Updated over every
news... Your words...
28/29 October 2009
Wake-up call for UK organisations as new study reveals big shortfall
FEWER than 1
in 4 UK organisations are fully equipped to react to changes in
today’s fast changing, competitive marketplace, new research
reveals. Only 22% of organisations have the necessary
‘agility’ to respond quickly to customer demands, adapt to solve
problems or offer flexibility in their approach. Overall the study
shows that agile organisations have higher productivity, sales
growth and satisfaction than non-agile organisations.
This is the finding of new research published on Tuesday, October
27, by the Institute of Customer Service, in association with the
Advanced Institute of Management Research (AIM Research). The
study, ‘Agility in Services – Capabilities for Difficult Times’,
analyses the concept of agility in relation to performance and
improvement. It reveals that most organisations have much to do in
order to become agile, and sets out a 4-step ‘roadmap’ to help them
build agile systems according to their needs.
The study reinforces the Institute’s customer service model that
requires all aspects of an organisation – strategy, culture, people,
and processes – to be focused on, to enable rapid response to the
marketplace and customer demands.
Jo Causon, Chief Executive of The Institute of Customer Service,
comments:- “Customer service is the only sustainable
competitive differentiator in the marketplace today. It’s not just
about surviving the recession, but making UK plc more competitive in
the global marketplace going forward. It is not easy to adjust
your business practices to meet the changing needs of your
customers, but it is essential - and there is no room for
This research should act as a wake-up call to organisations. It
clearly demonstrates that being customer-focused is not enough -
organisations need to be agile across multiple fronts to meet the
changing needs of customers.”
Agility is defined as ‘the ability to respond rapidly and
effectively to unpredictable change and turbulent markets’. It
combines 2 important components – responsiveness, which is the
ability to respond to a wide range of externally-induced changes –
and multi-competence, which is the capability to excel
simultaneously in multiple criteria so that the organisation can
easily realign itself to meet changed consumer demands.
The study’s analysis of the capabilities required for agility in UK
organisations revealed service quality, a flexible workforce and
rapid new service development to be the most significant, although
it was also evident that only a limited number of organisations had
the ability to make changes rapidly. Agility and
responsiveness were found to be driven by a range of capabilities
from people to systems, showing significant relationships with IT
usage, shared values, job enrichment and incentive policies.
While most organisations recognise the importance of agility, few
have strategies in place to achieve it. However, there is much
untapped potential for agility; while only 22% were agile (combining
responsiveness and multi-competence), 36% of organisations were
highly responsive and 40% were multi-competent. Even in smaller
organisations, which were found on average to be more responsive and
multi-competent, there is still potential for increased agility.
In line with the AIM Research policy to impact on management
practice, the study’s ‘Roadmap for Agility’ sets out a 4-step route
to building agility through a set of organisational and operational
capabilities. In summary these include:-
1. Diagnose the level of agility
2. Identify where agility is most needed
3. Create the agile organisation
4. Build agile process and systems.
Green light for environment programme
environmental policies have been given an international seal of
approval. Following an independent audit, the organisation has
retained its certification of the international standard for
Environmental Management Systems (EMS), ISO 14001. To gain the
certification Merseytravel had to demonstrate that it was working to
limit its environmental impact, is training staff, complying with
legislation and delivering continual environmental improvements.
Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, which is also a partner
in Liverpool’s Year of the Environment, said:- “We were the
first passenger authority in the country to gain this certification
6 years ago and the environment remains very important for our
future transport plans too. We will keep looking for ways to
Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel,
said:- “We have led the way on environmental stewardship since
we became the very 1st passenger transport body in the country to
produce an Environmental Strategy 13 years ago. That strategy
– and the ongoing commitment from our staff, partners and
contractors – continues to be an important element of all we do. To
be reaccredited in 2009, Year of the Environment makes the
achievement that extra bit special.”
2 major projects over recent years, Liverpool South Parkway and the
new Pier Head Ferry Terminal, have been built with environmental
stewardship at their foundations. Both are rated as “very
good” BREEAM* standard buildings, using elements such as rain water
harvesting, geothermal heat pumps, roof insulation or solar cells.
Merseytravel is working with Neptune Developments and Countryside
Properties and contractors BAM to achieve BREEAM “excellence” for
its new headquarters in Mann Island.
The news comes in the same year as Merseytravel also achieved the
Carbon Trust Standard – it is the 1st body of its type in the UK to
do so. To achieve the standard, Merseytravel had to show it is
taking real and direct action on climate change by reducing its
carbon footprint year on year. Merseytravel’s carbon footprint
has dropped by 7% since 2006.
It has been achieved by introducing a range of new measures such as
lower engine speeds on the Mersey Ferries, state-of-the-art systems
to control energy use and solar panels in the company’s buildings;
as well as solar powered road signs and variable speed drives and
motors for the giant ventilation fans at the Mersey Tunnels.
* BREEAM is the BRE Environmental Assessment Method and is a
voluntary measurement rating for green buildings that was
established in the UK by the Building Research Establishment. It is
the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method to
measure used to describe a building's environmental performance.
Sign up to
our Daily Email News Service BETA Test by
Southport & Mersey Reporter - leading the way for
local news. We where the UK's first online
that are taking place this