Creating the perfect merger

Companies are increasingly operating in an environment of significant change — with M&A activities at the top of the agenda of many CEOs.

Industries such as financial services, and telecommunications are still rather fragmented, while other industries like energy & utilities are rather monolithic.

Both are in need of transformation. Leaders will consistently look for ways in the future to capture market share and protect their turf by M&A activities.

With increasing M&A volumes and number of transactions, integration activities will not only face a higher complexity, but companies need to be integrated faster.

Commitments to shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, and communities need to be fulfilled and all interdependencies resolved, which requires careful planning and coordination.

A recent Capgemini survey on 835 operations shows that 55% of mergers fail (i.e. their stock price under-performs the index) along a 2-year period.

A major reason for this is a lack of professional post-merger integration activities.

Other studies have shown a strong positive correlation between the speed at which integration is performed and its success.

A merger opens a window of opportunities when change is generally expected and more easily accepted.

It is crucial to use these opportunities to operate with a well aligned and holistic PMI approach covering all relevant aspects of the integration.

Setting the strategic cornerstones of an acquisition and closing the deal is only the beginning of a hard and bumpy road.

The integration of a newly acquired organization bears a number of challenges:

· the integration process has to be completed by a certain — usually ambitiously short — deadline

· integration activities must be kept in sync with legal merger steps

· synergies committed to shareholders have to be achieved

· integration costs are not allowed to spill over budget

· daily business must continue without disruptions despite the ongoing integration

· former competitors with different corporate cultures need to become one enterprise with a common set of shared values

An integration of organizations — irrespective of their size and geographical coverage — is always a highly complex process, affecting every single area of the organization.

The risks of mismanaged post-merger integration are versatile:

· extended project duration, resulting in skyrocketing costs

· loss of key staff

· loss of clients and business to competitors

· increased operational risk due to new, unfamiliar processes

· damaged image and bad press due to mismanaged external and internal communication

A well structured approach and strong project management skills are key to minimizing these risks and achieving a successful integration. Further than only minimizing risks, a well planned and managed integration can even create additional value, leaving the new organization with

· a redefined, stronger competitive position

· a strategy reflecting the joint companies’ strengths

· a substantially improved cost/income ratio and

· staff that has teamed up, all ready to make the joint company prosper.

Capgemini has successfully supported clients from various industries such as financials services, energy & utilities, retail, and telecommunication during their integration processes.

For more information: roy.lenders@capgemini.com

Logistics is hot

According to Hays’ January Forecast, the hottest jobs and boom markets for 2008 lie in in the logistics market.

“The New Year has brought in the traditional increase in vacancy activity as businesses determine the staff they require for the year ahead,” says Tim James, Regional Director of Hays Logistics Personnel.

The Forecast shows that 2008 could be the year for you.

“The shortage of experienced skills means solid candidates will be snapped up with speed in 2008, and provided jobseekers know what they want and why they want it, it is a year that will provide prime opportunities to advance your career,” James says.

“Employers are moving quickly once they identify a candidate they wish to offer a role to, particularly since good candidates will continue to receive multiple offers of employment.”

“While the first quarter of the year is traditionally the quietest in the logistics market, many employers have continued to recruit in order to attract the best possible candidates.”

“Organisations are optimistic about their general business activity, and therefore have hiring plans in place.”

“The majority of vacancies are expected to be operational, however senior leadership activity will also be positive,” he says.

The year’s hotspots are revealed in the Hays Quarterly Forecast.

The top areas of strongest demand in logistics are as follows:

Within the transport arena there is a severe shortage of drivers and experienced mid level operations staff, specifically transport schedulers and fleet controllers.

With the level of candidates not meeting the number of vacancies, the shortage of candidates is also affected by the low appeal of mid to lower level transport operations roles to potential candidates, who do not view the long hours or stereotype of the industry positively.

In warehousing there is an increased demand for warehouse supervisors who can motivate and manage staff while controlling profit and loss.

This demand is driven by the increased pressure placed upon warehouses to be efficient.

