Following the country’s collapse after the Second World War, Japan’s industrial infrastructure was in tatters. In an attempt to restore businesses, and to rebuild Japan’s reputation in the international market, Japan adopted business practices from the learning presented by Deming, Juran, and Feigenbaum. Their research preached aggressive focus on quality management and operational efficiency. By implementing these practices, and through quality control and management, Japan witnessed exponential growth throughout the 1950s; and by the late 1960s and early 1970s, Japan began dominating the American import bill. Japan’s rapid growth forced countries across the globe to adopt Total Quality Management (TQM) systems. This was perhaps the first step towards the development of Business Optimisation as we know it today. With advancements in technology, business optimisation is now deployed to enhance the workings of an organisation, as well as on a singular model.
Business optimisation is primarily a method to improve the mechanisms of a business to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and increase profits. These optimisation techniques ensure the best possible leverage on outsourcing, negotiation of existing contracts, and realignment of existing resources to achieve set goals and targets. Sometimes investment in capital expenditure is required to decrease the operating expenditure of companies, so that long-term benefits can be realised for all times to come. Businesses today invest millions to identify current and potential performance bottlenecks in their operations. Normally, internal or external consultants are assigned for the specific purpose of identifying such improvement opportunities. This process highlights the need for cost savings or other improvements; and then applying those enhancements to the day-to-day operations of the company.
Hence, optimisation encompasses a broad spectrum of duties, ranging from everyday tasks to the entire work processes of an organisation. Various departments, including Human Resources, Finance, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Administration, so on and so forth, all require optimisation processes for smooth and efficient running. Optimisation not only boosts the efficiency of various departments of an organisation, it also promotes accountability. Optimised and automated processes ensure proper reporting and monitoring, which eliminates the possibility of frauds, human error, and various other losses.
In most countries, especially those in the developing world, such as Pakistan, compliance with rigorous and time-consuming regulations is a challenging task. It is essential for organisations to adhere to various industry regulations and state or federal laws; failing to do so can result in serious financial and legal consequences. Business optimisation helps bring operations in line with mandatory state and/or industry regulations. With optimisation processes in place, companies can monitor the performance of their employees, and make strategic business decisions in a timely manner. Transparent processes allow an organisation’s top management to make swift decisions to tackle problems at hand, as well as foresee issues, which might arise in the future.
Timely access to accurate information is vital for organisations to operate at full potential. Optimisation processes utilise state-of-the-art software tools like Oracle & SAP, quality management, and automated systems to provide authorised personnel with relevant information. In today’s age, time is money, and efficiency in business operations is essential to realise targeted profits. Time saving is perhaps the most significant aspect of optimisation. Optimisation techniques analyse various tasks being undertaken, and work towards producing alternative, time-saving methods. This results in reduction of cost, time and deployed resources to achieve high-quality results.
While an organisation can set up an internal team of employees to work on business optimisation techniques, it is always recommended that professionals, with the relevant experience, are handed the task. Outsourcing your business optimisation processes enables your company to benefit from global best business practices. External companies deployed to optimise your business will have experience and knowledge of how other companies in the industry and in the region are optimising their businesses. In Pakistan, with exponential growth in the field of Information Technology (IT), the idea of business optimisation is picking up aggressively. Companies such as Excellence Delivered (ExD) are providing optimisation solutions through technology selection, IT strategy, vendor negotiation, IT organisation design, and much more.
Pakistan as a nation should also look to develop a model similar, but much more technologically advanced, to that adopted by Japan during the 1940s. Had the government resorted to optimisation techniques in public-owned entities, the need for privatisation might not have arisen. Optimisation helps maintain an optimal level of productivity and profit, which is why automation and optimisation is a must for today’s businesses.
(The writer is the founder and CEO of Excellence Delivered (ExD), a leading software solutions provider)