Develop Your Own Audit Programs to Increase Your Brand Performance

Increase your Brand Profitability through increased Productivity.

Are you a Singapore business owner or operations manager who is wondering why all the profit you used to make has reduced over the years.

Are you in search of fresh business ideas that improve profitability ratios? Given that High Rentals and Human Resource restrictions are external forces that we, as small business owners and operation Managers cannot control, we can only look toward building business ideas to improve the way we manage our business. The usual way to increase profitability is to increase revenue and reduce costs. However, given the levels of competition and pressure placed on increasing expense, one major way to increase profitability ratios is to increase productivity.

Business Productivity is more than a buzzword. In a march 2018 report in Straits Times, it was reported that the SME 1000 ranking saw turnover and profits for smaller companies fell 11.8 per cent while profits declined 17.1 per cent. This means the real decrease in profitability ratio was almost double. Whilst many SME owners try to engage technology to improve the way they manage their businesses, very few have approached it from a holistic viewpoint. Leveraging technology needs to be part of the overall business plan. When executed well, leveraging technology into business development plans can improve the entire business management process can help to increase productivity, reduce human errors, decrease repetitive non value-add work and ultimately, increase profitability ratios.

Productivity can be increased through redesigning your current business processes

What does Business Model Transformation really mean to business owners and operations managers? Business Transformation is the process of fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people and technology across a whole business or business unit, to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder satisfaction. Business Transformation is a change management strategy that aligns People, Process and Technology initiatives of a company with its business strategy and vision. In turn this helps to support and innovate new business strategies that lead to the improvement of the business competitiveness as a whole.

Business Model Transformation entails more than just the blind automation of workflows that is currently being used. It is about strategic thinking to identify overall business objectives, identifying key business drivers and its associated key performance indicators (KPIs). Once the workflow processes are mapped out, it is streamlined to achieve specific performance metrics (Specific KPIs) and outcomes. Besides measuring KPI’s, another important area of Business Model Transformation is the ability for Business owners and operation managers to take appropriate and timely action through automated triggers and alerts. Using a Management dashboard as a control centre to monitor key performance criteria (KPI) and analysis of Business Intelligence (BI) gleaned from the business workflow management tool can allow the business owner to take the appropriate actions and decisions quickly. Business model transformation can be implemented in specific workflow like retail operations, customer service, restaurant operations, logistics, production, and any other business workflow area that requires the collaboration of more than one department.

How do you know if you need to Redesign and Automate your business process and workflow?

Ask yourself: 

  • Are you finding it more and more competitive?
  • Is your profit margin decreasing?
  • Are you having constant challenges meeting customer expectations?

To find out how you score take this questionnaire.

If your answers indicate you may be losing competitiveness, your business will benefit from a business strategy re-calibration and , a change in approach brought about by business model transformation.

Contact our Business process redesign experts at [email protected]  if you have a question on how Business Model Redesign or Business process automation can increase your business productivity and eventually your bottom lines.

Redesign and Automate Your Business Process to Increase your Business’ Profitability

Are you a Singapore business owner or operations manager who is wondering why all the profit you used to make has reduced over the years. Are you in search of fresh business ideas that improve profitability ratios? Given that High Rentals and Human Resource restrictions are external forces that we, as small business owners and operation Managers cannot control, we can only look toward building business ideas to improve the way we manage our business. The usual way to increase profitability is to increase revenue and reduce costs. However, given the levels of competition and pressure placed on increasing expense, one major way to increase profitability ratios is to increase productivity.

Business Productivity is more than a buzzword. In a march 2018 report in Straits Times, it was reported that the SME 1000 ranking saw turnover and profits for smaller companies fell 11.8 per cent while profits declined 17.1 per cent. This means the real decrease in profitability ratio was almost double. Whilst many SME owners try to engage technology to improve the way they manage their businesses, very few have approached it from a holistic viewpoint. Leveraging technology needs to be part of the overall business plan. When executed well, leveraging technology into business development plans can improve the entire business management process can help to increase productivity, reduce human errors, decrease repetitive non value-add work and ultimately, increase profitability ratios.

What does Business Model Transformation really mean to business owners and operations managers? Business Transformation is also known as business process reengineering. It’s the process of fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people and technology across a whole business or business unit, to achieve measurable improvements in efficiency, effectiveness and stakeholder satisfaction. Business Transformation is a change management strategy that aligns People, Process and Technology initiatives of a company with its business strategy and vision. In turn this helps to support and innovate new business strategies that lead to the improvement of the business competitiveness as a whole.

