Risk Management – A Case Study of Alstom
Risk Management at ALSTOM. The advantages of rail projects involve cheap shipment transport costs, increased in the mobility of passengers, greater economic addition and the environmental advantages from condensed road traffic or develop and improved urban transportation. But for the railways projects financiers needs to consider and keep in mind the risks factors that they can face throughout their projects and on the basis of that knowledge they should take some steps and start an awareness programs for those who relate to this project. Risks awareness programs should include the awareness about the hazards and controlled risks along with the steps that can reduce and almost decrease the risks which can be beneficial for the workers and for the rail projects as well.
Why the risk management department / function is an important function for a company
In the newly established private sector of railway, requests for contracts to offer railway services and rolling stick entirely relies on rewards and risk. Though ALSTOM has a massive share of market and substantial experience in the in business, each contract it creates divergence according to the specification of train, provisions of financing and spares, maintenance of various agreements (Quinn, & Strategy, 2013).
This consequently puts more stress on managers to obtain carefully whether every tender is value the risk and what the linked incentives are probably to be. From the suppliers of about two years British Rail will go to identify a short period of warranty after taking the train delivery. It will then renovate and maintain the trains, in addition to offer transport and rail services, like ticketing for passengers, facilities for station and maintenance of railway infrastructure. Financers are avoiding the risks of UK extreme environment and not having the feeling of urgency of Risk Management (Adger, 2010). And there is a lack of importance among firms that are being affected by the extreme weather.
And there is a lack of importance among firms that are being affected by the extreme weather. First of all we need to find out those steps that can reduce above discussed risks so that the railways project can be completed (Quinn, & Strategy, 2013). Investor should realize the risks of extreme environment that can affect the project.
ALSTOM refused the opportunity of business development in the secondary market. As an outcome, manufacturers of train like ALSTOM depend entirely on big contracts for manufacturing trains and experience from either scarcity or gorge that is they were either snowed under with commands and instructions or had to deny as commands rejects. Train manufacturing was a start or stop business and therefore each command was dissimilar, there were no retained technology and high capital cost.
To manage risk, ALSOTM was really concerned about it risk management department. And in order to manage the risk ALSTOM found a serious and vital change in focus for manufacturing through moving from being merely a train manufacturer to a service provider. Late 1980s passenger transport were becoming more complicated system, integrating an increasing amount of equipment which are high value from suppliers which are specialist.
It was observed at ALSTOM that though these more complicated and sophisticated trains were a chance to increase and improve the product quality , the risk of late delivery and non-performance had raised. The main point was to incorporate the tasks of specialist suppliers so that those kind of risks can be easily managed (Reuter, Foerstl, Hartmann, & Blome, 2010).
Long Term cost risk for ALSTOM can be the major risk for the company. Now for a period of 20 years ALSTOM has a contract to supply their trains for the Northern Lines, it can no longer considers only of the manufacturing trains’ cost. As the company is not considering the long term cost of the company’s assets. So in ALSTOM ’s main interest is to maintain trains in immaculate circumstance and enhance and develop them throughout the lifetime of the company, if they continue this kind of attitude and apply risk management function this will lessen the cost of maintenance and generate more profits.
The project of Northern Line offered ALSTOM with major experience , not just in developing projects but also in capitalizing them. By taking the risk of asset for the scheme, ALSTOM unmitigated its rile as a train producer to act as a systematic stock firm. ALSTOM then went to the pecuniary markets to offer the capital for manufacturing the trains with capitalists who took the monetary risk for the project.
Assess how different departments/functions of a company such as ALSTOM can help the company manage its risks
The business strategy and the human resource management should be entirely incorporated so that they can effectively and efficiently play an active role within the risk management and its assessment. Whenever there is amalgamation activity, the Human Resource Department frequently has a huge responsibility to ensure that business operation transition go easily and smoothly. When firms amalgamate, some of the most important modification happens in treatment and in number of its workers. If in ALSTOM human resource department can successfully tackle with these significant matters, they can have massive effects on the success of the firm (Reuter, Foerstl, Hartmann, & Blome, 2010).
