Category

Blog

FMCG

One Company’s COVID-19 Repsonse in the Caribbean – The FMCG Persepctive

By | Blog, COVID-19, News, What's New | No Comments
FMCG

By Fayola Nicholas, Director of Development Consulting, Advancement & Alumni Relations & Marketing Lecturer at UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business; DBA Candidate at Grenoble Ecole de Management

Main Article Points

  • Focus on employee’s wellbeing with guidelines to keep them safe
  • Stay close to consumers. Tune in to the ‘weak’ signals for early identification of shifts in demand
  • Build Capabilities and Leverage technology

Businesses and economies around the world have been affected by COVID 19. While governments still try to determine how to handle the health concerns and keep their citizens safe, there is far reaching economic impact with the world entering a global recession.  Private Sector has been impacted, and in the Caribbean we have not been immune.  The CEO of one Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association’s member organisation, an FMCG that operates in the Caribbean region, met virtually with the Project Team of Trinidad and Tobago Civil Society Organisations for Business.  The discussion centered on what has been the impact on their operation, how they continue to manage this exogenous shock and what advice would they give to other firms operating in the Caribbean environment.

Employee Wellbeing

The organisation’s priority has been the wellbeing of their employees.   Despite not having a formal work from home policy, the company’s policies allowed employees to balance their family responsibilities prior to Covid 19.  This has been part of the organisations move towards building an agile company. Their agility was built in with the flexibility to choose the physical location of work, whether it is one of the work spaces in the company or at home.  The policy also allowed employees to manage personal tasks during the workday and provided them with access to continue work at a later time, with the understanding that company objectives would still be met.  This corporate focus on agility and the practice of working from home, meant that the movement to work from home as a result of Covid 19,  was not a massive shift for the employees.

Initial employee concerns, at the announcement of the closure of business, were centered on how long the disruption would be.  The company’s focus was on the best way to support their employees and provide a safe working environment for them.  The CEO understood that “Everyone is in the same storm, but not everyone has the same boat.”  Therefore, people would have varying circumstances at home, which would impact their ability to work comfortably and safely.  The firm continued its commitment to being flexible and agile, by allowing employees take the ergonomic office chairs from their place of employment, to be used at home, and where required reimbursed staff for additional office equipment like printers and scanners. New guidelines were created for working at home to help ensure work life balance, by making it mandatory for employees take their lunch hour when most convenient to them and scheduling meetings so they do not begin before 9am and must end by 5pm.  

The CEO acknowledged that these practices should vary by company and industry. He continued to add that, “Working from home is based on trust, and the organizational policy at a group level measures output and performance for productivity, rather than the number of hours worked.  Having the correct performance management system helps determine if the team is able to deliver the objectives, which goes back to the recruitment process and hiring people based on values.”

Consumer Behavior

As a provider of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, the firm was greatly impacted by changes in consumer behaviour and had limited time to respond.   There were sharp increases in products related to health and hygiene, given the increased focus on handwashing and regular sanitation.  The restrictions on movement and closure of out of home food retailers, meant that most people spent more time cooking and eating  at home.  The increase in traffic to supermarket channels allowed them to observe some minor and major changes in consumer and shopper behaviors. While there was an increase in bulk purchases, shoppers preferred to purchase all items in one location, rather than visiting many retail locations to fulfill their shopping needs. This may have been as a response to the increased hassle of needing to line up and sanitise to enter each new shopping location. Alternatively, it could have been seen as the shoppers preference to reduce their risk of exposure, by visiting less locations to meet their home needs.

One major change was the move towards e-commerce by both the shoppers and the retailers.  Established retailers stepped into  e-commerce allowing customers to place orders online and collect items curbside at a convenient time.  This change allowed new retail players to enter the market.  The response from shoppers show that the market is ready for e commerce shopping channels for everyday items.  As a major player in FMCG, the organization has been proactive with their observation of online shopping  behaviour.  They have created a portfolio of product photos suitable for online retailers in addition to their traditional point of purchase marketing material.  While businesses have taken steps to return to normal,  the organization is looking at those small signals in consumer and shopper behaviour and believe that the first retailer to effectively and efficiently manage orders, payment and delivery could change the retail market space.  

