Acre Consulting opens Southern Highlands office
With the relocation of one of Acre Consulting's Directors to the NSW Southern Highlands, the Acre team can now provide a full range of services to individuals and businesses in the Mittagong- Bowral- MossVale region.
The Acre team has already undertaken consulting in the region and references are available for interested parties.
Acre specialises in strategic and business planning as well as short and long term forecasting.
Please contact Ian McHugh on 0418 402763 if you wish to find out more information or obtain a quote for a consulting project.
Acre Consulting Assists Parramatta District Men's Shed to become a registered Charity
In May 2018, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) approved registration of PDMSInc as a Charity.
The ACNC notes that “Charities play an essential role in the Australian community and are entitled to a range of benefits and taxation concessions because of their contribution to the public good.”
The registration of PDMS as a Charity recognises its role in the Parramatta Community and its contribution to the “Public good”.
PDMS Hon. Secretary, Rob Colless commented:
“The achievement of charity status very much aligns with our Shed’s mission relating to Men’s health. It is another major step in forming an organisation that will continue to serve the local community for many years to come. It also helps to raise awareness of the unique role of our Men’s shed in the community.”
“A very big thank you to the Acre Consulting team who worked on our submission for registration and dealing directly with ACNC on our behalf.
This was quite a big project for PDMS and included changing our Constitution to meet ACNC’s registration requirements.
Being a registered charity reinforces public trust and confidence in PDMS and supports our fundraising work.”
Acre Consulting has partnered with PDMS since its formation in 2012 and has advised on Strategic and Business Planning processes and implementation, as well as advising the PDMS Board on specific projects.
NSW Social Housing Management Transfer
Advice & Support For Aspiring CHPs
Acre Consulting is a value driven consulting practice focused on offering clients practical advice and guidance to strategic and operational changes and opportunities.
Our success is built on long term partnerships with our clients - helping clients achieve tangible business outcomes coupled with opportunities for up-skilling in-house teams.
Our capabilities include Strategic planning and execution; Project management; Risk management and Governance; IT solutions consulting.
Engagement of Acre Consulting
• Program Data Room analysis
• Planing for transition/ramp-up
• Project management
• Modelling for financial viability
• Sector rationalisation
Advice from the Social Housing Management Transfer Team is that once Acre Consulting is engaged to support a CHP bid, it can gain access to the Program Data Room via the CHP.
From there, the Acre team can assist in reviewing the anaIysis that the CHP has done for their specific property areas of interest.
Following the review process, a Project PIan for both the initiaI part (tender preparation) and the transition of properties to the successfuI CHP can be formuIated (unless the CHP has aiready completed a draft plan already).
This plan can then be reviewed and challenged with respect to:
• Economic modellng
• Risk profile
• Govemance processes
• Opportunities to work with other CHPs within the individuaI property areas to produce a more collaborative resuIt - either formal or informal.
The Five Services
• Tenancy management
• Property management
• Support coordination/wrap-around services
• Access & demand management
• Local service system coordination
It is assumed that the successful CHPs will already be competent in tenancy and property management and will need the least amount of assistance in integrating those processes into the Project Plan.
Where it will be more important, from a project management methodology process, will be clearly quantifying the required expansion of the support coordination and “wrap around’’ services.
Also critical will be the planning processes supporting the new Access and Demand Management and Local Service Coordination - particularly as regards managing the novated Asset Management Service contract.
It cannot be reinforced enough that these last two new processes are going to be critical to the success or otherwise of the program - this will require meticulous planning and “stress testing’’.
The Acre - Team
Ian McHugh ARMIT, GAICD, Director Acre Consulting
lan has 35 plus years experience in the senior leadership roles in industrial manufacturing, community development and Not For Profit sectors.
Immediately prior to founding the Acre Consulting Group, lan was a director of two Community Housing Organisations.
Contact Ian: M: 0418 402763 E: email@example.com
Lindsay Kelly FCPA, FAICD, FGIA:
A 20-year involvement in Community Housing as NED & Executive inside CHP.
Strong financial modellng, risk management, KPl development & strategy.
