Media relations inquiries about The Hackett Group should be directed to Gary Baker, Communications Director at email@example.com or 917 796 2391.
U.S. IT job loss may level off in coming years, but the likelihood that corporate IT will ever contribute to job creation again is minimal, according to a recent study by the Hackett Group. CIO.com talked to Hackett's lead researchers about what's driving IT jobs offshore, what roles will remain stateside, and why some American IT professionals may have to send their resumes to China.
German chemicals company Altana found itself in a strong position to ride out the recent global economic crisis, as the result of an overhaul to their working capital program promoted by by a shift in company direction in 2007. The company worked closely with the REL division of The Hackett Group to analyze working capital improvement opportunities, and determine how to best take advantage of them.
A recovering economy won't restore office jobs lost in the recession because businesses have found foreign workers or technology to do those jobs for less. The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in November, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8% from 9.6% the prior month. Private-sector hiring totaled 50,000 jobs, about half the level economists predicted, despite a rising trend of corporate revenue and profits.
A pickup in holiday spending and improving manufacturing data suggested the recovery was building strength. But the jobless numbers show most of the unemployed aren't catching the wave. One reason: Companies are continuing to cut office staff even as business recovers, according to research by corporate finance and management consultants at The Hackett Group.
President Obama's tour of Asia last month highlighted India as an economic force, a decade after the rise of its offshore outsourcing industry. Obama got a standing ovation in India's parliament - but many unemployed Americans were booing back home. The U.S. elections again had heated rhetoric about jobs moving to India and China, as politicians pounced on voter anger over the listless economy and high unemployment.
But while those are real problems, offshoring is a reality of global business today and will only accelerate, say observers and a new study. In 2008 and '09, more than 1 million jobs in the U.S. and Europe were lost to offshore providers in the fields of information technology, finance, human resources and more, with about 310,000 coming from IT. So says a new study by the Hackett Group, a strategic advisory and consulting firm.
A new report on human-capital effectiveness finds HR costs for organizations are rebounding to pre-recession levels. But does that mean the war for talent is back on? According to Harry Osle, the global HR advisory practice leader at The Hackett Group, while HR costs have risen slightly for typical companies over the past few years, top performers have actually reduced the cost of HR per employee significantly.
Programmers, data center operators and application developers: Take heed. The facts are hard to ignore. When it comes to where business and job growth are happening in the world, it's not in the U.S, according to a report from the Hackett Group--a strategic advisory company that benchmarks global business trends and tracks the offshore job market.
From a promotion point of view, this could turn out to be the longest holiday-shopping season on the books, giving consumers a host of deals from which to choose right up until Christmas. Though retailers' shelves are better stocked now than they were last year, it is still not wise to wait too long.
"We're seeing plans for promotional activity that's very aggressive early in the season to right after the holidays," said David Sievers, strategy and operations practice leader for Archstone Consulting, a retail consulting division of the Hackett Group. "Retailers have better control over their businesses this year and are anticipating growth," he said. "They're taking less risk."
Clyde Dornier of the Hackett Group's Procurement Transformation Practice speaks to Business Finance editor-in-chief Jack Sweeney about how organizations can increase savings on their indirect spending.
One reason the unemployment rate is refusing to budge can be found right in the finance, HR, IT, and procurement departments of many companies. Between 2008 and 2010, European and North American companies with revenues of $1 billion or more shed 1.4 million jobs across these functions, according to a recent analysis by The Hackett Group.
The recession may be technically over and IT spending may rise slightly in 2011 and beyond, but U.S. and European IT workers won't benefit. The technology jobs created and reinstated by the economic recovery will be in India, China, and other countries with cheaper workers. In fact, an additional 600,000 American and European jobs in IT will disappear in the five years from 2010 through 2014, on top of the 500,000 lost in the 2008-09 period. That's according to bleak research released today by the Hackett Group, a consultancy specializing in helping companies save costs through techniques that, ironically, include outsourcing. "There's no end in sight for the jobless recovery in business functions, such as IT and corporate finance, in large part due to the accelerated movement of work to India and other offshore locations," the report says.
Offshore outsourcing in information technology, finance and other back office functions such as human resources has nixed 1.1 million jobs since 2008 and will result in another 1.3 million positions lost by 2014, according to research from The Hackett Group.
