Media relations inquiries about The Hackett Group should be directed to Gary Baker, Communications Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 917 796 2391.
A new report from The Hackett Group offers a five-stage plan for procurement managers to develop their operations from focusing on tactical sourcing to a more comprehensive value management approach.
This exclusive webcast presents important new research findings from The Hackett Group, a global strategic advisory firm. Study author Pierre Mitchell, Senior Business Advisory at The Hackett Group, will reveal how excellence in procurement and supply management leads to better business performance. Citing best practices from the industry leaders, he will outline a five-step plan to help supply management professionals make a bigger and better impact on their company's business strategy and overall performance. Attendees will get practical answers to such key questions as "What is the future of procurement and supply management?" and "How can I evolve my value proposition to sustain and improve long-term relevance?".
While costs remain one of the main reasons companies create shared-services organizations, a recent study found more strategic benefits resulting from such decisions. HR, in comparison to IT and finance, still lags in leveraging the shared-services model, but is seeing some increased use. According to Hackett HR Practice Leader Stephen Joyce, the real value of HR shared services moves beyond simple cost reduction and addresses issues such as customer satisfaction, effectiveness, and service.
Right now, companies all over America, in every industry, are beginning a dash for cash. They will go to great lengths to slash their working capital in the fourth quarter, in hopes of improving the cash flow number in their annual report. But these companies are caught in a vicious cycle. The gain is very short: working capital will soar again in the first quarter of 2008, as it has in the first quarter of the past five years. In this webcast, CFO.com Editorial Director Tim Reason discusses CFO magazine's 2007 Year-End Gamesmanship Scorecard with its authors, Steve Payne and Karlo Bustos of REL. They will discuss specific ways companies can break this cycle, and develop sustainable working capital improvements through improvements in compensation, incentive plans, supplier management, and internal financial reporting.
It's no secret that budgeting is the bane of the CFO's existence - an annual battle to wring information and concessions out of operating units while generating 45,000 spreadsheets that, in the end, provide a best-guess at the upcoming year's results. But time-consuming as it is, the budgeting-and-planning process is also one of the finance department's best opportunities to truly play the role of strategic partner to the business units. The top finance teams know this and are spending more on B&P even while their overall finance spend declines."There are two areas in finance where world-class organizations have actually increased spending relative to revenues. One of those is compliance, and the second is planning and analysis, " says Bryan Hall, finance practice leader at consulting firm The Hackett Group. The best finance departments, which Hackett defines as those that perform in the top 25 percent on a variety of efficiency and effectiveness metrics, have upped their B&P spending, and they devote 5 percent more of their total finance dollars to planning than average companies do - 23 percent versus 18 percent.
In these market-rattling, credit-crunching, confidence-sapping times, cash can be a very good thing for a company to have (although return-hungry shareholders might argue over how much). And indeed, Corporate America has amassed an impressive hoard over the past few years, as profits have soared. Yet, according to a new study done for CFO magazine, companies could be generating billions of dollars more in free cash flow. How many more billions? In theory, as much as $508 billion. That eyebrow-raising figure comes from REL, an Atlanta-based global research and consulting firm. Seeking to find out how efficiently companies generate cash from sales, REL analyzed the 2006 financials of the largest 1,000 U.S.-headquartered public companies (excluding the financial sector). The results form the inaugural CFO/REL Cash Masters Scorecard.
In this half-hour video interview, Hackett's Bryan Hall details Hackett's 2007 Finance Book of Numbers™ findings around the rising cost of finance at typical companies and the role that compliance has played.
Senior Business Advisor Penny Weller, who leads Hackett's Finance Shared Services Advisory Program, provides a 10-minute video primer on how the best companies use finance shared service centers to help drive improved efficiency and effectiveness.
For as long as there has been computers, servers and software, CIOs and IT managers have struggled to quantify the value they add to their businesses. In"Business Value: The Future Yardstick of IT Performance, " The Hackett Group outlined four basic principles for companies to follow when calculating the business value of IT investments over time.