Contact Lindsay: M: 0407 240195 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian and Lindsay would be the lead Consultants for the project.
They would be backed up by other Directors/Associates who would be engaged for specific specialisations such as governance and specialised asset management.
For a detailed personal presentation contact E: email@example.com
Social Housing Management Transfer Program (SHMT)
Acre Consulting has considerable experience in the Community Housing Sector with Directors and Associates having participated as Board Members and senior executives in a number of Community Housing organisations.
Coupled with our project management experience, we would be able to assist Community Housing Providers with
• Development of tender documentation
• Ongoing strategy and development of the transfer and management process with successful Community Housing Providers
The NSW government, in its Future Directions for Social Housing sets out the vision for social housing over the next 10 years - with a focus on driving better outcomes for tenants including helping those who are able to transition out of social housing. Future Directions is underpinned by three strategic priorities:
• More social housing
• More opportunities, support and incentives to avoid and/or leave social housing
• A better social housing experience.
A key element in this strategy is the 20-year management transfer of 20000 properties from the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) to Community Housing Providers.
The Community Housing Providers will be chosen by a tender process which will commence in March 2017.
Since October 2016, there have been four Industry Soundings to explain the scope and process of SHMT.
The final Industry Sounding was held on Friday Feb 3 2017. This gave an overview of the tender process and the ongoing relationships between the Land and Housing Corporation and the successful Community Housing Providers.
Documentation relating to the 4 Industry Soundings are on the NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services website.
Further information, contact:
Mobile: 0418 402763
Parramatta District Men’s Shed (PDMS)
launches its Pen range
Acre Consulting has long been a supporter of PDMS and is publicising via the Acre website that the PDMS team have now launched a new product range of pens – made, where possible, from recycled timber.
The enthusiastic team of members making the pens are keeping up with demand but are also more than happy to take on extra orders.
Pens come with their own certificates and can be personalised.
All work done in the manufacture of the pens is voluntary and the profits go back to PDMS to purchase new machinery and maintain existing assets.
If you are interested in the pens as personal or corporate gifts, please contact PDMS via email:
or the “Contact” section on their website:
Putting Strategy into Action
Why Consider Business Planning?
The development of a strategic plan is often where organisations stop in the process and just hope that strategic objectives will somehow translate into the daily round of business.
Nothing could be further than the truth!
Unless the work done in the strategic development part is linked back into the day to day business, strategy just won’t turn into action.
This is one of the major reasons why strategy fails to be implemented in a business – it just tends to sit outside of the core business processes.
It becomes just another report sitting on a shelf with no buy-in from rank and file employees and only lip service paid to it by senior executives.
Strategy, linked by planning to budgeting gives everyone in the organisation a clear opportunity for participation.
What is Business Planning?
Is There a Standard Format?
While there are well defined processes and steps to help develop your strategic plan, there is no standard format. Many organisations adopt the "One Page Plan" and "Balanced Scorecard" approach which Acre Consulting has considerable experience in implementing.
Each organisation must develop a plan which meets their needs – this may entail considerable work and significant documentation for large complex organizations, to simple, specifically targeted plans for smaller organizations.
The most important thing in developing a plan is analysis and simplicity– seeing what clearly explains and measures the organisation's strategy on those areas judged critical for the organization.
Acre Consulting’s Approach
Acre Consulting believes in working very closely with their clients throughout the whole Business Planning process – from pre-work scoping to the final developed plan and communication process. And the commitment does not stop there – once the initial plan (or plans) is completed, Acre offers continued assistance and advice on the evolution of the planning process.
Acre can also offer a continued consultancy in an annual post audit process as well as assisting in redefining planning kpis as market conditions change.
Acre strongly believes that the development of a comprehensive Business Plan linked to strategy is the most effective way for any organization – large or small – to become more motivated, effective and profitable.
Acre's consultants and associates have substantial experience in Business Planning – both in the profit and not-for- profit areas. We look forward to discussing your specific needs in a no obligation meeting, to help define and plan your next steps in the Business Planning process.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Ian McHugh on 0418 402763
Graham Marsland leaves Acre Consulting
Graham Marsland has resigned as a Director and left Acre Consulting at the end of September 2016.
