people future of work

Understanding the new workforce drivers

7th August 2020

Curzon Managing Consultant Rodrigo Quezada Dighero shares his thoughts on the new workforce drivers.

We’ve been living in odd times. Covid-19 ensured that disruption everywhere. This has also included the ways in companies have been able to engage and reward employees – traditionally a key factor to retain talent. Organisations should be using this opportunity to re-evaluate reward programmes and incentive models, paying close attention to and quickly acting on, what the workforce values in this new world.

A time of disruption

Before the coronavirus pandemic, companies employed a wide range of benefits to engage and reward their employees. These spanned from pay increases and bonuses (monetary incentives), to office experiences such as in-house chefs, ping pong tables and lounges. Creating a great experience in the office was key to having a competitive edge with your rewards system.

Up until the pandemic, it could be said that the drivers to employee engagement included the above listed rewards. However, the pandemic and lockdown created a shift. A recent study showed that economic disruption and uncertainty brought high levels of anxiety for employees over their personal job security for over 64% of the global workforce. The result has been people committing long hours and working harder. As a data point, Rightmove Chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson, said in March: “I’ve been encouraged by how seamlessly people have adapted to working from home and how productivity has increased over the past few months.” the property website has over 530 staff who moved to home-based working since March.

The new driver for employees shifted from an enjoyable working environment to keeping their jobs and their financial stability. Often this would be whilst juggling household responsibilities, taking care of their families and working in cramped conditions. Suddenly a blur of work and personal life was created. People adapted in order to maintain business continuity, but at a high cost.What’s more is that a recent study showed that 62% of people trusted their employer to respond responsibly to COVID-191.

Now, as companies are looking onto the horizon of a new world post Covid-19, people too are considering what the new normal will be for them in their day to day working lives. Companies need to be aware of this when planning workforce engagement principles and drivers for the future. The focus is no longer on simply solving employees problems within the workplace, but rather it should include their household and life challenges, and how companies embrace and take care of them.

The ability to quickly understand what the new drivers for employee engagement could be, and how a company could adapt its ways to better serve those new drivers will provide the right incentive for people to remain engaged and switched on, creating a new environment to not just survive but thrive.

A great start

When Jack Dorsey sent the email to his Twitter staff on May 12 communicating people that they were able to work remotely, and in fact would be allowed to continue to do so forever with the provision of equipment to do so – an allowance for transforming their home into an office -, he demonstrated commitment to his people and attention to what they were struggling with, a new reality.

The pandemic has increased the trend of employers playing an expanded role in their employees’ financial, physical and mental well-being. Support has included from enhanced sick leave, financial assistance, adjusted hours of operation and child care provisions, to special allowances for work-related need such as Ergonomic chairs, monitors, Wi-Fi capabilities among others. In the case of a workforce that cannot operate remotely, setting extra precautionary measures, such as safe commuting alternatives and workplace adaptation have been the norm.

The current economic crisis has also pushed the bounds of how employers view the employee experience. Personal factors rather than external factors take precedence over what matters for organisations and employees alike. Employing such measures can be an effective way to promote physical health and improve the emotional well-being of employees.

But there’s still no clarity on the long term impact of COVID on the workforce.

The time to act is now

It is often difficult to create change or transformation within organisations. The present time offers an opportunity for organisations to change their people strategy and create more efficient and productive ways of working. Key considerations are:

Design from your people, not for them

Ask your workforce, and put yourself in their shoes, this is an extremely important time to listen to what your workforce cares about the most, and design your plans and drivers around it.

Communicate often with authenticity, compassion and confidence

One of the actions we saw in our clients that provided calm to high levels of anxiety on their workforce was continuous, honest and open communication.

Proactively seek feedback from employees and give them a voice, and let them lead. Ensure leaders share their own COVID-19 experiences.

Build trust with your people through your purpose

Uniting employees under a common purpose can be a strong motivating factor which is important during a challenging journey of change. Purpose-driven companies are more flexible and better at navigating uncertainty. Read our thoughts on building a purpose driven organisation: https://www.curzonconsulting.com/hr-forming-new-organisation/

Support households, not just employees

Workplaces may be starting to reopen, but uncertainty prevails for employees in other areas of life.

This highlights the importance of mental health support, employee assistance programmes and wellbeing initiatives to help people adapt during a difficult time.

Revisit policies, focusing on the most vulnerable groups, such as temporary workers, people with disabilities, single parents or those who lack adequate health benefits.

Remember, design the plan by asking your people; prepare your people to be in action, engage them into the new order, and finally, prepare to lead. Times like these require active leadership and consistent communication.

Working from home or living at work?

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges. Many companies around the world have risen to the occasion, acting swiftly to safeguard employees and migrate to a new way of working that most business-continuity plans hadn’t envisioned. Across industries, leaders will use the lessons from this large-scale work-from-home experiment to reimagine how work is done—and what role offices should play—in creative and bold ways.

One thing that this pandemic brought to people, is that work and family/personal life are closer than once thought. Merging work and home over the past months, proved that there are new motivators that people are looking for from organisations. Understanding this new reality is crucial for companies to recruit and maintain talent, so getting the drivers right has to be done as soon as possible.

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The time to act is now. This is a unique opportunity to engage your people and create a strong bond with them and your community, addressing change in your people and your clients and their preferences, to not just go back to business continuity but to understand what the new reality demands from your business to serve better clients and have more engaged employees.

For that, you will need to listen and be able to adapt, we have experience in change and we have put some approaches to help you in that process. We can help creating and implementing the survey so you get a good visibility of what your people need and want. We can then help designing your new reality and making it happen, with you and your people, with speed and confidence.

CONTACT US TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN HELP

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smart manufacturing

Re-assessing cost after COVID-19

30th July 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic has provoked the need for businesses to re-assess their footprint and cost base across the supply chain. John Mason, Manufacturing & Engineering Services Partner at Curzon Consulting, considers the case for structural change.

