Posts Tagged ‘delivery’

Q&a: christian kaufmann, unilever

Q&A: Christian Kaufmann, Unilever

A few years ago, Unilever Europe embarked on one of the largest outsourcing deals in European business history, as part of the transformative One Unilever programme. Following his presentation at the 7th Annual Finance & Accounting Transformation & Shared Services conference in London, we spoke with Christian Kaufmann, MD Finance Business Services, about the impact this transformation has had on his organisation – and his tips for maximising the benefits of outsourcing.

SSON: Christian, Unilever’s been on a prolonged and significant transformation process over the last few years. Can you tell us a little about this?

Christian Kaufmann: We have been on an incredible journey since around 2005, when we internally announced the One Unilever programme aimed at streamlining our business to be more competitive. And one of the key elements of this has been to implement financial shared services with an outsourcing provider. We are now at the stage where we can say “let’s get the benefits out of that” – where we have now harmonised processes to a great extent across Europe.

SSON: That outsourcing deal is one of the biggest in Europe’s history, isn’t it?

CK: It is, I believe – so I’m always told! It affects various processes in Finance to a great extent – purchase-to-pay, travel expenses, record-to-report, bill-to-cash – and it affects around 800 people.

SSON: And you’ve said that this has resulted in great efficiency gains – can you tell us exactly what you’ve gained from this transformation?

CK: To put it simply: alongside the implementation of a single-instance ERP system, which happened at the same time, we have now managed to get new harmonised tools in place which we have worked with our service provider. We believe we now have access to the best technology which we wouldn’t, quite frankly, have had access to before. So that’s one element. The second element is simply that you get a better approach in service delivery; you can beef up the qualities of your delivery on a more harmonised level, whereas it was quite frankly of very varying quality before. And then obviously we’ve moved to a lower cost-base.

SSON: To give readers some idea of the scale of the transformation, how many regional offices have been absorbed into the One Unilever programme?

CK: Within the One Unilever programme itself… it has been around 25 countries, and within each country we had at least three units, so let’s say 80 units. We had three different divisions of business; each of them was quite proud to have its own ERP system, and – guess what – more or less each country managed to have its own customised version, so at the end we believe we had 18 different ERP systems. And we managed to have so many variants of the processes that they numbered in the hundreds.

So we had a very, very diverse situation which we confronted at the beginning of 2005. And that has now actually changed dramatically, because now we have only, let’s say, one process for each of those I mentioned earlier – like purchase-to-pay, the way we do general ledger, reporting, how we do travel and expenses, fixed assets, and also bill-to-cash. I think for a fast-moving consumer company such as ours that’s a great achievement and we’re very proud of it.

SSON: You recently presented at the 7th Annual Finance & Accounting Transformation & Shared Services event in London, and as part of your presentation you were speaking on the importance of clear and robust governance, and of good communication with an outsource provider. Let’s look at the governance issue first: why is that so important?

CK: I believe governance is important because, as I always say, it has to work on good and bad days. So when you talk to your provider you have to have as robust a relationship as possible which will take you through the ups and downs – especially the downs, obviously! Because there will be issues, and you have to manage those issues, as you have to manage them internally as well on a day-to-day basis. Operational issues are hitting you left, right and centre at some point; at other times it’s more quiet.

We had – at the time when we decided on our outsourcing provider, IBM – decided to go for a cooperative style. We spent some time, deliberately, on what type of relationship we wanted to build, and we said that, well, we didn’t want to have a shared P&L at the end of the day, but we wanted to get very close in the way that we would jointly solve issues, and that we would jointly take ownership of issues even if they would hit one party harder than the other one. So I think we learnt from other regions where we had also outsourced, within our own organisation, and from listening to a lot of other companies as well, that this is quite fundamental. So we have moved away – I think successfully – from normal customer-client behaviour towards a partnership.