Over two years after the start o f the Great Credit Crisis, banks are still not lending money. But big businesses know exactly where to go for a quick, interest-free loan ... the little guy. Even as corporate profits recover, big companies continue to squeeze their small vendors, stretching out payment terms and writing late checks.
CFOs are restructuring finance departments in various ways, an effort that seems likely to continue even as the recession fades. A combination of increasing automation, new business models, and offshoring has pushed down the average size of a finance staff by 30% over the past six years - to 92 people per $1 billion in revenue - according to business benchmarking and executive advisory firm The Hackett Group. According to Hackett Chief Research Officer Michel Janssen, "This is not about, 'How many jobs can I save?' It's about, 'How can I save my company?'". The article also quotes from executives at Burger King, NetSuite, Eastman Chemical , and others.
Tight-fisted Americans may be ready to explode. Retail experts are predicting a much better holiday shopping season than last year, largely due to pent-up demand. Since the worst recession since the Great Depression began at the end of 2007, Americans have kept their hands on their wallets, sending sales plummeting and giving the Grinch a run for his money. But Archstone Consulting, the strategy and operations consulting division of The Hackett Group, says all that's about to change. In a holiday shopping report, Archstone predicts 1.5 percent growth. That compares to only 0.4 percent last year and a 3.9 percent drop in 2008.
Through an intensive working capital improvement program, executed with the help of The REL Consultancy, Bayer has improved net cash flow by €5.4bn and reduced net finance debt by nearly a third. This profile provides an in-depth look at their activities.
Cytec VP and CFO David Drillock admits he was skeptical before setting up a shared services center to process general ledger work. But the $3 billion global supplier of specialty chemicals and materials based in New Jersey moved ahead, with the help of consulting and advice from The Hackett Group. Today, it's shared service center in the tiny Baltic nation of Latvia is going strong, delivering on a business case that includes: improvements in corporate strategy; working capital management optimization; new levels of service quality, accuracy, and timeliness; improved controls and compliance; reduced administrative effort; and lower costs. Mr. Drillock shared his insights at The Hackett Group's European Best Practices Conference in London.
In April 2010, Bank of Ireland completed a €3.56billion (£3.16 billion) fund raising effort. Andrew Keating, the bank's director of group finance, calls it "probably the single most complex piece of capital raising in Irish history". A key success factor in the effort was the fact that Bank of Ireland had just completed a two-year process transformation of the finance function, which began in 2007. Bank of Ireland worked with The Hackett Group, which advised on cost reduction and transformation strategies, and helped design the bank's new finance model. Mr. Keating shared his insights at The Hackett Group's European Best Practices conference in London.
Today, in the wake of the downturn's surprise bite and in an economy that leaves no hint as to what's around the next turn, finance has been handed an urgent edict to stop spending so much time reporting what's already occurred and to start informing management about what's yet to happen. In this Webcast, Jason Balogh, Principal, Enterprise Performance Management Transformation for Archstone Consulting, a division of The Hackett Group, joins Business Finance Editor in Chief Jack Sweeney to discuss how integrated BPM solutions are now transforming forecasting and planning, by empowering companies to achieve their key performance objectives. The Webcast also looks at how competitive BPM best practices and solutions are helping finance organizations to raise their forecasting IQ, allowing finance professionals to view and respond to forecast variances sooner and more effectively.
Supply chain strategy and finance programs are flowing into the mainstream as a working capital management solution that keeps suppliers afloat in a rough credit environment. This article features insights from REL Source-to-Settle Practice Leader Shawn Taoufiki and Hackett Procurement Executive Advisory Practice Leader Kurt Albertson, along with guidance from executives at DHL Global Business Services, Citi Global Transaction Services, Revere Industries, J.P. Morgan, and others.
In this Q&A, Felicia Cheek, Director of Global Payroll Practice, Hackett Group, offers insights into how multinational companies can take advantage of global payroll outsourcing to set up reliable Global Business Services, as long as they also build a robust shared services delivery model.
Hackett's Pierre Mitchell and Spend Matters Jason Busch discuss hew research by The Hackett Group shows that top performing organizations drive over 70% higher savings on non-core expenditures to the bottom line by implementing a rigorous and pervasive cost optimization and savings visibility process.