Research by respected benchmarking company The Hackett Group paints a grim picture of the finance departments of 'average' companies. Its 2007 Book of Numbers™ for finance found that"world-class" organisations operate with less than half the staff in virtually every key area of finance. On top of this, the average Global 1,000 company now spends 12% more on its finance function than it did three years ago, with an increased focus and spending on compliance-related activities. World-class organisations, on the other hand, spend less than half that of average companies - savings which amount to $138m each.
In this Q&A, Chris Sawchuk, procurement practice leader for The Hackett Group, discusses Hackett's five-stage maturity model for procurement, which starts with getting the right goods and services and becomes more strategic at every level, ending with a stage in which procurement grows the business value from spend rather than just cutting procurement costs.
Editor Andrew K. Reese spotlights Hackett's Evolving Procurement research in his monthly column, discussing the issue of how companies often focus on short-term improvements in procurement costs, and lose out on longer-term opportunities, which can be far greater in impact.
The working capital games, that is. Right now, companies all over America, in every industry, are beginning a dash for cash. If past is prologue, many companies will go to great lengths to slash their working capital in the fourth quarter. The goal: to paint a beautiful picture of their cash flows by December 31 - one suitable for framing in the annual report. To that end, companies will grant extremely favorable terms to customers, and make liberal use of discounts and rebates. They will step up their collection efforts, even as they hold back on paying their vendors. They will push inventory orders back on suppliers. They will do everything they can, in short, to free up cash from receivables, payables, and inventory, the components of working capital. But after the dash for cash is over, working capital will return, and with a vengeance. The first quarter of 2008 will find many companies contemplating a dismal set of metrics - and the need to begin shrinking working capital all over again. To switch metaphors, companies are like crash dieters: they lose working capital rapidly, but just as rapidly gain it back.
In their rush to boost earnings, US companies rely on year-end gamesmanship, delaying payments and discounting product. But these efforts are counterproductive, and actually leave companies' balance sheets more than 20% worse off in the long run, according to research by REL. While the 1,000 largest U.S. companies boosted working capital by $100 billion in Q4 of fiscal 2006, the gain disappeared in Q1 of 2007, with working capital decreasing by $122 billion.
At the end of the year, many of the biggest companies will report big gains in the fourth quarter helped hit or eclipse financial targets for the year. A new study to be released argues investors should not be fooled, because many of these companies are skewing profits into the fourth quarter at the expense of the following quarter. Consulting firm REL analyzed the financial results of the 1,000 biggest companies -- excluding finance companies -- and determined working capital, or assets minus liabilities, improved by $100 billion collectively in the fourth quarter of last year.
That fact, well known among finance leaders, was confirmed by advisory firm The Hackett Group's recently released 2007 Finance Book of Numbers™ -a benchmarking study that analyzes the efficiency and effectiveness of corporate finance departments. The study found that after nearly a decade of cost reductions in the finance department, the average Global 1000 company spent 12% more last year on its finance function than it did three years ago. And the biggest driver of that increased cost was compliance-related activities.
U.S. companies tend to boost fourth-quarter sales by cutting prices and putting off paying bills, but their first-quarter results suffer as a result, straining ties with customers, suppliers and employees, according to a study from REL and CFO Magazine.
While many European companies appear robust from a financial perspective, they are not quite as healthy as one might think. Despite the growth in revenue and cash flow, the largest European companies became less effective at turning sales into cash in 2006, according to the 2007 Cash Masters analysis from REL/CFO Europe. While Europe's 1,000 largest companies saw total revenue increase by almost 11%, operating cash flow as a percentage of sales dropped by 5%.
Outsourcing providers that have seen their fortunes rocket as companies worldwide have looked to offshore providers to achieve the rapid business transformation that they themselves failed to achieve for years via process redesign, enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations and shared service initiatives. For many outsourcing customers, meanwhile, the term"labour arbitrage" has become common parlance as they have sought to locate business functions with providers working in geographies where wages are lower. According to Hackett Managing Director Joel Roques, the potential for companies to reduce costs by offshoring back office operations is dramatic, particularly when business processes are reengineered for improvement before they are taken offshore.