Business Model Transformation entails more than just the blind automation of workflows that is currently being used. It is about strategic thinking to identify overall business objectives, identifying key business drivers and its associated key performance indicators (KPIs). Once the workflow processes are mapped out, it is streamlined to achieve specific performance metrics (Specific KPIs) and outcomes. Besides measuring key performance indicators (KPI’s), another important area of Business Model Transformation is the ability for Business owners and operation managers to take appropriate and timely action through automated triggers and alerts. Using a Management dashboard as a control centre to monitor key performance criteria (KPI) and analysis of Business Intelligence (BI) gleaned from the business workflow management tool can allow the business owner to take appropriate actions and decisions quickly. Business model transformation can be implemented in specific workflow areas like retail operations, customer service, restaurant operations, logistics, production, and any other business workflow area that requires the collaboration of more than one department.

How do you know if you need to Redesign and Automate your business process and workflow? Ask yourself:

Are you finding it more and more competitive?
Is your profit margin decreasing?
Are you having constant challenges meeting customer expectations?

To find out how you score take this questionnaire.

If your answers indicate you may be losing competitiveness, your business will benefit from a business strategy re-calibration and , a change in approach brought about by business model transformation.

To encourage Singapore Business owners to ready themselves for today’s more complex business environment, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has crafted some Government Grants to help reduce the financial burden Business owners face when they engage in the adoption of Business Process workflow improvement, Business Transformation and Business Process Automation.

Business Owners can apply for Enterprise Singapore for financial support for the projects that improve core capabilities and productivity. Approved projects are granted up to 70% of the Project costs. Enterprise Singapore(ESG) support projects that involve Business Model Transformation.This enterprise Singapore grant can be found Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) under the scope of Business Process Redesign and Business Process Automation.

The Business Process Redesign grant is designed to help companies review existing business processes and identify areas to improve business efficiency. This is the first step business owners must take in redesigning their workflow before introducing automation into their businesses. The scope of this specific Singapore Government grant covered includes:

  1. The review and streamline of workflow and processes to reduce or remove redundant workflow processes
  2. Explore how technology can be used to automate processes and reduce manpower on repetitive actions
  3. Develop key performance metrics to track and measure the effectiveness of workflows

The Business Process Automation grant is designed to cover:

  1. The adoption and development of hardware and software solutions,
  2. The development of solutions that involve the purchase of machinery and integration of systems.
  3. The training of staff to deploy these solutions.

If you are a Singapore Owned business and want to find out more about these government grants, please go to the following link:
https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/financial-assistance/grants/for-local-companies/enterprise-development-grant/innovation-and-productivity/innovation-and-productivity

Want to find out if your business can benefit from this grant? Speak to our experienced consultants today.

Top view of a group of people having a meeting

Guide to Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) for Businesses in Singapore

The Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) was officially launched on 25th October 2018. It is designed to help Singaporean companies strengthen their business practices, grow and transform their businesses to adapt to global changes in the market.

Read on to learn more about what EDG is, who is eligible to apply and how to apply.

Supportable Items and Activities Under EDG

Core Capabilities

Lady in white collar shirt using tabletStrengthening the core capabilities of your business equips you with the ability to adapt to rapid growth and transformation. The following aspects are covered.

  1. Business strategy development

Objective: To improve or redesign business strategies

  • Development of strategies to maximise opportunities and boost competitiveness
  • Optimisation of research and development operations
  • Improvement of management systems based on Business Excellence Framework to achieve “Singapore Quality Class” certification
  1. Financial management

Objective: To improve financial management strategies

  • Establishment of plans to improve finance-related areas such as investment
  • Analysis of risk exposure and implementation of risk management process
  1. Human capital development

Objective: To support human resource (HR) team

  • HR management and recruitment
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Employee skills training and development
  1. Service excellence

Objective: To improve customer service

  • Analysis of customer needs and decision-making process
  • Implementation of research and revamping service process to improve customer experience
  1. Strategic brand and marketing development

Objective: To boost company branding and marketing via differentiation of products and services

  • Creation of brand strategy that focuses on unique selling point to attract customers
  • Development of marketing and communications plan

Innovation and Productivity

Tablet screen with pie charts and dataInnovation and productivity involves assessing and upgrading workflow processes to boost efficiency. For example, businesses can automate their processes by using technologies.