SSON: You said “keep regular meetings going even during the good times when it might seem there’s nothing to meet about”; how important are those meetings, and keeping the relationship going even when things are going well?

CK: I think it’s really crucial. There’s always a tendency – especially now in times of economic crisis – to see everything else as more important than your basic processes; but if you can’t find the five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour, whatever it takes, to link up with your service provider – who’s actually managing quite big parts of your processes – and just ask “how’s it going?”, if you’re not careful, issues will creep up and they will not be resolved, because people will see them as not being urgent enough and so on.

You have to work continuously on the issues as well as on the partnership; I believe you can have lovely PowerPoint slides telling you all about governance but at the end of the day it comes back to the people who have to deal with things, and they need to talk to each other. I strongly believe you can’t substitute this through email or other means; you HAVE to talk to each other. And you have to do it at the lowest possible level; you can’t always do it at the top level because you have to get the teams who actually have to do the job talking to each other.

SSON: You mentioned the financial crisis there, so let’s finish on that topic. Obviously times are getting tougher for companies around the world; often companies that don’t have Unilever’s scale and resources are struggling particularly. What quick wins might you recommend for practitioners going into troubled times without much light at the end of the tunnel?

CK: There’s no simple recipe as such and I can’t speak for other businesses; but I think people need to look at their processes and find out where the leakages are. Some of them may have inefficient processes and the cost of the transaction may be simply too high, so they have to think how they can resolve that. There are options there. They don’t necessarily have to go through an outsourcing provider, as we have chosen; you may find a different solution in-house. It depends really on the type of business, on the culture, and on the current set-up of the infrastructure.

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Obtain the ideal online sample contracts with a hassle free approach just online

Obtain the ideal online sample contracts with a hassle free approach just online

For all sorts of corporate communication sample contracts are essential. The process was to do the contract agreement with partners and the stake holders with the intervention of legal practitioners. Practice and execution of corporate law indeed was not possible without the long drawn legal processes. The different types of sample contracts were not available and largely companies had to rely upon the constants. The conveniences of electronic transactions have been immense and now people can save time and money with e-transactions. There remain a wide array of blank contracts on offer and any company or a professional can order them just by sitting in front of the personal computer and from the convenience of office or home.

It was not at all a hassle free process to get the service level agreements or the software distribution agreements. Hiring a contractor or a subcontractor included processing time of the contract form and in case of independent contract agreement it used to take a few working days though things were of a few minutes. Things are now simple and online sample contracts, blank templates, non disclosure agreement and service level agreement are in much demand. The online delivery process takes about a day or two but in case of any emergency these contract templates are delivered through e-mail much faster.

The different online communication has revolutionized the legal processes and online consulting is the prime way of getting fast assistance of the lawyers. The question might arise that how will be these agreements and how far these will be authentic? These agreements and legal templates are only provided after lawyer’s assistance. The online contract providers employ experienced lawyers to cater legally sound agreements. It is possible to do self analysis before reaching and seeking service of the online contract template providers. But, the rising popularity of the online template sellers indicates their effectiveness in providing the e best contracts.

It is best to reach the online template seller after self research and just by reaching a popular search engine anyone can find a suitable online contract template provider. The payment can be made online with secured payment gateway. It Is advisable to retain the reference number for the order. There also remain customer care numbers and anyone can reach the customer service officers by punching in telephone numbers. There are several ways obtaining these templates but online templates are now considered to be the based in terms of contents. The content is created by experienced legal practitioners and they are made country specific.

Independent of geographical locations, online templates and agreements like contractor services agreements and software support agreements, service level agreements are offered. So, instead of procrastinating and making the simple process of approaching the lengthy with a few clicks of mouse you can get the required contract agreement related templates. In case of any legal stamping it is possible to use the same. The solution is simple, save both time and money and finally get the best end product. Still it is worth mentioning that selection of the suitable contract forms needs self analysis, so read on the online resources when you finally seek the agreements.

