Why upgrade to enterprise risk management?

The Global Financial Crisis taught us the importance of robust risk management practices in identifying and addressing issues that have the potential to impact on overall business objectives. Many organisations have implemented risk management programs, however a significant proportion of these have yet to realise the benefits of upgrading their programs to best-practice Enterprise Risk Management.

What’s the problem with traditional risk management programs?

Historically, risk management has tended to focus only on the negative – how do we identify what might go wrong? How bad will things get if it does? How can we stop it?

Another feature of old-fashioned risk management has been the tendency for it to be “siloed”, with each section of an organisation having its own approach to managing risk.

Modern, best practice Enterprise Risk Management has moved contemporary risk management programs and thinking beyond these limitations.

Why is Enterprise Risk Management better?

Enterprise Risk Management (also known as ERM) has a range of benefits for contemporary businesses:

  • ERM achieves efficiencies across the whole of the organisation by integrating a common approach throughout all functional areas.
  • ERM avoids the pitfall of concentrating on minor risks (such as slip hazards) at the expense of big picture risks (such as failure of critical infrastructure).
  • ERM captures the positive side of risk management, by also considering opportunities for new services, process efficiencies, improved methods of service delivery etc.

What strategies assist adoption of Enterprise Risk Management?

 

QRMC frequently assists organisations to develop or expand their risk management programs to embrace Enterprise Risk Management. Our experience suggests that useful strategies to successfully move to Enterprise Risk Management include:

  • Strong committed, visible leadership.
  • Recognising that risk management is an ongoing (not once-off) process.
  • Treating risk management as a tool to achieve business objectives, not as a compliance exercise.
  • Extensive consultation with, and training of, personnel (at all levels).
  • Consistently integrating ERM across all systems and functional areas within the organisation.

Special considerations for business or department amalgamation

 

A regular feature of contemporary business is the process of amalgamation, either of existing segments of an organisation, or of one business with a completely independent second business (M&A).

Determining the business objectives of a new organisation formed in this way is not always a straightforward exercise. The clarity provided by the risk management process greatly assists this determination.

However, amalgamation poses particular difficulties when it comes to the risk management program:

  1. There are often difficulties involved in assimilating risk-related information from different sources, produced using different methods.
  2. Amalgamation poses the threat of extending the commonly experienced problem of risk management “silos” (as mentioned above) even further by creating silos based on the original business or department entities.

On the positive side, these difficulties present an opportunity to reach solutions by upgrading existing risk management systems to Enterprise Risk Management. Moving the new entity to Enterprise Risk Management provides opportunities to:

  1. Clearly identify the objectives of the new entity, and what risks and opportunities exist in achieving these objectives.
  2. Break down barriers and foster a new organisation-wide approach to risk management and the determination of uniform risk appetite.

Next steps

 

Risk management as a discipline has proven its value over time. Now businesses can extend this value even further by upgrading to Enterprise Risk Management.

For more information on Enterprise Risk Management, safety management, business continuity management and management systems, contact us. We are experts in providing independent and objective facilitation of the process of upgrading or developing new Enterprise Risk Management programs. You can also access other informative articles on our News page dealing with Enterprise Risk Management, as well as newsletters downloadable from our Publications page covering Enterprise Risk Management issues.

Bitcoin for Brisbane Businesses

Bitcoin, an often overlooked cryptocurrency, is left unaccepted and unnoticed by many business owners. Unfortunately, failing to accept this currency is a mistake that is made by many Brisbane non-Bitcoin businesses. Here is why it is a good idea for your business to join the digital technology age and start to accept the exponentially growing Bitcoin.

Reason 1: Fiscal Freedom
Simply put, consumers and business owners alike have total and full access to their Bitcoin accounts. No longer will money be inaccessible because of an unexpected bank closure, holiday, or other condition that would typically limit access to money. No money is lost through currency exchange if it must be sent overseas, since Bitcoins are worth the same in every country and locale.

Reason 2: Fees (or lack thereof)
When hearing about a new way to transfer money, the first question of business owners is often whether there are fees, or how much the fees are. Some transactions are completely free, and there is no fee assessed. Users may pay to speed up Bitcoin transfers in Bitcoin Brisbane, but there is no obligation to pay otherwise. If fees do need to be assessed, users can count on them being far less than banks, PayPal, and credit card companies currently charge.

Reason 3: Lower Risk
Merchants and consumers often worry about identity theft. Consumers are afraid that their money will be accessed without their consent by either the merchant or a malicious third party. Merchants are often worried that consumers will use someone else’s payment information, making the money no good. Fortunately, Bitcoin takes care of all of these worries. Due to a highly sophisticated encryption mechanism, the Bitcoin wallet owner is the only person who will ever be able to initiate transfers. Unlike credit cards, where malicious payment receivers may make unauthorized transactions, or which consumers can steal and use for their own purposes, Bitcoin transfers are completely trustworthy and secure.

There are also certain types of markets where the fraud risk is large. In these cases, merchants can now accept Bitcoin and do away with the risk. In short, Bitcoin transfers in Brisbane have never been safer or easier or cheaper. Compared to the current major payment options, it certainly is superior.