With more warehouses viewed as production plants and Six Sigma and Kanban utilised to drive changes, the traditional supervisor now needs to be multifaceted — more than a leader, candidates need to demonstrate their ability to be an essential part of processing and analysing information.

Within supply chain the key hotspots of demand exist for supply chain planners and demand analysts.

Over the past five years these roles have become more highly valued functions within a business, as new and cutting edge world-class processes become available and organisations become aware of technology and methodologies available to them, requiring planning and demand accuracy.

Candidates with front-end planning experience are also required to accurately manage production/import requirements.

A more extensive review of hotspots for each market sector, along with hiring intentions, salaries and candidate attraction, is contained in the Hays Quarterly Forecast: www.hays.com.au/forecast

Queen of Netherlands arrives

The Queen of the Netherlands — one of the world’s most technologically advanced dredging vessels has arrived in Melbourne

The Queen of the Netherlands will be the main vessel to undertake dredging as part of the Channel Deepening Project in Port Phillip Bay.

Stephen Bradford, CEO of the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) says the Queen of the Netherlands is state of the art dredging technology recognised as an environmentally responsible and sustainable method of dredging in the bay.

“It is environmentally and technically superior to any which has been previously used,” he says.

“The vessel has had to comply with extensive environmental, social and economic criteria and has been assessed in line with world’s best practice.”

“The vessel will operate under what are quite possibly the strictest environmental controls ever seen for a dredging project anywhere in the world, and its technologically advanced features will minimise disruption to the bay to as low as practicably possible.”

Bradford says the dredge operator — international Dutch dredging company Royal Boskalis – has extensive expertise in minimising the environmental impacts of dredging, and has carried out dredging programs in many of the world’s major ports.

“As a result of the Channel Deepening Project around 40 new Australian jobs had been created as crew positions aboard the Queen of the Netherlands,” he adds.

“We’ve consistently said that channel deepening will safeguard jobs and already there has been jobs created as a direct result of the project,” he says.

“Channel deepening is forecast to generate almost $2 billion in economic benefits and create over 2000 jobs.”

“It will see the Port of Melbourne, as the biggest container and general cargo port in Australia, remain a driving engine for economic growth in Victoria.”

The Queen of the Netherlands is a self-propelled, highly manoeuvrable vessel known as a Trailing Suction Hopper Dredge.

The advantage of this vessel is its ability to load its own hold or ‘hopper’ while moving or ‘trailing’ slowly along a pre-set course.

The vessel removes material from the seabed via suction pipes that lead from its side.

The material is then stored on the vessel and deposited at a designated location in the bay.

The vessel, which completed the eight week trial dredge in 2005, will shortly begin work in the Port Melbourne Channel in the north of the bay subject to all final approvals.

“The channel deepening project has the backing of the State and Federal Governments, business groups, unions, shipping lines, manufacturers and farmers,” Stephen Bradford says.

“PoMC has the responsibility to deliver this project by the end of 2009 and we fully accept this responsibility and will fulfill the trust placed in us to safely and successfully complete this essential project.”

A comprehensive Environment Management Plan will embody all the necessary safeguards to ensure the protection of the bay, and project works will be subject to independent monitoring.

Bradford says bay users should be mindful of the restricted access areas that have been established around the dredge.

A restricted access area of 200 metres in Port Phillip Bay and 50 metres in the Yarra River will apply around dredging equipment.

“The Queen of the Netherlands is a large vessel and safety is a key priority for the port,” he says.

“Public safety is paramount and I would urge all bay users to be mindful of the restricted access areas, and in the interest of personal safety keep clear of all dredging equipment.”

The Queen of the Netherlands previously worked in Oman in the Middle East.

PoMC will maintain a proactive approach to keeping the Victorian community informed on the progress of the project through the dedicated website www.channelproject.com.

PoMC can also be directly contacted using the toll free number 1800 731 022, or via email channelproject@portofmelbourne.com

Tactical Business – Pronto Software

Pronto Software’s goal is to develop a zero administration footprint for supply chain so that trading protocols and networks ‘just work’.

