Power surge

first_img Comments are closed. WhenPaul Archer became managing director of ScottishPower’s customer servicesdivision in 2000, he set in place a huge programme of change. This is how hekick-started itGettingit right, getting it doneDesignedby: Academee, Bollin House, Bollin Walk, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK91DPPhone: 01625 543600 Fax 01625 540541www.Academee.come-mail: [email protected] five households in the UK is a ScottishPower customer. Formed in 1989 toprepare for competition in a deregulated utilities market, it went public in1991 and became the first UK power firm to buy a rival when it acquired Manweband the first to buy a water company with the acquisition of Southern Water.With its purchase of PacifiCorp in 1999, ScottishPower became the first non-USentity to acquire a utility in the States. Morerecently, ScottishPower has also launched a telecoms company called Thus. Ithas also expanded its retail network and is becoming the UK’s largest wind farmoperator.  ChallengesInrecent years, ScottishPower customer services has been striving to meet thechallenges of privatisation, deregulation and an increasingly competitivemarket.  Variousinitiatives had been introduced to address these issues, but when Paul Archertook up his role, he realised that what customer services really needed was along-term strategy for change that would attract and retain more satisfiedcustomers.  LeadershipStyleArcherprefers to be called “chief dispenser of enthusiasm” rather than managingdirector, and his energy is boundless. His vision is for ScottishPower’scustomer service to become a byword for excellence.  Hesays, “Organisations should be designed around the needs of their customers.People should aim high, be innovative and take risks in order to achieve theirgoals. Our aim is for everyone in customer services to become part of onewinning team, without geographical or hierarchical division.”Workingwith expertsTofacilitate and drive this process, ScottishPower began working with Academee.As experts in change management and learning, Academee helped them understandwhere change was required. It then expanded this to advise on how to ensure ithappened.  JonathanWilson, one of the Academee consultants working on the project, says, “Part ofour work with ScottishPower is about improving systems and processes, and thatis central to the change programme.“Themain reason for doing this is so they become enablers for people to provideexcellent customer service. You can have the best systems in the world, but ifyour people aren’t motivated and trained, and your communication is poor, yourcustomers won’t benefit.”Archeragrees. “Academee brings a wealth of experience gained through the work it hasdone in developing customer-focused organisations. Its consultants challengeexisting methods and provide an independent, objective view for the wayforward.”  CommunicationThefirst step that ScottishPower and Academee took was to launch a programme ofconsultation for everyone working in customer services.  Earlyconversations with hundreds of people at open forums established some keythemes:–Overall customer service needed to be improved–Training and development were an important part of making it happen–People wanted simpler systems and procedures to enable improved service andbetter planning–Communication and teamworking had to be enhanced and a culture of trustestablished–Quality had to be put above quantity  Wilsonsays, “It was important that we started by listening. Over 700 opportunitiesand ideas for improvement came out of these forums. There was clearly a lot ofenergy in the organisation, but some of it was misdirected, leading tofrustration.  “It’simportant to focus this energy from the outset so we can respond quickly andbuild momentum.”  InJune 2000, the “Wall of Pledges” was launched. It had 19 bricks, each onerepresenting a pledge from senior management to address key issues raised throughthe open forums. Each brick became the responsibility of a “business champion”,and by September, the wheels of change were rolling.  Archersays, “We saw the results from this quite quickly. For instance, the billingbacklog, which had become a barrier to great customer service, was reduced by80 per cent. The number of outbound calls across ScottishPower’s four callcentres was also lowered. Staffing issues were being addressed. And, perhapsmost importantly, communication was improving. “Ourorganisation was becoming less hierarchical, and teams were working togethermore effectively.”Changethrough peopleAta second round of forums, Archer talked about the roles of everyone in theorganisation in creating change.   Keythemes were prioritised and 150 people signed up to make a contribution tocreating a new organisation. Cross-functional teams were then set up with otherdivisions to encourage joined-up thinking. Archersays, “In this competitive environment, we need to harness all the intellectualand emotional energy we can. This has been supported by leadership andteambuilding events, mainly for senior managers, which are beginning to have apositive impact on the culture and behaviours within customer services.”Somenew managers have been appointed who have helped to invigorate theorganisation.  Archersays, “We’re moving away from what was a management-led approach.Decision-making needs to take place as near as possible to the customer, somanagers should be supporting the people on the frontline.”FuturefocusHavingfacilitated workshops and development events mainly for senior managers,Academee is working in partnership with ScottishPower to develop a training anddevelopment strategy for the whole department.Wilsonsays, “Training and development is a key strategic tool.  Everyone needs to understand the drivers forchange and how the change will impact on them. They need to understand whatgreat customer service is, and how to achieve it. We need to develop the rightknowledge, skills and behaviours to make it happen. We also need to create aculture which supports this.”ScottishPower’scustomer services revolution will not happen overnight. The current transitionprogramme spans a two-year period.ScottishPower’scustomer services revolution can be seen in four stages: review, reform, renew,reinvent. The stages overlap. The review is complete and the reformation iswell under way. Renewal has also begun, ignited by some of the key appointmentsfrom outside. But the reinvention is really just beginning.Archerconcludes, “These initiatives, and the entire change programme, are takingplace amid fierce business pressures which won’t go away.  “Weovercome this by continually setting ourselves tough challenges and highideals. In this way we ensure that we continue to drive through the changesnecessary to compete at the highest level.”VerdictKeeping customers satisfiedTheprogramme focused on several key performance indicators. In customer services,across call centres, billing and credit management, there are hundreds ofdaily, weekly and monthly KPIs which are tracked, all of which are important.As a result of the programme, and in addition to an initiative called One andDone, which is about first call resolution – satisfying the customer’s needswith one phone call – there has been an improvement in KPIs.–More customers satisfied in the space of one call– The number of bills with estimated meter readings has been decreased– Aged debt has been brought down demonstrably– Regulated complaints down by 25 per centOverallrating ****Key: * disappointing excellent ***** Power surgeOn 1 Jun 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

