Champions of Change

A bull market for syndicated bank loans lets lenders transfer risk.
Ian Springsteel and Russ BanhamDecember 1, 1997

Nobody knows that better than the winners of the 1997 REACH Awards for financial reengineering, cosponsored by CFO magazine and MasterCard Corporate Products.

  • Case Corp. was a three-time finalist in last year’s competition; this year it’s a two-time winner, for internal audit operations and accounting processing.
  • Pepsi-Cola North America won for purchasing in 1995; this year it’s back in the winner’s circle, for vendor processing.
  • TNT Express Worldwide, a finalist in 1995 for billing and in 1996 for treasury, placed first in 1997 for tax operations.(This category and customer processing were underwritten by Andersen Consulting.)
  • Electronic Data Systems Corp., winner of three previous awards, added three more to its collection–customer processing, employee processing, and the REACH Award for overall excellence.
  • Only Dell Computer Corp., winner for treasury operations, is a newcomer to the competition.

But companies don’t reengineer to win awards. They do it to change for the better. They reengineer to make themselves better businesses, better customers and suppliers, better workplaces. They reengineer because, in a growing economy with less than 5 percent unemployment, they need to help their workers become as efficient and value-adding as possible.

The 1997 REACH Award winners are champions of change. Common to their accomplishments is a successful transition from functional silos to cross-functional processes, a transition reflected in the award categories. Thus, for example, vendor processing has replaced purchasing and accounts payable, and customer processing has replaced billing and accounts receivable.

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Don’t look for these companies–or any of the many other worthy entrants in the REACH competition–to quit while they’re ahead. They know well the value of perseverance. And they also know that success, as Dell CFO Tom Meredith likes to say, is never final.