That way, businesses can focus on strategic issues such as competitive edge and market differentiation.

“When developing and providing PRONTO-Xi Supply Chain Solutions, we stay abreast of industry and technology trends so that we can continue to align our extensive product development initiatives with our customers’ strategic business needs,” says managing director David Jackman.

As an example of this commitment, Pronto Software was the world’s first ERP Vendor to receive GS1/EANnet certification for our data synchronisation tool PRONTO-Xi iSupply in 2005 and we will release our new GS1net certified product in 2008.

According to Jackman, customers are looking for a fully integrated supply chain solution that not only enables improvement in efficiency and effectiveness in business operations, but is also easy to implement and use.

“A supply chain solution should provide real-time intelligence to assist supply chain managers to make informed and rapid decisions,” he says.

“PRONTO-Xi Supply Chain is an easy to implement and use software suite. It integrates and streamlines operational processes such as inventory management; sales and purchase order management and advanced warehouse management.”

“PRONTO-Xi Distribution manages the entire gamut of operations across the extended enterprise,” Jackman says.

“It enables dramatic reductions in cycle times for transactions crossing enterprise boundaries from suppliers through to consumers.”

“With an open architecture and powerful collaboration applications, PRONTO-Xi Distribution manages the information flow both upstream and downstream through your entire supply chain.”

David Jackman points to accuracy as a key attribute in an efficient supply chain.

“In a global economy, supply chain companies need to have better visibility, logistics efficiency and address compliance issues,” he says.

“This is driving companies of all sizes to re-look their supply chain/IT strategies.”

“Pronto Software is in a strong position to meet market demands with our affordable, out of the box, highly scalable, easy to use software that deliver unparallel visibility and control of supply chains processes.”

Jackman says Pronto Software’s strategy of remaining independent has been very successful and the company is enjoying double digit growth, while some of its traditional competitors are struggling.

“All businesses seek stability and continuity from their business partners,” he asserts.

“The consolidation in the IT industry has not delivered added value to customers but instead has introduced uncertainty.”

Jackman predicts that IT will move beyond the traditional reactive computing utility to one that drives more value, innovation and competitive differentiation for companies.

“One such innovation is ‘Management by exception’, where IT delivers top notch analysis to a wide range of users regarding the strategic and tactical decisions they make during the course of the day,” he says.

“Pronto Software is leading this change with features such as the award winning Alert Intelligence™ being incorporated within PRONTO-Xi.”

“Alert Intelligence™ instantly alerts staff, suppliers and customers to business events and exceptions that require attention, such when a delivery date for stock is missed.”

The technology also allows retailers to notify customers via SMS when their ordered goods are ready for pickup or advise purchasing managers as soon as key stock items have dropped below minimum.

“It’s a really exciting concept,” Jackman enthuses.

Critical Requirement – Manhattan Associates

According to Manhattan Associates, IT is no longer optional in the supply chain.

In order to run a competitive supply chain that meets the service standards demanded by customers today, most businesses now view information technology as a critical requirement.

In addition, the highly competitive and unpredictable nature of markets around the world means companies need to move beyond merely managing their supply chains to optimising them.

True optimisation requires visibility, events, intelligence, workflows, and data to be synthesised across supply chain functions, and, ideally, across an organisation’s supply chain ecosystem.

Jeff Baum, senior vice president, international (Asia Pacific) at Manhattan Associates maintains that while supply chain applications have traditionally been separate solutions provided by different vendors, the future of supply chain technology lies in a more complete approach to the business.

“One of Manhattan Associates’ top priorities, therefore is to provide a range of supply chain solutions that are not only seamlessly integrated with each other but can also be integrated with other enterprise systems so as to provide the maximum value to customers,” he says.

“Fully integrated supply chain software solutions already exist and complement the way ERP systems work by acting as the link between the hard structures of individual ERP system components that most companies rely on for their backbone IT infrastructure.”

