In today's fast changing world, business is not just a cake walk or goodwill tour that one lands, grabs the opportunity and then vanishes. Myopic approach is suicidal. Truly, success means a long-term phenomenon --- continuous market scans and adapting to change-friendly approaches. Strategies existing today may not be liked by the next generation and thus quick adaptability system is required to remain in-built.
Global business arena has been changing very fast making it difficult for the poor-walkers to retain the market. There is a lot of noise out there. Merger/amalgamation/ tie-up arrangements/outsourcing are being watched out --- still something more is needed and that too on an urgent basis, especially for local banks, considering the existence of a very competitive world where there are many hungry competitors --- the number too is going up by leaps and bounds.
In today's business world, competition comes in many forms: price/service/quality/ speed of delivery/uniqueness/experience/ knowledge/contacts/resources/ brand equity, so on and so forth. Boosting of service quality, keeping in view the very nature of effective demand, is the crying need. The challenge is not only to acquire the customer, but also to retain him in the business for furthering the process of improved customer value. What is more: the fact remains that the market share once gone would be very difficult to regain as not only the number of CORE (Competitors, Opponents, Rivals and Enemies) is on the rise but technology also is being continuously replaced or is on a continuously changing positions.
And of course the formula for trade-off comes into play in such a vital context.
Be it a commodity marketing or services marketing, ultimately it is the quality that matters. Quality is nothing but a summation of cost and time. Changing any one of these variables would lead to changing the outcome. If the amount of time is shortened to complete the assignment, either the cost is to be increased or quality is to be lowered. Quality refers to identifying the quality standards relevant to the assignment and determining how to measure and satisfy them.
Managing capital and risk exist at the front door. Tapping the high growth opportunities ensuring capital efficiency stays thus at the forefront. Essentially, before the broad objectives/strategies are set the crucial aspects are to be kept in mind. The risk factor, that is to say determining the risks is likely to affect the implementation and evaluating possible responses. Business without risk is similar to day without night. It is just like sugar and salt in life.
Consolidation would definitely continue to be the key factor --- but obviously is not the end as is presently thought of, rather the tip of an iceberg. Tying up/amalgamation/ merger with the stronger is definitely one of the way outs. But what are the things that are to be done thereafter: have the problems faced by the regional rural banks been solved after the mergers which are already taking place in a big way? Actually, in today's unprecedented talent crunch, the business world as a whole is grappling with developing leadership, talent, risk awareness and, of course, the very task of building up or inculcating positive change-adapting attitude.
Next, the very aspect of communication comes into play --- what information each stakeholder/customer need and how to deliver the same. Organisations' roles and responsibilities exist in such a boiling context as one of the major determinants: roles, assignments, relationships to make sure that the right people are assigned with the right job, especially if the crucial arenas are accounted for (like manpower utilisation, Non Performing Assets' recovery/recovery management, capital shortages. Are credit, market, liquidity as well as operational risk factors positively and appropriately encountered?
Why not try with the joint endeavours in a more pronounced way --- maybe with the telephone, insurance, non-conventional energy agency, post offices having a reach deep and wide, and also by resorting to PPP (public private partnership) drive? Otherwise, watch like a silent spectator and be ready to capsize. The market share is gone. Crying over spilled milk does not help anyway.
In such a process it is also as clear as anything --- the stakeholders cannot shark off the responsibility, obviously, under the ongoing facts and circumstances. Measures already taken are good beginnings only --- the need is there to continuously changing the strategies best suited under a given situation.
Obvious enough, the choice of strategy also depends on facts and circumstances - may be one particular strategy becomes outdated or calls for supplements not necessarily by discarding the older ones. This renovation is thus a continuous process. The redesigning of existing processes can effectively lead to dramatic enhancements in performance that enables the organisation to deliver greater value to customers in ways that also generate higher profits to the stakeholders.
The happenings thus require a conscious and undivided attention. A well-groomed strategy could not only help protect the fund deployed, but also enable it to face competition through customers' confidence building.
Time management aspects call for serious consideration irrespective of size of the institution, obvious enough!
The issue is a burning one, inasmuch as the same not only affects liquidity, profitability and equity of the individual company; but also affects the national economy by freezing the supply link also, which, in turn, terribly affects the process of capital formation.
Is it not the fact that the path to success is an elaborate one? A long journey before one comes out of the tunnel indeed. Tasks remain unending: (a) building credibility; deciding on what to do; identifying the competitive edge; locating what makes service successful; understanding what makes service fail; what makes ourselves stand out (b) knowing about our customers and prospects : who need us --- at the market, in order of importance , whom do we want to be our customers, whom we don't want , where are they, how do we get to them, when is the best time to get to them, what turns them on and of course what turns them off. It is the goodwill ladder that is to be climbed. One only gets a single chance to make a first impression, and to most of the demanders first impression becomes the last impression - rightly or wrongly! The fact remains --- the world wants to see the results only. What good is more business if you don't get paid?
So, focusing on, measuring and redesigning the customer-facing and internal processes' improvements could be there in areas like cost, quality, speed, profitability and other key areas.
Arranging for such change-over calls for more than rearranging work-flows --- which does what tasks, in what locations, as well as in what sequences.
For making the new process work the need is there to ensure that the jobs are redefined broadly backed by updated training system to support these jobs and at the same time enabling decision making. The process and the outcome are to be studied for next course of action.
The broad areas under such a change-over method include, among others: reshaping organisational cultures to emphasise team performance, fixation of personal accountability, customer's importance; managers overseeing the tasks rather than supervising; and realigning the information system so that the cross-functional processes work smoothly.
Even when the business process outsourcing (BPO) is resorted to the need remains as to managing the outsourced matters. Process implementation road map must be developed.
Business processes must become more mature and the institution must be able to deliver higher performance - spatially, temporally, hierarchically and functionally. Obviously, to achieve the same the starting point is designing (the comprehensiveness of the specifications as to how the process is to be executed); followed by the performers (people executing the process based on skill and knowledge); owner (persons shouldering the responsibility for the process as well as the results); infrastructure (information / M I S that supports the process); and, of course, the metrics (the measures the company uses to track the process's performance).
For developing high-performance processes, institutions need to offer supportive environments. It is the competent institutions that emerge as victor; while others struggle to keep the heads above water.
Enterprise capabilities are the crucial factors for the ultimate achievement --- leadership (executives who support the creation of processes); culture (values of customer focus, teamwork, personal accountability and, of course, the very willingness to change); expertise (skills/ methodology for process design); and governance (the very mechanisms for managing complex projects and change initiatives).
Dr. B. K. Mukhopadhyay, a management economist, is Principal, Eminent College of Management and Technology, Kolkata, India.