Monthly Archives: December 2012

Enhancing the B2B customer journey at RS components

David Tarrant, Global Technical Community Manager, talks about how RS components has addressed the issue of engaging engineers with social media through the creation of a sub brand and demonstrating the value of that social activity through various metrics.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum


Creating and capturing value through social media

Justin Ablett, Associate Partner at IBM discusses the value of social media for an organisation and how it can be leveraged internally in order to share knowledge and resources.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Enjoying each other’s company: Social gaming at Rank

Angus Nisbet, Brand Director at, Rank Interactive talks about how the social space is providing new revenue opportunities for the gaming sector.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Embedding social media in marketing practice: Reflections and insights

Mark Westaby reflects on the value of organisations coming together from across industries and sectors to discuss their social media issues and experiences. Mark goes on to share his thoughts around how social media is impacting on marketing and business in general.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

Reflections on Public Sector Good Practice in Performance Management

A research-led event summary by Mike Bourne, Professor of Business Performance at Cranfield School of Management.

Prof Mike Bourne

Inside Government on 21 November 2012.

Having chaired the Inside Government conference on Wednesday 21st November, I took away five important insights.

  1. I really liked Kim Bromley-Derry’s approach to delivering public services. As CEO of Newham Borough Council, he has created an Outcome focused approach to strategic commissioning and performance. By identifying stakeholder needs and defining 33 outcomes, Newham have created a compelling vision of what they are trying to achieve and translated this into indicators and mechanisms for change. This has allowed them to focus on what really matters.
  2. I teach “Theory of Change” on our Executive MSc in Managing Organisational Performance. Having a theory of change means that organisations can identify their issues, build a plan of how the issue will be addressed and then measure if their efforts are effective in delivering what they planned and achieving their goals. It was really good to see delegates think and talking in this way too.
  3. Gillian Porter’s account of how Durham Constabulary has used strategy maps and key performance questions to achieve focus and buy-in. One of the outputs of this process is a “plan on a page” – a simple and effective replacement to the thick strategy documents of the past. For me it is important to remember that how you create your strategy or success map is at least as important as what it looks like, so there are no short cuts here if you want to create real buy-in and performance.
  4. David MacLeod, Chair of the Employee Engagement Task Force reminded us of the importance of employee engagement. He presented his statistics, but also pulled on our emotions. We also have research emphasising the importance of both engagement and direction setting when trying to deliver better performance. I try to keep reminding myself and others that scorecards and KPIs are just tools, people need to be engaged to make them work.
  5. I have never bought a footballer, but Tony Samuels at Surrey County Council has; in his private life for Watford FC it should be added. A question from the floor brought the focus back to evidence based decision making, and Tony freely admitted he had made a mistake. At the time, he and his colleagues had been carried along by emotions. Everybody in the room believed in evidence based decision making, but Tony’s message was that we needed to create the information systems to support this and to actually practice this more.

Public Sector Performance Roundtable

Notes from Agile Supply Chain Research Club: Measurement of Supply Chain Performance

A research-led event summary by Rebecca Piper, Research Marketing at Cranfield School of Management.

Held at Cranfield on 12 December 2012.

AltImageASCRC121212Dr Heather Skipworth opened today’s Agile Supply Chain Research Club meeting, which was themed around Measurement of Supply Chain Performance.

Dr Pietro Micheli expanded on this theme by explaining the Balanced Scorecard revolution 20 years ago, which incorporated non-financial performance measurements alongside the financials in order to help drive improvements. Four key stages of measurement were defined as: Design, Implementation, Use and Review. Pietro explained that too much effort in the Design stage can lead to lack of enthusiasm in the Implementation and Use stages, therefore no review and ultimately, a failure of the initiative. It was also highlighted that a good performance measurement system can help drive behaviour and culture within an organisation. Best practice would involve the balanced combination of Finance, Operations, Customers and Learning & Growth within a performance measurement system that is closely aligned to the business strategy. Director of the Research Club, Prof Richard Wilding illustrated the point of taking this balanced approach by sharing the example of a bus company measuring its performance on the buses leaving and returning to the depot on time, but that in order to achieve this, the bus drivers were driving past queues of customers without stopping!

Gareth Bevan gave a presentation on the importance that Hewlett Packard has put on Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility and how it has structured a programme of activity within the business. As well as being a member of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, HP is partnering with variety of industry groups all working to a common agenda within the arena of SER.

