Every organization obligates its people to understand comprehensively the risks it experiences. This allows the management to reach informed decisions on how to develop required capabilities to manage the risk. However, the current risk management approaches reveal a tendency to emphasize on the threats and technology risks rather than identify with the opportunities. This generates limited applicability of identifying organizational features to resolve strategic risks other than technical risks, while extending to capture emerging opportunities (Pons, 2010). With the corporate environment witnessing increasing uncertainty since the 2008 financial crisis, manufacturing organizations require effective management of risks. This will enable organizations such as JCB, operating in production of construction equipment, to seize emerging opportunities besides arresting the enterprise risks that appears growing broader without respite.
Major Risks Facing JCB
1. Systematic Risks Attributed to Economic Events
JCB serves a sector where the overall demand for its construction equipment depends upon the prevailing economic events. Given the market share served by JCB, it leaves its operations susceptible to global events, such as the heightened industrialization undergoing in the developing countries, especially through the sponsorship of the Western and wealthy Eastern nations such as China and Japan, thus disrupting its production and delivery schedules (Shenkir & Walker, 2007). JCB experiences this owing to the fact that a significant portion of its sales revenue emerge from its overseas sales that has tripled from £814 420 in 2004 to attain the £2317 400 by 2012 (JCB, 2013). However, the emergence of liquidity crunches and stringent regulatory roadblocks results in slowdowns in the infrastructural development. This arises as most governments aim to control the money supply in the economy (Sepp & Frear, 2011). As a result, most customers avoid high spending in infrastructure. This hurts JCB growth plans in the Asian market, given that the region is yet to witness full recovery from the Asian and global financial crises. Although the company recorded a profitable period during the 2008 financial crisis, recurrence of such economic events would create a severe impact in its market for construction equipment.
JCB’s story of consistent success shows its superb ability to identify with the prevailing trends in the global and domestic markets (Waller, 2013). Although it has overcome its share of challenges through its organic growth approach, JCB may become a casualty of increased meltdown in construction and property markets. This poses tough times for the company through rapid decline in the demand of its products in the developed markets comprising the US and the Euro-zone (Mayle, 2013). Equally, the sharp slowdown affecting the manufacturing sector in India warns of disappointing results in its largest market by volume (Singh, 2001). Currently, the joint venture between Hitachi of Japan and Tata Motors from India operating under Telco Construction Equipment Company has dominated the Indian excavating segment resulting to continued market problems for JCB.
The exposure arising in Asia would derail its profitability through the uncertainty in the business environment with pressure building up on reversal of foreign investment policies to the incoming government. This may affect its backhoe loaders in a country where it controls more than 70% share. Although JCB would retain its market share in India, its growing overreliance in this market suggests possible decline of its volume (Powley, 2013).
2. Declining Manufacturing in the UK
Unlike the growth recorded for its overseas sales, JCB reports wobbling sales revenue from its UK sales (Marsh, 2009). The manufacturing operations in the UK suffer from the fragmented policy framework in the country, thus denying the organization long-term resilience in its value chain. The decline of local components of its backhoe loader from a high of 97% in 1979 falling to 36% reflects the looming challenge to affect JCB in future (Credit Suisse AG, 2014).
The unavailability of manufacturing components in the UK emerges from the uncertainty characterising the manufacturing sector owing to insufficient operation framework facing traditional manufacturers (Atkinson, 2014). The prevailing trend in the UK’s manufacturing sector implies, JCB value chains will encounter disruptions affecting its closed loop production processes (Roberts, 2003). This will halt its policy of preferring internal growth driven by innovation and building entirely in the UK (Adewole, 2002).
3. Increasing Competition in the Market
After years of chasing the Japan’s Komatsu and the Caterpillar from US, JCB takes the third amongst manufacturers of excavation equipment (Mayle, 2013). JCB India is a vital part of the larger JCB group that allows continued investment in India translating into more success. However, its success in the third largest Asian economy falls when other entrants like Mahindra & Mahindra enter the field. The attraction of older partnerships between CNH Global and L&T from Dutch and India respectively suggests that JCB should watch out for an aggressive market competition.