Permission data performs 100% opt-in online lead generation for 1,000+ companies

Permission Data Performs 100% Opt-In Online Lead Generation For 1,000+ Companies

Since the company’s inception in 2001, Permission Data (www.permissiondata.com) has developed one of the largest 100 percent opt-in lead generation networks on the Internet, generating leads for over a thousand companies. “Providing companies with quality leads is akin to being a matchmaker,” says Lou Pine, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development for Permission Data. “Online lead generation is about matching potential customers with products and services that interest them.”

Permission Data’s clients attest to the company’s matchmaking formula.

Global Medicom, Inc., a Los Angeles-based distributor of disposable medical supplies, approached Permission Data with a goal to increase its gross revenue by 50 percent each year. Global Medicom needed to find customers who fit their target profile, as well as to integrate data transfer and tracking systems for their prospects. According to Pine, “We designed the creative aspects of their campaign, developed and implemented an opt-in placement strategy, and generated a custom Internet survey for Global Medicom. In less than three weeks after our initial meeting, we had executed the insertion order, produced the website, and finalized the data transfer solution.”

As a result of Permission Data’s efforts, Global Medicom exceeding its goal, increasing annual revenue by 57 percent. In addition, the company decreased its cost-per-customer acquisition by 30 percent. Equally important, Global Medicom was able to track the performance of their ad dollars with much more accuracy than they could with expenditures made in other media. Because Permission Data provided a seamless solution, Global Medicom incurred lower management costs when compared to other online and offline campaigns.

Pine attributes the success of Global Medicom’s campaign and those of Permission Data’s other clients to the manner in which the company gathers leads. “Our paradigm is pure, in that we don’t incentivize the user or force any offers with pre-checked boxes. Instead, we use 100 percent opt-in co-registration sites, which can include survey and opinion sites as well as free offers and sweepstakes sites.”

Permission Data’s process of lead generation typically begins with a registration process, during which consumer information is collected. From there, consumers are exposed to targeted advertiser offers, and can, at their own initiation, opt in to learn more about a brand or product. “At that point, the consumer will typically see a customized advertiser survey or other instrument that allows for additional branding and cross-product marketing,” says Pine. “This is followed by content that the consumer will find appealing and informative.”

The information that is collected throughout the process isn’t simply handed over to Permission Data’s clients; instead, it goes through the company’s TruFilter proprietary data cleansing technology. “TruFilter verifies U.S. Postal Service addresses, area codes and phone prefixes, validates email address syntaxes and domain names, and filters out profanity,” says Pine. The technology also aggregates leads, removing duplicates, and assigns a source code to each lead.

But perhaps the best feature of Permission Data’s service is the speed and manner in which the leads are delivered to their clients. In a recent survey, over a third of Chief Marketing Officers reported that they don’t have sufficient real-time access to leads and prospects. Permission Data can set up a real-time data feed to its clients within 24 hours, and offers customizable file formatting and delivery integration. “We pride ourselves on our ability to provide our clients with volume, quality, simplicity, and speed,” says Pine. “We define customer service as the ability to constantly and consistently exceed our customers’ expectations.”

It is most likely this customer-centered approach that makes Permission Data the perfect matchmaker for companies and their potential customers.

Public speaking – the art of speech making

Public Speaking – The Art of Speech Making

How do you speak naturally while all those people are watching you?

This document covers hints and tips on public speaking and presentation skill, dealing with public speaking nerves and anxiety, public speaking skills and public speaking techniques, public speaking training.

Common Fears of Public Speaking

What happens when you have to speak in public?

Did you know that public speaking tops the list of phobias for most people? Not spiders or heights – public speaking – speech in public!

Well, if you didn’t know that, we bet your body does. It will do all kinds of unpleasant things to you when you have to stand up and face a sea of faces with the hope of getting your message across in a compelling and interesting way.

