End to End Freight Management
Latest case study by career interim manager Nav Ali on his end to end freight management case study.
Interim managers are well placed to identify improvements. They take an objective view and focus on the deliverables of their assignment.
Follow this link for Nav’s key learning points.
The main reasons why Interims are appointed and used extensively in both the public and private sectors are:
- Improvements and change,
- Lead projects and
- Cover senior management gaps caused by sudden departure, long-term sickness or maternity leave.
- Need to bring in additional management skills and experience
Interim management began in the UK in the mid-1990s. It was seen then as a resource to cover gaps, but many companies had positive experiences and found interims to be the main drivers of change.
Those organisations found that by bringing in an experienced professional as part of the management team and focusing on the deliverables of the assignment, improvements could be made.
Interim managers focus on the job in hand and do not get distracted by office politics. As they do not have a permanent position in the organisation, they can surface and resolve difficult issues that a permanent member of the team might well avoid.
Another driver for the appointment of interims is uncertainity in the future which means that a permament appointment may not be appropriate. A good example of this is where a possible merger, acquistion, sale or disposal of a business is possible. Bringing in an experienced interim can manage the process but also through their experience deal with the unexpected.
Dispelling Marketing Myths about marketing ROI
Many organisations ‘do marketing’ but as various industry surveys testify there is still concern in many organisations that they do not truly understand the value/return on their marketing or they find it confusing.
To dispel the myth, there are in fact various hard and soft metrics to help organisations measure the effectiveness of their marketing spend –
- a lead/sales generation tool (marketing cost per ‘000 as a CPT metric),
- net marketing contribution (NMC = £sales revenue divided by gross margin % less £sales & marketing spend), or
- brand affinity scores (tracked via a long-term trend tracker survey measuring changes in brand scores month by month), etc….
Media advertising is bought, planned and measured on key metrics – reach, views, frequency, coverage measured as £CPT or PPC figures. Increasingly marketing activity has to be integrated with all media elements delivering against their target audience and optimised for smarter marketing spend.
This myth exists not for the lack of measures or financial rigour, so why the issue?
Marketing is like the stock market – it’s a moving feast with some safe bets and some higher risks. Like stock markets, marketing does not stand still; it needs to be planned for short and long term gains and needs continual fine-tuning to market conditions. This applies equally to private and public sectors where spend and best value are critical.
A few thoughts on getting the best out of marketing spend –
- ‘Pre-Nup’ Agreement
- organisations should agree on the goals and the metric to be used upfront, so management can have a clearer understanding and expectation of results from the activity.
2. Objective Planning
- take a step back (rather than simply repeating or tweaking last year’s plan) to reflect on what the market is doing, what competitors are likely to be doing, whether the product range and pricing strategy is optimized. Then look at the marketing framework to see what’s working and what needs to change.
3. Driving Ownership
- Strategic marketing should be driven and owned by organisations themselves rather than their creative agencies. By setting out who (audience) and what (proposition) the organisation is in a better place to agree with its agencies on the how (media) and when (marketing plan).
4. Integrated Partnership
- This is where an interim marketer can help sharpen the ‘pencil’ in terms of marketing spend efficiency and planning. By partnering busy marketing teams, being their ‘so what’ conscience, using the techniques developed over the years, we can provide a balanced and objective marketing planning & implementation.
You can see Freda Cronks profile and full contact details on this link
If you have any thoughts or comments on this article please use the reply feature below.
The interim manager – not just a costly temp!
Whether company turnaround, merger or acquisition, rapid growth, or a strategic departmental review; resourcing a project leader should be done with care and planning. The right type of resource is critical, as are clear objectives and a good written brief to ensure complete alignment between organisation and the selected project leader.
Interim managers bring a number of distinct advantages to the leadership and management of key organisational projects. Although they can promptly fill the shoes in a ‘business as usual’ assignment and with little or no training, discreet projects are where they excel and truly show their value.
A well-considered project will have clearly defined Return on Investment (ROI) targets. Interim managers are results driven. They bring expertise in a specific area and have usually faced similar situations several times in the past, meaning they are ideally placed to deliver results.
The interim has no “axe to grind” in terms of a long term permanent career in the organisation and can be in place within days bringing a wealth of relevant experience and that all important objectivity.