Re-assessing cost after COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has altered the landscape for many. Some have already acted to reduce staff numbers and consolidate operations as an initial response to falling revenues. Structural change and a lower cost base may be required to adapt for the longer term driven by:

  • Altered demand volumes, market location and mix of products and services as markets and the customer base evolves
  • New regimes to protect health and wellbeing that change how people can work
  • The increasing de-globalisation trend, prompting a re-think on the resilience of supply chains and moves to localise

The scenarios and options for each business will be different and the ‘best fit’ answer will not necessarily be obvious.

Considering the case for structural change

Supply-side capacity

  • What capacity is needed now and for the medium term? Can excess capacity be re-purposed to meet expected new demand or is consolidation possible?
  • Restructuring the footprint is an opportunity to deliver a step change in the cost base and renewed focal points for future investments

Network view

  • How fit for purpose are existing facilities now? Can a more cost-effective and resilient model be found by looking at the network as a whole?
  • Potential changes to both demand and supply-side environments will impact the economics of the current model and an holistic view is needed

Supply chain

  • Will customers demand more localised sourcing to reduce interruption risk in their business-critical supply chains? Is a pre-emptive move to adapt the footprint more attractive than a reactive one?
  • Sourcing and certifying new suppliers may be a critical dependency for re-locating production. It is also an opportunity to re-think make-buy strategies, secure new capabilities, strengthen key supplier relationships and unlock cost savings

Overhead right size

  • What opportunities from changed working practices should now be evolved to deliver a lower overhead cost model?
  • Remote working, greater comfort with and reliance on technology, and demonstrated operation with reduced indirect staffing levels creates new baselines for the operating model

Digital evolution

  • What opportunities are created through a reshaping of the footprint to accelerate adoption of digital technologies?
  • Relocation of capabilities to be better aligned with future demand will require assessment of products, processes, assets, resources and technology infrastructure. Introduction of technology to deliver cost and service advantage may be achieved in a more concentrated way, more quickly and with greater impact as part of a footprint reshape than through retrofit in a sub-optimal model

Affordability

  • How will transition be funded and what prioritisation is required? A balanced-risk business case and plan are needed
  • Parallel effort to drive out non-value-add activity, reduce working capital and target efficiencies in the current model will create additional headroom to manoeuvre

Having dealt with the immediate threat from COVID-19, executives, stakeholders and shareholders are now turning their attention to what comes next.

Businesses that are proactively considering the options now will be better placed to make the right moves to sustain and grow.

How we can help

We have broad experience of working with industrial clients to deliver higher levels of profitability and resilience by optimising the cost base, with managed risk and without compromising business value-add service delivery.

Our bespoke Assessment Model is a tried and tested approach balancing commercial, financial and operational considerations. We can rapidly examine the possibilities, frame the options and quantify the associated benefits and risks to underpin confident decision-making.

We bring a business-led focus, an insight-driven approach and a pragmatic attitude to help our clients make informed decisions. And where needed we assist in delivering the business case.

Curzon Consulting analytical framework cost optimisation
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Contact us to explore how to deliver a more resilient and cost optimised business in a post-COVID environment.

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curzon consulting infrastructure bridge

Infrastructure after Covid-19 – when the mould is broken where do you want to be?

21st July 2020

Competition or collaboration? Navigating change in infrastructure after Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about rapid unprecedented change. Companies have responded to imposed restrictions, people have adapted to new ways of working, and the impact on the economy, employment and productivity has been immense.

Businesses face an ever-shifting timescale for recovery but uncertainty on how they need to adapt in the short, medium and longer term.

A commitment to investment in infrastructure

With uncertainty over the shape of economic recovery, the UK government is under increasing pressure to provide answers. The current political agenda is balancing the risk of further outbreaks against the need to kick-start the economy and get people back to work. Infrastructure is a key part of this recovery plan.

As such, we are seeing a range of statements, commitments and emerging policies that::

  • Commit to accelerated investment in infrastructure
  • Criticise past failings in the delivery of major programmes which have taken too long and cost too much
  • Question how other countries can do it so much better than us
  • Recognise that we have developed a huge burden of bureaucratic processes
  • Challenge the slow adoption of new technologies and innovation
  • Reinforce previous goals on climate change and the environment

What does this mean for core infrastructure and regulated industries?

The services and facilities provided by infrastructure and regulated industries are essential to the future growth of the economy. The challenge is how to fairly manage the cost of recovery, which will ultimately be passed onto the consumer. This creates further pressure on the whole system including clients and service providers. Some key questions and considerations include:

For Clients (or sponsors)

  • With greater pressure on household budgets, customer expectations on service and value will increase
  • Customers will be less tolerant of failure and companies will be under greater scrutiny
  • Social and environmental conscience is increasing
  • As a result of COVID-19 there will be sustained change in the way people work. But is the full impact fully understood?
  • Clients or sponsors will be under increased pressure from the regulators to deliver more for less
  • Continuing to stretch existing resources and deliver incremental change will not be enough
  • Companies will be driven to develop different and more efficient operating models

For Service Providers

  • No longer contractors or consultants but “Service Providers”
  • Has traditional contracting had its day and does it really deliver what clients and customers are ultimately looking for?
  • Service Providers will be under the greatest pressure to address the higher-level challenges through creating new ways of working or new service offerings
  • “Necessity is the mother of invention” – the time of greatest need will drive the greatest change and the more agile companies will be those that win
  • Traditional contracts delivered in a traditional way will become an increasing “race to the bottom” based on price with associated increase in failure

Innovation and technology inevitably has a major part to play in addressing the above.

What part should Innovation and Technology play?

Regulated industries are notoriously slow adopters. If this is to change, it is essential to understand the reasons why and break these paradigms.

  • Risk of failure is too high either in terms of impact on customers or regulatory action
  • Procurement processes are cumbersome and often preclude SMEs/Start-ups
  • In reality, Intellectual Property has a very short shelf-life, products are quickly copied
  • There is more to be gained from running faster and letting others follow compared to standing still and protecting what you have got

With many organisations facing the same challenges, is there something to be learned from collaboration?