By way of example, Baum points to the company’s Warehouse Management 2007 solution which recently achieved ‘Powered by SAP NetWeaver®’’ status.

“This certification highlights our commitment to providing a full suite of supply chain solutions that are integrated not just with each other but with our customers’ enterprise systems as well,” he explains.

“Customers using SAP solutions can now integrate distribution business processes seamlessly, with less risk, within their corporate landscape, while also significantly lowering implementation and ongoing maintenance costs.”

Having fully integrated systems is just one part of the equation, however. According to Jeff Baum, the other key element is to keep each solution evolving to help users maintain their competitive advantage.

To this end, Manhattan Associates works closely with customers, and industry experts, through product councils and co-development programs to generate new and innovative ways to apply technology.

“Manhattan Associates’ Science Advisory Board is dedicated to evolving the science of optimisation within our solutions,” says Baum.

“The board is comprised of academic and industry experts as well as members of our development team, and they collectively provide scientific guidance for making continuous improvements to our solutions which subsequently help customers leapfrog competitors.”

Baum believes web-based applications, such as software as a service (SAAS) will play a key role in a number of supply chain applications — particularly in areas such as visibility services and the like — but are currently not suited to all aspects of the supply chain.

“Warehouse Management systems for instance are generally too complex for a SAAS offering, requiring greater speed, security and flexibility than SAAS can usually offer,” he says.

According to Baum, Warehouse and Transportation Management Solutions continue to be core to Manhattan’s business in Asia-Pacific, but Extended Enterprise Management, formerly branded Trading Partner Management, is now also hitting its stride, with thousands of trading partners being connected through the supplier enablement programs of retailers and wholesalers.

“Optimisation programs specifically within the warehouse are also a key focus,” Baum says, “as businesses invest in stand-alone applications like Labour Management, Slotting Optimisation and Performance Management to go beyond basic execution capabilities of their existing warehouse management solution to create fully optimised fulfilment operations.”

Baum says Manhattan Associates’ Integrated Logistics Solutions, built on Microsoft.NET is also a key focus and growth area.

“Mid tier companies, particularly those with complex supply chain operations – are now finding they need similar systems to the larger players, and with the success of Microsoft Dynamics and other ERP vendors in the small and mid-market space, we are now finding it is our fastest growing segment in the Asia Pacific region.”

Amongst other trends for the coming year, Baum points to better enablement of direct Asian sourcing as a fantastic opportunity for his company as well as the acceleration of one specific complementary technology – voice.

“Voice technologies continue to be key going into 2008,” Baum says.

“As more and more of our customers install voice-directed capabilities in their operations, we are continuing to see huge jumps in productivity in the warehouse.”

“Clearly Manhattan is well placed for the provision of constantly evolving as well as fully integrated supply chain solutions that will continue to help supply chain leaders outpace their competitors through superior supply chain execution and control capabilities,” he says.

Toyota tops forklift market

Toyota has achieved the number one position in the Australian counter-balance forklift truck market for the 21st consecutive year.

Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA), which combines the Toyota Industrial Equipment, BT Lift Trucks and Raymond Forklift brands, sold 4,885 machines in Australia in calendar year 2007, for a 28.0 per cent market share.

According to independent industry statistician, the Australian Industrial Truck Association (AITA), THMA increased its sales volume by 11.9 per cent compared with its 2006 result.

THMA enjoyed significantly higher growth than the national forklift truck market growth of 7.5 per cent, for a total national volume of 17,427 material handling machines.

Toyota was, once again, the national number one for internal combustion counter-balance forklift trucks in 2007, with 2,719 machines sold and a 29.6 per cent market share.

It was number one in the internal combustion 0.9 to 1.8 tonne payload with 41.4 per cent market share and the 2.0 to 3.0 tonne payload segment with 29.9 per cent share.

TMHA also figured strongly in the battery electric market, capturing number one position in both the three-wheel and four-wheel ranges, with shares of 39.6 per cent and 23.6 per cent respectively.

In addition, TMHA sold one in every three Narrow Aisle order-picking machines in Australia.