Strategy

Scenario Planning and Business Continuity are now the buzz words of business as firms seek to stabilise their revenues and prepare for unexpected eventualities.  As an FMCG Multinational Corporation, this organization has approached scenario planning in a novel way. Rather than having 2-3 scenarios for which they prepare, the organsiation has focused on building internal capabilities to allow them to respond faster to market changes.

The strategy team has finetuned their ability to detect weak signals in shifts in consumer, customer and retailer behaviours, and ensure that they are agile  in their ability to make changes in their approach. The firm acknowledges their advantage of having major brands and alternate supply chain sources for the brands that the market knows and loves.  “Supply Chain is seen as being as important as Sales and Marketing.”, said the CEO, and the firm has invested in consumer demand and supply chain management systems to assist in monitoring their needs.

While other local firms may not have a wide variety of options for new sources of raw materials, the CEO sees that Trinidad and Tobago is best positioned in the English Speaking Caribbean, to provide for and meet the needs of the Caribbean.  Many regional firms are now faced with the problem of having their usual international supply chains interrupted.  As a manufacturing hub in the Caribbean, many local manufacturers must meet minimum order quantities (MOQs) for raw materials. Given the relatively small size of the Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean market, there are large stocks of raw material on hand, which the local manufacturers can now use to meet the needs of our regional neighbours.  Given Trinidad’s generally stable exchange rate to USD, the low cost of production and the MOQs, local firms should be ready to increase production and meet the regional surges in demand with ease, and at a price point that is competitive.

As firms re-open, the business community is aware of the dreary economic scenarios, both locally and internationally.  The CEO’s words of wisdom to local firms guide them to control expenses and manage their cash flows.  “Scale back, reduce and defer discretionary spend. Run your business as you run your household.”

As someone who has faced three recessions in the Caribbean and Latin America throughout his career, he advises that there should be long term and short term trade-offs.  “While reducing expenses, firms should look at long term investment in consumer communication, improving the route to market and ensuring that IT can support an agile company.”  Seek to improve payment terms and invest in capability building throughout the organisation.  It is important to invest in organizational capabilities, in a bid to be more agile. Capability building must include training, but it also includes  infrastructural capabilities, particularly IT.   Strong IT capabilities can be leveraged to reduce operational costs and provide employees with the tools to do their job, even while working from home.

As the CEO of a leading FMCG in the Caribbean, there is clear priority on what is important for their busines continuity.  First, have the employee’s wellbeing at heart, through guidelines that keep them safe whether they work at home or in office. Secondly, return to the basics and conserve cash, this organization is debt-free.  It is also important to look at changes in consumer signals, and support retailers as they also adjust to changing consumer and shopper needs.  Finally, ensure that company capabilities are agile and ready for market changes by leveraging technology .

UWI-ALJGSB’s Roadmap to Recovery Plan

By | Blog, News, What's New | No Comments

Following the actions which were required by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to protect the nation from the heavy impact of COVID-19. The Government sought the input from various sectors and subject matter experts on strategies to restart and rejuvenate the economy of Trinidad & Tobago post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alumni Board of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business initiated a call to our Alumni to put forward proposals, strategies and ideas which can contribute to the National Recovery Plan to boost the economy. These are the collated and developed solutions provided by the Alumni of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.

For the complete Recovery Plan:

Click here to download:

https://bit.ly/2Y7JC60

Click here to view/read: 

https://bit.ly/3d8i4l8

Risk Surveillance, Risk Monitoring and the Cassandra effect.

By | Blog, COVID-19, executive education | No Comments
Written by Mr Ken Hackshaw – Executive Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Risk Management Institute, Lead faculty of the Professional Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management

 

What concept from this Pandemic can decision-makers, leaders and risk practitioners lean into?