DIGICEL Junior Caribbean Squash Championships

first_imgGuyana, Barbados battle for title todayTHE Land of Many Waters and the Land of the Flying Fish will vie for supremacy in the DIGICEL Junior Caribbean Squash Championships today at the Georgetown Club, in what is shaping up to be yet another very tight race.Following yesterday’s morning session the two countries were tied with 12 wins in the Boys’ competition, where Guyana are the defending champions. However, over in the Girls’ division Barbados have the edge, having won nine of their ten matches, whereas Guyana have only won eight of theirs.Both countries have much to prove as the competition concludes today. Guyana will try desperately to maintain their title, while Barbados would like a taste of victory – a privilege they’ve been denied since 2004.Guyana took a major hit when they finished 3-2 against the Jamaicans on Thursday afternoon, losing their slight advantage over the Bajans, which they had, after grabbing a 5-0 against Trinidad on Wednesday.However, both sides still stand a chance to improve their fate when matches continued yesterday as Guyana Boys took on the Cayman Islands, while Barbados played Jamaica.In yesterday morning’s session, both Barbados and Guyana won 4-1, in the Girls’ division, when they played Trinidad and Cayman Islands, respectively.After Guyana’s Kirsten Gomes had a quick 11-0, -2, 11-0 win against Sigourney Williams, things were looking bright for the Golden Arrowhead side.But all that changed as Rebecca Low faced off against Girls Under-19 semifinalist Marie-Claire Barcant. After Low seized the first four points of the match, Barcant held her at bay and equalized.They traded points and rallied until Barcant became the first to touch 10 points, but with Low just one point behind the set was far from over, and Low knew it.Low dug herself out of the hole and Barcant managed just one more point before the Guyanese took the set. But that was her last set win, Barcant wrapped up the next three 11-3, 11-5, 11-4.Taylor Fernandes, Makeda Harding and Madison Fernandes, however, made sure that was Guyana’s only loss. Harding and Madison had 3-0 wins against Jinan Alrawi and Chloe Walcott, respectively, while Taylor blanked Amanda Yearwood 4-0.In the Boys’ Guyana-Jamaica battle Benjamin Mekdeci, Shomari Wiltshire and Michael Alphonso won their matches, while Daniel Islam and Alex Cheeks suffered losses in theirs.last_img read more