When structuring and resourcing large projects,organisations need to ensure they seek the rightresource to bring success. For such projects the interim manager should be top of the list.
Share your thoughts and experiences below by leaving a reply below.
When to use an interim manager?
Interim managers are a well “tried and tested” management resource for Chief Executives, HR Directors/Managers to use.
But when to use an interim manager and for what projects?
Mike Measures FCA founded Interimconnect the largest network of professional interim managers in the UK with 1800 members covering all sectors and disciplines. With eighteen years experience both as an interim manager and managing Interimconnect he knows both side of the fence and offers this guidance.
Bringing in an interim manager, as part of your management team, is an excellent option when you have considered some key points.
These are listed in detail on the Interimconnect website here. They will help you decide when to use an interim.
Negotiating fees with interim managers. This is the final blog post on this series. Scroll down blog topics for the full list in this series.
- When the original interim specification was distributed for applications a daily fee indicator or range of fees would have been included. This means that the interim would have applied against this fee range.
- Some negotiation in terms of the rate and expenses is generally expected but substantial downward changes will destroy trust and are to be avoided.
- In some cases where the budget for the assignment is an issue there might be some negotiation around reducing the length of the project or perhaps a part-time involvement.
The interim management interview needs to be approached differently to get the right results. In previous articles we looked at when and why to engage an interim manager and how to find the “correct” Interim Manager. Having found a short list of likely interims what should you, as the client, be focussing on in the interview?
Probably the best place to start is to emphasise the difference between interviewing for a permanent role and an interim assignment.
So, what are the main differences?:
- An interim manager contracts with companies and organisations through their own limited company.
- They are therefore not employees of the Client and are not on their payroll. They charge a day rate, from their company, and from that meet their own PAYE, NHI, Pension etc. The Client only pays for the days they work on the assignment and are not responsible for their PAYE, NHI etc
- Therefore there is no employment contract to enter into or to exit therefore allowing complete flexibility in terms of when the interim is engaged, length of assignment and termination of services. As they are not an employee there are no redundancy payments or issues such as unfair dismissal.
- Instead there is a contract between the interim manager’s limited company and the Client. This sets out the scope of the services to be provided, fees, notice period, liability for taxes etc
- So in terms of the interview the Client should look at the potential engagement, from a commercial viewpoint, as he would the engagement of a supplier taking into account the added dimension that the interim manager becomes part of the management team or heading up a discrete project.
- Interim Managers are engaged normally for a specific project (e.g. to bring about change) or for a length of time (e.g. unplanned departure; gaps such as maternity leave or cover) so the focus should be closely on what they need to deliver during the course of the assignment.
- It is best to interview more than one person for an assignment but three is probably the maximum.
How to prepare for the interview:
- Interim managers are in a resource “pool” and as such are available only when they are not on assignment. Therefore they will likely have several assignment possibilities at one time.
- Their availability can change quickly if they are engaged on another assignment. It is important therefore that once a short list of candidates has been put together that the interviews then happen as quickly as possible as dictated by the demands of the project. This limits the risk that having selected someone for interview they are not engaged somewhere else.
- Because interim managers are highly experienced normally just one interview is all that is necessary to decide who should be appointed. Sometimes this stretches to two interviews if a key decision maker is not present at the first interview or if the company is part of a Group and someone from the Holding company needs to meet them as well.
- A preliminary telephone interview can be useful as well as Skype. However there is no substitute for meeting “face to face”.
- In organising the interview ensure that the key decision makers are present.
- Hold the interviews on the same day wherever possible as it makes comparisons easier.
The interview itself:
- In the first article in this series we looked at “When and why to engage an interim manager” and part of that was the interim specification: Background to the assignment; Assignment deliverables: Must have skills and experience; Preferred skills; The person; Contractual; Fees.
- The interim manager would have applied against this specification. When engaging an interim manager for an assignment what you are principally looking for is someone who has delivered a similar project as an interim manager.
- So the focus in the interview is where they have achieved this before and understanding what their approach is likely to be to this project. In addition is that approach consistent with the company culture.
- An interim with a track record of successful assignments is less of risk than someone who has never operated as an interim before.