The answer is: Timely and effective surveillance…

The term “timely and effective surveillance” is applied (today) to the identification and tracking for pandemic risk events like a coronavirus (COVID-19). I am respectfully suggesting that we apply this concept for all Emerging risks.

So what is meant by timely and effective surveillance?

“Surveillance systems as it relates to the medical field is applied to generate data that help public health officials understand existing and emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases. Without a proper understanding of the health problem (etiology, distribution, and mechanism of infection), it will be difficult to ameliorate the health issue”….

Risk Monitoring;

This is the process that tracks and evaluates the levels of risk in an organization. The findings which are produced by risk monitoring processes can be used to help in all aspects of business operations including strategic planning and process improvements.

The Cassandra effect: 

The Cassandra metaphor (variously labeled the Cassandra “syndrome”, “complex”) occurs when one’s valid warnings or concerns are disbelieved by others. The term originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. The Cassandra curse occurs when a valid warning is disbelieved, dismissed, or disregarded. Most notably, she is said to have warned the Trojans not to accept the wooden horse that famously led to their downfall.

Modern Cassandras warn us of potential issues that could cause big problems down the road.

Avoiding the Cassandra effect: Surveillance and risk monitoring

We submit that it is much easier to see a hazard when it’s right in front of you than it is to identify a risk. For example,  the dangers presented by hanging electrical wires or an oil leak are clear and immediate. It is much harder, however, to identify risks that can eventuate and impact your business that are days or months or even years into the future.

Steps in carrying out surveillance/Risk monitoring

  • Reporting: Someone has to record the data.
  • Data accumulation:  Someone has to be responsible for collecting the data from all the reporters and putting it all together.
  • Data analysis: Someone has to look at the data to determine and or calculate rates of probability, impact, and likelihood.
  • Decisions: decisions must be made but must be followed by action.

Some questions to move you forward:

  • Are you conducting surveillance of the risks/hazards that are impacting your international vendors and suppliers?
  • Are you conducting surveillance of risk/hazards being faced by other Caribbean territories?
  • Are you privy to or getting information that you are disregarding? (Cassandra effect)

Cliff Notes:

  • Surveillance: Horizon scanning, researching, information gathering, data mining to ascertain what risks are out there that have not yet reached your shores (territory, industry, home) but may.
  • Risk Monitoring: If the risk does reach your shore: identify, track and evaluate continuously
  • Cassandra effect: Don’t disregard information. Consider all possibilities and don’t be fooled by certainty (convergence of risk monitoring and surveillance)

We have to begin building a new tool box of agile and resilient processes to treat with the new complexities and uncertainties that lie ahead. There may not be time to respond to future risk events, for respond means the risk has already eventuated. You must ACT NOW.

Loving Living

Loving Living Landscapes

By | Blog, Caribbean Behaviour Change Network | No Comments

Loving Living Landscapes

Written by: Ayodhya Ouditt        Updated: Jan, 2020      3 min read

Whether it’s a classic painting in a gallery, an oversaturated image on a calendar, or the view through one’s window on a drive or train ride, a landscape holds a powerful place in our mind’s eye.

Landscapes are popular items in art and photography, and while there’s tremendous diversity in terms of natural habitats on earth, we do seem to favour some over others. This doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the destitution of a desert of lava flow, but it does mean that I would probably not want to live there. Most people do seem to favour certain scenes based on very specific features.

In his book The Art Instinct, Denis Dutton expounds on these thoughts, building an extraordinary case for instinctive (genetically predetermined) aesthetic preferences. He opens the book with reference to the People’s Choice experiment, a global art project overseen by the Soviet Artists, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid. It was a massive survey of viewer preferences of paintings, across 14 countries, that overwhelmingly showed striking similarities across cultures and continents.