Your hands may sweat and your mouth goes dry. Your knees may shake and a quaver affects your voice. Your heart may race and those well known butterflies invade your stomach.

When all that happens most people don’t think of getting their message across in a compelling and interesting way; they just think of getting off the ‘stage’ as quickly as possible!

Have we frightened you sufficiently yet?

It’s normal

We don’t really mean to frighten you, just remind you that your body reacts ‘in extremis’ when put under pressure, and for most people, public speaking is just about the worst pressure they can be put under.

It’s normal to be nervous and have a lot of anxiety when speaking in public. In a way, it’s less normal not to have nerves or anxiety; in fact, to feel you have a phobia about public speaking.

Why do we get Public Speaking anxiety?

Fight or flight

Our bodies are geared to fight or flight from ancient time – fight that mastodon or get the hell out of the way. We don’t have too many mastodons around these days, but the body still reacts as though we do. So, if we have to get up and speak in public, all that adrenalin and noradrenalin goes coursing through our bodies – way more than we need.

We can’t run away (well, we could, but we’d be out of job pretty quick if we did it too often), so our only option is to fight. But in terms of speaking in public, it can be hard to define just what we’re fighting.

Why does public speaking do this to us?

Good question. You’d think that for most people, being given the opportunity to impress their audience would be a fantastic one. There you are in front of a group of people, the spotlight is on you and for the length of time you’ve been give, the world is yours.

Or is it?

The very fact that the spotlight is you is enough to trigger every fear, anxiety and phobia you’ve ever had about public speaking.

Here’s why

You may be judged by all those people, and judged badly
You may feel like a fool
You might make mistakes and loose your way
You’ll be completely humiliated
You’ll never be as good as _________ (fill in the blank)
‘They’ won’t like you
‘They’ won’t ‘get’ what you’re trying to say

How to overcome fear of Public Speaking
What good are Nerves

Public speaking may not be comfortable, but take our word for it, nerves are good. Being ‘centre stage’ is not a good place to feel too comfortable.

Nerves will keep you awake and ensure you don’t get too complacent. Hard to feel complacent when your heart is beating so hard you’re sure everyone watching you can hear it.

If channelled well, nerves can make the difference between giving a humdrum presentation and giving one that keeps people listening.

Get your attention off yourself

It’s very tempting to keep focused on how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling really uncomfortable. You’ll start to notice every bead of sweat.

To make your nerves work for you, you need to focus on just about anything other than yourself. You can distract yourself by paying attention to the environment in which you’re speaking and seeing how you can make it work for you.

Once you’re actually in front of your audience, pay attention to them. If you can, notice how people are dressed, who’s wearing glasses, who has on bright colours. There will be dozens and dozens of things you can pay attention to help you trick your mind into not noticing what’s going on with you.

Anything will do and you will find that the less you concentrate on how you are feeling and the more you concentrate on other things, the more confident you will feel.

How to build confidence in Public Speaking

Your audience can be your friend

Unless you know you’re absolutely facing a hostile group of people, human nature is such that your audience wants you succeed. They’re on your side!

Therefore, rather than assuming they don’t like you, give them the benefit of the doubt that they do.

They aren’t an anonymous sea of faces, but real people. So to help you gain more confidence when speaking in public, think of ways to engage your audience. Remember, even if they aren’t speaking, you can still have a two-way conversation.

When you make an important point pay attention to the people who are nodding in agreement and the ones who are frowning in disagreement. As long as you are creating a reaction in your audience you are in charge.

Keep them awake

The one thing you don’t want is for them to fall asleep! But make no mistake public speaking arenas are designed to do just that: dim lights, cushy chairs, not having to open their mouths – a perfect invitation to catch up on those zzzzs.

Ways to keep them away include

Ask rhetorical questions
Maintain eye contact for a second or two with as many people as possible
Be provocative
Be challenging
Change the pace of your delivery
Change the volume of your voice

Public Speaking Training

Get a coach

Whatever the presentation public speaking is tough, so get help.