Competition or Collaboration?

Regulation has often been based on the premise of driving or simulating competition. So, what delivers the greatest benefit – organisations collaborating or competing? Many “alliance” delivery models are based on the benefits of collaboration which raises a number of questions:

  • Regulated utilities by their nature are often monopolies so why isn’t there far greater collaboration and sharing of ideas?
  • Technology/Innovation start-ups often have to prove their concepts several times over to separate clients passing through individual tortuous procurement routes. As a result many collapse before they start. As a wider industry why do separate companies re-invent the same wheel
  • Contractors/Service Providers provide similar services to different clients and sectors in the same geographic area. Is there more to be gained from a common approach across sectors?
  • If the same Service Provider is providing a service across multiple clients and sectors who is the regulator actually regulating – the Client or The Service Provider?
  • If the end service across sectors is a similar service why should there be different regulatory models and different regulatory measures or even different regulators?

Acceleration, adaption and adoption

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on organisations. Businesses have been forced to adopt a more radical and agile approach in how they adapt to change.

This unprecedented challenge has also created opportunities. Many businesses have failed but some have flourished. In the main, these organisations have embraced a culture of learning from others. They have collaborated and openly shared resources. They have undertaken the accelerated development of complex solutions and executed them with simplicity.

Going forward, significant commitments have been made, expectations are high and pressure on delivery will increase. The challenges will necessitate change and those that move fastest stand to gain the most.

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Want to find out more or meet one of our Infrastructure team? Contact us by email, phone or our web form.

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case studies

Digital productivity management in infrastructure

17th July 2020

The full package: digitising productivity management in infrastructure delivery

Infrastructure owners and construction companies are selecting or developing, and then seeking accelerated implementation and scaling of, their preferred digital productivity management tool(s).

In consideration of the current economic climate, the critical role that Infrastructure investment is set to play in boosting growth has been amplified.

In light of these two factors, it does not feel as though there could be a better time to suggest that if we are going to do the whole ‘digital productivity thing’ in infrastructure and construction… we should do it properly. So, what does ‘doing it properly’ mean? It means that it is time to assess the full spectrum of construction-site productivity management capability areas that can be enhanced through the new or improved application of digital tools. We need the full package.

Unlocking greater efficiencies through digital

Digital enablement has revolutionised productivity and the definition of efficiency norms in other industries. Most notably in Manufacturing industries such as Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) where market leaders such as Unilever have reduced material factory waste by more than 40% by digitally enabling end-to-end quality management. (Source: World Economic Forum, How manufacturing can thrive in a digital world and lead a sustainable revolution, January 2020)

Similarly, by 2025 the digital enablement of Logistics has the potential to reduce global carbon emissions by 11%. (Source: World Economic Forum, Digital Transformation of Industries Demystifying Digital and Securing $100 Trillion for Society and Industry by 2025, January 2016) A powerful endorsement of advanced productivity management tools.

The Agriculture industry presents further evidence. Here, as an example, data gathering and historical analysis data-driven decision-making tools are having a transformative impact on crop productivity.

Productivity management in infrastructure however is often driven by manual cost and performance benchmarking processes. Some efficiency gains have been achieved through the successful adoption of Lean methodologies. But the meaningful use of digital tools that enable higher productivity rates will be key to unlocking much greater efficiencies in the construction phases of infrastructure programmes.

There is an entire spectrum of construction site productivity management capability areas that can be enhanced through the application of digital tools. These can be broadly placed into three categories:

  1. Planning and Collaboration: Ensuring the feasibility of planned activities and improving communications between the site and site-office
  2. Data gathering: Gathering data on the work accomplished on-site to feed performance/progress metrics
  3. Data-driven analytics: Collecting historical productivity data on-site to feed data-driven decision making

In pursuit of significant improvement

Organisations tend to focus on the independent application of a discrete digital tool to enable productivity. Most often this means dedicating themselves to a data gathering tool for the purpose of productivity tracking. However, in the pursuit of significant efficiencies it is not sufficient to introduce digitally enabled capability to just one area of the productivity management spectrum. For infrastructure delivery, at the construction site level, a suite of digital tools covering the full range of capabilities (outlined at a high level by the three categories above) is required. Many of the more recently developed tools incorporate data as a service (DaaS) offerings but there is the opportunity to go further. Attributes for productivity information gathered, processed and analysed should adhere to the standards set by data and information frameworks being built by infrastructure owners.

For data generated by any suite of tools, there is the opportunity to actively inform cost and performance benchmarks and subsequently productivity norms for the delivery of work. This applies within the integrated environment for information that programmes, alliances or organisation level data frameworks house.

So how to decide on which digital productivity management tools to work with?

Whether through in-house development or accessing solutions already in play, several factors should be considered, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Ease of implementation
  • Supply chain buy-in
  • Scalability across multiple construction disciplines

Prioritisation frameworks can be designed and applied to rapidly assess an entire landscape of digital productivity management solutions, thoroughly reviewing each through the lenses of standard attributes.

Digital productivity done properly

Individual tools applied in isolation in areas such as productivity tracking can offer benefits. But there is an entire spectrum of on-site productivity management capability that can be enhanced through the application of digital tools. These benefits can be amplified through alignment with the principles for data defined by information frameworks being developed by infrastructure owners. Other industries are demonstrating the scale of productivity benefits available through digital enablement. These are most notable where a complete end-to-end process approach is adopted.

So, if we are going to do the whole ‘digital productivity thing’ in infrastructure and construction… we should do it properly.

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drone healthcare technology

The accelerated adoption of drones in healthcare

30th June 2020

We explore how the 2020 coronavirus crisis has accelerated the use of drones in the delivery of healthcare.

drone blue icon

Drones in Healthcare

The commercial use of drones has steadily been gaining traction over the last decade.

