaches, ?packaged? solutions, where practical.
? Simplify design of product, process, tooling, equipment. Use the simplest product, process, equipment, tooling design that will get the job done effectively. Only automate/make significant investments when significantly higher productivity, quality or speed will result. Beware of expensive investments that cannot be recovered, or result in losses of money or flexibility when volume, mix or design changes. Keep it flexible!
? Try to modularize the new process design. Design process/business ?objects? that are self contained in what they do, that can easily be linked to other activities or processes and redesigned without having to ?rewire? other activities or processes. They ideally should be reusable and interchangeable elsewhere in the organization, system, maybe even in other organizations.
? Throw away functional organization charts and functional space layouts. Make the organization chart and layout fit the process, not vice versa. This make take significant time, planning and internal salesmanship.
? The amount of time and trouble to accomplish needed changes is almost inversely proportional to the support, strength and competence of the people responsible for approving and making the changes. Get the best and most adaptable people you can afford. You can?t afford weak people.
? Employ cheaper materials, or maybe even better, more expensive materials that reduce defects, improve quality, reduce overall costs.
? Reduce costs (most of the above reduce costs).
? Use OPM (Other People?s Money)- ?leverage? their inventory, capital equipment, technology, organization, knowledge.

  • Set up supplier partnerships/contracts.
    ? Outsource where practical, in-source where you are clearly better.
    ? Use consultants, where it makes sense.
    ? Utilize professional and trade associations contacts, services and body of knowledge, to learn better methods, find and train better people, locate helpful people and organizations.
    ? Use schools, colleges and universities, when they can deliver useful knowledge.
    ? Brainstorm, get outside opinions from almost anyone you can?employees, managers, mad scientists, poets, writers, freaks, even customers!

Selectively Employ:

? Policies/Procedures
? Checkpoints
? Controls
? Auditing, Checking
? Metrics

? because these are ?non-value-added? activities that should only be used as needed.


A. 80% of the improvement task is selling it and getting peoples? support.

B. Organizations resist change, no matter what they say. Certain individuals may help or even lead, but many people will slow down, stop or even reverse improvements unless they are properly trained, motivated and led. Focus on education and change management more than technical improvements.

C. Talk to people first. Soften them up before the big push. People who are your friends are more likely to help you, simply because you are familiar and they like you. Find out what thy want/need and help them if possible.

D. Try to hire, transfer, or borrow like-minded people. It?s often easier than trying to convert them.

E. Simple systems usually work better than complex ones.

F. People are more accepting of change when you take the mystery out of it and show them what?s in it for them.

G. People are much more accepting of change when you can show it working somewhere else, preferable nearby and full-scale.

H. Teams and consensus are great, but strong leadership still has its uses.

I. Constant repetition and leadership by example are needed. Don?t think that you can simply state the mission, objectives, conduct a brief training session, then come back in a couple of months and reap rich rewards. This war will consist of multiple campaigns and many battles. There will be resistance, indifference, confusion, conflicting priorities/philosophies, even outright opposition, or worse yet, covert opposition. Persistence and determination are called for!

J. The process improvement methodology can be straightforward. There are other approaches besides this one. Some will yield better results, but may require much more skill and complexity. The methodology is only a framework. Technical expertise and creativity are also needed. Beware of either letting ?industry experts? drive the solution down the same old roads and also letting those ignorant of industry lessons learned move into naive approaches.

K. Imagination and creativity are needed for best results. The folks who were determined to deliver packages overnight, provide a computer for ?the rest of us?, sell books over the Internet, invent the Internet, provide eyeglasses in one hour, had real vision (no pun intended) and enriched life for many.

Process Improvement Examples

When this session is presented live, workshops/examples are offered to illustrate the points made herein. If you?re reading this, why don?t you try the ideas out on your own with an actual case, preferably a simple one to start with--one that people agree needs great improvement?