TMHA’s general manager for Sales and Marketing, Steve Takacs, says the 2007 results showed the breadth and depth of the TMHA model range, and the overall quality of the machines in that range.

“The success of our product s begins with the parent company’s industry leading investment in research and development, coupled with an unerring commitment to quality,” he says.

“In fact commitment is the key word – commitment to safety, quality, reliability and usability across the full range of material handling machines.”

“These results for Toyota also reflect our nationwide branch and dealer network set-up, and the provision to our customers for outstanding sales, service and parts back-up.”

Looking at the State-by-State sales results for 2007, TMHA performed strongly across the nation, with strong sales and market share results recorded across all states.

For further information on the Toyota Material Handling range, freecall 1800 425 438, or visit the website at www.toyotamaterialhandling.com.au

ATA defends Auslink funding

The Australian Government’s funding for the AusLink transport program must not be diverted to other infrastructure, Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says.

Mr St Clair was responding to suggestions that some of the Government’s AusLink funding could be allocated to other infrastructure areas such as water.

“AusLink is the biggest transport infrastructure investment in the Australian Government’s history, but it’s all needed due to the rapid growth in the amount of freight on our roads,” he says.

“Australia’s critical long distance road links, including the Pacific, Hume, Bruce and Sturt highways, are already undercapitalised.”

“There is also an urgent need for more spending on road infrastructure in urban areas,” he says.

For example, the BTRE has estimated that congestion on the urban parts of the AusLink network could cost Australia $20.4 billion per year by 2020, unless action is taken.

“The new Government responded in the election campaign with a strong package of road funding commitments, which will dramatically upgrade Australia’s road links and eliminate bottlenecks,” St Clair says.

“These commitments and the cost overruns from AusLink 1 will cost every cent of the $22.3 billion allocated to AusLink 2 from 2009 to 2014.

In fact, some of the projects will need to continue into the years beyond 2014.

“In our pre-budget submission, the ATA urged the Government to focus on implementing its road funding commitments, because fixing Australia’s roads will boost the economy and improve safety. Our goal is to have safer roads, safer trucks and safer drivers.

“It will be important for the Government to fund other projects identified by Infrastructure Australia, but these should be funded by increasing the overall level of spending on infrastructure, not by diverting resources from roads,” St Clair says.

The submission can be downloaded from the policies and submissions area of the ATA website, www.atatruck.net.au/policies_submissions.html

LAA lauches research into "Co-opetition"

The Logistics Association of Australia Ltd (LAA) is pleased to announce the appointment of the University of Queensland, School of Business (UQBS) and Maersk Logistics as its Collaborative and Sponsoring Partner Consortium (Co-Opetition Consortium) to undertake the LAA’s 2008 Logistics Research Program.

The LAA and members of the Co-Opetition Consortium recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement, signalling the start of the first stage of a study into Co-Opetition in Supply Chains.

Key issues to be investigated by the Co-Opetition Consortium are:

• How are effective partnerships established?

• What are the resistance factors and how are they overcome?

• How is third party logistics (3PL) different from co-opetition?

Using a theoretical literature review and case study of a successful partnership, this research will explore the drivers and inhibitors of co-opetition in supply chains; through both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The research will be conducted in compliance with the requirements of LAA Ltd to carry out best practice case studies, to consult with stakeholders, analyse and interpret the data collected.

The University of Queensland, School of Business will provide experienced research personnel and appropriate methodological approaches.

The study is generously supported by industry partner Maersk Logistics. Project Manager heading the Co-Opetition Consortium is Maree Storer, PhD Candidate, UQBS.

Other members are Steffen Steensbaek, Oceania Logistics Supply Chain Development, Maersk Logistics; Dr David Parker, Senior Lecturer Operations Management, UQBS and Michael Thirgood, Australian Customers Manager, Maersk Logistics.

An initial report titled “A Competence Perspective in Supply Chain Relationship Management (SCM) is due for release at the end of February 2008.