“People in very different cultures across the world gravitate toward the same general type of pictorial representation: a landscape with trees and open areas, water, human figures, and animals. What’s more remarkable still was the fact that people across the globe preferred landscapes of a fairly uniform type…”

Loving Living

Of course, this would probably upset the avant-garde and postmodern sensibilities of many contemporary gallerists; landscapes are accused of being boring, philosophically unsophisticated, and even colonial in nature. But regardless of whether or not these accusations are fair, the fact remains that we love landscapes. As a species, there’s a good reason for this, the ongoing evolutionary explanation being that they represent idyllic environments for the survival of wild ancestral humans.

In a recent conversation with Dr. Stefan Uddenberg, a cognitive psychologist at Princeton University, he reflected on the findings of the People’s Choice project that “Our preferences for landscapes are quite likely baked into us, over the course of millions of years of evolution, from the Pleistocene. We love landscapes that are rich in resources that we can take advantage of… It makes sense — if you’ve got greenery you’ve got fruit. If you’ve got forests there’s going to be wild game that you can hunt. If you’ve got water there’s a huge plus there. These features are there because they provide a huge plus to our survivability.”

 
Loving Living

In this light, in the same way in which we might universally favour a smooth, rosy, untarnished mango over one which is discoloured, bruised, or green, we might favour images of these archetypal semi-wooded sceneries over dark forests or lava flows or glacial tundra, all of which we innately know might be too perilous or too extreme in heat or cold. Again, we can certainly appreciate the beauty of those places as well, but there’s a distinctly calm, almost idyllic feeling we get when we look at the right kind of landscape.

Loving Living - Asher B. Durand (1796-1886)

Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) View toward the Hudson Valley, 1851 Oil on canvas 33 1/8 x 48 1/8 in. (84.1 x 122.2 cm) The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1948.119

The preponderance of direct neuroscientific evidence for the way that these pictures and sceneries affect our brains suggests that we are wired to find beauty in certain scenes and images, and to appreciate beauty on the whole. In his TED Talk “The Neurobiology of Beauty”, Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London goes so far as to say that beauty “originates in the brain, not in the works of art.”

If beauty is so central to the human experience, and these pictures of semi-wooded grasslands can have some a universal effect on us, then what might actual landscapes and urban green-spaces do for us? The health benefits are well noted,

especially when considering depression and other mental health issues. It’s worth noting too that one of the things that makes prison so unbearable is its sterility and lack of landscape entirely. The denial of a window to the world, is not just social isolation, it’s scenic and sensory isolation as well.

In a place as biodiverse and naturally green as Trinidad and Tobago, we benefit from a tremendous range of ecosystem services, which if not abused and destroyed are largely unappreciated. In many parts of the country, green is seen as a handicap and a liability. But if we leverage this ecological bounty, beyond the level of agriculture or even habitat preservation, we might be able to tap into a national stress reduction reservoir, that could help insulate us from the stresses of modern urban life. At the level of preventative medicine then, if we make healthy, mindful use of parks, green yards, forest reserves, and beaches, they might help us fight cancer, diabetes, and suicide, just as well as any pill, prescription, or vaccine.

Update: Shortly after this article was posted, the National Health Service Shetland implemented “nature prescriptions” to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and other issues.

 
Thinking Slow

“Thinking Slow”About Fast Food

By | Blog, Caribbean Behaviour Change Network | No Comments

“Thinking Slow”About Fast Food

Written by: Ayodhya Ouditt        Updated: Jan, 2020    3 min read

A friend of mine recently got some good news regarding a job and wanted to celebrate, so we went down to the strip of food stalls near Grand Bazaar for some street food and then later headed to a bar for a drink.

While I’m certainly not trying to come across as one of those people who complains about everything, it’s also a requirement that a designer be ready to exercise critical thinking at all times. In particular, if one’s concern is social good, and human, animal and environmental wellbeing, paying attention to one’s surroundings is vital.

So with that said it’s always disheartening to me when we go out to lime and I see parents feeding their children cheese-steaks and ‘hoagies’ drowned in sauces, and watering them with coke, pepsi, or some other soft drink. These all come in styrofoam boxes and plastic bottles, which (if one is lucky) are thrown into a bin, but far too often end up in a canal.

