Spark ATM Systems, winner of the Management of Systems Award in the large enterprise category

How to see problems coming before they land

Many companies would pay good money for the ability to see possible problems coming and deal with them before they actually become problems. Well, that ability is not as elusive as some might think. It’s called systemic thinking.

Events – problematic or otherwise – are hardly ever once-off phenomena. Chances are that an event looming on the horizon now is not unique at all but has been seen before in some shape or form, says Russel Berman, Sales and Marketing Director at Spark ATM Systems.

And if you’ve been paying attention and adopting a systemic approach, you’ll know that the problem or event is not an isolated one.

“When you see an event, you create a system to acknowledge, document and formalise it so you can see it coming again,” says Russel.

Not only that, but you also need a lookout system. Spark’s lookout system is its executive management committee (manco), which meets once a week, every week, to review each department’s key performance indicators (KPIs).

“It’s a great opportunity for a cross-sectional view of all departments,” Russel says. “Each team leader presents the KPIs for their department and everybody has the opportunity to comment and cross-pollinate good ideas.”

Managers don’t just present their weekly performance statistics; they are also proactive. “It’s a manco mindset for each manager to come to the meeting with suggestions to do things more seamlessly and profitably. The idea is to take a view on all your metrics and turn the dial.”

Far from finding weekly manco meetings taxing, Spark managers thrive on them, he says. “It’s lovely having your finger on the pulse of the business. If you only have a review once a month, you are dealing with historical data but when you meet weekly, you can see make decisions in real time for example a new high demand area may have been identified in the country requiring rapid ATM deployment opportunities.

 “We make profitability-based decisions through sharing the full income and expenses of the business with the entire team down to a very granular level. Each manager shares a “business owner” mindset which has certainly driven profit based decisions.

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