Major goal and role of ALSTOM is to establish and sustain trains until the end of era of franchise of Virgin. But the company is experiencing problem in maintain trains. The company is facing legal issues like accidents or suicides relating impostor, defect, and fire, electrical or mechanical failure caused by ALSTOM’s train or the company and especially workers’ strike which is due to the mismanagement of human resource, and it can cost a lot to ALSTOM.
The company hoped that they can carry on sustaining trains and can be able to manage their human resource after the franchise. Northern Line scheme’s financiers did not abridge risk whether it’s related to technicality or human resource mismanagement. Though the investors and the sponsors for the West Coast Main Line WCML project were signifying banks and other institutions of finance, are taking releasing risk, further than the date of primary franchise (Dimant, Lindner, Liu, Ruiz, & Tejpal, 2011). Till 2012, investors and sponsors have assured income flow from this project. But the risk comes after the year 2012, and the question raised that will the revenue generated for rest of the life of the advantages is enough to fund the financial make-up and produce a profit on the speculation of latest trains?
It is the sponsors and investors who having created the train manufacturing possible, who take the acclaim risk of supplying trains for the Virgin franchise (Narasimhan, & Talluri, 2009). Due to systematic finance management of ALSTOM the company was able to generate profit on the speculation of latest trains. But the major types of risks that must be consider by ALSTOM are strategic risk, for instance a competitor will going to pose serious threat on the business, compliance risk for instance the introduction of new safety and health rules and regulations, financial risk for instance increased interest rates or non-payment by customers charges on business credit, last is operational risks for instance theft or breakdown of main instrument.
How risks for a business such as Alstom are assessed
Assessment of risk is not about developing a massive amount of paperwork, but rather about recognizing appropriate measures to manage and control risks in the organization. Organizations like ALSTOM is already taking serious steps to guard its business operations and employees, but the company cannot deny the importance of risk management because it will aid ALSTOM to determine whether the company have covered all it requires to (Burstein, Sohal, Zyngier, & Sohal, 2010).
Think about how ill health and accidents could occur and focus on the actual risks, those that are most probably and will cause the most damage. For several risks, other rules need specific control actions. The risk assessment can facilitate ALSTOM to recognize where they require at assured and definite risk and these specific control measures in more specification. These control actions do not have to be examining separately but can be measured as an expansion of overall risk assessment.
Analysis of railway safety is very complex topic in ALSTOM where safety is indomitable by various elements including error of human. Many assessment of railway safety method currently employed are relatively mature instruments. In many situations the executions of those tools might not give suitable and adequate results because of the lack of safety risk information or the high level of vagueness and ambiguity present in the available safety risk data.
For many businesses, particularly ALSTOM, simple five step approach including all elements of risk would work efficiently (Narasimhan, & Talluri, 2009).
At ALSTOM looking for those factors at workplace that have the possibility to cause any kind of harm, and identifying employees who may be exposed to the dangers.
Evaluating and Prioritizing Risks
Evaluating the probability and the severity of the potential harm and the existing risks and prioritize them according to their classification of significance (Van Detta, 2013).
Deciding on Preventive Action
Identifying the suitable actions to control or eliminate the risks.
With the help of prioritization plan implementation of protective and preventive measures to eliminate the risk factors
Monitoring and Evaluation
The evaluation should be monitored at regular gaps to make sure that it stays up to date.
Evaluate approaches to managing risk
In business Enterprise risk management contains the procedures and the methods employed by the organization to manage and control risk and confiscate opportunities regarding to the attainment of their goals and objectives. It provides a framework for risk management, which naturally engross recognizing specific conditions or events related to the opportunities and risks of the organization, evaluating them in terms of magnitude and likelihood of impact, considering a strategy of response and progress observation (Wallin, Larsson, Isaksson, & Larsson, 2011).