A new study shows companies continue to reduce working capital in time for the annual report, only to see it soar in the first quarter. REL President Stephen Payne tells CFO.com just how widespread the practice is.
Companies often game working capital because they're caught in a vicious cycle driven by compensation goals. REL President Stephen Payne tells CFO.com how companies can break the cycle.
How adept are most European companies at generating and managing cash? While it appears that 2006 was a great year for European business, with sales and profit growth, European companies weren't able to fully reap the rewards of this boom, according to new research by REL, a research and consulting firm. REL ranked the 1,000 largest European public companies, and found that their Cash Conversion Efficiency (CCE) declined for the second year in a row. This means that less Euros, relatively speaking, completed the journey through a company's cost structure and made their way onto the balance sheet.
In this Webcast, Hackett's Steve Joyce provides guidelines for effective talent management outsourcing. He explains that while very few organizations are outsourcing talent management from a holistic standpoint, they're more likely to outsource components of talent management, such as recruiting. (SHRM Member ID may be required for viewing)
"Cash is king" is a popular, often overused, refrain among CFOs, but some take the mantra more seriously than others. To gauge which companies are most adept at generating and managing cash, REL, a research and consulting firm, ranked the 1,000 largest listed companies with headquarters in Europe by their"cash conversion efficiency" (CCE), measured as cash flow from operations divided by sales. Combing through these companies' most recent annual financial statements, the inaugural REL/CFO Europe Cash Masters Scorecard also highlights the metrics underlying CCE, including gross margins, SG&A costs and net working capital, among others. At first glance, 2006 was a great year for business. Sales and profits at large European companies grew by double-digit percentages, while working capital and SG&A costs fell in relation to revenues. However, companies"weren't able to fully reap the rewards that could be expected, " according to Stephen Payne, president of REL. That's because CCE declined for the second year in a row, resulting in"fewer euros, relatively speaking, completing the journey through a company's cost structure and onto the balance sheet, " says Payne. In 2006, average CCE fell to 11.7%, from 12.4% in 2005.
In Hackett's latest Advisory Piece, Evolving the Value Proposition of Procurement: A Five Stage Model, Pierre Mitchell & Christopher Sawchuk present a five stage model (with three supply management stages and two customer management stages) that procurement executives can use to assess where they stand on the evolutionary scale of procurement service models.
When it comes to the never-ending battle against complexity in IT organizations, there's good news and there's bad news. The bad news is that information technology is in fact becoming more complex. Hackett Senior Business Advisor Eric Dorr contributes insights to this article.
Procurement organisations are faced with the growing challenge of delivering ever-increasing savings in the face of tightened supply markets, powerful suppliers, global supply market volatility, and equally volatile demands from customers who want"free, perfect and now". However, delivering the value when the"low-hanging fruit" has already been picked can be exasperating when procurement leaders are also dealing with issues such as the risk of internal budget cuts, reorganisations (for instance, the move to shared service models), poor IT support and outsourcing. A bylined article by Hackett Procurement Practice Leader Chris Sawchuk and Senior Business Advisor Pierre Mitchell.
Instead of outsourcing the entire payroll function, employers today can pick and choose which parts of the process to outsource. Many companies today are choosing to outsource select payroll processes, according to Hackett's Steve Joyce and Felicia Cheek.
Achieving excellence in talent management, by developing best-in-class internal systems or managing the outsourcing relationship with a service provider effectively, netted the average Fortune 500 company nearly a 15 percent improvement in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which amounts to almost $400 million annually, according to new research from the Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm. Online article and Webcast. (SHRM membership required)
A published letter to the editor from REL President Stephen Payne: Bill stickers: In response to new research from the Institute of Directors highlighting the damage caused to small and medium-sized enterprises by late payments from big companies, we would argue the IoD is oversimplifying the issue with somewhat of a one-sided viewpoint - empirical data show that the big companies are actually paying earlier.