first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (March 23, 2017)–A bit rank early, Irish-bred September Stars leveled off when it counted under Gary Stevens, as she took Thursday’s $56,000 Santa Anita allowance feature by a measured length while getting a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:48.16.  Idle since well beaten in England on Sept. 23, September Stars is trained by Paddy Gallagher.Breaking from the rail in a field of six older fillies and mares, September Stars, a 4-year-old filly, was a handful with Stevens under the wire the first time, but settled some down the backstretch.  A close fourth behind a three-horse spread turning for home, Stevens angled to the rail furlong out and September Stars rocketed to the lead and won in-hand late over Mrs. Norris, who had first run on her turning for home.“I saw that she had pulled some in her races over there (England),” said Stevens.  “Wow…she’s got some gears.”Off at 5-1, September Stars paid $13.40, $6.60 and $3.80.  Owned by Andrew Rosen and Edward Easton, she picked up $33,600 for the win, increasing her earnings to $49,201.  She now has three wins from nine career starts.“She had trained nice,” said Gallagher, himself born and bred on the Emerald Isle.  “A mile and one eighth looks like a really good distance for her.”Ridden by Victor Espinoza, Mrs. Norris, who finished 2 ½ lengths in front of Sweet Dragon Fly, was off at 6-1 and paid $5.60 and $3.40.English-bred Sweet Dragon Fly, who was ridden by Joe Talamo, was off at 9-1 and paid $5.00 to show.Heavily favored at even money, Radiantly, who was ridden by Brice Blanc, was done three furlongs from home and finished fifth.Fractions on the race were 23.61, 48.25, 1:12.66 and 1:36.89.last_img read more

South African team set for BRICS summit

first_img26 March 2012President Jacob Zuma will lead a high-powered South African delegation to the fourth BRICS summit in New Delhi, India this week – the second summit South Africa will be attending after its ascension to the grouping of powerful emerging economies in 2011.South Africa’s inclusion in the group at last year’s summit in Beijing put the country in the league of the world’s fastest-growing and potentially most influential group of nations: Brazil, Russia, India and China.South Africa’s inclusion was a recognition of its strategic role in Africa and its ability to act as an interlocutor between Africa and the international community, rather than because of the size of its population or gross domestic product (GDP).Focus on global issuesAccording to the Presidency, this year’s BRICS summit will focus on global governance matters, including the global economy and international peace and security, as well as sustainable development issues, including climate change.South Africa “will take advantage of the BRICS summit to advance the African Agenda, seek support from BRICS partners for Nepad infrastructure development and industrialisation initiatives on the African continent, and advocate for reform of global governance institutions,” the Presidency said.The summit takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.BRICS Business ForumBusiness Unity South Africa (Busa) has confirmed that it will be sending a delegation of over 50 companies to the second BRICS Business Forum, which runs in parallel with the summit.Busa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni said the inaugural BRICS Business Forum in Hainan, China last year established a solid foundation for enhanced business ties among the fastest-growing economies in the world.“South African business needs to leverage on the commercial opportunities offered by Brazil, Russia, India and China for the mutual benefit of the grouping, South Africa and the African continent,” Majokweni said in a statement.Busa said Africa’s economic expansion of plus 5% over the past decade had been a direct product of its strategic ties to the emerging world, where the BRICS countries serve as the engine of growth.Surge in trade with BRICS countriesSouth Africa’s trade with its fellow BRICS economies increased by 108% from 2007 to 2011, compared with a 12% growth in trade with the European Union over the same period.“The comparison is not to diminish South Africa’s commercial relationship with Europe, but to emphasise where the next global growth is emanating,” Busa said.“Business expects further positive outcomes at the upcoming BRICS summit, particularly in the areas of agriculture and food security, information communication technology, energy and finance.”BRICS development bank on the agendaThe body said South African business was also open to discussion on the merits of a BRICS development bank, which could positively affect the financing of infrastructure as well as facilitate trade within the BRICS bloc.Discussions on mechanisms for currency convertibility among the BRICS countries were also welcomed, but with a caution on pegging the rand to any other currency, Busa said.South African business has already made inroads into BRICS markets with a number of high-profile investments, including Sasol’s coal-to-liquids plants in China and India, SABMiller’s investments in the Chinese beverage sector, and Naspers’ investment in the Russian ICT sector.Source: BuaNews, with additional reporting by SAinfolast_img read more