COSO considers this ERM, incorporated framework fill up this requirement, and suppose it will become broadly adapted by the firms and other companies and meant all interested parties and stake holders. ERM’s incorporated framework extends on inner control, giving a more serious and widespread focus on the broader focus o ERM.
As it is not meant to and does not restore the inner control framework, but rather integrate the inner control framework within it, organizations might determine to look to this ERM framework both to satisfy their inner control requires and to move toward a risk management procedure.
It is meant to aid promote new dialogue between senior executives and boards as they associate to more fully extend their resiliency of organization to risk and abilities of management to recognize opportunities to take appropriate risks for strategic and competitive benefits (Wallin, Larsson, Isaksson, & Larsson, 2011).
As organization struggle to establish ERM procedure into models of more mature business operation, management and will require being tolerant. ERM should be observed as a long-term cultural modification as immediate achievement is exceptional. Unfortunately, no off the shelf explanations for firms looking to commence an effective and efficient enterprise, broad approach to risk management and lapse.
Analyze what causes various risks for Alstom transport
The P&O Nedlloyd Southampton encountered very rough climate in the Western advances to the English Channel. There was no proof that the transformer moved in stow on both ship but on entrance at the construction site of the power station at purpose, the transformer was found harmed to the degree of over 2 pound per meter (Reuter, Foerstl, Hartmann, & Blome, 2010). It had to be revisit to works of ASTLOM for repairs. ASTLOM was agreed that the harm to the transformer had been due to some strange and extraordinary event in the transit’s course and made a declaration under their insurance doctrine, which was entirely on the terms of all risks.
The insurers then believed that the harm to transformer resulted from the intrinsic incapability of the transformer to endure and survive and the common incidents of carriage by sea from United Kingdom to Malaysia throughout the cold seasons. They hence rejected the claim on the basis that the harm was caused by the intrinsic vice and then carried these proceedings looking for a statement that they were not accountable to cover ALSTOM under the doctrine.
The judge identifies that it was the general basis among the parties that directs the reasons for the harm to the transformer was the aggressive movement of the craft, specifically the Eliane Trader, due to the wind and sea actions. The action of wind and wavers obviously were a predictable incident of any journey and is therefore a danger to which all goods passed through sea are significantly exposed (Reuter, Foerstl, Hartmann, & Blome, 2010). Goods caring for shipment should therefore be able of enduring the forces that they can normally be normal to meet in the course of the journey and these might differ highly relying on the time and route.
According to the ASTLOM the employment of non-ASTLOM parts and sections without thorough design of industry and standards of safety, had caused in the sequence of failures in paths exchange machines, an unusual kind of structure and had resulted in the operational issues, together with a derailment of freight cars. ALSTOM warned against the integrated elements across all control system of trains.
Changes in government policies are also effecting the operations of the company. Increase in tax rates, duties on custom, import exports pricing policies are posing threats on the speed of business operations.
Risk Assessment Template
|Non-ALSTOM Tools||The particular risks linked with employing non-ALSTOM instrument are that it would need increasing the power level of device||
|This is the high risk that can increase the probability for a single breakdown that could not save the system from noticing the trains on the track, which can cause accidents.||The risk is high because it is harmful for the system, and it can cause severe accidents in present and future as well.|
|Safety of Railways||In ALSTOM safety is indomitable by various elements including error of human.||
|In many situations the executions of these tools might not give suitable and adequate results because of the lack of safety risk information or the high level of vagueness and ambiguity present in the available safety risk data.||Again the severity is high because of human error and this can cost to the company a lot in future.|
Identification and Assessment of the impact of risks: At ALSTOM looking for those factors at workplace that have the possibility to cause any kind of harm, and identifying employees who may be exposed to the dangers. It is very necessary to assess the impact of risk through evaluating the probability and the severity of the potential harm and the existing risks and prioritize them according to their classification of significance.