While some executives may still doubt the importance of managing talent within their company, new research from The Hackett Group may persuade them of its importance. Hackett's research, which examines the linkage between overall financial performance and top-quartile performance in talent management, found that by excelling in talent management, companies can generate a nearly 15% improvement in Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA). For a typical $19 billion Fortune 500 company, this gap represents an opportunity of almost $400 million annually.
Most companies want to know the value that IT provides. But few companies do the legwork to calculate it. This article attempts to answer the question of why this happens. Hackett's Eric Dorr is one of several experts that are quoted.
Choose the best leader for the job if you want your company to attain financial success. That sounds easy enough, and it's commonly understood in the corporate world. However, many companies aren't practicing what The Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm, calls"talent management." In a new study, the firm reports that among the 500 largest public companies in the U.S., the average company could expect 15% higher earnings, or $400 million annually, if it did. In its analysis of companies' recruitment processes, The Hackett Group enumerates the performance benefits of fostering an internal talent pool and ultimately defines talent management as"the core process by which organizations identify talent needs and acquire, develop, manage and measure talent."
Centralizing benefits, payroll and other human resources functions not only saves money and improves customer service, it also frees HR professionals to provide more strategic support. Hackett HR Practice Leader Stephen Joyce and Hackett research metrics are spotlighted in this BusinessWeek research report.
The increased sourcing of goods and services from Asia brings with it some working capital issues. According to REL President Stephen Payne.
Does your company have a vice president for globalization or perhaps a chief globalization officer? It could be in the (business) cards. An increasing number of large corporations are creating full-time positions to oversee companywide offshoring and outsourcing, according to experts in the field. Hacket Chief Research Officer Michel Janssen is quoted in this article.
European companies achieved strong working capital improvement in 2006, according to REL, which compiles data for CFO Europe's annual scorecard. Days Working Capital (DWC) fell to a five-year low.
Maybe it's globalization. As U.S. companies source more goods from the far corners of the world, it makes sense that they would stock more inventory as a guard against potential breakdowns in their supply chains. Or maybe it's economic priorities. With corporate coffers bulging like overloaded transpacific freighters, finance executives could be taking their eye off second-tier metrics like inventory, payables, and receivables. Whatever the explanation, 2006 marked the first time in five years that the 1,000 largest publicly traded companies in the United States (excluding automakers) failed to decrease the amount of cash they had tied up in working capital relative to sales. In fact, by year-end 2006, working-capital days were actually up a smidgen: 38.8 days versus 38.7 at year-end 2005. This article provides in-depth coverage of findings from REL's annual Total Working Capital Survey of the top 1000 companies in the U.S.
In the business world today, cashflow is key. A new study by REL, a cash management consultancy reveals significant differences between the way US and European companies perform from a working capital perspective.
Big U.S. companies are stalling in their efforts to squeeze money from their businesses through better cash management. Some of the biggest publicly listed U.S. companies are now carrying a total of as much as $764 billion in excess working capital -- the cash used to finance the day-to-day operations of a business -- because of inefficiencies in the ways they collect on bills from customers, pay suppliers and manage inventory that is manufactured overseas, according to a survey by REL.
New research from the Hackett Group regarding best-in-class companies confirms this view. Not everyone may agree, but companies that consistently outperform their peers utilize IT more effectively, said Erik Dorr, a senior business advisor and one of the report's authors."This superior IT performance is actually only correlated with superior performance in other SG&A functions. So, for a lot of CIOs, they still are fighting this battle with their management. So this gives them some ammunition in hand to make the case that IT does matter."
In this Q&A, Hackett Senior Business Advisor Eric Dorr discusses the primary findings of Hackett's Technology ROI Book of Numbers™. With Eric Dorr, a senior business advisor with The Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm that provides research, benchmarking, and business transformation services that enable world-class performance across selling, general & administrative (SG&A) and supply chain activities.