Since there are about a zillion companies out there all ready to offer you public speaking training and courses, here are some things to look for when deciding the training that’s right for you.

Focus on positives not negatives

Any training you do to become more effective at public speaking should always focus on the positive aspects of what you already do well.

Nothing can undermine confidence more than telling someone what they aren’t doing well.

You already do lots of things well good public speaking training should develop those instead of telling you what you shouldn’t do.

Turn your back on too many rules

If you find a public speaking course that looks as though it’s going to give you lots of dos and don’ts, walk away! Your brain is going to be so full of whatever it is you’re going to be talking about that to try to cram it full of a whole bunch of rules will just be counterproductive.

As far as we’re concerned, aside from physical violence or inappropriately taking off your clothes, there are no hard and fast rules about public speaking.

You are an individual not a clone

Most importantly, good public speaking training should treat you as a unique individual, with your own quirks and idiosyncrasies. You aren’t like anybody else and your training course should help you bring out your individuality, not try to turn you into someone you’re not.

Hints and Tips for Effective Public Speaking

Here are just a few hints, public speaking tips and techniques to help you develop your skills and become far more effective as a public speaker.

Mistakes

Mistakes are all right.

Recovering from mistakes makes you appear more human.
Good recovery puts your audience at ease – they identify with you more.

Humour

Tell jokes if you’re good at telling jokes.
If you aren’t good, best to leave the jokes behind.
There’s nothing worse than a punch line that has no punch.
Gentle humour is good in place of jokes.
Self-deprecation is good, but try not to lay it on too thick.

Tell stories

Stories make you a real person not just a deliverer of information.
Use personal experiences to bring your material to life.
No matter how dry your material is, you can always find a way to humanise it.

How to use the public speaking environment

Try not to get stuck in one place.
Use all the space that’s available to you.
Move around.
One way to do this is to leave your notes in one place and move to another.
If your space is confined (say a meeting room or even presenting at a table) use stronger body language to convey your message.

Technology

Speak to your audience not your slides.
Your slides are there to support you not the other way around.
Ideally, slides should be graphics and not words (people read faster than they hear and will be impatient for you to get to the next point).
If all the technology on offer fails, it’s still you they’ve come to hear.

You can learn to enjoy public speaking and become far more effective at standing in front of a group of people and delivering a potent message.

When it comes to improving your public speaking skills we have three words:

practise, practise, practise!

Packing and crating services – get moving with toll free numbers

Packing and Crating Services – Get Moving with Toll Free Numbers

If you are moving your household and do not know where to search for packing and crating services, try locating a toll free numbers directory. You can make free calls to local craters and packers and inquire about their services. It is convenient and easy to dial a toll free number, get all your queries answered, and arrange for the service without having to pay a dime.

Packing and crating services take away the burden of dismantling, arranging, packing household goods, and making the actual delivery. They ensure all fragile goods are delivered safely without any damage.

Online toll free directories can make your task of locating a packing service easier. Just type in the keywords, or if you know the business name, any part of the business with your regional area, and press enter. The results page would show you all the packing and crating services by location near you.

Toll free numbers have gained in popularity due to their ease of use. Any kind of query related to packing and moving can be placed to be answered immediately or through a return call. In addition, all this comes for free. It is great for both the business and the customers to be able to communicate with so much ease, any time of the day.

An online toll free numbers directory is just like a yellow pages directory, except that it provides toll free numbers along with other standard details. The online version keeps the directory intact and makes it easy to browse with search tools and other facilities. The businesses and services can be located alphabetically, through business names, geographic location, or relevant keywords.

If you need to urgently contact a packer and mover, and need to know more about local services available, a toll free numbers directory or its online version can help you quickly browse through the list and make free inquiries.

For more information on toll free packing and crating services, visit packing and crating toll free numbers

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