The global market for medical drones was valued at USD $88.2 million in 2018. It is expected to witness 24.7% CAGR from 2019 to 2025. The UK market is anticipated to see even higher than 25% CAGR from 2019 to 2025. The global circumstances resulting from the coronavirus pandemic are likely to increase demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drive the value of the drone market up even higher than forecast.

Drones have the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare. They have a large spectrum of medical uses that could be particularly valuable during this pandemic:

  • Search and Rescue: searching vast areas for people in need of rescue/help in any environment
  • Transport/Delivery: rapid delivery of medical supplies to rural areas between hospitals/labs or directly to the person in need
  • Medical Care: remote delivery of medical advice/care

Curzon Consulting drone medical uses

Despite wide potential applications in healthcare, the use of drones in practice has been fairly limited. Safety and security concerns have led to tight regulations on airspace. This makes it difficult to phase in drones for practical (rather than recreational) use. Drones have a bad reputation due to their potential abuse in breaching privacy, violating human rights and irresponsible use by hobbyists, particularly at airports. Consequently, only a small proportion of the potentially vast benefits offered by drones in healthcare have been realised.

healthcare medical drone icon blue

COVID-19 impact on drones in healthcare

The coronavirus crisis has acted as a catalyst for the adoption and acceptance of drones in healthcare. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. The need to deliver medical care/supplies quickly is more urgent
  2. Social distancing and quarantine measures have made remotely operated systems particularly valuable

As a result of coronavirus, how has drone use changed or adoption accelerated? We’ve included some examples below.

Dutch company Avy manufactures wing drones for use in urban healthcare logistics, rural delivery of supplies, and first response emergency services. Avy responded to the pandemic by exploring the use of wing drones to transport COVID-19 samples from small municipalities to labs in larger cities. This would help contain the virus and minimise risk of the virus spreading.

We spoke to Patrique Zaman, Founder of Avy, about the healthcare challenges that Avy is trying to overcome.

This is an example of a drone company, Manna Aero, that changed their focus from food delivery to medicine delivery during the pandemic.

The Irish start-up launched their drone delivery service earlier this year, with the aim of moving road-based food delivery into the skies. Manna Aero’s trial delivery of takeaways to college students in mid-March had to be halted due to the coronavirus lockdown, but this did not deter them from switching focus to help in the crisis. The company has instead been working with the Irish Health Service Executive to deliver medicines and other essential supplies such as break and milk to vulnerable people in the rural town of Moneygall. Local GPs write prescriptions after a video consultation, which the drones deliver directly to homes. This represents a first in Ireland. Manna Aero is equipped to handle up to 100 deliveries a day, and hopes to bring trials to the UK soon.

The UK’s lockdown in 2020 triggered the government to grant permission for a UAV to deliver medical supplies across the Solent to a hospital on the Isle of Wight. This is part of a UK government project to develop a system allowing manned and unmanned aircraft to operate in the same airspace.

The UAV, developed by the University of Southampton and funded by the start-up Windracers, was given permission to fly as part of the British government’s Covid-19 response. It has a range of 1,000km and can carry up to 100kg.

Compared to the more traditional ferry, this novel approach allows faster, more frequent, and more reliable delivery of medical supplies.

The Covid-19 response has triggered a partnership between the drone delivery provider Skyports and Thales to trial the delivery of medical supplies.

The two-week pilot is backed by NHS Highland, and Argyll and Bute Council, with drones supplied by unmanned aircraft-maker Wingcopter. The delivery service will be based in Oban. It aims to ensure that isolated communities on the Isle of Mull (16km away) have access to COVID-19 tests and sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE).

This trial is a crucial milestone for unmanned aviation in the UK. It was granted as an exception to current rules by the Civil Aviation Authority.

Zipline is a US drone company that delivers supplies to rural communities in Rwanda and Ghana. In order to support the Covid-19 response in Africa, Zipline changed its focus to using drones to provide clinics with PPE and coronavirus test samples. The lightweight drones deliver to clinics up to 85km away. There are plans to use the drones to deliver supplies directly to the elderly and vulnerable who need to self-isolate.

Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo thinks that drone deliveries could play a vital role both during the current crisis and in the coming months and years.

The Chinese government has been proactive in piloting ways to incorporate drones into their response to the coronavirus.

Drones originally designed to spray pesticides have been adapted to spray disinfecting chemicals in public spaces. Testing the use of drones to deliver of medical samples began in February, with over 20 flights per day at peak operation in Zhejiang Province. Consumer delivery of essential items has also been trialled, with e-commerce company JD developing a drone team to deliver to Anxin’s semi-isolated islands.

future drone outlook icon blue

Future outlook

The unprecedented circumstances brought about by Covid-19 have kick-started the use of drones in new and exciting ways, but we are only scratching the surface of their full potential.

To progress, we need to learn from this pandemic and make changes that will ultimately lead to a better healthcare experience. Rather than relying on experimentation, we should pre-plan how drones can be used during disease outbreaks and make appropriate investments. Drones need to be integrated into planned health responses. In addition, coordination between the public and private sector will be crucial to overcome regulation by civil aviation authorities.

It is obvious that drones have a big role to play in the delivery of healthcare. The route to unlocking their true potential will offer exciting and rewarding opportunities in the future.

How Curzon can help

Curzon Consulting help with strategy and digital transformation. We have experience working in collaboration with companies to embed technology into their organisation. Curzon can:

  • Conduct feasibility studies
  • Build a business case and commercial offering
  • Design the most appropriate operating model and integration plan
  • Conduct a technical requirement assessment

Get in touch to find out how we can help or arrange a free virtual meeting with our Healthcare partner, Chetan Trivedi.

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Contact us for more information or submit a request for proposal to our healthcare consulting team

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Curzon consulting rebrand

Precision medicine - using data to prevent heart disease and stroke

26th June 2020

Curzon Healthcare Lead Chetan Trivedi in conversation with Dr Rameen Shakur MD PhD (Cantab), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. We explore precision medicine, the importance of a patient centric approach to data and how medical technology is improving healthcare accessibility.