The Board of Acre Consulting would like to thank Graham for his considerable contribution to Acre in 2015 and 2016 and wish him and his family every success in their new business venture.
How SMEs can become more innovative
Andrew Klapka GAICD
CEO, Trans Chem
Have you always wondered how some businesses seem to innovate so readily and easily? Andrew Klapka GAICD considers three steps SMEs can take to be innovation ready.
When speaking about innovation in the mid-19th century, Louis Pasteur famously stated that ‘fortune favours the prepared mind’. We can extend on this reflection and add that ‘innovation favours the prepared organisation’.
While chance discoveries in innovation do happen – recently Australian researchers ‘stumbled across’ a treatment halving the time for wounds to heal – such discoveries are usually the outcomes of an organisation with a well-prepared innovation capability; a state of innovation-readiness.
As Australia’s resources boom softens, the government is starting to drive policy initiatives for industry value-creation. Important topics – such as startup funding, regulatory barriers, collaboration and knowledge-clustering – are high on the list of items receiving attention on the national agenda. But how confident and prepared are small and medium-sized enterprises to implement innovation?
What is needed for innovation readiness?
Innovation is often talked about, yet businesses often have trouble implementing it. According to recent reports from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, only 16 percent of Australian businesses have an innovation capability that performs well and almost 40 percent have none at all.
Organisations in technology industries are more innovation-ready than other industries. Continuous innovation is their lifeblood and they have competencies to support this. Even for startups, young innovative entrepreneurs have access to the support of university incubator models. However, for many SMEs, which make up the larger part of Australia’s business landscape, it’s a different story.
While most SMEs understand that innovation entails more than just the generation of a new product or service idea, they may not have a clear idea of how to:
• develop an innovative culture and capability;
• initiate processes that reveal profitable new service or product opportunities;
• mitigate risks when developing new products where demand is uncertain.
Organisations should develop an innovation framework to suit its style and objectives. This framework should define the steps of innovation implementation from discovery to commercialisation to risk-balancing of an innovation portfolio.
Three steps towards building innovation readiness
As with many matters of governance, an innovation framework is about focusing the right questions on the right topics. Here is a selection of discussion points to consider when determining innovation readiness.
1. Culture and communication
How does a business embed innovation as a wall-to-wall, top-to-bottom culture and capability?
2. Portfolio structuring and management
How do you structure a balanced and measurable innovation growth portfolio? What determines a particular choice of innovation direction or platform?
3. Successful implementation
How can you utilise your current and future customers to form innovative ideas?
Given the complexity and inherent project risk, it is not surprising that many businesses are daunted by the prospect of pursuing a program of innovation. But if businesses continue to baulk at innovation because of process and risk uncertainty, Australia’s substantial SME sector risks stagnation.
How boards and management can help
Just as the board calls on external strategic advisers to steer an organisation’s strategic review, so too can the board recognise the need to engage innovation expertise for guidance. In this way, boards and management can apply proven and stable innovation practices that stimulate confidence throughout the business and have the best chance of delivering outcomes that customers genuinely value.
Innovation should be a standing item on board and management agendas – just like safety – that prompts updates from different functional areas within the business. This will reinforce innovation as an overarching organisational capability that touches all functions.
Boards can facilitate benchmarking with businesses and organisations who deal with similar research challenges. Such knowledge sharing will often be surprisingly useful. Innovation benefits greatly from the sharing of experience between companies from completely different industries.
Finally, the risk-averse business must approach innovation with greater confidence. If risk is properly managed valuable outcomes are possible and good fortune will indeed favour the innovation ready organisation.
Andrew Klapka GAICD is CEO of Trans Chem, an importer and distributor of raw materials. Previously he spent 10 years in Paris managing global innovation for Lafarge France, a leading European multinational.
Andrew worked with Acre Director Ian McHugh in the Lafarge Group for over 10 years
This article is published with the kind permission of the Author and the Australian Institute of Company Directors publication The Boardroom Report.
Follow this link to the original article.