Reengineering: 40 U$eful Hints,? George J. Miller, APICS XX International Conference Proceedings, APICS, Falls Church, VA
The Process Reengineering Workbook, Jerry L. Harbour, 1994, Quality Resources, NY, NY
Reengineering Your Business, Morris & Brandon, 1993, McGraw-Hill, NY
Reengineering the Corporation, Hammer & Champy, 1993, Harper-Collins Publishers, NY, NY
Business Process Improvement, James H. Harrington, 1991, McGraw-Hill, NY

Your High Value up to Date Designs Are Made by Our Professional Graphic Designers

Fonts are usually bold in Internet Logos. As mentioned overhead, the company name is high lightened. Our company supplies you with an entire concept of how the Internet Logos associated to the business should be. The above granted likenesses are found usually in every company's Internet Logos.Auto LogosAuto Logos are the representatives of every automobile enterprise. Their colors, designs, fonts and wordings comprise the motive as well as the name of the Auto business in the market. It is essential for all these factors to be included in an Auto Logos for a business's entity. So, a business Auto Logos should be very mindfully conceived, as it will be the representation of your enterprise.When talking about Auto Logos, there are certain things you will notice in them. As the environment of the Auto business is associated with house, the Auto Logos should furthermore show the identical, you will observe these logos much prescribed and also very technical. Up till now, you should have envisioned how these Auto Logos look. Conceiving is furthermore an absolutely vital factor for the Auto Logos to be observed in the market. The designing of these Auto Logos are generally prescribed, either associated to the company's name or the owner's name. Generally, you will glimpse the title of the business high lightened and with the hue blendBusiness Cards Design OnlineWhen you are running a Business Cards Design Online business; there is purchaser interaction almost every other day. You meet your prospects, contractors, dealers, suppliers and other ones to who you present your business Cards Design Online services. You need to have note head along with professionally designed wrapper to drive a gathering invitation and supply them your business card so that they can get back to you.Your high value up to date designs are made by our professional graphic designers which after publishing give you an expert and exclusive gaze. Our Business Cards Design Online designing process is simple and easy. We design your own stationery i.e. business cards, letter heads, wrappers and complimentary falls in agreement with the specifications as cited in the Business Cards Design Online method. Personalized stationery is an important part of the Business Cards Design Online design. It donates a unique and customized gaze to your stationary. As a little business proprietor you need well-crafted professional business stationery in line with your logo, website and brochure that creates an affirmative impression in the brain of the customers so that they consider you as a large-scale and professional. Therefore it is extremely significant for little businesses to have custom Business Cards Design Online designs via which they can disperse the word.

Bottle Water Cooler

Bottle Water Cooler Helping People Stay Healthier By Drinking More Water
If you are considering adding a bottled water dispenser to a home or office, there are a few features that you should consider before you make your decision. You may be familiar with the plastic dispenser with colored knobs to dispense water. These dispensers have a five gallon jug turned upside down on top of them to provide the filtered water that has been delivered by truck.

In shopping for water dispensers today, you will find dispensers that will hide the bottle or water as well as those which do not require a water bottle. The dispensers without a bottle are actually a self contained water filtration device. Ether type of dispenser may offer features such as hot or cold water on tap at all times.

If you choose a dispenser with cold water, you may find that the feature is very useful. Cups or water bottles can be filled and do not need ice. Near boiling water works great for instant soup, hot tea or cocoa. It keeps users from having to heat water for these choices.

As said earlier, bottleless water dispensers are onsite water filtration systems. With bottled water, the water is filtered at a processing plant and kept in the bottles until you use it. Either process works well to remove the contaminates from your water and give you better tasting water.

In the office, many employees appreciate the effort to help them get enough water to drink that does not have a chlorine taste. Workers that have enough to drink are more productive than those who do not drink enough water during the day. By providing a dispenser, the employees do not have to bring their own bottled water to work. Addition of hot or cold water makes the dispenser even more useful to the employees.

In your home you may choose a dispenser made of stainless steel, wood, pottery or even custom made to fit perfectly with your decor. You will find dispensers that are available for rent from water delivery services. Units may be purchased at many warehouse member stores or online.

There are several things to consider as you choose between the bottle or bottleless dispenser.

To prevent running out of water you must purchase the correct amount of water each week. Since deliveries only come about once per week, if you do not order enough water, you can run out before the week is up. If you order too much water, storage can be a problem, as you must store both empty and full bottles of water. The only required maintenance is to clean the dispenser on occasion.

