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Monitoring systems

Develop a Sustainability Indicators Monitoring System for that Enterprise.

A good monitoring system which is well designed should clearly describe the following things:

Data collection methods and how the collected data would be used

Purpose of the collected data

Types of data that should be collected. The data should be quantitative as well as qualitative.

The frequency at which the data should be collected.

A good and well-designed monitoring system makes it possible to identify interventions early enough. By so doing, it would be possible to implement the interventions as required. The ready availability of data regarding the working of a particular policy, project or program provides the necessary information required during budgeting processes (Kusek & Rist, 2004). Availability of the data also facilitates allocation of scarce resources towards interventions that would be greatly beneficial. An effective monitoring system should have the following characteristics:

It should have the capacity to measure and report on outputs that point towards the organisation’s strategic objectives.

The monitoring system should provide indicators which should be used by the organisation in its operations. The provided indicators should be measurable and be within the organisation such that their output can easily be measured and verified. Availability of indicators outside the organisation commonly brings challenges. It is difficult to measure and verify results that would be obtained (DuBrin, 2008).

An effective monitoring system easily identifies arising issues. In addition, it identifies the root course of problems that are to be addressed.

It must be affordable for the organisation. If it is not cost effective, then it would be needless for any organisation to invest in such monitoring system since the main aim of any monitoring system is to promote performance and output of any organisation of business entity. As a result, it must, therefore, be result oriented (Ekerd , 2012).

A good monitoring system must also give the room so that it can also be monitored and updated accordingly.

It must continuously follow the organisation’s policy reform processes and provide support where necessary. By so doing, it should provide a rationale for setting future performance targets.

A good monitoring system should be user-friendly. Everyone in the organisation should not have difficulty in handling the system. In addition, the system should promote easy decision making (DuBrin, 2008).


It must also be capable of reporting findings to the responsible persons. The responsible authorities can then make appropriate adjustments that would result in positive change in the organisation or in the business initiative. The findings report should be positively reported and all criticisms should be constructive and motivational (Kusek & Rist, 2004).

Characteristics of effective indicators

Indicators are things that show whether a system is working well or not. It does so by pointing out issues or conditions. In the event that there is a problem, an indicator would provide information regarding the appropriate action that should be taken. There are varying types of indicators since the systems that they monitor are also many. Despite the big number of indicators, there are some common characteristics that effective indicators must possess. They include:

Relevant

An effective indicator must be relevant. It must serve its purpose for measuring. Take for example a gas gauge.  Gas gauge is an indicator that measures the amount of gas in the gas cylinder at all times. The owner of the gas cylinder can, therefore, tell when there is enough gas and when the gas is almost running out and should be filled. However, if the gas gauge shows the rate of use of the gas, then it will be irrelevant since it will not be serving its purpose (Afgan & Morte, 2004).

Understandable

A good indicator should be easily understood even by non-experts. An indicator should therefore not be very complicated in its operation. Since indicators are put in place to raise alarm for action when there is a problem, everyone within the business entity should be able to read and interpret and understand a good indicator (Welfens, Perrey, & Irawan, 2015).

Reliable

A good indicator should provide correct information that can be relied upon. Provision of correct information would make people develop trust in the indicator. An indicator would serve its purpose only if people develop a belief in the results that it would be showing (Hamin, Silka, & Geigis, 2007). An indicator may not be very precise, but its margin of error should be small at all times.

A good indicator should provide information when there is still enough time for an appropriate action to be taken. An indicator that raises an alarm when there is no room for action is useless and hence serves no purpose. However, this idea of sustainability poses a great challenge during the development of sustainability indicators. The best sustainability indicators are those that provide information when all the data is exhausted. Indicators that provide information when there is still some data available cannot effectively measure sustainability (Hák, Moldan, & Dahl, Sustainability Indicators: A Scientific Assessment, 2013). Many organisations and business communities, therefore, prefer traditional data sources. Many people also prefer taking traditional measures for indicators. The traditional indicators have some additional advantages. In the first case, there is ready availability of traditional data. Traditional indicators also easily define areas where problems may arise. Finally, a combination of traditional indicators can bring about sustainable indicators. It should, however, be noted that traditional indicators also has one major challenge. They mainly advocate for traditional solutions that may have been the causing agent of the unsustainable situation (Afgan & Morte, 2004).

