The Fresh Produce Company specialises in wholesale auctioning to the retail fruit and vegetable trade. The company has two big sales each week, on Mondays and Thursdays; the sales on the other days are much smaller. To enable the sale to start at 8am on Monday and Thursday much work has to be done on the previous day. For this reason Fresh Produce opens from 4pm to 7pm on Sundays and Wednesdays. This enables the bulk of the vegetables to be on the floor, ready for selling the following morning.
The company hires extra staff five university students on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Kevin, a permanent employee, is in charge and has been part of the team for six months. Kevin does not really get along with the others, but this seems to be his choice, rather than rejection by the rest.
Before Kevin arrived things were going well. The workers liked their work and generally did a good job. The job was basically unloading trucks using wheel barrows. The first sign of trouble appeared about three months after Kevin arrived. There wer
Anne Riches is a consultant who has been in executive management positions for 25 years, including president of the NSW Women Lawyers Association and national councillor for the Australian Association of Philanthropy. A former lecturer in industrial law at the University of Sydney, she is a barrister and has published three books on law. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Graduate School of Business, University of Sydney. She is an associate fellow of AIM.
AIM: You have moved from teaching law to working in a number of corporate positions, to becoming a consultant. Is there a pattern?
Riches: Much of my career was around being regarded as a change agent. I was often asked to be involved in change or start up situations, somebody must have thought I was suited to it. When I left the University of Sydney I was the Australian Medical Association’s first assistant secretary general. Then I was the first to be in the role of education director for the Judicial Commission in New South Wales. Then I moved to a law firm and
Downsizing and outsourcing create demand for managers able to deal with complexity. By James Dunn
Next time you watch an Aussie rules football game, spare a thought for the tasks the average player must perform. The first is to run around within an oval boundary to take possession of the ball, kick it or punch it to team-mates and eventually kick it between a set of upright posts; all the while keeping it away from opponents, who want to gain possession of it through the expedient of manhandling the person carrying the ball.
The second task is to swap to the opponents role should possession of the ball be lost. While doing all these tasks the player must keep running around the oval, exhibiting an aerobic fitness capacity that is world-class in terms of professional athletes.
Yes, the Australian Football League player has truly become multi-skilled. But he has also been subjected to the other management revolutions of the 1990s downsizing and outsourcing.
Each team has had its total numbers cut from 52 a few yea
Ron Anderson was a young graduate when he was appointed deputy manager in the production department of Scott International. He had been a supervisor in a similar company before deciding to take up full-time study to improve his managerial skills.
Scott International is a large reputable company that manufactures and supplies springs to customers ranging from scale manufacturers to car manufacturers. It was set up about 40 years ago as a small garage by the Scott brothers, who are now on the board of directors. The company holds several substantial contracts, covering about 70% of the local market for the product. Scott International has five departments: accounts, sales, production, marketing and personnel. Each department manager is responsible for meeting his department’s budget allocations. The general manager is responsible to the board of directors.
The company has no marketing problems and sells well in advance by contract everything it can produce. The buyers deal with the company mainly because of its reliability
Barbara Derham is director of Derham’s Foreshore Motor Inn in Whyalla. She has had 28 years experience in the accommodation industry, and was the first woman to chair Flag International, of which she remains a board member. She was the deputy mayor of the City of Whyalla and is a member of the Tourism Commission of South Australia. She has held many civic positions. She is married with four children. During the interview she was working at the motor inn switchboard to get some front-line experience, which she does once a month. She was interrupted by seven phone calls.
AIM: What do you consider the most important elements of management?
Derham: I would say having good leadership skills and being a good communicator and a good listener.
AIM: What do you understand “good leadership” to mean?
Derham: I see leadership as being concerned with setting a good example, whether it be in behavior, dress or manners. I don’t believe a good manager can lead unless they can do the job themselves: if you
There is no simple formula for credit control: it is a question of constant diligence. By Neil Macdonald
Neglect has been the cause of many business failures. It can happen that a business places itself at risk by the problem of rapidly mounting debtors accounts, particularly where one or two major clients who have previously proved reliable encounter cashflow difficulties.