The dispensers without bottles do not require the storage area. They are connected to your homes plumbing and filter tap water to give it a great taste. Installation may require that you have the assistance of a plumber. You will be required to change filters on occasion and must clean the reservoir regularly. However, as long as you keep the filter changed, you will always have all the water that you need for your home.

Youth Business Entrepreneurs

Youth Business Entrepreneurs ? Useful Tips
Who is a Youth Entrepreneur?

A youth business entrepreneur is a passionate industrialist, who produces certain selected products and distributes them to consumers to make a handsome profit.

Youth entrepreneurs are usually more energetic to take part in all the commercial activities of their entrepreneurship. They work hard to establish themselves from a very young age in the commercial sector.

The legitimate acceptable age for youth business entrepreneurs to start any commerce is 16. The ideal time for youth entrepreneurs to undergo business training is during their academic term, when they are pursuing a degree or diploma.

Health of young enterprisers has to be stable since, business activities are demanding and can have a bad effect on the health. They are also required to work for longer hours, to achieve the set objectives of the day.

Youth entrepreneurs need to supervise almost all the business activities, and hence they have to be accessible at any time. They also need to prepare themselves to work and conclude the task effectively and successfully.

Important Factors:

Entrepreneurs have to take lot of risks, if they wish to grow and establish themselves in the market. For this, it is important that youth business entrepreneurs prepare themselves mentally to take tough trade decisions.

To start with, entrepreneurs can examine the administration and technical support system of a couple of small business development centers and participate in special management programs. Several universities, colleges, and business schools around the globe conduct venture capital forums, youth business programs, and entrepreneurship seminars.

With the assistance from several collegiate entrepreneur associations, youth business entrepreneurs can educate themselves on myriad topics. Such associations, notify, encourage, and support youth?s business ideas to mold them into successful capitalists of tomorrow.

Further, they can also extend their commercial talent by surfing the internet. They can browse several sites devoted to tips and tricks related to youth entrepreneurships, to educate both the business and mind. Some sites also entail inspirational stories of victorious young entrepreneurs to inspire upcoming youths.

Youth entrepreneurs can hone their skills for executing the business by undergoing training for manufacturing the goods, marketing, packaging, and managing good customer rapport

Youth entrepreneurs need to march beyond the boundaries to achieve huge success in their industrial venture. Therefore, it is essential for them to gain knowledge through reading, experimenting, studying, and observing.

Youth Entrepreneurs Program:

Youth entrepreneurs program motivates young people to initiate their own full-time businesses and pursue self-employment as a career option. Such program accepts applications all through the year from youth aging between 18-29 years.

Young entrepreneurs under this program are eligible to meet a grant of up to $4000 to aid in paying their business start-up costs and capital expenses.

Youths interested in such a program are required to submit a complete program application and a business plan.

The young entrepreneurs program offers grant to repay approved applicants, for suitable business startup costs and capital investments. The grant depends upon the capability of the applicant.

Ways To Avoid Seo Scams

Search engine optimization is a valuable process that can help you to improve your web site rankings and drive targeted traffic to your web site. The process can be complex and time-consuming, so you may want to consider hiring a professional SEO consulting firm.

SEO scams are becoming quite common despite the fact that there are also many ethical SEO firms that keep website owners in business. It is just that there are a small number of unscrupulous seo service companies that are spoiling the business of SEO.

A lot of us are looking for a quick solution to our search engine optimization (SEO) problems. We always want the "magic bullet" formula that will give us instant success, and shoot our page rankings on the search engines into the infamous top 10. However, it is quite easy to be lured into a false sense of security and hopefulness when we read a great sales pitch for a SEO ebook.

Web site optimization is a long process that must be consistently tweaked in response to changes in how search engines rank web sites. A reputable SEO firm will not make guarantees that seem to good to be true. Some companies may promise top ten rankings.

Your link might be placed on a link page that exists on the site?s server, but doesn?t have a link from the actual site to it. That way a spider is highly unlikely to reach it. And if it does, due to manual submitting for example, it will not give it a high rank, no matter how popular the main page is.

Don't Target Overly Broad Keywords

Although the traffic stats for general terms like, "cars" of "mobile phones" can be overwhelming that doesn't mean that these are the best keywords to target. It's not just that these search strings are too competitive, thought this is also a thing to consider. Broad keywords are usually the worst converting ones.