The Seriousness or Severity of the Risks: In October 2006 ALSTOM employee gave a verbal warning to another engineer of metro regarding the risks of combining instruments from various producers during a discussion. Illenberg said the particular risks linked with employing non-ALSTOM instrument are that it would need increasing the power level of device(Zavadskas, Turskis, & Tamošaitiene, 2010). This is the high risk that can increase the probability for a single breakdown that could not save the system from noticing the trains on the track, which can cause accidents.
Analyse the actions or strategies that Alstom can implement to manage the risks you have identified
All of the above risks can be controlled and managed. Well if talk about technical risks ALSTOM requires to consider few points that can develop the standards of technicality that can be very beneficial for the projects of railways, first of all the company should consider the importance of training its employees technically and conduct some sessions related to training sessions so that they can be able to technically equipped and skilled, and can be able to operate and construct the functions of the railway with the advanced and latest technologies (Zavadskas, Turskis, & Tamošaitiene, 2010). And for managing the economical and financial issues they require to have appropriate departments that can control, manage and reduce the economic and financial risks elements.
Analyse to what extent Alstom Transport, and other business, are vulnerable to major crisis
Due to extreme weather of UK, the temperatures become intolerable particularly in winters. But financiers are avoiding the risks of UK’s extreme environment and not having the feeling of urgency of Risk Management. And there is a lack of importance among firms that are being affected by the extreme weather. In the storm the winds most usually are strongest; even though they can arise at any time of year it can effects the projects which are underdeveloped and undersized. Other modes of transport are poorly effected by the UK’s extreme weather, it’s possibly the weather will be estimated extremely severe (Arena, Arnaboldi, & Azzone, 2010). The severe situations also stated that firms are going to consider extra claims in extraordinary situations.
Last but not the least heavy rain risks may affect the project. In winter there is a heavy rain in UK it all rely on the extent of rain that may be fail. Heavy rain can be the bigger hindrance in the completion of these rail projects. It becomes important for the financiers to take serious measures to handle these kinds of situations as all these factors are uncontrollable but we need to take those steps that can reduce the risks.
Control Risks involves technical, economic and financial, accidents, political and legal risks. All these factors can affect the railways project. While running the railway system technical standard are continuously coming across some problems. This might affect the railways projects. The distance need for the bridges cause more conflicts (Arena, Arnaboldi, & Azzone, 2010). Train accidents are increasing day by day due to miscommunication. The economic case for the ALSTOM railway comes out to be found on a supposition that there will be free movement of goods and people throughout the council area. The economic underpinnings for the line depend on continued economic growth and more trade between ALSTOM member states.
Critically evaluate in detail the approaches that Alstom Transport can use for crisis management and business continuity planning
First of all we need to find out those steps that can reduce above discussed risks so that the railways project can be completed. Investor should realize the risks of extreme environment that can affect the project. They should keep the gap between the railway tracks because in summers the tracks expand if there will be no proper gap between the tracks the train will be damage. Storms can increase the risks accidents (Renn, Klinke, & van Asselt, 2011). Because of storm and heavy snow fall the snow will cover the railway tracks and it will become difficult to drive over those tracks to avoid this kind of situation it is necessary to have air pumps in front of the train to blow the snow. Due to heavy rain in UK especially in winter season the aim to complete the project can be delayed. To handle this kind of situation there should have proper drainage system and canal system so that heavy rain cannot affect the ALSTOM railway project.