Acre Consulting now on the NSW Government's prequalified panel for management services
Acre Consulting has successfully applied to be included in the NSW prequalified panel for management services.
The key areas Acre Consulting is now prequalified for are:
• business strategy and advisory services
• strategic planning and development
• business strategy and advisory services - tender development.
Further information, contact:
Mobile: 0418 402763
Acre Consulting facilitates a very successful collaboration between two great community organisations
Parramatta District Men’s Shed and Beehive Industries – A great community collaboration
Parramatta District Men’s Shed (PDMS) and Beehive Industries Co-Operative (Beehive Industries) have collaborated on a new product development to assist the Beehive Industries’ volunteers label wine bottles more efficiently and speedily.
Both PDMS and Beehive Industries are community organisations assisting people overcome social isolation and learn new skills by offering participation in interesting, useful and varied activities (particularly Seniors, as well as people with disability in Beehive Industries’ case).
Both organisations receive only limited funding so need to produce goods and services to contribute to their running costs.
One of the ways Beehive Industries generates income is by labelling wine bottles.
This has been a useful income generator for many years - but is quite a detailed and slow process – only able to be done by a limited number of volunteers due to the degree of attention to detail required.
Acre Consulting, which acts as a pro-bono advisor to both organisations suggested to Beehive Industries that PDMS could produce wine labelling “jigs” for them.
PDMS, based in the historic “Kamballa” precinct in Parramatta, has volunteer members with extensive woodworking and design experience.
PDMS President, Kerry Boyce noted:
“We are set up to help our members and the community – this looked like a great opportunity of collaboration with a like-minded organisation”.
After a few weeks of design and testing, two PDMS members, Michael Instance and Rob McKenzie developed wine labelling jigs for labels on rolls and individual labels.
In April 2016, Michael, Rob and the jigs visited Beehive Industries, based in East Sydney and started testing them and training their volunteers.
After the initial training the volunteers found the new process far more precise, quicker to complete and easier to get the labels aligned on the bottle.
Beehive Industries’CEO, Brendan Lonergan commented:
“These jigs are a significant improvement on the cardboard box jigs we were using before.
They are easier for our volunteers to use – which means we can get more volunteers on the job, rather than just our few wine labelling specialists.
This also means we can take on more of this work and increase income”.
The team at Beehive Industries have been so impressed by the jigs, they have ordered four more to increase and sustain production.
Both PDMS and Beehive believe that this is a great example of community collaboration by two volunteer organisations – with mutual benefit to both.
Photo L-R: Ann O’Mahony (Beehive Ind.), Rob McKenzie (PDMS), Brendan Lonergan (Beehive Ind.) and Michael Instance (PDMS) look on as Tetanya Rabinovich (Beehive Ind.) seated , trials one of the new jigs. The second new jig is on the right of picture.
Parramatta District Men’s Shed:
Performance Management and Executive Coaching
Executive Coaching: Changing the Culture from Job Responsibilities to Personal Achievements
How does Executive Coaching align with Performance Management?
By Ian McHugh, Director, Acre Consulting
Executive Coaching supports the implementation of Performance Management.
It gives the senior manager (or their team) the ability to discuss their business performance in a confidential manner with an independent consultant who will assist them in achieving their targets.
The Performance Management Process allows an organisation to give employees a planned approach to improving their personal performance – and be rewarded for it.
Why Consider Executive Coaching as part of Performance Management?
The development of a HR Performance Management Plan is critical for any organisation of any size. It should be viewed as an important business improvement process and not just a stand-alone plan. Because of its focus on Performance and Personal Development, it integrates into all parts of the organisation.
The Executive Coach reinforces the company’s performance needs whilst emphasising the need to support and encourage the manager.
Employees like the process as it is seen as introducing the appropriate level of support, procedural fairness and equity into the organisation.
Furthermore, it encourages all employees to be positive and innovative in the workplace – but in the direction that the organisation wants to head.
Using Executive Coaching as part of Performance Management means that managers are more likely to succeed - and be rewarded in line with the company’s strategic expectations.
Is There a Standard System?
Whilst there are well defined processes within Executive Coaching and steps to help develop your HR Performance Management plan, there is no truly standard system.