Taking the time to find the right keywords for your target searchers will help you avoid wasting money on traffic building strategies that do not translate into revenue. And once you have the right keywords you will understand what content to provide your customers to keep them coming back to your site.

You can also tell if a website is a scam, if the language used is unprofessional and usually in broken English. Most of the time these websites are hosted from other non-English speaking countries, in an effort to scam people in first world countries. There are some websites like the scaminsider that may give you some guidance on whether another site is a scam or not. Keep in mind if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.

To avoid being scammed by various posers out and about, you need to do a little research regarding the credibility of a certain company. Try to ask around forums on the internet, visit sites and check out their comments pages, or even ask around various professional who are into SEO, they will be able to provide you with references for the perfect company that will not play around with your money.

An Overview of The Call Centre Industry in India

An Overview of The Call Centre Industry in India
Call centres in India came into being in the early 2001, and since then they have continuously grown in number and scope.Today, the call centre industry in India is a very big industry that is still progressing. India benefited the most from the offshoring trend because it has the second largest English speaking population in the world that is exceeded only by U.S. India's offshoring industry took roots in the low-end IT functions in the early 1990s, and has since progressed to back-office processes like the call centres and transaction processing. In the late 1990s, India's abundant and inexpensive software talent combined with the great demand from the Y2K problem resulted in large-scale software development firms to get interested in India. In the present times, India's engineering talent has made it a favored choice for the outsourcing firms in U.S. and U.K. like AMD, American Express, Dell, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, etc.The majority of firms have the plan to invest at least $1 billion in India to face the competition and get a lead over the competitors. There are several important reasons that large corporate houses are choosing India for outsourcing their call centre activities. Some key reasons include: The easy availability of qualified and skilled labor force; most of the Indian call centres have state-of-the-art infrastructure and modern equipment; and, India provides the time zone advantage to the majority of outsourcing firms, which enables these firms to provide round-the-clock services to their customers. The call centres presently operating in India could be classified under three major heads viz., inbound call centres, outbound call centres, and web-enabled services call centres. The inbound call centres are intended to receive the calls from customers and entertain their request; the outbound call centres make calls to the customers; and the web-enabled services call centres are concerned with IT issues like computer and computer peripheral troubleshooting, software installation, virus removal, etc. The calls made and received through inbound and outbound call centres are for various purposes like product/service promotion, credit management, market survey, online sales, information verification, request/complaint registration, general queries, etc.Today, there are numerous call centers in India that are spread across the length and breadth of the country and providing employment to a large number of people, especially to the youth. Nowadays, many youngsters prefer to work in a call centre out of their free will. The primary reasons behind this may be that almost every call centre in India offers attractive salary packages and perks. The career growth is also comparatively fast in the call centre industry in India in comparison to other centre in india

The Importance of Corporate Team Building in an Organization

Corporate team refers to a group of people who work to achieve and accomplish common objectives in a corporate company. The team members are assigned different tasks and in the later stages ,the work is compiled to achieve the specific objectives. It is very important that proper communication flows among the co-workers so that they can discuss the problems and give an effective solution to the project. It is also essential that good relationship should be established amongst the team members. This can be achieved through corporate team building.Corporate team building refers to the process by which the team of a company is brought together for better interpersonal relationships. Team building does not come naturally as people from so many cultures and background come together to work under a single roof. People need to adopt to such working environment where they have to work with people from all walks of life. Corporate team building events or activities help people adjust to these working conditions so that they can work in collaboration with others in harmony and are able to communicate in best possible way to make 100% success in their work.Corporate team building needs to be built up. This can be done through organization of corporate events and even through team building games. The team building starts when people in a group start building up their relationship with each other. They interact, share their experiences and get to know each sometimes, the company needs to make efforts to build up effective bonding among employees so that they work as an effective team. These team events include organizing of a trip for the team, or maybe, a conference where team members can discuss their differences and similarities. Even, corporate parties help build up a relationship among team members. Conference events are very successful in building up harmony and bonding among employees. They can analyze their weakness and strength and work with them to achieve successful results. Employees even get a great exposure and learning experience during such events.The company can even put employees in challenging activities which are fun to do. These activities should be designed in such a way so that no individual can do it without team efforts. This helps individuals to learn the art of team working and they even learn to respect each other's weakness and strength. These activities even improve communication and interacting skills of an individual.Corporate team building is very important for any small, medium or large organization so as to work together to achieve the desired goals. Whatever maybe the size of the corporate firm, effective communication is an important tool to accomplish goals if working in a team. If there is a lack of communication between employees, many discrepancies and loopholes will come up; and if these holes widen up they will affect company's performance. These loopholes may lead to the downfall of the company.So, an effective communication is very important. It can be achieved through corporate team building activities and events to make the base of an organization stronger.