The future of India looks perfect for competition as more players expand their portfolio into the construction equipment industry (Singh, 2001). Firstly, Kolkata-based Tractors India Private Limited (TIL) is channelling vast resources to expand its portfolio among them distribution of Caterpillar products in the northern and eastern region through its distribution network of 80-odd outlets (Caterpillar Inc, 2014). Attempts by TIL through sewn collaborations with Mistui and Astec shows its readiness to compete in the mining sector as it opens up (Mazumder, 2011). Secondly, the joint venture between Hitachi of Japan and Tata Motors from India controls the excavator segment through the Telco Construction Equipment Company (Tata Sons Ltd, 2014), while Caterpillar remains a frontrunner in wheel loaders, therefore well placed to assume early mover advantages as the Indian mining sector opens up (Thomas, 2011).
4. Government Policy Risks
Irrespective of how promising a business opportunity might seem, there are very many direct and indirect business factors that must be considered before venture. Some are easy to manoeuvre but some are relatively hard. With respect to JCB, government policies of the various countries it aspires to extend its operations always bear this aspect of risk; the government policy risks, which are basically based in political backgrounds. Apparently, while JCB would like to engage in multi-national operations wherever an opportunity arises, it is faced by government policy risks that it must cope or deal with. For example, India stands out as one of today’s most promising economies in the world with its per capita income boasting a good global rank (Kunnanatt, 2013). However, this country sets very high and strict barriers to direct export trade. More so, the government in this country also requires foreign investors to establish joint ventures with domestic companies (Marsh, 2006). Since India stands out as the best external market for JCB’s products, the presence of such government policies pose as an operational risk, especially one that would pull down the effectiveness of JCB’s performance even when financially stable.
5. Technological Risks
Risk forms an integral part of every operating business entity. However, some risks are more dominant than others. Every time JCB launches a new product or acquires a new asset, a probability for a new risk is created. In light of this, many businesses, especially multi-nationals such as JCB have to consider risk as a part of their day to day compliance and governance processes, since risk becomes a backroom activity which limits the day to day business operations. Technological risk in the case of JCB stands out as the most prevalent. This is due to the rapid changes brought about especially by globalization and continuous technological advancement (Kunnanatt, 2013). Basically, the technological risk arises as a matter of the new products and technologies launched by JCB, more competition, shorter product life cycles, as well as the limited time JCB has to react to any resulting challenges and threats.
Strategies to Counter the Risks Facing JCB
1. Strategy to Counter the Risks Attributed to Economic Events
Notably, the current product portfolio for JCB incorporates huge machines whose efficiency can only be achieved and fully incorporated only while used for large-scale production purposes. To counter this risk, it is advisable for JCB to indulge in the production of various other small household products; now the opportunity. This refers to smaller machines and equipments such as generators, lawn mowers and other household electrical appliances. Consequently, at the national level, the marketing of its new products will not face many challenges. More so, the marketing of the new household products will be easier since the stockists of the bigger machines will still be used as the stockists and distributors of the smaller household equipments and appliances. The second reason why this strategy should be applied is the fact that while the economic downturn may greatly affect the aggregate national economy thus reducing the expenditure by the governments or huge agencies or organisations, it does not have the same implications in individual households, whereby many are in a position to economically exercise their freedom and this is why JCB should implement this strategy.
2. Strategy to Counter the Declining Manufacturing in the UK
The main threat highlighted by this risk for JCB is the fact that the manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom is on a downward journey (Atkinson, 2014). For a product such as a the famous backhoe loader to be complete, there are various components that JCB outsources from auxiliary manufactures such as the lighting system components, the wheels, the dashboard fittings among other smaller components (Mechanik S.C, 2014); the decline in the manufacture of these complementary parts posses as a risk for JCB. This risk creates a good expansion opportunity for JCB though. In light of this, JCB should unveil a strategy aimed at filling the gap being created from the arising decline in the manufacturing in the United Kingdom. However, it is mostly the smaller manufacturers of components used by the larger players that are declining their manufacturing endeavours (Atkinson, 2014). This means that this problem not only faces JCB but also other bigger players that depend on the components from the smaller manufacturers. The strategy to fill this gap will help JCB to not only manufacture the necessary components for itself at a relatively cheaper cost but also to produce in surplus and sell to other bigger firms facing the same problem, consequently creating a new source of revenue for the organisation.