Open Source: Going Strong, but my Open Source Model may not be Yours

first_imgNew reports from Evans Data and The 451 Group were issued last week about the health of the Open Source movement.  The reports show that Open Source is gaining in commercial acceptance globally.  Further, the reports find that software vendors with traditional licensing models are being increasingly pressured to reinvent their business models, and causing them not only to rethink how they license and distribute their software, but also causing them to realign their relationships with their customers.Increasingly vendors are testing the waters by opening up some part of their software portfolios as Open Source.  Microsoft has begun to experiment too, even as they continue to spread FUD as with comments in the news today from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer where he says that Open Source trampels Intellectual Property rights. Microsoft started some years back with the “Shared Source” concept. More recently, Microsoft has set up a web site called Codeplex to host Open Source projects based on Microsoft technologies.  An interesting example of the kinds of projects hosted on Codeplex is enterprise PLM software from a company called Aras.  Aras has transformed their proprietary licensing model for their Innovator product to Open Source.  More recently Microsoft has also begun experimenting with an incubator project called OfficeLabs within their Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM groups that is chartered as true Open Source.The Evans Data study found that, rather than services revenue, more than half of the 31 vendors they surveyed said that their greatest revenue opportunity is in commerical licensing.  It is quite common for vendors to offer Open Source Community editions that have limited forum-based support and to provide a commercial license for an enterprise supported version of their software.Some critics charge that the original intent of the free share-and-share-alike philosophy of Open Source has been lost as more commercial entities are adopting some forms of the Open Source model.  As an example, IBM has released strategic Open Source initiatives like Eclipse, OpenCloud, and Unstructured Information Analysis and Search (UIMA) that have driven revenues to IBM in the forms of compatible for-fee middleware and services, and at the expense of their competitors.Another problem of Open Source often cited is that there are a flood of point Open Source solutions.  Integrating all the pieces from Open Source together into more comprehensive enterprise business solutions can be a huge task, one that might lead you to reconsider the one-shop certified solutions coming out of Oracle, Microsoft or SAP.A new organization has been formed called the Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) that seeks to remedy the interoperability problem.  The goal is to create something comparable to the big-vendor software suites and that provides consistent licensing and interoperability.  Founding OSA members include EnterpriseDB, JasperSource, SpikeSource, and sourceforge.net.last_img read more

Now You Can Embed Facebook Posts—If Facebook Says It’s OK

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts readwrite Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Tags:#embed#Facebook#now#twitter In the endless game of keeping-up-with-the-Joneses that is social media, Facebook has just emulated Twitter and announced that it, too, will let online publications and bloggers embed public posts including pictures, hashtags, status updates and videos. Twitter has allowed users to embed tweets in online posts for almost two and a half years.Facebook’s embedding differs from Twitter in that it’s only available to a few select sites at the moment. (Twitter embeds are available to anyone.) At the moment, only Mashable, CNN, People, Huffington Post, and The Bleacher Report have entered that charmed circle; Facebook declares that a “broader rollout” is coming soon. CNN embedded this post from Facebook on its site (sorry, all we have is the screenshot): 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

9 months agoPremier League trio eyeing Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Premier League trio eyeing Espanyol striker Borja Iglesiasby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveA raft of Premier League clubs are eyeing Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias.La Vanguardia says Leicester City, Wolves and Crystal Palace are all keen on the forward.Iglesias’ contract carries a €28m buyout clause.For now, Espanyol are yet to field any offers for Iglesias, though are aware of the English speculation.Espanyol’s record transfer is €20m for Gerard Moreno when he was sold to Villarreal. last_img read more