Purchasing departments are set to see a wave of outsourcing as they struggle to focus on higher-value activities within their organisation and improve procurement strategy. Chris Sawchuk, global procurement practice leader at consultancy and business benchmarking firm The Hackett Group. Addressing delegates at the eWorld Purchasing & Supply Conference in London, Sawchuk said that buying teams had so far under-used external expertise and services relative to other business support departments.
It isn't easy for giant companies to make a 180-degree turn in their merchandising strategies through process transformatio. But Wal-Mart US is in the process of doing just that, said Bill Simon, the retail chain's new president and chief executive officer, at a Goldman Sachs conference two weeks ago. Throughout 2009, said Simon, Wal-Mart moved aggressively to slash the types of products on its shelves - in industry parlance, it was engaged in a massive "SKU rationalization." According to Archstone's Bob Allen and Hanna Hamburger, consumer packaged goods companies setting aggressive revenue targets for new products can benefit by institutionalizing the process of SKU rationalization.
The procurement function has certainly proved its worth over the past few years, as many organisations cut costs rapidly to survive the economic downturn. But opinion is still firmly divided on the economic outlook for the next few years, with the only consensus being unpredictability. So would the same purchasing efficiencies be available second time around, if a 'double-dip' recession takes shape? Or will procurement's contribution quickly be forgotten if a global recovery emerges instead? Chris Sawchuk from The Hackett Group puts forward the case for a new value proposition that can cope with un! precedent ed levels of uncertainty - challenging existing models in favour of increased flexibility and agility throughout the procurement and supply chain functions.
Most CEOs typically have a different background than their CIOs. The classic CEO is the stuff of the Wharton School of Business. The CIO is often more comfy with folks from MIT. While your skill sets are most often complementary, let's admit that there are certain CIO characteristics that may be driving your CEO, well, a bit crazy. The Hackett Group's Honorio Padrón is one of two experts that contributed to this slide show.
This article, which includes quotes from The Hackett Group Managing Director of Global HR Strategy & Transformation Harry Osle, offers three ways to measure human resource costs, discusses key hr metrics and insights on what to do with the numbers.
Many HR professionals share dissatisfaction and frustration as they try to make shared services live up to expectations. This cover story examines the results from SHRM's 2010 Shared Services Survey and the pros and cons of hr outsourcing,and includes extensive insights from The Hackett Group Managing Director of Global HR Transformation Harry Osle.
Part two of a Webcast with REL (See June 24 below for part one). This part features REL's Brian Shanahan discussing how financial directors can start to build a strategic approach to cash flow management and working capital management.
The Nordic region is growing as a hub for Shared Services and business process outsourcing activity. This interview with Tom Bangemann, Vice-President of Business Transformation at The Hackett Group, explores the challenges facing businesses looking to offshore and why the Nordic region holds growing appeal. As an expert in the field, Tom discusses how he sees the Shared Services industry developing over the next few years. This interview was done in preparation for the Nordic Shared Services and Outsourcing Forum 2010, which takes place in Copenhagen Sept 14-15.
In this three-part video, Hackett Global Managing Principal, Procurement & Process Transformation Chris Sawchuk is joined by executives from AMR, IDC, and Saugatuck Technologies for this discussion, from the Ariba Live 2010 conference.
Hackett's Gilles Bonelli joins IBM's Delbert Krause for this analysis of the impact world-class organizations derive in optimizing their performance measurement systems. During the Webinar, the two executives discuss how business intelligence capabilities provide a framework for effective decision making and consistent performance optimization management. The Webinar also covers how companies can rethink the Service Delivery Model for reporting in order to address both the supply and demand for management information, and also automate and sustain a renewed reporting ecosystem to optimize performance.
Organizations are under ever-increasing pressure to deliver accurate and timely financial and operational information to a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders. Yet, given the reality that finance resources and budgets will continue to be cut, this goal must be achieved at the lowest possible cost. In this IBM-sponsored Webcast, The Hackett Group Enterprise Performance Management Program Leader Tom Willman will review the impact world-class organizations derive in optimizing their performance measurement systems and the steps taken to achieve operational excellence.