Finding The Right Expense Management Solution

Finding The Right Expense Management Solution For Your Company
In recent times, initiatives such as the Sarbannes Oxley Act in the US have dramatically raised the profile of compliance within the corporate world. As a key element of any corporate compliance policy, expense management has shared some of the limelight. As a result, an Expense Management Solution (EMS) is now critical to any business concerned with corporate compliance. But what is an Expense Management Solution (EMS)? Does your company need one? And where do you find a good one? Just as importantly, how do you successfully implement and integrate an Expense Management Solution (EMS) into your corporate environment. This article sheds some light on these issues.

What is an Expense Management Solution (EMS)?

The term ?expense management solution? has been used to describe quite different commercial products and services. In the context of this article, an expense management solution is defined as a technology based system that processes:

(i) transaction records received from a credit card issuer (detailing employee use of corporate credit cards0; and

(ii) cash reimbursement claims originated by an employee.

In practice the target application is Travel and Entertainment expenditure. A robust Expense Management Solution (EMS) will also support procurement (pCard) activities as part of a broader strategy of effectively managing lower value, high volume business-to-business transactions.

The three core steps of any expense management process are:

  1. the acceptance/input of validated source data;
  2. the application of predetermined rules of handling expense records; and
  3. the posting of transactions to a corporate repository such as an ERP system.

What is the purpose of an Expense Management Solution (EMS)?

The objectives of an expense management solution implementation should include the following:

  1. to automate the preparation, submission, approval, and auditing of travel & entertainment claims, thus improving the productivity of account holders and reducing the time and cost of accounts staff;
  2. to support the implementation of a standardized best practice method of managing high volume expenses through the use of corporate credit cards; and
  3. to increase the transparency and enhance the governance of financial transactions conducted on behalf of the enterprise.

Sources of Expense Management Solutions

Australian and international organizations now have access to a range of quality expense management solutions which are well suited to driving down administration cost whilst meeting corporate compliance requirements. There are essentially three sources of ?expense management solutions?:

  1. ERP systems;
  2. systems offered by card issuers; and
  3. best-of-breed solutions.

Each will have their own merits and will suit organizations in different circumstances.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems

ERP sourced expense management has the attraction of being fully integrated within the financial suite of software, therefore offering a standard look and feel to all users of the ERP. With ERP sourced expense management functionality, the ERP supplies the core software, and the enterprise needs to customize and configure the system to reflect its own structures and rules regarding the management of staff expenses. If you're considering the option of using their ERP for expense management, you need to be conscious of a number of factors, including:

? the actual functionality available within their specific installed ERP system;
? the backlog of work on the ERP system accumulated for the IT department; and
? the deployment time and the cost of the project (which will usually be substantial).
License costs can be an issue if an enterprise if your company has not paid a license fee that will cover all card account holders and cash claimants.

Card Issuer Systems

Some card issuers promote ?expense management? solutions which can range from a computer generated report through to an online system with some embedded workflow concepts. The attraction of card issuer expense management solutions is that they are offered as part of a card deal, sometimes (apparently) for free. If you're considering a card issuer expense management solution, you need to know:

? will you be 'locked in' to the card issuer?; and
? will you be able to configure the expense management solution to adequately reflect internal requirements?

Best-of-Breed Solutions

Best-of-breed expense management solutions from specialist providers can be relatively seamlessly interfaced to an organization's internal systems such as HR and ERP, but will not present a common look and feel to the ERP system. You would usually choose a best-of-breed expense management solution if you want:

  1. your company to be independent of a particular card issuer;
  2. to achieve a fast implementation; and/or
  3. to configure the solution to its own unique rules and policies of expense administration.