Rameen is the founder of Cambridge Heartwear and the Jansen Fellow for Cardiology and precision medicine at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This interview was not sponsored. All views are Dr Rameen Shakur’s and not that of MIT.

Watch a highlight of our conversation below

precision medicine

Precision medicine and technology

Precision medicine refers to the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient.

Precision medicine does not mean the creation of drugs or medical devices that are unique to a patient, but rather the ability to sub-classify individuals into populations that differ in their susceptibility to a particular disease. And for that to occur, Rameen argues we need “not just the therapeutic arm, the diagnostic arm, but also the analytical arm to all intermingle in one.”

Rameen is the founder of Cambridge Heartwear, a medical technology and AI device manufacturer. Through novel engineering, Rameen and his colleagues at University of Cambridge fused diagnostics, and real-time delivery of data and analytics. Cambridge Heartwear aims to reduce the impact of strokes by detecting irregular heart rhythms in real-time through a pairing monitoring device and artificial intelligence algorithms. This real-time wearable ECG (electrocardiogram) device has cut the diagnosis and treatment process down from three weeks to days. Rameen explains it is also a means to measure our physiology in more granularity.

Part of Cambridge Heartwear’s goal is more integrated healthcare across primary, secondary and tertiary care. Rameen explains “once you deal with that whole process of how to manage a system to amalgamate all of those together, then you make a real inroad into what we want to call precision medicine.”

Similar to many technology companies, such as HP and Apple, Rameen built the first prototype in a shed in his back garden.

medical tech design

Patient centric design

What makes Cambridge Heartwear disruptive is the focus on the patient. Throughout the design process, Rameen is “very patient centric”.

This carries through to the availability and ownership of data. “It’s patient centric because if we want to get to a view of precision medicine, you have to give access to people for that data. The point is it is their data. It is their own right to actually have that data, access that data and do as they please with that data.” From the patient perspective it is a means for them to obtain specific data related to the cardiovascular system for the first time, namely the whole electricity of the heart when they’re moving around. Consequently, access to this data enables people to have an informed conversation with physicians on treatment modalities.

This focus on the patient not only applies to data but the design of the wearable itself “We wanted a wearable that would be ergonomic”. The design encompassed:

  • Real-time data and analytics transmission from patient to physician across the world
  • Patient experience – “we wanted a system where you can go about your daily business”

Historically many medical technology companies have adopted a male-centric approach to data and design. Rameen was mindful of gender bias in his medical technology design, stating

“the whole design was done for the anatomical differences between males and females.”

Accessibility for all is at the heart of what Rameen’s trying to achieve. He believes that coronavirus has affected healthcare by firstly highlighting the health inequalities that exist in society and secondly adopting technology to break down those barriers. “who has access has power is no longer the statement that we want to hear”. The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the important role of technology to deliver information from patients’ homes to hospitals and physicians.

medical innovation

The future of precision medicine

We ask Dr Rameen what precision medicine could look like in the next 30 years.

“Precision medicine I hope will garner a lot of technology, innovation and discovery. In our lab, for example, we are teasing out for the first time methodologies for risk stratification for patients who may have had the genetic test.

We are getting more and more nuanced in the way we collect data. Previously, for example when we talked about disease associations, we referred to a particular subpopulation, a particular racial population… For a complete picture, one needs to know and have a whole profile of different technologies that are applicable across the board, across society. I believe what we need to do is to bring that back to society and say, let’s talk about it in the context of the population of our global population.”

I believe we will likely see more integration of digital technology with the biotech fields… I hope to see more of this sort of collaboration where novel engineering comes head to head with medical technology processes, whereby the actual information is now being stored in biological systems, having a discourse with physicians at a much more accessible point. And I think this concept which has started to happen

“It’s a very exciting time within the next five to 10 years, we’re seeing a lots of big changes”.

The concepts of portability and real time data are “something that we are very proud to work on and something that’s also of interest to us as we move to our next phase of humanity into space.” Indeed, the emergence of space travel tourism launches an opportunity to observe medical data and physiology outside of the earth’s atmosphere.

But one thing’s for certain, the aim of medical technology is not to replace humans.

“I think one of the key points about technology is we have to get away from just being a tech company. You are a human company, which is dealing with humans and for the survival of patients, we need to have all in our armoury. So I make no apology to say that we would never want to replace the physician, but rather to make that whole process a lot easier and less journey as for all involved.”

An important time for innovation in the UK

Rameen is proud of the work that UK engineers and manufacturers are doing right now. He believes that as a country

“we are very strong in artificial intelligence. We may not have previously been very vocal about that, but the proof is in the pudding. And I’m glad to say a lot of people are having the puddings!”

Contact us for more information or submit a request for proposal to our healthcare consulting team

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global risk and impact survey

Global business risk and impact survey 2020

Take the business risk and impact survey

As many countries start to ease lockdown, companies will need to adjust their business models to a “new normal”. Companies must now construct a recovery plan focused on mitigating the main business risks and taking advantage of the main opportunities. To help our clients to prepare for recovery, we are launching the COVID-19 Global Business Risk and Impact Survey.

This will enable top executives to identify and evaluate the main risks which could affect their businesses given the current context of the COVID-19 crisis.

Through our partnership with the Nextcontinent network, the survey will be conducted in over 30 countries meaning we can identify trends at a global level with local insight.

By completing the survey you will receive a:

  • customised report with a series of suggested measures to address the most critical risks in your business
  • free meeting with one of our Partners to understand the results and what it means for your business
  • consolidated analysis of the global responses

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

We invite you to complete the risk and impact survey before June 26th.

Take the survey

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building-site

Digitalisation in building supplies

8th June 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing customer behaviour across the UK. We explore the digitalisation adopted by many building supplies companies to meet new customer expectations.

Muhammad Ali, Curzon Consulting Principal, discusses the impact of coronavirus on customer expectations and digitalisation with David Young, Group CEO of The Bradfords Group. Bradfords is a leading independent Builders Merchants in the UK.

