Page 31 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2021
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                   November-December 2021 | | THE BOTTOM LINE
  Agricultural and organisational silos share a long history in Australia. Both evolved simultaneously last century, and each is now fighting for survival. However, only one is worth saving, writes Paul Allen.
You can’t polish a silo... Abut painting might work
USTRALIA’S biggest grain han- Typically, they are built around func- ABOVE: On the The fix is simple. You take a selec-
 dler, GrainCorp, has 170 fully tions that should in theory be working Art Silo Trail, tion of functional staff from sales,
operation silos and roughly together but are more likely compet- Rosebery, operations, logistics, planning and so
the same amount standing ing. Can you see them? Are they real? Victoria, on, and put them in a room for a day.
idle. These bland concrete Surely not? But ask your industry col- December 2020. You equip them with coffee, calcula- (Photo by René
structures are typically leagues. Question your largest clients Riegal on tors, whiteboards, and your largest
between 60-100 years old and about what it’s like inside their organ- Unsplash). client supply agreement – no paint were thought to have few alternative isations. They exist alright; if you’re or polish required. Their brief is to
 uses. That is, until the first official silo mural appeared in Western Australia in 2015, when Phlegm and HENSE painted one in Northam and ‘silo-art’ was born. Today there are some 50 painted silos, with the number likely to grow in 2022. Regional leaders say the murals do a lot for their towns, not just through tourism, but through a heightened sense of general wellbeing and local pride. It’s a story of hope.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for business silos. Australia has over 2.4 million active trading busi- nesses and experts believe that over 75 per cent are hindered in some material way by internal silos. Deconstruction has been attempted by countless HR and organisational design profes- sionals. Few have succeeded, so their presence remains, and no amount of paint or polish can hide them.
These business silos are com- plex and costly to the bottom line.
reading this, you’ve probably got them in your business as well.
So, what to do?
I offer one proven solution based on the irrefutable fact that the only function in an organisation with indi- vidual customer key performance indicators (KPIs) is the sales func- tion. This leads to a fragmentation of purpose and accountability between functions, and ultimately the estab- lishment of silos.
These business silos are complex and costly to the bottom line. Typically, they are built around functionsthatshouldin-theory be working together but are more likely competing.”
determine from the agreement the ten most essential clauses or obligations that should be known, adhered to, and reported on regularly, to improve com- mercial outcomes for customer and supplier alike. A further condition is that each staffer must take ownership for the ongoing performance of at least one of the 10 clauses. Thereafter, they report monthly as a team on the com- mercial outcomes.
The remarkable thing about this process is that the breaking down of silos within a business delivers not only improved margins, but just like in regional communities, a height- ened sense of unity, wellbeing and, ultimately, pride.
Paul Allen is managing director of Margin Partners and the author of Take Back Your Margin. Email: paul@

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