  1. Automation

Objective: To move towards automation and usage of technology

  • Development of hardware and software solutions, involving machinery and systems integration
  • Staff training to implement solutions
  1. Process redesign

Objective: To evaluate and restructure current workflow processes before automation

  • Examine the incorporation of technology to automate processes
  • Development of comprehensive timeline to guide actions to achieve automation
  1. Product development

Objective: To invent technology and products for commercialisation purposes

  • Market viability assessment
  • Making of prototype and production of small batch
  • Crafting of commercialisation plan

Market access

Lady having a meeting with a manMarket access encourages expanding into overseas markets to broaden the reach and potential of your business. EDG covers part of the cost for the following items.

  1. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A)

Objective: To prepare for and evaluating potential M&A

  • Development and implementation of M&A procedures
  • Assessment of target for acquisition in areas such as financial and legal
  • Generation of change management plan to promote seamless integration
  1. Overseas marketing presence (OMP)

Objective: To build OMP to achieve optimal business development

  1. Pilot project and test bedding

Objective: To prove feasibility of product to aid international expansion

  • Development of material to exhibit usability and effectiveness of product or service
  1. Standards adoption*

Objective: To achieve internationally-recognised standards and certifications

*Does not cover basic standards, i.e. ISO 9001, ISO 14001,OHSAS 18001, SS 506, and ISO 45001

EDG Eligibility: Who can apply?

Bottom-up view of high rise business buildingsYou are eligible to apply for the EDG if:

  • Your company is registered and operating in Singapore
  • You have at least 30% of local shareholding
  • Your company is financially able to execute and complete the project
  • Your project is new, i.e. no contracts have been signed and it is not generating any revenue yet

All applications will be assessed by Enterprise Singapore depending on the nature of project, intended results, and proficiency of project management consultants.

Note: As of 1 April 2020, EDG applications will be assessed for their commitments to worker outcomes as well.

Also, unionised companies and e2i partners under the Labour Movement will be qualified to receive an additional 10% funding, dependent on NTUC-e2i’s endorsement.

EDG Application: How to apply?

Top view of a lady holding iPad and a man using a laptopBefore you apply for EDG,

  1. Check whether you qualify for the grant (refer to the previous section).
  2. Identify the project category you are applying for – core capabilities, innovative productivity or market access.

Refer to the category details in the first section of our article to determine which category your project belongs to.

For additional help, you can also approach SME centres or contact Astreem to discuss your projects.

  1. Contact qualified providers to guide you through your project.

You can choose to engage management consultants with Enterprise Singapore-recognised certification or Astreem consulting services.

  1. Do up the project proposal.

Refer to the proposal templates available to prepare your proposal.

  1. Prepare the relevant documents.
  • ACRA information
  • Audited financial statements
  • Relevant proof of quotation or proposal
  • Management consultancy scopes
  • Relevant consultants’ certification

Additionally, refer to this EDG application checklist for the other documents you need to prepare.

  1. Set up a CorpPass account (if your company doesn’t have one)

The last step is to submit your EDG grant application.

Frequently Asked Questions about EDG

Person pointing on laptop screen with charts and dataCan projects with both domestic and overseas items be supported under EDG?

EDG supports projects carried out locally and it also aids companies in expanding overseas.

How much grant can my business receive under EDG?

From now till 2023, SMEs can receive up to 70% project funding, while non-SMEs can receive up to 50%.

Qualified project costs include third-party consultancy fees, software and equipment, and incremental internal manpower cost.

How long is the duration of an EDG funded project?

Projects have to be completed within 12 – 18 months upon successful grant application. Note that OMP projects must be completed within 12 months.

EDG projects typically take between 4 – 12 months to complete, depending on the scale of each project that is undertaken.

A typical franchise development project by Astreem can take between 4 – 6 months, while an international business expansion project in a specific country may take 3 – 4 months to complete.

What is the difference between EDG, Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) Grant?

The PSG and MRA grant support the initial adoption stage of

  • incorporating technology to strengthen business processes and
  • bringing your business overseas respectively.

As part of Budget 2020, PSG has been replaced by the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit from 1 March 2020.

MRA will continue funding up to 70% for qualifying activities till 31 March 2020.

Subsequently, the EDG comes in to support your business growth and transformation to enhance adaptability.

What is the difference between EDG, Capability Development Grant (CDG) and Global Company Partnership (GCP)?

Previously, the CDG only offers funding for core capability development and the GCP assists companies to expand internationally. These grants have been phased out and replaced by EDG.

As an improved grant, the EDG offers more holistic funding coverage as it aids companies in developing 3 areas:

  • Core Capabilities,
  • Innovation and Productivity, and
  • Market Access.

Will I be affected if I have an existing project under CDG/GCP?