Best-of-breed expense management solutions are typically deployed as either an ASP (Application Service Provider) or self hosted solution. Although exceptions are common, small to medium enterprises tend to appreciate the lower up-front cost of an ASP expense management solution, and larger enterprises are attracted to the control available through a self-hosted expense management solution. ASP expense management solutions are typically paid for on a per statement per month basis, and self-hosted expense management solutions have a range of options available from up-front license fees to monthly license rentals.

Overcoming the Cultural Resistance to Expense Management Solutions

Some Finance Directors still have an aversion to corporate credit cards. It's not uncommon to hear a finance director say ?if I give everyone a card, they'll spend us broke!?

However, the benefits of an Expense Management Solution are apparent as soon as the Finance Director considers the difficulties of controlling the expenditure behavior of thousands of employees using a manual system of reimbursements which is largely based around a set of uncoordinated spreadsheets. Basic activities such as enforcing travel policies, calculating tax implications, reconciling, posting to a chart of accounts at a detailed level and auditing, are so difficult as to be more honored in the breach than the observance…

Viewed from a different perspective, a company with revenues of $700m $50m in EBITDA, and $20m in annual employee business expenses, can make a dramatic impact on its bottom line using an expense management solution without increasing revenue. If automation reduces these expenses by only five per cent in the first year, the savings alone have the same impact on the bottom line as $14m in new revenue. It isn?t surprising that the return on investment of an expense management project is often achieved within its first 12 months of operation.

Expense Management Solutions also play a vital role in Fraud Control. ?Fraud? in this context takes many guises, not all of which are the sort that land perpetrators in court. Information taken from our own customer experience and from publications of the USA Association of Certified Fraud Examiners identify the top four categories of fraud:

  1. Mischaracterized expenses
  2. Overstated (exaggerated) payments
  3. Fictitious expenses
  4. Multiple reimbursements

Research in the USA has pointed to as much as 1% of company revenues being lost to employee expense mismanagement. Expense Management Systems will not, in their own right, eliminate this but they are a vital tool in creating an environment that drives down the level of mismanagement.


Over the past 18 months, our company has observed a change in motivation for expense management projects. Whereas formerly expense management solutions were an exercise solely in the reduction of administration costs, now governance is equally a driver to implement technology based controls around high volume expenditure. The Sarbannes Oxley (SOX) act in the USA has captured the attention of any enterprise active in the USA. However, inside or outside the USA, the senior executives must warrant that their company has implemented adequate financial controls that prevent fraud and give a true and correct record of the enterprise?s financial activities. As a result, the Corporate Travel Manager who pitches a proposal on expense management to the senior executive team currently finds a willing audience.

Webpage Design In Galway

To many people, the Internet was a wonderful invention, one that has helped make their lives easier in a lot of ways. Even those who do not appreciate this discovery at its true value have come to depend on it for a number of activities. We are all aware of the advantages of using the Internet. The world has become a considerably smaller place with the advent of the Internet and distance is no longer an issue. Communication is probably the most important advantage that the Internet provides, but the availability of information and a very wide range of services is not to be neglected either. Furthermore, many people have found that the Internet can be an amazing business opportunity, which they have taken full advantage of. Everyone who has a website is aware of the great importance that the design of their webpage bears. Although developing a webpage is now one of those do-it-yourself things, there is no doubt that professional web design is highly superior from many points of view. If you represent a large corporation, whose website should definitely be a calling card for the services or products you provide, hiring experienced professionals to design your webpage is a must. If you have a small start-up company, the design of your website is all the more important, as this could very well be your starting point, the thing that can help you expand your business and take it to the next level.

If you are interested in webpage design Galway, you should know that there are a number of agencies that provide excellent service. Whatever the demands of your web design project might be, the team of professionals behind web design Galway will deliver excellent service. The business world is very competitive, especially now that the international economic situation is going through delicate times. Professional web design Galway will offer you that competitive advantage that your business needs so much.