This is a bleak situation, for the animals consumed and the human consumers, as well as for the urban and natural environment. But we see this — and even participate in it — everyday, to the point of numbness.

As I heard the lady behind me call to the gyro man for “more mayonnaise” on her burger, I wondered… “What is the reason for this? Why did she feel like she needed more?”

While there are of course many different factors leading to our poor health decisions, if I had to pick just one thing, I thought, it would have to be an overdose of System 1 Thinking, and a deficiency of System 2 Thinking.

Systems 1 and 2 refer to different paradigms of thinking, both of which operate in very different ways. I first saw the terms used in behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow”, but they were actually coined by psychologists Keith Stanovich and Richard West. In Kahneman’s tome, he writes about them like characters in a drama, outlining in particular the ways in which System 1, which comprises our brain’s most ancient survival mechanisms, often betrays us in modern life. Within the title, ‘thinking fast’ refers to System 1, and ‘thinking slow(ly)’ refers to System 2.

Thinking Slow

“System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control.

System 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration.”

So System 1 handles things like detecting hostility in the voice of another, driving a car on an empty road, and of course thirsting after those calorie dense burgers, double-meat gyros, and sugary soft drinks.

System 2 on the other hand allows us to consider that the above mentioned person might have just been stressed, allows us to drive on a crowded road, and enables us to think about making a healthier dinner choice.

The problem is that System 1 works faster, and System 2 requires more mental resources. So if we’re pressed for time, stressed, or just not making a conscious effort to think and act critically, we’re going to be much more susceptible to our instincts when making decisions.

And that’s why that lady asked for more mayonnaise on her burger. It’s simply faster and easier for her brain to think about mayo tasting good. But perhaps if this information were more widely available, and we all understood that this is how we make decisions, we would all be able to double-check our first instincts.

It’s very important for us to think this way, using metacognition — thinking about one’s own thoughts — to reflect on our choices. If we know that we’re susceptible to System 1 thinking all day long, we can engineer better ways around it, by reducing the cognitive load in our daily lives.

When public health campaigns fail, usually it’s because they human beings are expected to absorb information rationally, then execute the desired behaviour perfectly. But we all know that this simply isn’t our nature. You can’t outrun System 1. You can only work around it. That’s why policymakers, public health experts, and designers for behaviour change need to think slow, and not fast, when it comes to improving population health.

 
Thinking Slow
Encediscene

The Encediscene: Health Choices in the Time of Your Life

By | Blog, Caribbean Behaviour Change Network | No Comments

The Encediscene: Health Choices in the Time of Your Life

Written by: Steve Ouditt        Updated: Jan, 2020     3 min read

In July 2017 our team at Vessel downloaded and read the ‘National Strategic Plan for the prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases: Trinidad and Tobago 2017 – 2021’, from the Ministry of Health’s website. We studied this plan from cover to cover, to understand how people are coping with NCDs [non communicable diseases] and to see what’s in store for us. We were alarmed at the danger we’re in.

NCDs are killing us and soaking up billions of dollars every year. Take a look at these stats published in the Strategic Plan. For 2015 – 62% of deaths annually were from NCDs; 25% died from heart disease; 14% died from diabetes; 13% died from cancer and 10% died from cerebrovascular disease. There are approximately 39,400 undiagnosed cases of diabetes. 50% of diabetes deaths occur before the age of 65. There are over 500 amputations a year. On page 5 of the report it tells us that there is an increase in NCD onset in people under 45 years of age. Also, compared to other Caribbean countries, our life expectancy in Trinidad and Tobago is way down the list at number 19 out of 21. We’re just above Guyana, with Haiti last.

Encediscene

These stats on paper are terrible as is, but in the lives of real humans living with NCDs, the situation is unbearable. Even if you’re rich and powerful in Trinidad and Tobago, but have a history of making bad health choices, your money and power won’t save you. It might buy you a little more time, but that’s all.