Watch the highlights of our conversation:

Changing customer expectations

Navigating supply and demand challenges brought about by COVID-19

David explains the challenges that the pandemic has created in the building supplies industry.

Initially, Bradfords’ shops remained open to support essential projects and self-employed customers. In March, the morning after the UK lockdown was announced, Bradfords experienced extraordinary levels of demand. They realised that although Bradfords had a number of social distancing measures in place, they wanted to create a new process to safely meet the rapid change in customer demand. They opened back up the next morning with a brand new process – to order either via phone and collect, or order through the website.

This generated “unprecedented demand on the phones”, increasing from around 1,500 calls per day to 15,000.  Consequently, both trade and retail customers looked to other channels such as the website. David explains

“we started seeing a big uptick in our trade customers using our portal and then transacting online, and also retail customers”.

However this surge in online demand came with a new set of supply chain challenges. Therefore, to ensure that Bradfords could continue to supply products for essential products and key projects they:

  • Temporarily closed their business to the retail customer base
  • Rationalised their product range

Furthermore, showcasing fewer products created a better website user experience which in turn generated an increase in sales. In fact, the eCommerce sales are still increasing, even now Bradfords have reopened their shops and yard to customers.

Are these changes in customer behaviour expected to continue?

In the short to medium term, this changing end user behaviour is expected to continue. Trends include:

  • Customers increasingly plan ahead
  • Customers continue to buy online
  • An increase in retail customers
  • A spread of footfall across the day, rather than a concentration of customers in the morning

“What COVID-19 has forced customers to do is plan ahead” David Young explains. Due to extended lead times and the click & collect service, Bradfords have seen their customers become much more planned. This change in behaviour is also helping operations “it helps us manage our workloads and forecasting stock levels”.

Building a strong ecommerce offering

The growing focus on ecommerce in building products is mirrored in the wider UK retail market and high street. Companies like Bradfords have been “through a long journey on ecommerce” and now find themselves well positioned to generate new sales through this channel. This represents a shift in focus for the building materials industry. A renewed focus on driving sales through the website highlights the importance of understanding insights from data. David recognises that good data is an important investment and Bradfords work closely with suppliers to ensure they are capturing data.

Overall, the pandemic has led to a renewed focus on digital strategy.

“I think the pandemic has really forced people and businesses to really look at their digital platforms”.

What does the future of trade counter operations look like?

Digitalisation in building supplies merchants during coronavirus has caused a spread in footfall across the day in shops. David forsees that click and collect will become a bigger part of building merchant life, likely as a separate service. Offering click and collect on light and heavy side products, such as forklifts, will require companies to restructure the way they operate. Key considerations are:

  • Resource to ensure they can offer customers quick turnaround time
  • Speed and efficiency of processes
  • Omni channel offering
  • Flexibility around opening hours – digitalisation opens up a 24 hour service
  • Product ranges

The ability to react quickly to meet changing demand is key, both within the business and across the supply chain. Indeed, David recognises the importance of planning ahead and sees the importance of builders merchants becoming “much more productive in the future”.

Changing relationships across the supply chain

Will digitalisation disrupt the value chain? Does it change the relationship between manufacturer, distributor and end user?

David sees this as an evolution rather than disruption:

“I think the relationship between the merchant, and the supplier will change dramatically. You know data is so important and historically I’ve found that data within our supply chain is very poor… a lot of manufacturers just don’t hold the level of data needed in this new world…

I think there’s a big wakeup call coming”.

Merchants need to be mindful of potential risks, particularly if they:

  • Are slow to react to digital customer demand and develop their eCommerce platforms
  • Don’t react quickly – “actually some of the suppliers will vertically integrate and sell direct and cut us out.”

This evolution also presents a number of opportunities for building supplies merchants to:

  • Work with suppliers that are invested in data and technology
  • Build stronger vendor relationships
  • Attract a new demographic of customer
  • Understand the many payment platforms and react accordingly

In summary, digitalisation across building supplies gives businesses the opportunity to adopt digital, improve customer experience and improve supply chain relationships.

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people at airport

The convergence of healthcare and travel

5th May 202015 Minutes

Airports and the wider transportation industry are facing a number of new challenges as they prepare for the realities of a post COVID-19 world.

Aviation and mass transit are dependent on density, the antithesis of social distancing. John Holland-Kaye, CEO, Heathrow Airport recently stated “It’s just physically impossible to socially distance with any volume of passengers in an airport.” He continued “The constraint is not about how many people you can fit on a plane; it will be how many people you can get through an airport safely”.

To address these constraints, many airports are considering how to adapt their existing operating models for the new reality and adhere to any new health and safety regulations.

What could the future of airports look like?

Already many airports, including those based in the UK, have introduced measures to enable essential travel based on government guidelines. Those guidelines include social distancing, ample distribution of hand sanitiser throughout airports and efforts to spread passengers evenly across terminals.

However, such measures may not be as easily implemented when capacity is ramped up towards pre COVID- 19 levels and therefore innovative and creative methods will be needed to help increase passenger confidence and change the narrative. Passenger confidence will be the key driver to getting back to some level of normality!

Accelerated automation across the customer journey

The passenger journey is changing. Post COVID-19, passengers may welcome the acceleration of automation across commercial aviation and urban mobility in order to limit physical contact.

A new era of automation is likely to extend from the basic such as the eradication of all remaining doors requiring pushing or pulling to the more advanced. These might include gesture or eye-movement-based interactions with payment kiosks and in-flight entertainment screens; robots and drones equipped with UV lights that continuously sanitize surfaces; and artificial intelligences that govern our previously clumsy attempts at everything from bus scheduling and curb usage to security screening and aircraft boarding.

We spoke with one passenger experience company, Elenium Automation, who are trialling ‘touchless travel’ technology. Etihad Airways recently announced that it plans to partner with Elenium Automation to trial new technology which allows self-service devices at airports. The technology will be used to help identify passengers with medical conditions, potentially including the early stages of COVID-19. Watch our interview with Elenium Automation here.