This will review current thinking on relationships management as it relates to supply chain relationship management, such as, co-operation and collaboration in partnerships and alliances and, 3rd and 4th party logistics and co-opetition.

Related literature from other disciplines, such as operations management, strategic management and behavioural management will also be reviewed.

From these findings it is expected that a framework representing a competency perspective in supply chain relationship management will be developed towards STAGE TWO of the study.

This stage of empirical research, with industry partners and related supply chains will commence in late March.

An initial summary on preliminary findings is scheduled for the end of May 2008 with the final report due on the 30th June 2008.

While is not anticipated that this particular study will be comprehensive, it will build a sound foundation for further research into this area at a later date.

The Saas Trap

What you need to consider before moving to software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Adoption of the software-as-a-service sales model is accelerating at a phenomenal rate in the region, changing the way vendors do business and the way organisations use software.

SaaS has been one of the IT industry’s hottest buzzwords over the past couple of years, and for many good reasons. The ease of use, rapid deployment, limited upfront investment in capital and staffing, plus a reduction in software management responsibility all make SaaS a desirable alternative to on-site solutions.

Simply, SaaS is a term that is used to describe a software application delivery model which sees a software vendor host applications over the Internet and deliver those applications to the customer for a recurring license fee.

Data from Springboard Research shows that the noise around SaaS is more than hype. The market researchers show significant growth in awareness and adoption of SaaS across the region, with the market increasing 92.5 percent in 2006 to reach a market size of US$154 million this year.

The SaaS market in the APAC region will reach US$1.16 billion by 2010, with a compound annual growth rate of 66 percent, to comprise 15 percent of the enterprise software application market.

The success so far of vendors offering customer relationship management (CRM), collaboration, and management software has shown the power of the on-demand software delivery model.

However, many organisations are not aware that there are pitfalls in what looks to be the answer to all their software problems.

Issues around control, integration, security and limited application are some of the very real downsides that need to be considered before a company turns to this increasingly popular software buying model.

Control Control, or the lack thereof, of organisational data is arguably the biggest downside to the SaaS model.

Previously an organisation had total control over data as it was all stored on-site in its file servers. Under the Saas model, the level of risk rises as your data is transferred from your own premises to those of third parties and their applications.

If a potential SaaS user neglects to fully investigate a SaaS provider and determine what they will do to protect sensitive customer, sales and other data, then there is increased risk of that data getting into the wrong hands and all that implies.

There are also questions of internal control over who has say over what applications get installed and used.

Because it is so easy to obtain such SaaS-based software (often all you need is a credit card and an Internet connection), businesses need to determine who has the authority to buy/download and use what software – is it the IT manager, or your IT fix-it guy or the MD?

Thought also needs to be given to the end of a relationship with a SaaS provider; that is, once the relationship is over, can the organisation still use the SaaS provider’s software to access their database to read its own data?

Many SaaS providers will provide access to the data once the hosted solution is turned off, but not the software to read that data. This effectively makes those files useless.

There’s also the question of application failure. Can an application delivered by a hosted service provider be resurrected faster if it falls over compared to one run by your in-house IT staff or IT partner?

With an in-house application, you at least gain the benefit of knowing who and how many people are working to fix it, whether it is truly a priority to them, and what the current status is in terms of repair operations.

This way, the problem can at least be managed and worked around. The organisation needs to ask two questions:

“Which one is more likely to go down?”, and “Which one will be faster bringing things back up?”

Integration and security Having full ownership and control over your data allows you to embark upon software integration projects that would otherwise be impossible.

Recently, Happen Business integrated its Jim2® Business Engine accounting and workflow software into distributor Ingram Micro’s reseller e-commerce website TechLink, enabling Jim2® customer Leading Edge

Computers to view real-time stock pricing, product availability and place orders direct from Ingram’s warehouse.

If all these parties had to go through the SaaS software partners to get all the required data then this integration project would be a lot harder.

It’s a great example of what’s possible if all the parties involved own and control their own data.