Many organisations do, however, adopt the personal planning approach, using both personal and group targets along with Executive Coaching.
Each organisation must develop a plan which meets their needs – this may entail considerable work and significant documentation for large complex organizations, to simple, specifically targeted plans for smaller organisations.
The most important thing in developing a plan is analysis and simplicity– seeing what clearly explains and measures the organisation’s goals and how to measure them accurately and fairly down to an individual level.
This obviously includes the planning and integration of Executive Coaching to assist in underwriting the success of the program.
Acre Consulting’s Approach
Acre believes in working very closely with their clients throughout the whole Executive Coaching / Performance Management Planning process – from pre-work scoping to the final developed plan and communication roll – out.
And the commitment doesn’t stop there – once the initial plan (or plans) is completed, Acre offers continued assistance and advice on the evolution of the planning process.
Acre can also offer a continued Executive Coaching consultancy right through to an annual post audit process as well as assisting in redefining Performance KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) as market conditions change.
Acre strongly believes that the development of a comprehensive Performance Management Plan – supported by Executive Coaching is the most effective way for any organisation – large or small – to become more motivated, effective and profitable.
Acre’s consultants and associates have substantial experience in Executive Coaching and Performance Management Planning – both in the profit and not-for- profit areas.
We look forward to discussing your specific needs in a no obligation meeting, to help define and plan your next steps in the Executive Coaching/Performance Management Planning process.
Email: email@example.com or contact Ian McHugh on 0418 402763
Acre Consulting to open Melbourne Office
As from April 11, Acre Consulting will have a physical presence in Melbourne, with the relocation there of Acre Director Graham Marsland.
Graham already has an extensive understanding of the Melbourne business environment, having previously worked there in various industry sectors as a senior consultant.
Graham can be contacted on:
Mobile: 0478 068 988
View Graham's profile here.
Can your SME afford not to undertake a Risk Management Review?
For many SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Managers, a risk management review is viewed as something of a low priority, or something that is put in the too hard basket. Many do consider the risks that may affect their business but this is frequently done in an informal, unstructured manner and often includes only the most easily identifiable risks.
For any business, there is a long list of risks to consider including strategic, operational, human resources, external economic, competitor, financial, legal and many others. If something significantly goes wrong in one or more of these areas, it could have a serious effect on your business. It is not only short term results that could be affected but the very existence of your business could be at stake in a worst case scenario.
At the very basic level, all business should consider how they can either avoid things happening that will significantly adversely affect their results (and therefore their returns to their stakeholders or shareholders) and look at how they can mitigate against the effects such an event would cause should something unavoidably go wrong. Risk Management is the process through which these events and their possible effects are systemically identified and plans are formulated and put in place to reduce or eliminate the known risks.
While the majority of potential risks are easily identifiable, there are those that are unexpected and therefore impossible to predict. Preparing an incident response plan and having a recovery plan in place are all part of the wider process that allows you to effectively deal with these situations should they arise.
Scheduling regular reviews is also important as the risks to your business don’t remain static and change frequently.
It is not an expensive exercise to undertake a detailed risk management review and Acre Consulting can take the hard work out of it for you by assisting you with a structured system to undertake a risk management review and to formulate a plan, tailored specifically to your business.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Stuart Hackett on 0413 603 781
Strategy – Action for the Future,
Why Consider Strategy?
By Ian McHugh, Director, Acre Consulting
The development of a strategic plan is often mistakenly thought to be something that only large corporate groups or listed companies do. The opposite is, in fact, the truth – strategy development will aid any business – whether you have 5 employees or 5,000!
All organisations, large or small – for profit or not-for-profit need to think about the future – even if you can’t predict it!
Developing a strategy for the future ensures that organisations aren’t just hoping that the status quo will continue and something will just "pop up”. Organisations that do not plan for the future ultimately fail. Organisations that plan for the future are generally better managed, better resourced and have a much better chance of survival.
What is Strategy?
Strategy (or Strategic Development, or Strategic Planning) is basically a roadmap for your organisation’s future direction. Strategy, if properly implemented, should:
• Reflect and reinforce the values and ethics.