- In terms of personality does the interim have the attributes and approach you are looking for? Can you work with this person? Do their values align with yours? Can they add value from day 1? Are they “sensibly over qualified” for the role? (i.e. you need spare capacity in the skill set to deal with the unexpected that inevitably comes up if a project is being driven forward)
The all important references:
- Always take up references on the interim from prior assignments, including the latest assignment, personally even though the interims may have come to you “as referenced”. Make this a condition of the engagement. Taking up these references will give you a valuable insight into their approach as an interim manager and whether that approach is likely to be appropriate to your own organisation.
and Finally …
The main focus of the engagement of the interim should be the Return on Investment (ROI) of the project. This will be covered in another article.
Mike Measures – Interimconnect
The most important words in the title to this article is the correct interim. It’s not that difficult to identify some interim managers now though various sources, such as dedicated agencies or trawling the internet. However, to quickly find an interim who is most likely to deliver the assignments objectives is the challenge. You are not only looking for an experienced interim who has a proven track record but importantly one whose approach fits culturally within the organisation.
Spend time to specify and justify the appointment with the assignment sponsor. Time spent at this stage will be recouped several times over by not having to look through unsuitable applications.
How to specify the assignment
Specify the interim appointment in terms of: background to the assignment; assignment deliverables; must-have skills and experience; preferred skills; the person; contractual; and fees.
- Background – What is the business reason for the appointment? Why an interim and not an internal resource or permanent hire? A large number of interim appointments are made because there is an imminent requirement for a management resource. Interim managers can be deployed within days.
- Assignment deliverables – What are the main deliverables you are expecting from the interim? Or, in other words, what would constitute a successful assignment?
- Must-have skills – What is the minimum set of skills and experience for this role? For example, the interim has achieved this before; his or her sector experience and qualifications.
- Preferred skills – What would be nice to have (i.e. the icing on the cake)?
- The person – Team player? Self starter? ‘Hands on’? (i.e. what is required?).
- Contractual – Professional interim managers contract through their own limited companies and carry professional indemnity insurance. Through their limited company they enter into a contract with the hiring organisation which sets out the terms. Always take up references personally before committing to the engagement. This will give you first hand knowledge of whether their approach will be appropriate to your organisation.
- Fees – Interim managers are paid a daily fee for their services. These fees vary according to market forces and scarcity of the skill set. Find out what is the fee range and factor than into the Return of Investment (ROI) for the assignment.
When you ask for applications make sure they not only provide a CV but also specific detail on where and how they have achieved similar assignment deliverables before.
Best regards Mike
There are many advantages to deploying an interim manager. So, what are the significant advantages of using interim managers? In my experience they are:
- Very experienced managers who ‘hit the ground running’ and are engaged to deliver on their projects and roles.
- Entirely focussed on achieving the project objectives and are not distracted by organisational politics.
- Employees of their own limited companies and are therefore not employees of their clients. This means there is no expensive employment contract to enter into or unwind.
- Paid a daily fee with no on-cost and are only paid for the days they work. Holidays, sickness, etc. are not charged. This makes it easy to forecast their costs.
- They are normally engaged on a full-time basis but this can also be part time. Average contractual engagements are around 6-9 months.
- They are only engaged for as long as required giving complete flexibility.
- There is always a ‘pool’ of available interim managers and this means they can be in post, if required, within days.
- They are often engaged to bring about change that is difficult or impossible for incumbent management to deal with.
- They have a measurable Return on Investment (ROI) for their engagements.
Interim managers are an established management resource for CEO’s, HR directors and managers to use for additional experenced management resources. But when should HR use an interim and for what projects?
Bringing in an interim manager, as part of your management team may be an option. Before you make this decision though, make sure that you have considered the following:
- There is a specific project or a management role/vacancy to fill that has: a start date, measurable deliverables and an estimated completion date.
- There are no suitable internal management resources available or the skill set does not exist in house.
- Time is of the essence and you need someone now or in the near future.
- There may be uncertainty in the future for this role which means that taking on a permanent person is not appropriate.
- There is an employment ‘freeze’ but you need additional management resources for a given time.
- You may need to cover absence, maternity, a long notice of period, etc.
All these are indicators that an interim manager might be the right solution.