Control risks can be handling easily with having any kind of problem. Well if we will talk about technical risk we need to consider few steps that can increase the technical standards that can be beneficial for the railways project, first we should consider the urgency of training the workers technically and arrange some training sessions so that they can be technically skilled and equipped, and can be able to construct and operate the railway function with advance technologies. There are many rail projects which are on the ongoing stage and needs more financial investments to run the project smoothly. And for managing the financial and economical problems they need to have proper departments that can manage, reduces and control the financial and economic risks factors (Renn, Klinke, & van Asselt, 2011). Due to miscommunication lot of rail accidents have been occur to avoid this kind of problem they need to proper guide and train their workers how to communicate so that in future the risks of accidents can be reduce and almost vanished. Last is political and legal risk, for moving goods and passengers from railway is considering being free in future all over the council area but this needs a joint practices system for all states members to allow agree on a solitary point of entrance into the UK and have a similar tariff for the imported products.
Importance of Risk Management
Poor or lack of appropriate risk management strategies greatly affects the viability of any investment undertaken by anyone be it the government, a company or an individual business entity. In every investment that anyone undertakes, he or she must consider the issue of risk. Starting a business investment is taking a risk in itself. Time is what will tell if an investment will be successful or not. The future is uncertain and difficult to predict, due to this unavoidable fact, anyone starting a business venture has to come up with ways to mitigate risks involved in the business venture at hand.
Risk management can be defined as the process of identifying, analyzing and mitigating the uncertain state of any investment during the process of making decisions. Risk management comes to play whenever an investor tries to quantify the possibility or the potential for losses in an investment and then takes the necessary actions depending on his/her objectives in the investment and the nature of their investment’s risk tolerance potential (Satyajit, 36).
Poor risk management practices can cause severe consequences to any business entity be it a company or an individual business. A good example is the recession that began in 2008 which was caused by financial firms adopting loose credit risk management strategies. An investment without the consideration of risk management is like a vehicle travelling to no destination.
In my research of business risks and how to manage them, I came up with the different sources of business risks. A company cannot eliminate risk completely, but it can manage risk successfully. When it comes to financial issues, the management of a company has to make difficult decisions and choices pertaining the acceptable risk levels. If the risks are not acceptable and may yield losses then the management rules out the venture, but if the risk is acceptable and may yield high returns afterwards, they choose to undertake the venture at hand.
Successful risk management practice is based on the maintenance of a good balance between risks and rewards and ascertaining potential profits against potential threats in the operational stability of a business. Every company that operates any business venture must inevitably assume a certain level of risk so as to generate profits that will satisfy its stakeholders. Any business undertaking comes with some risks, the risks are diverse ranging from financial risks, risks from the market place and employee related risks (Satyajit, 56).
Risk management involves being aware of the potential risk and having an alternative plan to help deal with any problem that may arise in the course of an investment. A fitting illustration of this is when the management of a company realizes that the funds allocated to the company for a certain project will not be enough to complete the project. An appropriate risk management for the company will be having a backup financial plan that would fund the project and see its completion if the primary source of funding for the company is not willing to offer it additional credit.
The primary source of risk for a company is the market place that it operates in. It is very difficult to control the risks involved in the market and the best way to manage them is to directly deal with them in the best way possible. Among the major risks in the market is that the demand or preference of consumers may change over time, which would mean that the demand for a company’s product may decrease. Another risk can emerge when a competitor introduces a new product in the market that may be more desirable to the consumers than that of the company, or it may offer a competing product at a relatively low price and lure all the customers to consume its product. This poses to be a real danger to a company’s sales and it may adversely affect the operating profit of a company in a negative way.
Most risks in businesses emanate from financing and cash flow sectors. A company may fall short of finances when operating an expansion project or its customers may delay in paying their invoices in time creating delays which may disrupt the cash flow of a company. Also, the suppliers of a company may fail to supply or they may raise their prices all of a sudden with no prior notice creating cash flow problems to a company (Satyajit, 69).
Another major source of business risk is employee relations. Problems associated with labor pose a great impact to the production capabilities of a company. There are some personnel in the company that it cannot afford to lose and so it may incur increased wage costs so as to retain them. A company’s performance and profitability can dwindle due to the loss of important and essential personnel. This may happen when, for example, a key product designer moves to another competitive firm for a better pay.