Reason 4: Security
As alluded to above, security was a primary concern during the creation of Bitcoin, and it is also of concern to Bitcoin’s diverse range of users. One aspect of security not yet discussed revolves around personal information. One reason why consumers may not wish to purchase a product is because they may not yet trust the business with all of their personal information. While, unfortunately, this is a completely valid concern, accepting Bitcoins in Brisbane can help to put the consumer’s mind at ease, and allow him or her to make a purchase he or she otherwise would not be willing to make.

Bitcoin protects personal information insofar as it obliterates the need for it. Instead of relying on information like address, postcode, first and last name, and sometimes even identity numbers, it relies on cryptography. Of course, one reading this may think that because it’s only digital, it will be lost if the user’s computer suddenly crashes and becomes unusable. However, nothing is further from the truth. Many Bitcoin users take advantage of both cloud and local computer backup services to ensure that they will always have this open access to their money, making the Bitcoin market even more stable.

Reason 5: Owned by the People
This final reason to accept Bitcoin is often overlooked. If one takes a look at the various major payment methods, it is quite obvious that they are all owned by major corporations. This makes alteration of information easy. There is essentially no transparency to how they are run, or how much of a fee is actually required to sustain the service versus how much of it serves as profit. Fortunately, there is no need to worry about any of this if you are accepting Bitcoin in Brisbane. It is literally impossible to control the Bitcoin market, even for the creators of it. In this sense, it is more secure. Also an important factor, all information anybody could possibly want about the Bitcoin market, including how many are in circulation, and even specific transactions, are all available publicly on what is called the “block chain.”

Can I really save fuel with a Truck Wheel Alignment?

Most heavy vehicle owners in the transport industry are asking themselves – How can I save money on my running costs? How can I save on fuel consumption? Will a truck wheel alignment help?

Research & studies conducted around the world show that around 80 percent of medium to heavy vehicles are incorrectly aligned, or have a mis-alignment. If your truck, trailer or bus has incorrectly aligned wheels & axles, you have what we call increased rolling resistance when travelling on the road. This means the engine is working harder than required to push the truck along the road, and the end result is an increase in fuel consumption. Given that fuel can account for up to 50% of the operating costs of a truck or fleet, smart operators must explore all avenues to reduce fuel consumption.
Generally speaking, correcting even slight alignment issues have been shown to result in a saving of 3 – 10 percent on fuel.

3% doesn’t sound too significant does it? Lets take a closer look – One truck runs Brisbane to Sydney (return) 3 times a week (6,000 kms). That’s 312,000 kms a year. Fuel consumption average is 1.85 litres/km. That’s 577,200 litres, current local prices are around $1.49 per litre. Fuel cost for the year – $860,028.00. If you reduced fuel consumption by 3%, you would save $25,800.84!!
Your scenario may be different, but you can see that small changes can make a big difference to the bottom line of your business. There are other areas where you can save on running costs, which will be covered in another article.

If you own one truck or one hundred, and you are not having a regular truck wheel alignment performed as part of your maintenance schedule, you really need to contact your local truck wheel alignment specialist for a chat.

Truckologist is a mobile truck wheel alignment business based in Brisbane, Australia.

Spider Veins – Cause and Treatments

Sometimes, you might have noticed red and blue blood vessels visible through your skin. Did you become a bit embarrassed or worried about them? Do you wonder what they are? They are called spider veins. Let’s discuss the causes and treatments of spider vein.

What causes spider veins?
Spider veins are a mild manifestation of venous reflux disease. They are small, tangled groups of blood vessels found just under the skin’s surface. The veins are slightly dilated, and have the appearance of branches or spider webs, and normally spread out on the legs and feet.

What are the risk factors?
Spider vein risk factors are similar to those associated with varicose veins, including advancing age, occupations requiring extended periods of standing, obesity, hormonal changes and heredity factors (weak vessel walls). One can also suffer from this condition due to weak vessel walls or from exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Considering the risk factors, some people will be more prone to this problem than others. For example, if you work as a surgeon, a teacher or a nurse, chances are higher that you could suffer from this condition. Similarly, for people with a family history of weak vein valves, the probability of developing spider veins is also high. The same applies to hormonal changes, which generally occur during puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

The exact cause of spider veins not been strictly established. Existing risk factors can be divided into two wide sub-divisions, i.e. acquired causes and congenital. In congenital causes, is Maffucci’s syndrom, port-wine stain and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (also known as osler-weber-rendu syndrome), among others. The acquired causes include chemotherapy, acne rosacea and lifestyle/occupation risk factors (as mentioned above).

Spider vein symptoms
Spider veins are painful in some cases, with cramping and aching. They often result in a feeling of heaviness in the legs, and burning, throbbing or tingling sensations. Also, other symptoms such as itching, swelling and fatigue can also be experienced. In advanced cases, this condition can establish ulcers, large sores and phlebitis. However, spider veins are detected by their appearance in a majority of incidences.

Tests and Diagnosis
Doctors usually employ non-invasive diagnostic tests to diagnose this condition. These tests are perfectly safe and painless, with no scalpels, needles or medication needing to be involved. The entire procedure is normally very brief, and probably won’t take you more than an hour.

