News in brief

Small firms face being squeezed out of the supply chain market by larger more influential firms if they fail to meet health and safety criteria, says Managing Risk – Adding Value, a study of 23 top firms by the Health & Safety Executive.

Over 20 per cent of employers believe their managers lack communication and management skills, according to a report by Focus, Central London Training and Enterprise Council. Only 15 per cent believed their managers had all the skills needed to work effectively.

The verification of environmental reports to agreed standards and against a set of criteria looks likely to become the norm in the future. And environmental reporting will probably become mandatory. The predictions came at a conference organised by Environmental Reporting Management.

Parity saw a 25 per cent increase in turnover last year, from #162m to #202m. Pre-tax profits rose 34 per cent to #13.5m, compared with #10.1m last year. The company ended the year with a positive cash balance of #9.2m.

UK businesses who own and manage their own property portfolios are failing shareholders and missing a valuable opportunity to increase the cashflow of their company, according to Ernst & Young. They believe businesses must release these assets and invest the capital in core business activities.

KPMG Management Consulting has announced a 25 per cent increase in worldwide revenues, rising from $1.8bn in 1996 to $2.3bn in 1997. UK revenue rose by a record 35 per cent.

The utilities sector has vaulted into being one of the biggest markets for consultants, a Management Consultancy survey reveals. Over the past two years the sector has seen a 75 per cent increase in the amount it spends on consultancy services. IT advice and implementation remains the most called upon service, accounting for 46 per cent of expenditure.

The research also reveals that the market is set to grow by a further 17 per cent in the coming year and that project management is set to challenge IT’s dominance as the number one service provided to the utilities sector.

The research also charts charge-out rates to this sector and outlines a growth of 13.5 per cent.

Coopers & Lybrand and Deloitte Consulting have announced the conclusion of a phase of their #100m five-year programme in association with the Ministry of Defence. About 50 MoD locations, have gone live with a new resource accounting system. The MoD change management programme is designed to improve the effectiveness and measurement of the UK’s defence capability.

In one of the largest transfers of staff in the UK, 661 people have joined Cap Gemini from British Steel. The transfer comes as a result of a #400m strategic partnership and outsourcing agreement the company reached in November. The IT staff will join the 300 people who have already made the move.

Management consultancy Winchester White is to set up a forum to discuss the issues facing general insurance companies. Companies such as Cornhill, Norwich Union and Lloyds TSB will meet on 20 May to discuss the main challenges insurance companies face, and the best way of responding to them. Winchester White will facilitate the meetings and conduct research into the findings.

Customer dissatisfaction with mobile phones is increasing with 8 per cent of users ditching their phones only three months after receiving them. Nearly 50 per cent of users said they could be happier with their service provider. The report, commissioned by Deloitte Consulting, also found that 65 per cent of users are unhappy with the ongoing costs of owning a mobile phone.

Fewer and fewer skilled people are moving into the workplace, according to a survey by PA Consulting. The study looks at the way technology has changed employee expectations of the office, and how office environments may change in the new millennium. The report, entitled Balancing the bargain …, is available from PA on 0171 333 5260.

An outsourcing survey by IDC/TBI has revealed that every organisation questioned intends to keep its IT function outsourced. The survey also reveals that respondents think the benefits of outsourcing far outweigh the pitfalls. The survey results were based on 59 interviews about 23 major US contracts.

The PS Industry group is planning a series of free seminars during the summer on supply chain management and business management in various manufacturing industries. The seminars will focus on the latest issues concerning IT in manufacturing and will look specifically at the company’s KAPES system and SAP’s R/3. For further information contact 01908 856520.

PKS Systems Integration is to host a series of breakfast briefings on Year 2000 and euro conversions for senior executives in the UK. Speakers will give an assessment of the impact of the single European currency on IT systems and the effects of the millennium on computer installations.

Guests will also have the opportunity to discuss crucial industry topics with PKS specialists.

Logica has announced an agreement with Sopra, a French software house, to provide an EMU conversion software package in the UK. The Euroconverter package enables organisations to prepare information systems for the euro.

Druid has joined Premius Consulting Alliance, a pan-European network of management consultancy firms which aim to provide integrated business solutions. Druid will join European companies such as Inter Access BV and Sap Tech A/S. Premius has over 1,000 consultants working in nine countries, 500 of whom are SAP consultants.

Supply chain management company MSAS has won the BBC’s global freight management account. The company will be responsible for providing global logistics services to BBC departments worldwide. Its first major test will be the logistics of moving equipment to France for the World Cup.

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