Just when you thought you'd heard the last retort to"IT Doesn't Matter, " here comes yet another study that aims to debunk the infamous Nicholas Carr thesis. The study, from The Hackett Group, an advisory firm, makes a compelling argument for why IT matters based on empirical evidence.
Yes, Nicholas, people are still refuting your claim that"IT doesn't matter." In a 2004 article in the Harvard Business Review, Nicholas Carr challenged conventional wisdom, claiming that information technology is a commodity and that the greatest risk companies face is overspending on IT. The latest to discount that notion is The Hackett Group. In its latest"Book of Numbers™" edition the strategic advisory firm finds that world-class IT organizations -- those that achieve peak efficiency and effectiveness -- spend 7 % more per end-user on IT operations than typical companies, but on average, earn that amount back fivefold in lower operational costs.
Replacing manual and disjointed financial processes with an enterprisewide system cuts costs and improves operational performance. It's the rise of straight-through finance. This BusinessWeek Research report, which relies heavily on Hackett benchmark metrics, describes how companies can use finance automation to drive competitive advantage, reducing costs, improving productivity, and providing greater strategic insights. Hackett's Richard T. Roth is also quoted.
Judicious investments in the right initiatives and technologies can help turn a run-of-the-mill IT department into a world-class operation -- and finance can reap the benefits. Given the discussions in recent years about the supposed strategic irrelevance of IT and the"commoditization" of IT resources, it's perhaps no wonder that the function has been a primary target for companies' cost-containment efforts. New research from The Hackett Group suggests that it's a mistake to assume that when it comes to IT, less is more. Organizations that Hackett defines as"world-class" -- those that achieve peak efficiency and effectiveness in the strategic advisory firm's IT benchmark studies -- spend 7 percent more on IT operations than typical companies do.
At Penske Truck Leasing, and also at Unilever, offshoring has been an important part of their back office strategy. For these companies, the issue goes well beyond labor arbitrage, and is truly driven by opportunities to innovate, generate competitive advantage and achieve efficiencies that companies can't ignore. Last fall, Hackett researchers found that Fortune 500 companies could realize as much $116 million in savings annually by outsourcing functions such as finance, procurement, human resources and information technology. Now Hackett is finding that if companies redesign those processes first to better fit into global service models the savings swells to $182 million annually. This article profiles the offshoring activities of Penske and Unilever, and provides detailed insights from Hackett's latest offshoring research.
Turns out the back-office budget is a significant area where many companies are falling behind the leaders in their peer groups. According to The Hackett Group, top-performing companies allocate more resources to information technology while spending less on procurement, human resources and finance, enabling them to gain-and maintain-a distinct competitive advantage over the rest of the pack. This article also features highlights from a presentation by Unilever at the 17th Annual Hackett Best Practices Conference, discussing their comprehensive effort to consolidate and outsource finance operations, which has led the company to realize significant savings.
In the first-ever attempt to link talent management with financial performance, The Hackett Group connects the dots for HR and C-suite leaders. Gains of $400 million to the bottom line are a compelling reason to pay attention to talent.
Could there be a hidden financial downside to globalization? In this video interview, CFO Editor Tim Reason sits down with REL's Steve Payne, for a sneak preview of results from REL's annual working capital survey. Although REL's analysis is not complete, it appears that for the first time in nine years, U.S. companies appear to have failed to improve their working capital. Part of the blame may rest with increased use of offshore manufacturing, which has extended the supply chain and increased Days Inventory Outstanding.
For the CIO, it's the question that never goes away: Can value methodologies really prove IT's worth to the business? Hackett Senior Business Advisor Scott Holland is one of three experts in the article that weigh in on whether this is the impossible dream. According to Holland, it is possible for IT to drive significant value. But the value comes in places where CIOs don't generally look for it... in other parts of the business, including finance, procurement, and human resources.