• Link the future to the present.
• Underpin the Business Planning process
• Ensure that change and challenge are part of your processes.
• Helps with decision making.
• Ensures everyone knows the direction the organisation is heading in - and their part in it.
• Increase profitability and /or organisational effectiveness.
• Clearly separate your organisation from your competitors.
Is There a Standard Format?
Whilst there are well defined processes and steps to help develop your strategic plan, there is no truly standard format. Each organization must develop a strategy which meets their needs – this may entail considerable work and significant documentation for large complex organizations, to simple, specifically targeted strategies for smaller organisations. The most important thing in developing a strategy is adaptability – seeing what "fits" - and working on those areas with enthusiasm and commitment.
Acre Consulting’s Approach
Acre believes in working very closely with their clients throughout the whole strategy development process – from pre-work scoping to the final developed plan and communication process. And the commitment does not stop there – once the initial project is completed, Acre recommends continued assistance and advice over the full implementation process.
This continued collaboration between Acre and our Client ensures ease in redefining priorities as market conditions change.
Acre strongly recommends the development of a comprehensive Business Plan linked to strategy so that high level targets can be translated into measured achievements.
Acre’s team has substantial experience in strategy – both in the for-profit and not-for- profit areas.
We look forward to discussing your specific needs, to help define and plan your next steps in the strategic development process.
Email: email@example.com or contact Ian McHugh on 0418 402763
How to turnaround a company before it's too late!
Company directors have often been caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to practical options for turning around businesses with significant strategic, operational or financial challenges. The crux of the challenge lies in the current corporate insolvency and restructuring legislative environment, which does little for genuine turnaround options because of how the penalties and incentives affect the way in which Boards and Directors behave. In short, it is usually too late by the time an Administrator is appointed for genuine corporate turnaround, and the mechanism itself tends to leads to financial restructuring rather than early strategic and operational turnaround.
In December last year the Federal Government released the Productivity Commission’s Report - ‘Business set-up, transfer and closure’ – which will introduce a safe harbour period to allow directors and their advisers more legal protection in ‘restructuring’ the struggling business and recognises that early action by directors, with expert input, is often more productive in restoring a viable business than delaying and then needing a formal insolvency arrangement such as administration.
A proposed safe harbour option, if enacted into law, will allow and encourage directors to seek early restructuring advice from a Registered Restructuring Advisor and therefore encourage genuine resolution to strategic, operational and financial aspects affecting the viability of the company before its too late. A new breed of turnaround management consultants is likely to rise to the occasion.
Whilst the details of the requirements for becoming a Registered Restructuring Advisor have not yet been released, it is clear that the advisor will need to be qualified and registered with ASIC. Professional bodies such as Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) (www.arita.com.au) and the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) (www.turnaround.org.au), which have recognised the value of increased training and qualifications for the profession by setting up formal postgraduate courses in this area.
Acre Consulting is well positioned to assist its clients with core strategic, operational and financial issues due to the depth and breadth of the experience of its core management team and associate network.
Acre Consulting to engage more Associates
The Acre Consulting board has decided to increase the number of its Associates to accommodate the expected increased demand for the company's services this year.
Associates will be selected for their specific expertise in Acre Consulting's key consulting areas.
Clients will receive biographical details of any Associates allocated to their project (or projects).
For more information, contact Ian McHugh on 0418 402 763.
Stuart Hackett and Graham Marsland join Acre Consulting Board
Stuart Hackett and Graham Marsland joined the Acre Consulting Board in November 2015.
Acre Consulting's Chairman, Ian McHugh commented:
"It's a privilege to have Stuart and Graham as Board Members - adding even more strength to a great team."
Acre Consulting advises Beehive Industries
Acre Consulting has been engaged by Beehive Industries to develop a comprehensive commercial business plan, for the east Sydney based social enterprise.
Beehive Industries' CEO, Brendan Lonergan said:
"It is a pleasure to be working with Ian and the Acre Consulting team on Beehive Industries' comprehensive Commercial Plan for our future development.
The next few years will be challenging ones for all social enterprises and Acre's input has already been extremely valuable."