Accessibility of data

The bank of Adelaide is based in Australia and has branches across the country. The bank has enjoyed huge success in the past. As a result of the success that has been recorded by the bank, it has attracted very many customers. Three years ago, the bank of Adelaide had the largest customer base in the nation. However, the bank has recently plunged into a financial economic crisis. The bank is facing a lot of competition from rival banks which have embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns, aimed at winning more customers (Bell & Morse, 2012). The latest financial reports of the bank of Adelaide show that the bank made huge losses during the last financial year. Despite the fact that the bank opens every day and carries out its operations, it is not fully sustainable. There is fear among people that the bank may be forced to close business in the near future. The fear has gripped the bank’s customers too and many of them moved to other banks. In an effort to raise money for sustaining its operations, the bank has raised interest on commercial loans. The move has since backfired on the bank as very few people have come along to take the loans. Rival banks, on the other hand, have attracted many customers since their loan rates are currently lower than those offered by the bank of Adelaide (Hák, Moldan, & Dahl, 2012). In order to return to sustainable productivity, there must be indicators that would show if there is something wrong. In addition, someone should closely monitor the performance of the enterprise. The management of the enterprise firm would then make appropriate adjustments.

The three sustainability dimensions that include social dimensions, environmental dimensions, and economic dimension all apply to the enterprise.

The bank of Adelaide provides services that improve the lives of its customers and that of the community members in general. Many people within Australia have been able to acquire development loans from the bank. The banks also offer money saving services. In addition, people also earn salaries through the banks.  The bank has therefore been able to raise the living standards of very many people through the services that they offer. Apart from the “over the counter services” that are offered by the bank, the bank also involves itself in community initiative projects aimed at supporting less fortunate people within the community (Kusek & Rist, 2004). The bank through its management has constructed residential houses to some of the community members. The bank has also occasionally distributed food, clothes, blankets and other household goods to the community members during festive seasons as a sign of thanksgiving. The bank of Adelaide has branches spread all over the country. The increased number of branches has been promoted by the increased number of customers which has steadily grown over the past years. Despite the increased number of customers, the bank has maintained high-quality work environments in all its branches (Cavagnaro & Curiel, 2012). The bank’s employees and customers have applauded the effort that the bank has made in ensuring that the work environments are at all-time conducive. The bank as also exercised professionalism in its attempt to persuade and win more customers. Their employees have been respectable and responsible when attending to the needs of customers.

Bank of Adelaide

There are government laws and regulations that all banks in Australia are expected to abide by. The bank of Adelaide strictly complies with the laws of the land. The bank has therefore earned a good reputation in the country of Australia as a result of its law-abiding nature. There is a law in Australia requires all business organisation to conserve the environment. The bank of Adelaide has greatly minimized chances of the negative impact that it may have on the environment during its operations. Its employees have been trained to carry out their operations in a safe and responsible manner. In addition, they have ensured that their services and products don’t have adverse effects on their customers and on the environment at large (Cavagnaro & Curiel, 2012).

The aim of the business enterprise is to maximize profits. The bank of Adelaide engages in activities aimed at attracting more customers who would, in turn, enable the bank to maximise profits. The bank offers services that interest many people. In addition, the services have been offered at relatively lower prices which are affordable to most customers. In an effort to support the local communities, the bank’s management purchase goods that they use from the local community members. Most of the bank’s employees are members of the local community. The bank has employed many people from the local community so that they can earn a salary and in turn raise their standards of living and that of the community in general. The bank of Adelaide is, therefore, a major contributor to the economic development of the local areas in which the bank’s branches are located (Scott & MIT, 2003).

Economic sustainability

Economic sustainability refers to the process in which a business entity efficiently uses assorted assets to enable it to remain profitable as time goes by. Sustainability, on the other hand, refers to survival measures that any business organisation would employ in order to be in the business for as long as possible. Every business organisation must carry out its activities with a lot of curiosity so that the activities don’t render them economically unsustainable (Ekerd , 2012). The best way that organisations can be assured that they are undertaking economically sustainable activities is through the employment of indicators. Indicators monitor the way in which business operations are carried out. They are therefore able to point out if there is a problem. Responsible personnel would then respond accordingly and ensure that the problem is addressed accordingly (Bartelmus, 2012).