Official Presents at IMF Conference Morocco’s Reforms to Promote Growth, Jobs

first_imgWashington – Chairman of the Moroccan economic, social and environmental council (CESE), Nizar Baraka, presented on Saturday in Washington the democratic and economic reforms adopted in Morocco to promote more inclusive and job-generating growth.Baraka who spoke during a conference held by the International Monetary Fund on “Arab economic transformation among political transition,” stressed that Morocco has succeeded in speeding the reform process in order to better meet the citizens’ aspirations to a better future, noting that transition in Morocco started in early 90’s.He went on that the constitution adopted in 2011 has given more credit to institutions and helped speed up structural reforms by giving prime importance to integrated sectorial strategies that are meant to promote youth access to decent jobs. During the conference, Baraka also spoke about Morocco’s African calling, recalling, in this context, the recent tour undertaken by King Mohammed VI to four African countries and the establishment of a fertilizers plant for Africa which illustrates Morocco’s commitment to agriculture and food security in the continent. The CESE chairman further noted various measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises, including tax reduction from 30 to 10pc. The conference, held on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring session was moderated by head of the IMF Middle east and North Africa department, Masood Ahmed.With MAPlast_img read more

The Islanders Shouldnt Be This Good

It’s been a long time since the New York Islanders were any good. Despite a few playoff berths here and there, the Islanders’ past decade has been defined more by venue changes, managerial shakeups, another venue change, and losing John Tavares, its franchise player and captain to free agency. From the middle of the 1970s through the middle of the 1980s, the Islanders were among the NHL’s elite franchises, but they’ve mostly been a punchline since. But that narrative could be shifting this season.The Islanders currently sit in second place in the Metropolitan division, two points behind the Washington Capitals with a game in hand and a superior goal differential. In fact, they’ve already gained more points in 65 games this season than they did during all of last season. Any team would be expected to struggle immediately after failing to re-sign a player of Tavares’s caliber — only five players have scored more points than Tavares since his rookie season in 2009-10 — but the Islanders have somehow flourished.Goaltending has been key to that success: Isles netminders Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss have split time almost equally and boast the NHL’s third and fourth best save percentages, respectively, while their combined save percentage paces the league. Goaltending is as bad as it’s been in a decade across the NHL, but apparently no one sent the memo to Lehner or Greiss.The exceptional play between the pipes has been bolstered by an emphasis on improving the defense by new coach Barry Trotz — who was hired fresh off a Stanley Cup win with the Capitals — and new president of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello, who won three Stanley Cups in New Jersey with a similar, defense-first philosophy. In 2017-18, the Isles gave up a league-high 296 goals. So far in 2018-19, they’ve given up a league-low 157. At their current rate, the Isles will surrender nearly 100 fewer goals in 2018-19 than they did just a season ago.But Tavares is missed on offense: The Islanders rank in the bottom third of the league for goals scored, and none of their players rank among the top 65 point getters. Last season’s rookie of the year Mathew Barzal is having a solid second season, leading the Islanders with 52 points.This doesn’t necessarily rule out the Islanders from winning the biggest prize: Defense can still be enough to prevail in this sport. The 2014-15 Chicago Blackhawks ranked 17th in goals scored and second in goals allowed during the regular season, and things ended up working out pretty well for them.Whether the Islanders finish the season as Stanley Cup champions remains to be seen, but what is clear is that for the first time in a very long time, they’re at the very least the kings of the New York metro area (yes, New Jersey Devils, we’re counting you). This isn’t exactly unfamiliar territory — the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1979-80 to 1982-83 — but it’s territory they haven’t set foot in for a while. According to Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS), which estimates the strength of every team in the NHL,1Technically speaking, SRS measures a team’s average goal differential after adjusting for strength of schedule. the Islanders haven’t been the outright best team in New York/New Jersey since 1992-93. New York/New Jersey preeminence notwithstanding, the Islanders still have major problems on the business end of their operation. The team has the worst attendance in the NHL. The Devils and the Rangers might both be bad (and they are), but at least their fans are still showing up to watch hockey games (attrition can be fascinating, after all). Islanders fans have been notoriously absent for the last 20 seasons, but that’s because they were constantly given a reason to be absent. The team is good now, yet still the Barclays Center in Brooklyn had thousands of empty seats whenever they played there. (Attendance at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale has been far better, suggesting the Isles should probably play every game at that arena — and they will the rest of the regular season.)It’s hard to predict what the Islanders are capable of in the playoffs. They’re currently ranked 3rd in PDO, which is the sum of shooting percentage and save percentage, which might suggest they’re in the position they’re in because they’ve been more lucky than good. Puck luck is real, and it might be favoring the Islanders so far this season. But that doesn’t mean it’ll hold for the playoffs.Lucky or otherwise, if they continue winning at their current rate they’ll amass 102 points. That would be the franchise’s best total since the 1983-84 season, which is also the last time the Isles reached the Stanley Cup final. That team lost to some 23 year-old kid named Gretzky.Neil Paine contributed research to this article. read more