The new customer journey requires process optimisation and staff upskilling to ensure new regulations are complied with and the spread of viruses are mitigated.

The convergence of healthcare and aviation

Airports in Asia are one step ahead, having learnt from their experience dealing with SARS. For example, the Airport Authority Hong Kong are in the process of rolling out new measures that include the following:

  1. Full body disinfection channels
  2. Antimicrobial coatings
  3. Autonomous cleaning robots working 24/7

Bournemouth Airport are currently trialling thermal cameras in order to detect if passengers have fevers or other indications of disease. Airline passengers would simply walk through a series of tunnels, gardens, or other environments designed around new biometric-enabled security screening methodologies—without ever touching anything or even producing passports or other documents.

Identification through temperature monitoring then is likely to funnel through to more rigorous and accurate healthcare assessment. Technology is simply the enabler. This flow through process needs to be designed, procured for and integrated into the overall operating model, which will require retraining of airport employees, third-party contracting staff, process and system changes.

Service based offering

Less footfall simply means less custom, just as it does on any high street. In addition to less footfall, customers may be less willing to browse, and there may be capacity constraints in entering retail spaces.

How will customers spend their time at airports? We may see a shift from retail to service-based airport offerings. We may start to see GP (physician) kiosks or pharmacies set up within airports to provide health check-ups or assessments.

Similarly, first class lounges may start to offer basic health check services, particularly for frequent flyer customers. In addition, this repurposed real estate could serve a highly valuable consumer segment that includes those retired and travelling throughout off-peak hours.

Virus passport integration

The aviation industry may increase health and safety measures through integrating passports or ID documents, “immunity passports” with recent medical records or vaccination history. However, the introduction of such solutions will likely open up the debate of civil liberties and data security.

The identification and rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms is key to limit the spread of the virus and implement next-steps such as track-and-trace, self-isolation or early warnings to the receiving/host country. There is evidence now emerging in the US and China, based on small studies, that a large percentage of the population may be asymptomatic. If true, then airports will also have to put in place measures to monitor passengers who might be asymptomatic (i.e. showing no symptoms, but may still carry an infectious virus).

Future direction of travel

As evident above, there are a number of complex nuances to any airport COVID-19 response. Ultimately, the response must strike the correct balance between ramping up capacity so passengers can begin to book fares and reassuring passengers that it’s safe to be on a plane and in an airport.

1 Response continuum

  • An airport may choose to do the bare minimum. Taking this option, airport management may roll out a minimum cost and effort plan that includes temporary measures with the view to ramping up and down the measures as they see fit while capacity increases or the threat decreases.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, an airport may invest heavily in technologies coming to market and seek to robustly implement health and safety guidelines.

Taking the latter option, its salient that management look to strongly embed this move in their infrastructure and operations, processes and technologies so that they look to benefit from the implementation in the long run irrespective of an increasing/decreasing COVID-19 threat. This may include catering for a ‘new norm’ of passengers who expect hygiene and safety measures in place. Availability heuristics refers a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person’s mind when evaluating a specific concept and it is likely that passenger behaviour and expectations may shift drastically even if a vaccine is found in the near future.

Outside of the confines of the airport, there is also opportunity to look at what assurances could be provided pre-travel. Such measures could minimise the chances of spread from travel and re-write the narrative on airline travel as a conduit of illness spread.

2 Assess readiness

Rapid assessment and implementation of most effective and customer reassuring COVID-19 protection measures. This may include measures such as staff testing, upskilling and scaled approaches/scenario planning to a capacity ramp up. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, global pandemics have been as strong, if not stronger in wave two. If this is the case, airports have a fiduciary responsibility to their staff, customers and shareholders to have scenario planned the impact of wave two to minimise the impact.

3 Analyse feasibility

Detailed customer journey analysis to identify highest points of risk and feasibility analysis of MedTech offerings to cater for above risks. The solution is likely to be different for inbound versus outbound travel. The question then arises about where the level of responsibility lies. Is it with the government who may own the airport, or with the airlines and/or airports or a combination or all of the above. Scenario planning and insight driven decision making is key to getting these essential business decisions correct.

4 Assess revenue opportunities

Identify and generate a business case for post coronavirus revenue drivers and opportunities such as service offerings. For example, vacant airport real estate could be utilized as a lead generator for a major UK private hospital and/or a retail pharmacy chain and also heighten confidence of consumers remiss to getting back to aviation travel. Health and general well-being are likely to propel up the consumer agenda going forward.

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Chetan Trivedi
Healthcare Partner

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Infrastructure Partner

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online medicine delivery

Pharmacy Disruption: an interview with Zottii

30th April 202017 Minutes

Taz Sheikh is CEO of medicine delivery start-up Zottii. He talks to Curzon Consulting about pharmacy disruption, the impact of COVID-19 and future of pharmacies.

The gap in medicine delivery models for retail pharmacies has been exacerbated by Coronavirus, increased demand and changing customer expectations.

Interview with Taz Sheikh, CEO of Zottii

We live in a day and age where we can get almost anything delivered on demand and on the same day, whether it be items on Amazon, to your groceries to take-away food or taxis. So you’d think the same will be the case when it comes to prescription medicines, but sadly is not. So in early 2019, I set about looking at ways to change that.

I really thought that there’s got to be a better way a better experience for me as a potential patient, for doctors and for the whole healthcare system as a whole.

And hence I decided to create Zottii.

Challenges in retail pharmacy

  1. It’s behind the times. And it’s not really set up for those people who need their medications in a hurry, or who physically cannot get to a pharmacy

  2. It’s inconvenient. You know we all live very busy lives today. So find the time to visit a pharmacy, it’s not ideal, you know, particularly if you’re a busy working professional like yourselves, or you’re a single parent or you’re, you have young children

  3. The biggest problem right now within retail pharmacies is the out-of-stock situation, it’s common for pharmacies to be out-of-stock of your particular medication 40% of the time. Most do not have the appropriate inventory systems to ensure a continuous supply of the right medications

  4. This out-of-stock situation leads to something what we called poor drug compliance. And the inability of people being able to get their medications when they need which often leads them to not actually taking their medications at all. And this potentially causes further problems, not only for the patient, but also for the whole healthcare system as a whole as delayed treatment ultimately does result in worse outcomes.