As has been said before, the numerous web design software programs you can find on the market today can help you design your own web page without putting too much time and effort into it. However, the results are seldom spectacular and creating a unique website that stands out from the rest is out of the question, because it will be based on common templates. Conversely, the webpage design services in Galway can provide you with custom webpage designs that will definitely be attractive to potential customers. Furthermore, a professionally built website will definitely enhance your credibility and professional reputation.

Once you have made up or mind about using the services of a webpage design agency in Galway, you must make sure that you choose wisely. How can you be certain that the web design Galway agency of your choice is reliable and can deliver the high quality service you require? The answer is simple. Most web design companies show samples of their work on their own web site. This is a good starting point in your search for a web design agency in Galway. What?s more, you can search online for any negative comments about the agency you are about to hire and check out the amount of time they have been working in this field. Remember that web design has been around for quite some time now and that there are people with considerable experience in web page design. You will certainly be able to find professionals who provide state-of-the-art web page design in Galway.

The 5 Essentials Of Starting A Successful Business

Business is in my blood. I grew up listening to many dinnertime discussions between my father and grandfather about running their businesses. I heard about the issues, challenges and successes they faced every day and learned more about running a business through those discussions than I did in school. I believe this gave me one leg up over other businesses when it came to getting started; I understood early on what it takes and I was ready when it finally happened to me.

Although I plan on tackling the answers to questions concerning the operation and growth of a wide range of businesses, I want to get down to basics first. Just how do you start a business?

It seems that it?s never a ?right? time to start a business; you often have to take a leap of faith for those first baby steps. And, this year?s economic turbulence might provide just the right incubator for a strong idea. If you are thinking about jumping, here are some key points in starting your own business:

  1. Find your passion. I believe that having a passion is the first step toward building your own business. Start with both a zeal to be your own boss and an idea that you are excited about. I came up with the idea for my first business, an online payroll service, in the late 1990s when I was still working at Intuit. I had a fire and passion in me that kept me going and attracted excellent people to participate and share the rewards of making my dream happen. Eight years later, my first business has 60K+ small businesses as customers. Even with that success, the dream is never complete, it just changes.
  2. Believe in yourself and your idea. If you have a tendency toward entrepreneurship already, the next step is to build on an idea that has staying power. It?s important to do your homework first. That means getting quantitative data about the market for your product or service, competitive information on the companies already out there and qualitative data from potential customers. There are hundreds of Web sites and research resources available to get the information you need to help build your case. With a conviction for an idea, plus the data to back you up, you will have a powerful case to present to potential backers, employees and customers.
  3. Be resourceful. Once you?ve done your homework on the viability of your idea, then it?s time to figure out your financing. Unless you are independently wealthy with a cash reserve for business ventures, you will need to raise money. There are hundreds of approaches.

My grandparents used money from their back pocket?whatever was in the bank went into the business. My Dad has done the same while supplementing with small loans when needed. I have used some of my reserves but mostly have relied on professional investors, such as Venture Capitalists. Many people rely on credit cards to either fuel their start-ups or pay their day-to-day living expenses while they use savings to fund the business.

There are pros and cons to all of these approaches. Some business owners mortgage their homes. It?s not a practice I used, but it has worked for many. Others use credit cards to launch. Taking a second mortgage offers lower interest rates compared to credit cards. Otherwise, using credit cards protects your investment in your home.

  1. Share the Risk. For my first venture, I minimized the risk of the new venture by joining up with my co-founder, Martin Gates. I also had been socking away money for just this time. We started the business in my house, as we developed the business plan and ironed out the details of the product. Once we had a prototype, we brought in other people (both backers and possible employees). It was a cautious way to start up, but it worked out in the end.
  2. Listen to your customer. In the early stages of launching a business, although it?s important to have passion for your ideas, it?s equally important to listen to the market and tweak when necessary. For example, while working at Intuit, I became an expert in payroll and saw a distinct need in the market for specialized payroll services. The original idea for the business was to manage payroll needs surrounding household employees. Today, after moving in the direction of the market needs and really listening to our customers, my first venture is a leader in providing on-demand payroll for small businesses and small business accounting professionals. At both my previous and current businesses, we prototyped an automated solution while performing the tasks manually behind the scenes. That way we were able to get early feedback from customers on what was valuable and wasn?t. Some of our best, most unique features came from listening to the customers using our prototyped solution. There is nothing like real customer data to make decisions.