Brief insights from Sean Kracklauer, President - Advisory Services and Research, in video filmed at Hackett's 2010 Best Practices Conference.
Brief insights from Sean Kracklauer, President - Business Advisory Services and Research, in video filmed at Hackett's 2010 Best Practices Conference.
An extended interview with Sean Kracklauer, President - Advisory Services and Research, in video filmed at Hackett's 2010 Best Practices Conference.
Debt collection agency Deca Financial Services LLC, which was formed last year, chose a cloud provider for its IT operations, after addressing issues such as IT strategy, security, service level guarantees, and disaster recovery capabilities. According to Honorio Padron of The Hackett Group Inc, Deca's experience is becoming more common, as companies recognize the cloud's ability to enable them to adjust IT budgets to match changes in corporate revenue.
A new kind of IT organization has emerged in the wake of the recession -- one that has reduced fixed IT costs by using on-demand strategies, according to a new study from The Hackett Group.
In the wake of the recession, IT is replacing fixed costs with on-demand strategies and processes that can handle cost variability so it can be positioned to take advantage of business opportunities as they minimize risks in a today's high-volatility economy. How? By exploiting new service delivery models such as cloud computing that help an enterprise respond faster, according to new research by The Hackett Group.
CFOZone Editor Ron Fink cites his conversation with Molson Coors CFO Stewart Glendinning at the 2010 Hackett Best Practices Conference in this blog posting.
Organisations are increasing risk and inefficiency by failing to define and implement optimal purchase-to-pay (P2P) process flows by spend category, research has revealed. The Hackett Group found that only 63 per cent of world-class organisations have defined the P2P transactional channels they feel are optimal, compared with 53 per cent of their peer group. These percentages are low and have a negative impact on the overall organizational procurement strategy and performance, according to Hackett.
An indepth video interview on outsourcing strategy with Ron Eikelenbloom, CFO of Philips Latin America, from The Hackett Group's 2010 Best Practices Conference, outsourcing consulting session.
In this video, Sean Kracklauer, President - Business Advisory Services and Research, discusses insight's from The Hackett Group's research into the impact of the recession on corporate finance, and how companies are moving forward from the standpoint of improving effectiveness and efficiency.
With revenue gains still something of a pipe dream for most businesses, owners are looking for ways to squeeze as much cash flow as possible out of their existing operations. It's a simple enough formula: collect your receivables as fast as possible and slow down your payables without jeopardizing your relationship with suppliers. Still, some companies are much better at it than others: Top-performing companies collected from customers 17 days more quickly than typical companies in 2009 and stretched payables by an additional 10 days, according to REL, a consultancy focused on improving cash flow and working capital and a division of the Hackett Group. REL's Analis a DeHaro provides the lion's share of the analysis and input for the five tips included in this article.
REL's Daniel Windaus offers The latest findings from the annual REL survey of European working capital, which shows companies suffering an expansion of their cash requirement while capital remains hard to come by. Mr. Windaus explains how finance functions can minimize their working capital requirements by working more closely with a variety of business units - and developing sound processes and systems to help them manage for cash.
REL Americas President Mark Tennant and Business Finance Editor in Chief Jack Sweeney discuss research showing how companies struggle to achieve accuracy in cash forecasting, and business best practices companies use to identify forecasting obstacles, improve organizational alignment, and enhance measurement and business performance management accuracy.
Indepth German-language coverage of the 2010 REL 1000 analysis of the working capital performance of the largest public companies in Europe. The three articles in this two-page spread focus in part of the performance of DAX companies. The lead story also includes quotes and information from several German companies, including SAP, Bayer, Salzgitter and Klöckner. Separate article in the spread focus on the performance of small- and medium-sized companies in the DAX, and on the performance of German companies in comparison to those in other countries of Europe. (Note: The underlying research materials are also available directly from REL, with free registration, here www.relconsultancy.com/workingcapital)
Money is nice. But attention, recognition and the chance to learn new skills are the key to keeping top performers on board as the job market improves, experts say. According to The Hackett Group's Harry Osle, one strong hr strategy companies can use is to go personal and communicate. Employees "will be more hesitant to make a jump if they feel like they're part of a family, an organization that's investing in them," Osle said.