 List and Assessment of Indicators for Monitoring

Indicator name

Its definition

Its measurement

Limitations

Financial reports

Financial reports are documents that describe how the organisations has utilised its financial resources over a given period of time (Ekerd , 2012)

Financial report measures whether an organisation’s resources have been used economically or not

It takes a long time before financial reports are compiled. Most business organisations release their financial reports once a year.

Labour productivity

Labour productivity refers to the contributions that the employees of an organisation make in the overall productivity of the organisation.

Labour productivity measures the performance of the employees of the business enterprise

Labour productivity is not easily measurable in an enterprise with many labourers

Investment share in GDP

It refers to the share of contribution that an enterprise directs in the national gross domestic product (Ekerd , 2012) (Bell & Morse, 2012)

Economic performance

The information may be misleading in cases whereby there are very many business enterprises that contribute to gross domestic product

Employment-population ratio

 This is a comparison ratio of the number of people who are employed by an enterprise to the total

Employment

Some duties require more employees and therefore the ratio may provide misleading information

Every business enterprise must produce a financial report after a given period of time. The main aim of the financial report is to provide an indication regarding the performance of the enterprise. Stakeholders of any business enterprise would become happy if the financial report of the enterprise shows good business performance. However, if the report shows that the operation of the enterprise is increasingly becoming economically unsustainable then an appropriate action must be taken within the shortest time possible. In such event, the management of the enterprise must move with speed and come up with measures that would ensure that the enterprise return to productively. The absence of such indicator may result in the collapse of an enterprise on the ground of economic unsustainability (Hák, Moldan, & Dahl, Sustainability Indicators: A Scientific Assessment, 2013).

A business enterprise must carry out regular assessment programs aimed at monitoring labour productivity. There may be many employees in an organisation yet their contribution towards the productivity of the organisation is very small. It is, therefore, necessary that labour productivity is carried out after some time to determine whether the employees of the organisation are productive or not. Unproductive employees are the main agents of economic unsustainability (Hák, Moldan, & Dahl, 2013).

It is important for all enterprises to keep a close watch of their economic performance. An enterprise that performs poorly in the economic market should be investigated immediately. Such investigations would likely suggest what may have been the problem. All enterprises within a country contribute to the GDP of the country. If an enterprise contributes a huge share of the GDP, then the enterprise is economically sustainable. However, if an enterprise contributes a very small fraction of the country’s total GDP, then such indicator would raise an alarm. However, there are some challenges that come about with this kind of indicator. Some nations are very rich and hence it is impossible to quantify the economic performance as either good or bad (Bartelmus, 2012).

Business enterprises must frequently monitor the number of employees against the total number of people residing in a given locality. High employment to population ration would mean that almost every person within the locality is employed in the enterprise. The high ratio is uneconomical to the enterprise. Most of the resources employed by the enterprise would be directed towards payment of salaries. A very low employment-population ratio, on the other hand, is an indication that an enterprise doesn’t a good number of people from the local area where the enterprise is located (Bell & Morse, 2012).

References

Afgan, N., & Morte, R. D. (2004). Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, Volume 1. CRC Press.

Bartelmus, P. (2012). Sustainability Economics: An Introduction. Routledge.

Cavagnaro, E., & Curiel, G. (2012). The Three Levels of Sustainability. Greenleaf Publishing.

DuBrin, A. J. (2008). Essentials of Management. Cengage Learning.

Ekerd , J. (2012). The Essentials of Economic Sustainability. Kumarian Press.

Hák, T., Moldan, B., & Dahl, A. L. (2012). Sustainability Indicators: A Scientific Assessment. Island Press.

Hamin, E. M., Silka, L., & Geigis, P. (2007). Preserving and Enhancing Communities: A Guide for Citizens, Planners, and Policymakers. Univ of Massachusetts Press.

Kusek, J. Z., & Rist, R. C. (2004). Ten Steps to a Results-based Monitoring and Evaluation System: A Handbook for Development Practitioners. World Bank Publications.

Paul J.J. Welfens, Jens K. Perret, Tony Irawan, Ev. (2015). Towards Global Sustainability: Issues, New Indicators, and Economic Policy. Springer.

Scott, A., & MIT. (2003). Dimensions of Sustainability. Taylor & Francis.

Simon Bell, Stephen Morse. (2012). Sustainability Indicators: Measuring the Immeasurable? Routledge.

Tomás Hák, Bedrich Moldan, Arthur Lyon Dahl. (2012). Sustainability Indicators: A Scientific Assessment. Island Press.

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