  5. Most pharmacies are just not set up to offer on-demand or same day delivery, and those that do somehow offer that service, quite often it’s complicated as it involves third party couriers, and it can be quite costly. The current suite of online pharmacies use the Royal Mail [UK’s postal service], which often means patients have to wait 2-5 days to receive their medications

  6. [Retail pharmacies] are really designed to get people to the door because they’re selling makeup shower gels, toiletries. And most shelves are used up to stock those particular items. And if you actually look at their actual dispensary of prescription medicines, often is a very small space, they don’t always have the space to stock all the inventory

Benefits of online medicine delivery

Opportunity for pharmacy disruption

If new disruptors do not come into this sector and use technology to be able to streamline the whole process it will create more of a burden in the future, not only for patients and for doctors but for the whole healthcare system as a whole.

You’ve had many people look at the front end of healthcare, the likes of these very prominent video consultation platforms. Some of these platforms use AI technology but sometimes people forget about the most crucial element, you still need to get the medicines that are being prescribed into the patient’s hands. It doesn’t matter how many remote consultation platforms you have out there. If people are still not getting their medicines it means nothing.

Evolving customer expectations

We want to bring pharmacy as it is into the current time and we wanted to be a service that’s more aligned with consumer expectations today, as in getting your medications delivered on demand on the same day to a time and place or location that suits you.

The other thing is that we’re trying to make it more convenient.

Ultimately, our service is really designed to help those who need the service get their medications in a timely fashion. Whether you be elderly, single parent, busy working professional, or whether you be someone who’s incredibly tech savvy.

We’re already seeing a younger generation who are basically choosing healthcare on their own terms. They’re using services like video consultations, or chat enabled AI systems. All those systems lend themselves very well to a delivery service such as what we’re offering. It’s completely plausible to expect to have your medications delivered to your home if you’re having a video consultation with your doctor at home.

Predictive software

The reason we are also trying to avoid that no-stock situation is because we’re employing certain types of predictive inventory software and we’re looking at the data around what medications are most consumed. And we also look at the most commonly prescribed drugs of a doctor who uses our service to always ensure that we have an adequate supply.

Faster treatment

By offering free same day delivery, often within one to three hours, we’re quite setup for those people who’ve got time critical care needs. We’re helping people get treated faster, which results in better drug compliance, which results in better medicine adherence.

Continuity of care

Doctors love the service because not only can they send their prescription to us electronically but they also are notified the moment deliveries made so from a continuity of care point of view. And it’s also a value added service for them because as it stands today there’s a detachment from pharmacy and doctor.

Your doctor doesn’t know the challenges that you’re going to face as a patient to try to get your medication. They don’t even know necessarily if you’re going to take your medication because of the fact that you can’t get it, but with a service like AWS they have the comfort knowing that we’ve received their prescription.

Impact of COVID-19

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen the acceleration of digital transformation for many industries, including pharmacy disruption. We discuss the long term impact of the change in behaviour and customer expectations exacerbated by COVID-19.

Increase in demand

The demand for our services absolutely has gone through the roof.

We were originally delivering in (London) zones one to four. We have now stretched out to zones one to six.

Change in operations

What I’ve noticed over the past few weeks with the current COVID-19 lockdown is that a number of the pharmaceutical wholesalers have had to really streamline their delivery services.

Our delivery drivers have obviously had to change the way they operate and work within this current lockdown situation. We’ve had to focus purely on online payments.

Change in mindset

People don’t want to go out and pick up the medicine because they don’t want to risk exposing themselves to other people. And if anything, this whole pandemic really hits home two key things:

  1. Sick people shouldn’t have to go to the pharmacy. When you’re unwell you can get anything else delivered to your home… Why should you not get your medicines delivered to you?
  2. Sick people shouldn’t be going out in public: They shouldn’t be going to the pharmacy risking exposure to the pharmacist, they shouldn’t be using public transportation risking exposure to other people. They should stay at home and let services, such as Zotti or similar, come and deliver their medicines to them at home.

Future of Pharmacies

The role of robotics

By the year 2050 the majority of dispensaries will have some form of robotic dispensing capability because:

  • they can operate 24/7
  • they can be linked to whatever system they need to be. They can be linked directly to a doctor’s prescribing platform
  •  the use of AI technology can also be in place to minimise any mistakes doctors may make

I think it’s a given pharmacy of the future will be more tech enabled, it will be more integrated and they will be a logistics element attached to the end of it.

The value chain

In terms of the whole ecosystem, I think a more integrated and more thorough pharmacy element is definitely required, certainly in terms of dealing with not only primary care patients but secondary care patients as well. A service such as what we offer does not have to be just focused on prescription medication. We could also be delivering Over the Counter (OTC) products and other products you would typically get in the pharmacy. We already know what the most popular Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) are within the pharmacy. And if you’re delivering medications to a particular individual, why not also deliver the other types of products that they would traditionally get from their pharmacy?

Pharmacists of the future

I think the reality is that there will always be a place for pharmacists… technology will not completely replace the need for a superintendent pharmacist.

But I think the question is who will they work for. There certainly will be in the future options to work for some of these technology disruptors within this space or the ability to embrace technology in their own pharmacy.

I think the industry as a whole needs to give more powers to pharmacists. We’re already seeing more and more pharmacists, with the ability to prescribe. And I think that will start to increase.

Is retail pharmacy ready for disruption?

Curzon Consulting helps organisations with digital strategy and transformation. If you would like to discuss how a multi-channel strategy could be implemented into your current business model, get in touch.

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