According to a recent study by REL, only 34 % of industries posted an improvement in days working capital (DWC) last year, and most companies took a big hit in working capital performance as collections slowed and inventory grew. REL President Mark Tennant outlines some business best practices designed to improve DWC, while discussing the study's findings with Business Finance editor in chief Jack Sweeney.
Cytec Industries CFO David Drillock speaks with Business Finance Editor in Chief Jack Sweeney about how Cytec achieved $200 million in working capital improvements as part of an aggressive working capital management strategy, accomplished with the support of REL. Recorded last month at The Hackett Group's 20th Annual Best Practices Conference.
Bank of America Corp., the largest US bank by assets, plans to boost its procurement spending on small, mid-size, and minority-owned businesses by $10 billion over the next five years to help support job growth. According to Hackett's Kurt Albertson, the bank benefits by aiding small- to mid-size businesses, which make up a key customer base, despite the fact that the decision runs counter to the proven business best practice of supplier consolidation exhibited by world-class procurement organizations.
Corporate America got fiscally fit during the recession. But as the recovery picks up steam, signs are emerging that exercise might have been a passing fad, according to a survey by REL, the working-capital consulting unit of Hackett Group. In the depths of the recession, companies collected debts quickly and strung out payments to creditors, tactics that allowed them to build cash and dodge borrowing. Now, that thrift appears to be reversing. This trend should concern investors because it means companies aren't using their capital as effectively as they could be. In turn, that means companies could be doing better on a host of efficiency metrics--such as return on capital--to which investors should pay attention.
Pay incentives for hitting working capital targets proved effective during the recession, although companies are already starting to scale them back, according to REL President Mark Tennant, and the experiences of companies such as Cytec, Allergan, and Heineken.
This cover story package spotlights findings from the 2010 REL/CFO US Working Capital survey. While most observers view 2009 as the very heart of the Great Recession, it was also - in terms of working capital - the beginning of the Great Hangover. As 2008 drew to a close and the full extent of the financial crisis became clear, many companies scrambled for cash by pushing down hard on every available working capital lever at their disposal. For them, it was payback time: inventories had to be replenished and overdue bills were finally paid in full. For other companies, those further down the supply chain or with longer cycle times, the full recession didn't hit until late in the year, when unsold inventory swelled, customers lobbied suppliers for longer payment terms or discounts, and those suppliers asked their suppliers for leniency. Either way the result was the same: 2009 was one of the worst years ever for corporate working capital performance. The article also features the working capital improvement initiative of REL client Cytec and their CFO Dave Drillock, along with efforts by Intel, Allergan, Thomson Reuters, and Hughes Communication.
This article, in the French-language business L'Agefi, details results from the 2010 REL Europe Working capital survey, focusing in part on the performance of French companies.
It seems that after a decade of spending, businesses have actually got into the habit of austerity and of saving - but perhaps a little too zealously. The latest study of working capital practices by REL reveals that there is excess capital of €742bn held on the balance sheets of Europe's largest companies by revenue.
Over a period of twelve months, Hackett client Molson Coors outsourced its IT, HR and finance functions - from selection to completion - a feat that transformed and consolidated the brewery's worldwideoperations. At The Hackett Group's 20th Annual Best Practices Conference, Molson Coors CFO Stewart Glendinning spoke to Business Finance Editor in Chief Jack Sweeney about the success and challenges of his company's outsourcing journey.
This bylined article by Hackett's Honorio Padron and Erik Dorr, discusses how as companies slowly emerge from the recession, they are encountering fundamental changes in the global business environment, and are making it a strategic priority to retool the IT organization to support the business in an environment of high risk and volatility, accelerated globalization and need for innovation. According to Hackett's research, CIOs are reporting that their top priorities are demand and project portfolio management; transformation and optimization of their service delivery model; talent management; and continued cost reduction. CIOs report their chief initiatives in 2010 include infrastructure virtualization, function reorganization, application portfolio consolidation and improving portfolio management capability.
CIOs monitor a lot of metrics, but advisory firm The Hackett Group Inc. says there's one more to watch: the number of enterprise software applications per 1,000 end users. The best-performing companies have an average of 20 applications per 1,000 users, whereas run-of-the-mill companies have an average of 39, according to Hackett's benchmarking database.