There are three main questions that doctors seek to answer through these diagnostic tests. Firstly, they are seeking to establish any evidence of deep vein blood clots. Secondly, they discover whether the veins are functioning properly. And last, they test the Greater Saphenous Vein (GSV) to determine whether it is working well.

A competent vein specialist will always undertake this exercise before treating your condition. Some of the procedures that you can expect include:

*Color-flow Duplex Exam – This is used to evaluate the anatomy of the affected veins. It determines the direction of blood flow, openings and blockages. This procedure is also important in the process of vein mapping (done for skin deep problems).

*Bi-directional Doppler Exam – This is an ultrasound exam used to determine the speed of blood flow and whether it pauses during normal breathing. It also identifies whether the veins are working properly.

*Photoplethysmography – Phew! Don’t let this complicated medical term intimidate you. Photoplethysmography is basically a diagnostic procedure that is used to determine the efficiency of your calf muscle pump.

*Pressure Calf Exam – In performing this exam, you’ll lie facing upwards with legs raised higher than your chest. This diagnostic procedure identifies vessel blockages.

Treatment
After establishing the nature of your problem, the doctor will then recommend the right treatment plan for you. There are several available options:

Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy involves the doctor injecting a saline solution into the affected veins. The solution then damages the affected vessel walls, causing them to swell and seal shut. Within several weeks the scar tissue will fade away. The procedure takes around 30 minutes, and has only mild side-effects. Though the injection may be a bit painful, the stinging sensation is usually gone within a few minutes.

Laser & Intense Pulsed Light
This treatment employs the use of a specialised device that focuses laser energy to the damaged tissue. The whole procedure will just take twenty minutes, and has minimal side-effects.

Natural Remedies
Using natural remedies can mean the difference between undergoing medical procedures or not, and are valuable alongside medical treatment. Some recommended herbal remedies include:

*Horse Chestnut Seed – Studies show that this seed improves blood circulation in the legs thus strengthening the veins and capillaries.

*Bilberry Extract – This herbal extract is known to stimulate new capillary formation thus strengthening the capillary walls.

*Butchers Broom – This herb strengthens veins.

*Gotu Kola – A very effective extract in addressing venous insufficiency, foot swelling and water retention. It therefore provides a good solution to spider veins found on the legs.

*Distilled Witch Hazel – This is directly applied on the affected areas using a cotton ball. Numerous clinical studies show that this extract can help strengthen blood vessels.

Caution: For health safety purposes, do not start using any herbal remedies without consulting a qualified doctor.

Spider veins prevention
Two of the most important things regarding the prevention of spider veins are eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Eating a diet higher in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables than meat and convenience food is important, and if your job requires you to stand for a long time, you need to regularly shift your body weight from one leg to another as well as standing evenly balanced.

To sum things up, the procedure of a spider vein removal is chosen according to several key factors. Your specialist will determine the best treatment options based on the results obtained from the diagnostic tests. We hope that this article will provide all the necessary guidance you need in addressing this problem.

For more information about spider veins Brisbane, contact the leg vein doctor Brisbane today.

Vinyl Cladding – What are the Benefits?

Vinyl cladding, also called vinyl siding, refers to plastic exterior cladding for homes and commercial buildings. The siding is used as an alternative to traditional wood, fiber cement, and aluminum cladding. The cladding is made up of about 80% polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin and the remaining 20%, ingredients to give the material its color, gloss, opacity, flexibility, durability, and impact resistance. Vinyl cladding has been in the market since the late 50s and it is today one of the most popular exterior claddings in the U.S. and Canada. There are several reasons why you should consider installing vinyl cladding.

This is one of the most affordable sidings in the market. You will spend between 25% and 50% less than what you would have spent on aluminum and wood siding. Most vinyl cladding manufacturers offer competitive warranties.

Many people neglect their homes’ exteriors, but waterproofing the exterior is important because it improves the longevity of your walls and it saves you money on repairs. A strong wall is also important for your security.

Vinyl cladding comes in different colors, styles, and patterns, meaning there is something for everyone. You do not have as much flexibility with other options like brick and stucco.

You can go for years without maintaining, leave alone replacing the cladding. The cladding is very durable. It is not damaged by termites (the major problem with wood sidings) and other wood boring pests and insects, there is no fading, and there is no chalking. All you need to do is occasionally clean the siding with a mixture of water and a mild detergent.

Given that pigments are mixed with the resins, the colors are deep and penetrating. Unlike the case with aluminum and wood sidings which are painted on, blemishes and scratches are not visible with vinyl cladding. The fact that no painting is necessary means you get to save money.

Another advantage of vinyl cladding is that it is environmentally friendly given that it is recyclable. Wood sidings lead to the destruction of forests while extraction of aluminum from its ore is energy intensive and it leads to the emission of greenhouse gases. The insulation you get from the siding means greater thermal performance of your house and consequently reduced energy expenditure.

You could go for a vinyl cladding brand that features perforations for the moisture to escape. This is important because you will prevent mold, mildew, and condensation. Installing vinyl siding is also a good idea because it increases the resale value of your home.