This phenomenon is particularly evident in times of tight liquidity, when even long-standing clients can let a company down. The business’s reluctance to call a halt, and to withhold the supply of goods and services until some arrangement has been made to settle the arrears, is likely to cost them dearly, and place their own futures in jeopardy. Experience shows that this particularly applies where major building and construction contractors are involved.
Clear credit guidelines should be established prior to accepting business. Where relevant, these should include a Romalpa Clause in the Conditions of Sale, ie an agreement whereby the goods su
While physicists argue the possibilities of the existence of multiple universes, big business is creating multiple universities. By Leon Gettler
In Lilliput and Brobdingnag, Gulliver discovered that growth is not everything. But Jonathan Swift’s hero probably learned something even more important when he visited Laputa.
There he discovered linguists streamlining language by cutting polysyllables into one. These learned scholars were developing a type of discourse that left out verbs and participles. This was based on the understanding that every word was in effect a noun because it named something. In fact, some linguists were even working on eliminating words altogether and having men carry around the things being named.
Knowledge, we are told, is the essence of competitive advantage. But as Gulliver discovered, there is no advantage in knowledge without wisdom. A detailed linear didactic underpinned by a rigid world view is no way of staying ahead of the pack.
Hence the emphasis on the so-called “le
Co-operative Whitegoods makes electric and gas kitchen cookers. It once formed part of Stockton Industries, which also made enamel baths, basins and sanitary wares.
In 1989 Stockton decided to sell the cooker division. However, no buyer responded to Stockton’s offer, at which point it decided to close the division, and sell the factory and land.
The workers investigated the market with a view to forming their own company. Market research showed that prospects were good. So a deal was arranged between the division’s management, the workers and Stockton.
At the end of 1989, the new company was incorporated. More than 50% of the shares in the company were in the hands of management and the directors it elected. However, all workers bought shares. The factory and land were bought through a secured loan from Stockton.
The company employs 430 people, and most are process-workers. About 63% were born outside Australia, and many others are the children of immigrants. The workforce is almost evenly divided bet
The Reverend Doctor Gordon Moyes is superintendent of the Wesley Mission, the largest local-church organisation in Australia. He hosts the weekly television program Turn Round Australia and a four-hour weekly talk-back radio program Sunday Night Live with Gordon Moyes. He is president of the Rotary Club of Sydney, a member of the 1996 Prime Minister’s National Task Force on Youth Homelessness, and chairman of the board of several media and insurance companies. He has been married to Beverly since 1959 and has four children.
AIM: Why have you shown such an interest in management?
Moyes: As a minister of religion I undertook a study in the mid-1960s to see why churches in Australia do not usually grow beyond 250 people. In the United States churches often have between 5000 and 10,000 people. In South Korea, it can be in the hundreds of thousands. I concluded that it is because ministers are not taught management skills. So I went to some management courses at AIM and the Mount Eliza Business School.
AIM: Did you con
Every manager needs to master the skills for chairing a meeting. An effectively chaired meeting will have the participants leaving with a sense of accomplishment and a clear understanding of future direction and task. Here are some pointers.
Start on Time
When you wait for newcomers, you penalise those who have arrived on time and you reward late arrivals. Before long, everyone will arrive late. So, how do you get people to your meetings on time? Start on time! Always.
Get the meeting off to a business-like start
Welcome other participants, introduce them and yourself. If necessary, explain their roles. Clarify the objectives of the meeting, ensuring that each member understands the task and is aware of the expertise available in the group.
Preview and confirm the agenda
Check that each member publicly agrees with the stated objective of each item, ensuring that all irrelevant or hidden agendas become redundant. Indicate the successful criteria for a meeting and how the group will decide or know when t