The people part of the equation is as important as processes. Leadership is a vital issue but no less important is communicating the vision throughout the company. The difference between a strategic and an ad hoc approach to training is the difference between business excellence and a business “getting by”, believes Margaret Murray, director of training at the CBI.
But if shareholder confidence in the dot.com has taken a knock then e-commerce is continuing to bring business benefits through faster communications, quick access to market information and online trading portals. e-Procurement, and e-learning are starting to impact on corporate thinking. The DTI’s e-business unit, UK Online has conducted a survey which shows that 1.7 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are now connected, a 1.1 million increase over 1999, a figure that dramatically exceeds the Government’s original target of getting 1.5 million small firms online by the year 2002.
We continue to attract contributions of business journalists who offer pithy advice and report on best practice. Martin J Bailey, for example has some useful lessons for directors in his excellent article on health and safety which in the light of Railtrack’s recent track record are timely. He says: “UK plc is waking up to the fact that good health and safety regimes can cut costs by reducing liability claims and insurance premiums and increase profits by improving workforce morale.”