Ohio State womens volleyball runs out of gas in first loss of

In its third game of the season, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team suffered its first loss of the year Saturday against the No. 20 Oregon Ducks, 3-2. The No. 24-ranked Buckeyes opened up the Sports Imports DC Koehl Classic at St. John Arena with back-to-back wins against Houston and Toledo, 3-0. OSU, though, could not extend its winning streak to three as the Ducks outlasted the Buckeyes down the stretch Saturday. Playing its third game in two days, it appeared that fatigue and endurance were factors in the loss. “We came out with a lot of energy and played our game in the first couple of games,” said senior setter Amanda Peterson. “After we came out of the locker room for the third game, we kind of lost a little bit of energy at the beginning.” During the first two sets, the Buckeyes dominated early on the floor by winning both sets. As the game continued, however, the Buckeyes had several chances to close out on match points, but could not finish the game on a strong note. Senior outside hitter Emily Danks, who is an American Volleyball Coaches Association honorable mention All-American selection, tried to stay positive in the team’s first loss of the season. “The beauty of playing such tough competition at the beginning of the season is that it prepares us for the best volleyball conference in the country,” Danks said. “We can take a lot from this match. We’ve shown how strong we can come out and we just need to prove that we can maintain that energy, and finish at the end of games because we could have had it.” The Buckeyes were lead by a strong performance behind their four seniors in Danks, Peterson, outside hitter Mari Hole and middle blocker Mariah Booth, but the Ducks made their adjustments as their redshirt senior outside hitter, Alaina Bergsma, shifted into a new gear in the last three sets. “I thought we played really clean, solid, aggressive volleyball in the first two sets and did the game plan,” said Buckeyes coach Geoff Carlston. “Basically their best player Bergsma really stepped up and I got to give her credit for that. Our game plan broke down a little bit, and we just weren’t able to make the adjustments to slow her down.” In the end, the Buckeyes lost by five points in the last set, and let a chance at victory slip away in the final seconds. But with the season being so young, Danks and Peterson said they know the team will continue to get better. “(Oregon is) a really good team, and we’re just going to keep getting better, learn from our mistakes and keep on moving up,” Peterson said. Danks agreed with her teammate, and took it a step further by challenging herself and her teammates. “Everyday is a learning experience for me, whether it is physically or terms of leadership. So I am just going to continue to get better and not be complacent. I am going to take it up another notch by being more demanding of my teammates and myself,” she said. “(I need to) keep perfecting my shots, my serve and my defense so that at the end of the year, I know I got every ounce of talent I have out.” Carlston said he expects more from his seniors and believes that this unit is one of the best in the country. “It’s a tough loss because (Oregon is) one of the top teams in the country, as I feel we are too,” Carlston said. “We have a veteran team, and with four seniors starting, I am challenging them to step up every weekend because we have a very tough schedule.” Carlston said he was not happy with how his team responded during certain moments of the game, but knows that his team will continue to push each other to be better. “I am disappointed in how we responded at times towards the end of the match. I know were going to come back and work hard on Monday,” Carlston said. “You lose by four points and after three hours, it’s a tough loss, but this is a group that is going to grow from it, and as a staff grow from it and continue to get better.” OSU is next scheduled to play Binghamton at the Maryland Invitational on Friday, Aug. 31. read more