A company may also have expanded its operations geographically to other countries; this means that it does business at international levels. Due to this, the company faces a variety of risks which include the risks of political problems. If a foreign country is politically unstable, it may bring a company’s operations to a standstill. Also, there may be changes in tariffs and the import/export laws may change thus affecting the company’s sales. The fluctuation of currency exchange rates may also pose a great risk to a company’s operations internationally.
The above mentioned risk sources affect every business entity and any investment that does not take into account the possibility of risk is suicidal. Poor risk management strategies have seen to the closure and collapse of many investments in the world. Just but to mention a few, about everyone knows about Hurricane Katrina and the destruction it brought to America. The government invests in protecting its citizens but in the case of the hurricane, poor risk management had been undertaken beforehand. Due to that, the hurricane caused unfathomable damage of property and loss of lives than anyone could comprehend. This were the results of poor risk management (Crouhy, 41). This is a catastrophic example of what poor risk management can cause.
Another good example of poor risk management strategy can be explained by Yahoo. It was the first company to offer mailing services to people using the internet in the world, due to this; it was charging people for the services it offered but not until the emergence of Google its greatest competitor. Google offered similar services but for free and so it attracted more customers than Yahoo. Yahoo did not see the risk of a competitor emerging and taking over its market share. Google is now the most used search engine in the world.
Knight Capital is another good example of a company that failed in its execution of a systematic risk management strategy in its undertaking. The company switched to a new software that it had not fully tested and entrusted all its undertaking to it without ascertaining the risks that may be involved. Upon putting its new software to the job, the company had recorded numerous erroneous trades in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Even though the company immediately ceased its business transactions after realizing the problem, it had already committed itself to transactions worth billions of dollars. This resulted to an immediate pre-tax loss of more than 440 million US dollars. This financial company rushed for profits at the expense of risk management. If a financial company is pushing up technology and keeping its workforce on toes to extract the smallest value that is on offer in the ever competitive market, it should also make sure that its risk management systems keeps up with the same pace.
All companies in one way or another have faced risks and it all depends on how good their risk management skills are so as to pull trough. The following are the most common examples of risk management techniques that businesses employ so as to maneuver their way through risks.
Avoidance of risk- the easiest way that a business can manage risk is by avoiding it. This simply takes place when a business refuses to engage in any activity that it may perceive to carry any kind of risk. A good example of this is when a hospital avoids carrying out a procedure that involves a high degree of risk to the patient’s life. This method is simple in managing threats to a business entity but it also lowers the revenue potential of the business (Crouhy, 50).
Risk mitigation- some risks that businesses face is unavoidable and the only way to manage them is by trying to reduce their impact to the business. Risk mitigation is meant to lessen the negative consequence of a known risk to a business.
Transfer of risk- sometimes a business may choose to transfer risk away from itself. It does so by paying premiums to an insurance company in exchange for protection against any substantial loss. For example, a business may insure itself against fire so that in the event of any accidental fire that may cause financial loss, the insurance company will compensate it.
Risk acceptance- this is another way of managing risk in a business entity. A company may choose to accept a certain level of risk that may be brought about by a specific project if the expected profit is far much greater than the risk involved (Hopkin, 73).
I believe that risk management will become part of the management process of organizations in future. If the process of risk management had been put in place over the past two decades, a number of risks could not have taken place and more others could have been mitigated.
In the modern world, companies are beginning to see the advantages of protecting themselves against all types of potential risk exposures. By understanding risks, how severe and frequent they are; a company can now turn to viable solutions (Hopkin, 63).
From the research findings, it can be proven that poor or lack of appropriate risk management strategies greatly affects the viability of any kind of investment undertaken by anyone, be it the government, a company or an individual business entity. It is clearly evident that starting an investment without a clear plan on how to manage the risks involved will guarantee a very high chance of failure for the investment in question.
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