ABM Advisor: The ABM Blog

  • Aug 17 2015

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    How can your business reduce food waste?

    Wasted stock is a huge burden to businesses, especially for firms who must sell, transport or store perishable goods such as food. This particular area is a sensitive issue as the amount of usable food disposed of continues to grow globally while resources become more scarce. However, there are a number of solutions that can alleviate this problem, saving money and improving the supply chain for these important products.Australia discards huge amounts of foodAccording to Foodwise, Australians consumers as a whole have a tenancy to waste food, with approximately 4 million tonnes going to the landfill per year by their estimates.Organic, non packaged food accounts for 23.9 per cent of overall disposed goods.State authorities have also reported high levels of food waste, with a garbage bag audit in NSW reporting this as the most frequently occurring material in commercial and industrial disposals. Organic, non packaged food accounted for 23.9 per cent of overall disposed goods, outranking the next material (plastic packaging) by a full 12.5 per cent. In regional areas, the proportion of disposed food was even greater. Considering that the Australian population is increasing year by year, the consequences of wasting food will put a major strain on resources in the future, as supply struggles to keep up with demand. Do you need a better stock management system?Brian Walker, CEO of retail consulting company, Retail Doctor Group, recently expressed how digital technology can improve stock management, in an August 11 article for SmartCompany. By his calculations, 25 per cent of stock on the shelves will be written off for many retailers. Using a system that will monitor the level of goods on premises, such as structured stock software, can limit over- or under-purchasing, reducing the amount of excess stock that is discarded. For retailers , Walker recommends keeping track of expiry dates and continually lowering prices as food reaches expiration. Having digital displays rather than traditional paper price tags can ensure prices are adjusted automatically. This sophisticated clearance method can be offered through online and physical channels and may even raise customer loyalty, according to Walker. Handling post-consumer waste While proper inventory management can directly reduce food wasted by businesses, there is still an issue regarding what happens to products post-purchase. As Australian consumers continue to dispose of edible food, there is an opportunity for businesses to take an ethical initiative and give back to the community.Donating usable food to organisations such as Give Food and city missions can do a lot for your business reputation and strengthens the relationship with the community. While it may take a little effort to save, store and deliver goods to these organisations, the benefits of doing so for brand reputation and waste reduction outweigh the costs of time and effort. Shellfish by-products have the potential to be refined into useful materials. Not only can useable food be recycled, by-products that would usually be disposed of can be repurposed in surprising ways. For example, seafood shells - which contribute to over 6 million tonnes of waste a year - are a source of many useful materials, such as protein, chitin and calcium-carbonate, according to researchers at the National University of Singapore. The raw value of these goods is very little (around $100 per tonne for shrimp shells), but through refinement and processing, they can be applied to any number of further situations . Calcium-carbonate can be used for the production of plastics and pharmaceuticals, nitrogen-rich chitin has a huge role in household products and protein is a perfect additive to animal feed and fertiliser. However, further developments and study is needed to make the bio-refinement process sustainable. This could be a promising area for those in the manufacturing industry to focus on in the future.

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  • Aug 6 2015

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    Current challenges for construction and mining

    Over the past few years, the construction and mining industries have faced tough economic conditions and unforgiving changes to their operating environment. With both sectors facing a gradual recovery, companies will need to develop and implement a calculated growth strategy to overcome various obstacles.Regaining project momentumAccording to the Investment Monitor June 2015 report complied by Deloitte, there has been a 13 per cent drop in the level of private construction work since last year. A number of projects in the development stage have been scrapped and Deloitte believes the number of abandoned plans will grow faster than the pipeline for new projects.There has been a 13 per cent drop in the level of private construction work since last year.While conditions are currently favourable for the commencement of infrastructure initiatives, with low interest rates, accessible lending and a low Australian dollar all providing a good base for investment, this isn't spurring enough activity. Building approvals data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that dwelling approval rates have fallen for four consecutive months. In June, the most recent figures available, the seasonally adjusted rate dropped by 8.2 per cent in just one month. Project managers in the construction industry clearly need support to move schemes past the development phase. Business management software can be a good option, although managers may need additional support to help developments past the approval stage. Addressing competition and productivity in miningAlthough confidence is slowly returning to the mining industry in Australia, according to Newport Consulting, there a a number of obstacles to future growth. The most common concerns were productivity and remaining competitive, both locally and globally. Respectively, 36 per cent and 17 per cent of mining leaders in Newport Consulting's survey named these as significant obstacles to a full recovery. David Hand, manager of Newport Consulting, said that many companies had already taken measures to address these challenges."Mine operators are fighting back to remain competitive. Some are reducing the number of mines operating as they focus on becoming more efficient and productive while they wage war against the tough economics of doing business in Australia," he said. Many mining firms in Australia are struggling to remain competitive While these methods can be effective in the short-run, mining firms will also need to focus on more sustainable solutions to help them deal with the global market. Finding innovative solutions to increase productivity will be the key to keeping pace with competitors in the future.

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  • Jul 29 2015

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    How will automation affect Australian businesses in the future?

    Striking the balance between human and capital resources has always been hard, but recent findings indicate that Australian businesses are moving towards more capital-intensive production.As innovations in automation become more widespread, many workers may be left out of a job, according to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA). In the Australia's Future Workforce report released last month, 39.6 per cent of jobs have a high probability of becoming automated in the next five to ten years.

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  • Jul 28 2015

    Does your business need a succession plan?

    Succession planning has been highlighted as a vital process by firms overseas, especially in the United States. However, how important is it for Australian companies to put their own plans in place?The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), for example, has made it mandatory for all state-registered investment advisors to have a business contingency and succession plan in an effort to avoid disruptions to businesses. This ruling protects the company from unexpected changes due to factors such as a sudden death or a database loss, as well as ensuring clients receive a consistent service. However, a Family Business Australia survey showed that only 20 per cent of family-owned businesses have a succession plan in place. Considering that family businesses represent around 70 per cent of all Australian firms, there is a considerable gap between the planning needed to ensure continued success and the amount companies are actually implementing.  In Australia, succession planning has been bought to the forefront in many companies, according to Ben Power of the Chartered Accountants Association. With the baby boomer generation heading towards retirement age, firms are faced with the task of filling vital roles and preparing people to move into the strategic apex. 

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  • Jul 20 2015

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    New report shows how businesses engage with technology

    Recent business IT data has revealed just how engaged with technology Australian firms are.

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  • Jul 15 2015

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    Business confidence on an upwards climb

    Two recent business surveys have indicated that Australian businesses have an increasingly positive outlook towards the future.

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  • Jul 14 2015

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    Innovation patents: Are they really worth it?

    While the concept of innovation patents certainly isn't a new development, a recent study exploring its long term impacts on businesses has offered some compelling new findings.

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  • Jul 13 2015

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    Retail report spells good news for e-commerce

    A recent online retail report conducted by eWAY has revealed significant growth in online transactions.

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  • Jun 30 2015

    Budget helps buoy corporate spending

    Australian businesses have been keener to spend in the immediate aftermath of the May federal budget announcement, the latest Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) reveals.

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  • Jun 24 2015

    Leadership and competitiveness go hand in hand

    Remaining competitive is high on many company agendas at the moment, but just what tools do they have at their disposal to make this happen?

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