Ashley Morris outlined the complexities of NHS Supply Chain – dealing with over 660,000 catalogue items and 10,000 delivery points and shared how it approaches its performance measurement system against increasing competition – the First Choice Way – in conjunction with DHL.

The biscuits went down well and were much discussed.

In the afternoon Sean Culey from Supply Chain Council talked about the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model, which links strategy to operations and is the cross-industry de facto standard diagnostic tool for supply chain management. SCOR spans from the supplier’s supplier to the customer’s customer and enables users to address, improve, and communicate supply chain management practices within and between all interested parties in the extended enterprise.

Simon Templar then gave a presentation which looked at performance from a financial perspective and talked about the Impact of Supply Chain Management on Financial Performance Measures.

Overall an interesting and constructive meeting with much discussion and debate!

Agile Supply Chain Research Club

A business case for flexible working arrangements?

Summary of a research paper by Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management.

Prof Clare Kelliher

Current evidence fails to demonstrate an unequivocal business case for the use of FWAs.

Interest in the outcomes of flexible working arrangements (FWA) dates from the mid-1970s when researchers attempted to assess the impact of flexitime on worker performance. Given the current unstable economic climate where perhaps the work-life balance agenda may be downplayed, it is important to assess the extent to which a real business case exists for FWAs that are designed to accommodate employees’ preferences. This paper reviews the literature on the link between FWAs and performance-related outcomes and attempts to explain the mixed findings.

Flexible working arrangements (FWAs), which accommodate employees’ preferences and needs, have been widely advocated in UK Government reports and information directed at employers and employees. It is argued that FWAs can contribute either directly or indirectly to improvements in individual and/or organisational performance and therefore would be good for business. However, this link between FWA and a strong business case in terms of performance or well-being has not been established in the academic literature.

The subsequent literature review was guided by the question: What is the relationship between flexible working arrangements and performance or related outcomes? The studies selected focused on flexibility for employees, rather than those concerned with flexibility of employees and thus on the notion of employee choice.

The authors found in summary, from the evidence at the organizational level that the strongest case would seem to be for a potential reduction in absenteeism, especially in relation to remote working. There is also increasing support for a positive impact on retention. The link with productivity and other financial measures is less clear, although more recent studies indicate a positive association with both remote working and schedule flexibility.

The majority of studies examining individual performance focus on the relationship with productivity, but some include measures such as performance ratings or indicators of quality (e.g. customer complaints, errors made by employees). Although this outcome has been the most researched, the findings are not uniform and the evidence also fails to demonstrate a clear link.

The link with job satisfaction has attracted significant interest, and the general evidence is supportive of a positive link with FWAs. However, the perception of availability may be as important in establishing a link with employee outcomes. Perceptions of availability, irrespective of whether employees take advantage of the FWAs available to them, may influence employee outcomes such as job satisfaction, or organizational commitment and thereby have an indirect impact on performance.

The authors raise a number of conceptual and methodological issues which, in part, may explain the mixed findings, but do make any generalisations problematic. Taken together the evidence fails to demonstrate an unequivocal business case for the use of FWAs.

By analysing the theoretical and methodological perspectives adopted, a research agenda is developed and the authors
advocate that:

  • we need research specifically designed to examine the impact of allowing employees some degree of choice over their working arrangements.
  • research designs must include more detailed measures of FWAs (e.g. degree of formalization, use, length of use, extent of change in working arrangement).
  • we identify the need for different types of studies e.g. larger and more diverse samples; studies over a longer period of time
  • the organizational culture and whether the Human Resource Management (HRM) system is supportive are contingent factors that deserve further attention, since they impact on real employee choice and as such on the effectiveness of FWAs.


de Menezes, L. & Kelliher, C. (2011), ‘Flexible Working and Performance: A Systematic Review of the Evidence for a Business Case’, International Journal of Management Reviews, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 452–474.

Cranfield School of Management


Maximising the return on multichannel marketing at IBM

Brendan Dineen, Director of Marketing – Demand Programmes at IBM UK talks about the Chief Marketing Officer survey that IBM has been conducting in order to understand the role and concerns of the CMO and what is likely to be on the agenda for technology requirements over the next few years.

Cranfield Customer Management Forum

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