You will not be affected if you have an existing project under CDG/GCP. After your project is completed, follow these instructions to submit claims.

Can I try applying for EDG if my CDG/GCP application was rejected previously?

Yes. Before applying, you may want to examine why the previous applicated was rejected. You are advised to consult any of the SME centres or our Astreem team for guidance.

What are the other programmes/grants designed for SMEs?

Enterprise Transform

For businesses seeking to improve core capabilities, the government has launched the Enterprise Transform package that includes leadership transformation.

The EDG is also under this package.

Enterprise Leadership for Transformation (ELT)

This one-year programme is designed to support business leaders of promising SMEs in achieving the next phase of growth through

  • structured modular training in business growth capabilities and
  • business coaching in developing business growth plans.

It is delivered by a network of partners including Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), financial institutions and industry experts.

Enterprise Grow

To help drive growth and sustainability, the government has designed the Enterprise Grow package that includes the launch of:

GoBusiness

SMEs can get access to more straightforward and better processes when applying for licenses, permits and certificates. All G2B transactions have been digitalised through the GoBusiness licensing portal.

SMEs Go Digital

This programme has been expanded to drive greater adoption of digital technology with 3 simple steps.

  1. Assess your business’s digital readiness using the Industry Digital Plan for your sector.
  2. Adopt pre-approved solutions with grant support.
  3. Contact the nearest SME Centre for assistance.

Solutions offered are sector-specific that cut across different areas, such as customer management, data analytics, financial management and inventory tracking.

 

Need a consultant to help you with your EDG application? Astreem Consulting is here to help. Just drop us a message and our staff will get back to you as quickly we can.

Internationalizing Your Brand through Franchising – Are you Ready?

You started your own business and it was an exciting affair, especially since, nothing could beat the thrill of being your own boss. Over time you have then set the systems in place, figured out what works and what doesn’t and you have grown your business locally. Now you think this is the right time to take your business to the international shores. Franchising your brand can help you achieve a larger brand footprint.

Some Benefits of Franchising Internationally:
– Builds market share.
– Increases revenue channels.
– Grows brand equity, Brand reputation and recognition.
– Lowers risk through diversification in new countries.
– Balances out temporary losses locally with international earnings.
– Decreases production costs by moving certain operations to countries where labour and materials are cheaper.

Getting started:
Before you franchise internationally, do ensure you are prepared with the following:

1. Strong Brand Identity: At the centre of any good franchise operation is the brand’s identity. Franchisors must develop the brand well enough to gain international market recognition because people buy a product or a service depending on how much they can relate to it. There must also be a proven track record of the brand’s success in the local market.

2. Clear Franchise Strategy: You must ensure that your business has a clear and easily communicated sales proposition before you start to look for franchisees. Price, quality, service, logistics, operations and anything else that you want to include in the Franchise offering needs to be clear in your franchise marketing collateral.

3. Well Documented Operations: You know that you are ready when you have clear, reliable and documented operations processes for creating or delivering your service of product.

4. Replicable Business Model: Your company must already be making decisions and be implementing activities consistently based on agreed methods of business process management. This is important because in the end franchisees are not buying your product or service but they are buying a process by which your brand can be run.

5. Adaptability: International markets often put the franchisor out of his or her comfort zone. The franchisor must be flexible enough to adapt to the nuances of the new markets. Not everything that worked in your local marked can be applied to international markets.

6. Strong Franchise Management System: Finding a franchisee, whilst is important, is less vital to the success of a franchise’s success than their ability to manage their franchisees. Using a Franchise management platform can simplify many repetitive tasks and ensuring processes are automated also allows for smart contract agreements to be enforced.

Few Words of Caution:
1. Avoid the lure of short term profit: Take your time and plan on long term investment in the new international markets that you want to be in. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was a successful international brand expansion. Lasting business relationships and credibility in international markets are built over time.

2. Misjudging new markets: Even if your brand is doing exceptionally well locally, you need to see whether the products or services that you are giving through your business will fill a demand in international markets.

For franchisors who want to grow internationally, it is recommended that you take the support and services of franchise experts to help you exploit the intellectual property that resides in your business. Develop customized growth strategies for your business to help you successfully franchise and sustain your international brand growth.

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About the Author:
Hsien Naidu has over 25 years of experience in Franchising, Marketing, Branding and Intellectual Property Management across various industries including Food & Beverage, Education, Retail and Lifestyle as well as services. She is a Senior Practicing Management Consultant, a certified Intellectual Property Management Consultant, a Certified Franchise Executive and is presently the Director of Astreem Consulting Pte Ltd.