For many years in rich Trinidad and Tobago, lavish living set the scene that made it easy for people to be extravagant and careless about health choices. There were plenty easy opportunities for rich and poor to become lazier; fatter; greedier; to party harder, and to drive big pick-ups and SUVs. It became easy too, to set such bad lifestyle examples for their children. Right now Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA] has a document on its website on NCDs and childhood obesity, with the hopeful title, ‘Safeguarding our Future Development’. People need to read this.

Encediscene

Our National Strategic Plan for NCDs says that the economic burden on Trinidad and Tobago, from diabetes, cancer and hypertension is about TT$8.7 billion annually. That’s more than US$ one billion per year, and almost one billion Euro a year. To put things into perspective, compared to our annual NCD spend, the rapper Drake’s worth looks like real small money, at a paltry $US100 million. Any state of our size that spends TT$8.7 billion every year on NCDs must admit that it’s losing the battle.

Here is an excerpt from page 14 of the document “Investment in prevention interventions are urgently needed to decrease the incidence and reduce the substantial economic burden. Diabetes and hypertension are due to highly modifiable behavioural factors and prevention interventions can reap huge benefits”.

Another way to say this, and how Vessel interpreted it, is like this, “We urgently need interventions to prevent these NCDs and save billions of dollars. We believe if people change their behaviour and learn better health habits, this will go a long way in reducing diabetes and hypertension.”

Encediscene
Encediscene

It’s not rocket science to understand. To put it quite simply if the state and all health agencies created brilliant interventions to prevent people from smoking too much, from abusing alcohol, from eating unhealthily, from getting obese, from raising their cholesterol and blood sugar, they would save lives and money.

Right now we’re living in the era that scientists refer to as the Anthropocene. It’s the age of heavy human domination and impact on all our ecosystems. This human domination of everything has made it easy and convenient to make bad health choices in all aspects of our lives. We’re now facing the massive and dangerous backlash that we at Vessel have named the Encediscene [NCDscene]. We imagine we’re living in the era of the NCD. Just read the plan.

Encediscene

Vessel has designed a behaviour change interactive exhibition tentatively titled ‘The Encediscene: Health Choices in the Time of Your Life.’ In upcoming posts we’ll be put up some drawings of our idea. Look out for them.

Steve.

Why is it a GREAT IDEA to pursue a Business Degree?

By | BISB, Blog, What's New | No Comments
Selecting a degree can be difficult, hence, you want to select something that can be valuable in the long-term as well as flexible in an instance where you want to switch fields. Check out five reasons why a degree in business is the best route of study below:
 
  1. It is a Practical Choice

Business majors have more job security than other majors because they are needed in virtually all industries. Whether in banking, manufacturing or, energy sector, all industries need people with business acumen to function and prosper. This will always keep the demand for business majors relatively high, even in tough economic times. 

  1. Learn Transferrable Skills

Business programs place a huge focus on teaching students the ability to think critically, problem solve in innovative ways, and manage their time logically, skills that you can apply in any job, business and even in your everyday life. 

  1. Combine your passions

Even if you don’t see yourself working as an accountant or finance manager, a degree in business can help you broaden your horizons and pursue your passions successfully. If you want to be your own boss and manage a successful business, you’ll need to know how to write a detailed and viable business plan, obtain financing for your business, track your profits and losses, and be comfortable with many other aspects of business management in order to keep your business profitable. This is, yet again, where experience in studying business can really come in handy in a practical way. 

4.Higher chances of landing a job  

Did you know that the average business student lands a job within six months of graduatingThat’s because there’s a huge demand for business graduates in today’s economy, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon and the opportunities are widespread.

5. Broader options of specialization areas  

As a business student, if you enter into a business studies programme, you will have plenty of options for specialization. For example, you could specialize in management, marketing, human resources, accounting, or business finance. You could also choose to specialize in a specific industry such as the fashion industry or in the humanitarian non-profit sector. In general, business careers offer more opportunity for career advancement than other careers. With advancement comes salary increases, professional respect, an opportunity to challenge yourself, and many other perks as well. 