We mentioned before that because SaaS is so easy to initially deploy, individuals in businesses have begun procuring SaaS applications themselves — leaving the IT manager or partner out in the cold.

This is also an issue when it comes to security and IT management. Again, as these applications reside with a third party, and are typically being initiated and implemented by non-IT professionals these applications invade existing business processes, creating more work for the IT guys and creating possible security issues.

Just because an application is Web-based or hosted offsite, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have to adhere to a company’s security, privacy, and internet use policy requirements.

There is also the question of data backups. With SaaS, data backup is typically offloaded to the SaaS provider, but many organisations feel much more comfortable being in total control of their own data.

Organisations have to look to IT to ensure that SaaS usage in their environment(s) is consistent with the policies and controls they’ve developed for traditional on-premise applications.

Limited application Larger, more complex applications such as accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) currently do not lend themselves to being delivered over the web. They require very detailed implementation and integration with a business’ other systems, applications and processes.

Market researchers Gartner argue that the on-demand model is not suitable for complex business uses like logistics support and order handling, and for larger companies requiring business process support.

SaaS should be avoided when dealing with transactional-intensive applications such as in a warehouse management system; when data is exceptionally sensitive, and when on-demand service providers don’t have the functionality or provide the level of integration required.

SaaS has its benefits, but an organisation needs to bear in mind that SaaS lends itself to business functions like sales and HR for a reason.

A SaaS advantage is using the SaaS providers’ hardware, however with cost of hardware becoming a negligible part of the overall investment in a business system, this advantage becomes much less attractive.

Often a business will be able to run software such as Happen Business’ Jim2® Business Engine on their existing hardware with little or no additional costs.

Ultimately, successful deployments of software such as Happen’s workflow management solutions are more likely to be managed in-house.

Paul K. Berger is Managing Director at Australian owned business software company Happen Business.

LAA lauches research into “Co-opetition”

The Logistics Association of Australia Ltd (LAA) is pleased to announce the appointment of the University of Queensland, School of Business (UQBS) and Maersk Logistics as its Collaborative and Sponsoring Partner Consortium (Co-Opetition Consortium) to undertake the LAA’s 2008 Logistics Research Program.

The LAA and members of the Co-Opetition Consortium recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement, signalling the start of the first stage of a study into Co-Opetition in Supply Chains.

Key issues to be investigated by the Co-Opetition Consortium are:

• How are effective partnerships established?

• What are the resistance factors and how are they overcome?

• How is third party logistics (3PL) different from co-opetition?

Using a theoretical literature review and case study of a successful partnership, this research will explore the drivers and inhibitors of co-opetition in supply chains; through both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

The research will be conducted in compliance with the requirements of LAA Ltd to carry out best practice case studies, to consult with stakeholders, analyse and interpret the data collected.

The University of Queensland, School of Business will provide experienced research personnel and appropriate methodological approaches.

The study is generously supported by industry partner Maersk Logistics. Project Manager heading the Co-Opetition Consortium is Maree Storer, PhD Candidate, UQBS.

Other members are Steffen Steensbaek, Oceania Logistics Supply Chain Development, Maersk Logistics; Dr David Parker, Senior Lecturer Operations Management, UQBS and Michael Thirgood, Australian Customers Manager, Maersk Logistics.

An initial report titled “A Competence Perspective in Supply Chain Relationship Management (SCM) is due for release at the end of February 2008.

This will review current thinking on relationships management as it relates to supply chain relationship management, such as, co-operation and collaboration in partnerships and alliances and, 3rd and 4th party logistics and co-opetition.

Related literature from other disciplines, such as operations management, strategic management and behavioural management will also be reviewed.

From these findings it is expected that a framework representing a competency perspective in supply chain relationship management will be developed towards STAGE TWO of the study.

This stage of empirical research, with industry partners and related supply chains will commence in late March.

An initial summary on preliminary findings is scheduled for the end of May 2008 with the final report due on the 30th June 2008.

While is not anticipated that this particular study will be comprehensive, it will build a sound foundation for further research into this area at a later date.

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