Investing in the latest HR technology is not the end-all-and-be-all solution for increasing human resource services or lowering HR costs, says Stephen Joyce, HR practice leader for The Hackett Group, an Atlanta-based strategic advisory firm. More important is the need for HR professionals to create standardized processes for performing needed services, he says. Otherwise, the expected results will not materialize: Costs will not decrease, efficiencies will not occur, service will not necessarily improve and time will not be freed up for HR professionals to spend more time on strategic issues.
If excellence at talent management will be the key to success in the next decade, many companies face some tough going. Their talent-management functions are inconsistent, unfocused and largely reactive. Their attempts to attract and retain high-quality employees are, by their own admission, not nearly as effective as they need to be. By and large, they focus such efforts on senior management and high-potential employees -- leaving the majority of the workforce underserved. This bylined article by Hackett's Stephen Joyce and Jean Herreman presents high-level findings from a talent management study done in collaboration with Human Resource Executive Magazine.
If world-class is what you aspire for your HR organization, then discard any conventional wisdom about shared services-increasingly the precursor to full-blown HR outsourcing. That's because companies too often lump centralized services in with shared services-a mistake that leads to missed opportunities to generate greater savings and happier employees at the same time. The Hackett Group, recently found that properly implemented shared services can reduce HR process costs by up to 80 percent while also boosting satisfaction, productivity, and quality of service. The Atlanta-based corporate benchmarking firm also concluded in its running survey of world-class organization that their HR spend is 13 percent lower and their HR-to-staff ratio is 15 percent smaller than others.
Most companies focus on the past and present simply because that's all their technology allows them to do. BI tools generally provide little or no insight into the future. And in the quest to supercharge results and embrace business performance management (BPM), that's simply not good enough. This article includes insights from Hackett's research and advisory expertise.
Robert Nardelli's ouster as CEO of Home Depot has some questioning whether Six Sigma (which he was a strong advocate of) has been oversold as a process improvement methodology. A recent study of finance shared-services organizations by The Hackett Group found that while fully 86 percent of them use Six Sigma or similar continuous-improvement methodologies, they generally achieve only incremental gains. To achieve what Hackett calls"world-class" performance, companies can't rely on Six Sigma alone; they must regard it as a specialized tool suitable to certain needs but far from a cure-all. This article also includes comments from Scott Webster, VP of Global Business Solutions at Medtronics (a Hackett client).
This overview on IT budget projections and priorities for 2007 includes strategic insights from Hackett's Scott Holland. Holland discusses how CIOs can increase their chances of getting approval for budget requests. One key strategy, says Holland, is to focus on how IT spending is helping cut costs in other back-office areas, including finance, human resources, and procurement.
In recent years, companies have turned to business performance management (BPM) to gain a better understanding of their internal operations and boost financial performance. However, launching an initiative and making sure that it succeeds requires a coherent strategy, substantial resources and an ongoing commitment. Increasingly, businesses understand that it's beneficial to factor ROI projections into the upfront business case for BPM and tie financial metrics into BPM processes and systems.
Shared Services Organizations can help HR organizations reduce process costs by up to 80 percent, while generating similar improvements in internal customer satisfaction, productivity and quality, according to the 2006 Enterprise Book of Numbers™ research released by the Atlanta-based Hackett Group, a strategic advisory firm.
This profile of the decision by Church's Chicken to offshore their entire finance operation includes insights on the globalization trend from Hackett Chief Research Officer Michel Janssen.
Apart from the very largest multinationals, use of sophisticated business performance management systems is relatively low. But the software has risen to a high priority among IT managers, and this year may see a surge in implementation. This article includes several data citiations from Hackett's Enterprise Performance Management Book of Numbers™.
Moving from an HR department to an outsourcing company after an HR BPO deal is made can be a daunting, even life-altering experience. This article includes insights and guidance on making the shift in perspective from Hackett's Michel Janssen.
This supply chain Blogger covered his conversation with Hackett Procurement Practice Leader Chris Sawchuk, and Hackett's latest procurement research.
Media relations inquiries about The Hackett Group should be directed to Gary Baker, Communications Director at email@example.com or +1 917 796 2391.