In his blog posting, Editor Ron Fink discusses insights on outsourcing from Ron Eikelenbloom, CFO of Philips Latin America, as presented at Hackett's 2010 Best Practices Conference.
In his blog posting, Editor Ron Fink discusses insights on outsourcing from Molson Coors CFO Stewart Glendinning, as presented at Hackett's 2010 Best Practices Conference.
From Blogger Jason Busch... "Even though I've been won over to supplier diversity as a tool to promote private sector revenue growth and customer intimacy -- don't get me started on the absurdity and wastefulness of supplier diversity in public sector procurement -- it appears as if few organizations are actually making supplier diversity programs deliver on promised returns."
While world-class procurement organizations continue to outperform their peers in driving supplier diversity spending, a new study by The Hackett Group Inc. identifies several critical ways that most companies fail in their supplier diversity programs. According to Hackett's research, most rely on overly simplistic measures to evaluate the progress of supplier diversity programs, and never truly assess whether programs are meeting corporate objectives. Most companies also fail to consider whether a few large suppliers or many smaller suppliers best supports their corporate goals.
Tax incentives are needed from the new government to keep interest rates down and reduce corporate borrowing and working capital, according to REL Senior Director Brian Shanahan.
To truly optimize inventory management processes, it's critical for companies to implement fully integrated, automated order management systems that extend from customer-facing to supply-chain processes, according to Rob Weinstock, director of Archstone Consulting, a division of The Hackett Group.
This article on how UK companies can improve collections policies cites REL's research showing that the UK is a "relatively benign payment environment" with typical Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) of 43 days. This compares favorably to the European average of 58 days, the French average of 71 days and Italy's DSO, which is 83 days. Note: Once you click on the link below, the article begins on page 35.
Are late-paying customers really delinquents, or just unhappy? Before canceling accounts or calling a collection agency, make sure past-due payments aren't as much your fault as theirs. Some companies purposely pay slowly to conserve cash. But, according to Mark Tennant, a working capital expert with the consulting firm REL, many late payers are simply reacting to mistakes made by vendors that charged the wrong amount, sent an invoice to the wrong address, left key information off an invoice, or, perhaps worst of all, delivered damaged or out-of-spec goods or services. Pricing errors are the most common culprit behind late payments, according to Analisa DeHaro, leader of REL's North American customer-to-cash practice.
The Hackett Group's research suggests that application portfolio management is the key to a number of good things you want from IT, including improved effectiveness, cost reduction, and better partnering with the business. The trick lies in reducing the number of applications in the portfolio. Top-performing IT organizations, according to Hackett, operate with nearly half the applications per thousand end-users of typical companies.
Growing demand for improved forecasting capabilities is leading companies to more closely track the material impact external factors are having on company forecasts, according to a recent Hackett Group study.
Initial findings from Hackett's Procurement Value Measurement study are spotlighted in this Guest Blog from Hackett's Pierre Mitchell. The findings show that while virtually all companies measure procurement's ability to reduce hard costs, only half measure measure avoided supplier price increases as cost avoidance. Measurement of other value streams drops off in similarly steep fashion.
A new Hackett Group study of more than 60 companies over a three-year period finds that those organizations with mature talent-management capabilities reap strong bottom-line benefits, including earnings that are 18 percent higher than typical Global 1000 companies with less-developed TM programs.
The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals ranked Archstone 12th on its list of the Top Outsourcing Advisors. The quality of Archstone's customer references was cited as a key element in the ranking. The list appeared in a special advertising supplement to Fortune Magazine. Download: Fortune Ad Supplement or Download: Just the Rankings.
It's difficult if not impossible for experts to agree on how to quantify the impact of technology on white-collar productivity. But according to The Hackett Group's research, the cost of finance operations and other back office functions has been dropping for more than 15 years, in large part due to the impact of technology.
It appears that the economy is slowly and painfully inching toward a turnaround. Unemployment is holding steady at 9.7 percent, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and The Bureau of Economic Analysis says that GDP grew at an annualized rate of 5.9 in the fourth quarter of 2009.