Check out the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business 

International Guest Lecturers for Self-Awareness and Leadership course for Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business

By | BISB, Blog, What's New | No Comments
Students of the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business Cohort 2 got the opportunity to gain insights and engage with guests lecturers; Dr. Jo-Ann Flett, Organizational Consultant at Partners Worldwide,  Wayne, Pennsylvania, Fulbright Visiting Faculty and      Ms. Maria C Horning, Program Director, Geneva Global, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They covered content on Self-awareness and Leadership.

Learn more on BISB here: https://bit.ly/39Zcv7Q

 

 

Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business Service-Learning Project at Edinburgh Special Needs Centre

By | BISB, Blog, What's New | No Comments

As part of the curriculum for the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business programme, students have to partake in socially responsible activities. Cohort one had the opportunity to interact with members of the Edinburgh Special Needs Centre. 

They got a chance to engage with the students through games and certain subject areas. One of the students who volunteered stated: “Whether someone is disabled or not, each child has a purpose in life and also a talent in this school such as Terence, who is a great singer or my brother who enjoys football and cricket. Each person develops a certain skill and ability that gives them a purpose to lead a happy life.”

Another student’s feedback was, “this created leadership development for the community. I would always remember teaching this young boy, Terrance, an amazing singer and great at Maths. I taught him how to read, understand and then attempt fractions and number questions.”

Stay tuned for more insights on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business. 

Convergence of ERM, Future Credit ratings and the Corona Virus

By | Blog, executive education, Uncategorized | No Comments

Ken Hackshaw, Enterprise Risk Management lecturer would like to proffer a prediction of sorts:

Given the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on the global stock market, the global supply chain, health industry, airline industry etc. The role and value of Enterprise Risk Management will see a significant increase in use and applicability. Regulators therefore, will also increase its oversight, relevance and dependence on ERM. Additionally, international credit rating agencies, as part of its international rating criteria/methodology will put greater emphasis on the effectiveness of ERM at private and government agencies.

This prediction is predicated on the following:

  • post the financial crisis of 2008/2009, we saw a ramping up of the use and importance of risk management disciplines across the financial services industry.
  • The value of risk culture building and disaster preparedness after the Deepwater Horizon oil spills and other major disasters.
  • The role of Business Continuity planning after the Fukushima volcano and subsequent tsunami

That being said, we at the Trinidad and Tobago Risk Management Institute (TTRMI) have been preaching from the mountain tops about being proactive and anticipatory: about future proofing your business: about doing Horizon scanning to identify emerging risk and about improving the risk culture of your organization and yes about Business Continuity planning.

One may argue that Covid-19 outbreak is like a black swan, no one anticipated this risk event, and that maybe true but we  would have said many times: Risk management is a force multiplier and can be viewed as being similar to the the airbag in your vehicle, it will not prevent the accident from occurring but it will reduce the impact WHEN, not if, accidents occur.  I therefore agree that this risk of Covid-19 could not be planned for but I submit that institutions that had/have a robust and integrated ERM program will fear better than those who had nothing.

Currently many organizations in Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere, are scrambling to put “things in place” as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, when they should have been “implementing contingency plans.” This would have been accomplished as part of the business impact analysis they would have conducted many moons ago, and as part of the risk assessments they would recently conducted or updated.

 

While strong risk management practises can’t stop the spread of Covid-19 or prevent other pandemic risk events, enterprise risk management processes can help organizations anticipate the impact of these kinds of unforeseen, extraordinary events.   

Note the following:

While ERM is not a new concept, its increasing influence on ratings and regulations cannot be ignored. As the methodologies employed by rating agencies and the reporting requirements set by regulators become more prospective in nature, ERM analysis as a leading indicator of a firm’s ability to operate within a controlled risk/reward framework becomes that much more influential on how a company is rated or regulated. 

 

We are living in a new VUCA world, of which Volatility and Uncertainty (V&U) will bring the most risks.

For more information on Enterprise Risk Management, Contact Umesh Sookoo at 299-0218 ext. 367 or email: u.sookoo@lokjackgsb.edu.tt

X