It all sounds great. And it is. However, a recovering economy can present its own challenges. Most significantly, if companies don't continue to focus on working capital and cash flow management, they can end up back in trouble. That's one conclusion of some research recently completed by REL, a consulting firm focused on working capital management. REL examined the ins and outs of the cash flow of the 1,000 largest public companies in the U.S. The researchers found that working capital performance, as measured by days of working capital (DWC), improved by about five percent between the second and third quarters of 2009, to 31.7 days. While a move in the right direction, the number remains worse than it was in 2007 and 2008, when it dipped below 30 days.
Despite the overall lack of top-line growth during the economic downturn, many companies have stayed afloat by downsizing staff and eking out supply-chain efficiencies. In the face of continuing unemployment and the attendant lag in consumer demand, however, how long can companies maintain respectable margins merely by growing leaner?
Maybe longer than you might think. Opportunities still abound for doing more with less, according to a new study of the 1,000 largest U.S. companies (in terms of sales) by REL, a division of The Hackett Group. Indeed, the study concludes that those companies could wring a total of as much as $709 billion in excess cash flow from their supply chains by adjusting their inventory levels, getting their customers to pay their bills on time, and managing their accounts payable carefully, according to research on working capital for the third quarter of 2009.
In this two-part guest post on Jason Busch's Spend Matters Blog, Hackett Research Director Pierre Mitchell discusses how companies can move beyond traditional metrics to more effectively assess and improve both the performance and value of procurement operations, and enhance alignment with internal stakeholders.
In this article on tips on how CFO's can prepare for growth coming out of the recession includes guidance on IT standardization from Hackett's Tony Chauhan and the value of automation overall from Hackett's Joel Roques.
Do companies that achieve effective HR transformation really have a competitive advantage? According to The Hackett Group, an Atlanta-based strategic advisory firm, they do if the effort results in better talent-management capabilities. And for a lot of companies still transforming HR, that's the direction they're headed for.
Analyst Insight, from Archstone Principals Dave Sievers and Bob Allen: The recent economic turmoil has pulled into sharp focus the issue of h ow to manage increasingly volatile supply chains. Through late 2008 and 2009, many companies simply panicked and aggressively cut both production and productive assets. These companies are beginning to pay for those aggressive cuts as demand is now starting to increase -- straining diminished capabilities. For 2010, we offer guidance on how companies can get supply chains back in balance and get sales and operations planning right.
Every year, the Hackett Group, a global strategic advisory firm, polls IT leaders at major companies to identify their strategic priorities. For 2010, these priorities have largely have been framed by the impact of the recent economic crisis. According to Hackett, they clearly show the reality of both ongoing and permanent cutbacks in resources relative to the business demand for IT services. In other words, CIOs are necessarily seeking to do less with more. And they're relying on a new service delivery model to do this, said IT advisory practice leader Honorio Padron.
At most companies, business units are given leeway to choose the secondary applications that best support their business needs, but this comes at a cost: As use of technology increases, transactional process cost falls, but technology costs rise. According to new research from The Hackett Group, world-class finance organizations rationalize the number of secondary applications they use to support both transactional and planning and reporting processes.
So cash is king, once again. Not that it ever was dethroned; it's just that, for a while, it shared its perch with other corporate goals, like growth. Not anymore. Credit is tight and sales are down, so companies have to wring all they can from the funds they have on hand. This prompts the question, Just how do you do that? A recent report by REL/Hackett Group, "Cash Culture Study," offers some strategies that companies can use to foster a "cash culture."
As the recession wanes, organizations considering jumping back into offshoring must adopt a robust total cost model as they rebalance their manufacturing and sourcing strategies, according to Len Prokopets, principal and Sourcing and Procurement Practice co-leader for Archstone Consulting, a division of The Hackett Group. Mr. Prokopets details his recommendations in this extended bylined article.
Companies are managing their cash more effectively than they were before the onset of the financial crisis, a survey released on Wednesday suggests. The survey of 53 companies with an average of $24 billion in revenue found that 94 percent consider cash flow optimization to be important or very important. REL's research details the key steps companies can take to build a cash culture, and how prevalent they are in companies today.
Media relations inquiries about The Hackett Group should be directed to Gary Baker, Communications Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917 796 2391.