3. Strategy to counter the Increasing Competition in the Market
The presence of other big international players in this industry competing for the same customers, such as Komatsu from Japan and Caterpillar from the US pose a notable risk to JCB. However, none of the producers of this huge construction machinery has a factory based in Africa. It is a bare fact that Africa stands out as the next huge destination for physical development since most African countries are now in the pursuit of upgrading from underdeveloped to developing countries.
Consequently, JCB should move ahead and establish the first ever factory producing directly from an African country best fitting the production processes. Establishing production factories for its products in new frontiers brings with it new actual and prospective customers. Establishing a production factory there will also create a sense of belonging since it will be viewed more as a local company than a multinational. This is specifically true across all the places where new factories will be started. This sense of belonging will automatically see its market share rise.
4. Strategy to Counter Government Policy Risk
Government policy and political risks pose considerable concern for business entities across the wider business operation frontier. Although it is hard to predict and accurately determine the extent of the risks due to government policies, there are ways possible to ensure that at least most of the effects of such risks are levelled down. As it stands out to be, this these kind of risks mainly befall companies like JCB in their endeavours for international expansion. In light of this, the most suitable means of levelling down this type of risks is through keen observance of a three stage strategy that incorporates identification, measurement and management of risk (Beardshaw et al., 2012). To start with, the management of JCB should research and identify any underlying government policies as far as investing in a certain foreign nation is concerned. This will help especially in telling between the perceived and the real government policy risks. Next is the measurement of the identified risks. JCB should then analyze and evaluate each of the specific risk scenarios in the pursuit of quantifying the impact of each. Finally, following sure identification and accurate measurement of all the underlying policy risks, JCB should come up with an effective system suitable for overcoming the real policy risk if the economical opportunities in any identified foreign market are so compelling for business venture.
5. Strategy to Counter Technological Risks
The best practice any active business has applied in response to control of increased technological risk is laying out clear strategies suitable under the circumstances. This is calls for incorporating the identifiable risk factor into any investment for a new technology. Starting from the year 1984, JCB established a division dealing with insurance services (JCB, 2013). Essentially, JCB Insurance Services is a subsidiary that is fully owned by JCB with the intentions of providing insurance needs for the customers who purchase equipment from this company. However, to counter the technological risks facing the company, the insurance service portfolio should be expanded so as to cover even its own technological risks. The rationale behind this move is the fact that the technological risks are increasing as time goes, and the insurance subsidiary has expanded since its inception in 1984, making it possible for JCB to auto-insure.
Articulation of Risk Appetite
The need for risk management has globally gained attention as a result of the volatility of the industrial markets especially as characterised in the current world. There is however notable advancement in computational capacities that have helped in enabling the running of complex models which bear significant ability in the pursuit of assisting on risk management.
Proper definition of a risk appetite is necessary since it allows the board and the management to specifically define the different levels and types of risks that a company such as JCB should be willing to absorb in terms of both quality and quantity, and thus proceed to strike a balance between the organisation’s risks and the prevailing opportunities (Besner & Hobbs, 2012). More so, risk appetite is capable of playing a key role in the maximization of revenue as well as in enhancing capital efficiency, in terms of risk based allocation of precious resources (Smart & Creelman, 2013). In light of this, a properly articulated and implemented risk appetite should be founded at the heart of effective enterprise risk management in the administration of all companies, including JCB.
What is Risk Appetite?
Literally, risk appetite refers to the organisation’s hunger for opportunities (Breeden, 2012). According to COSO’s ERM framework, risk appetite refers to the amount of risk that an entity sacrifices to accept in the pursuit of attaining a given value (Gokte, 2013). Arguably, the most befitting definition comes from the ISO 31000 which sets out risk appetite as the type and amount of risk that an organisation finds economically comfortable to take, pursue or retain (Gokte, 2013). Basically, risk appetite stands out as a top-down hierarchical view of the types of risk faced by a specific company and the optimal number of risks the company can absorb in the pursuit of accomplishing its objectives (Wyman, 2014).
Risk appetite can also be graphically expressed in terms of the frontier of risk return curves, where each curve bears a different return but share a similar volatility. In light of this, it is possible to experience a family of curves bearing certain risk appetite boundaries. This is a useful approach that helps the management to maximize shareholders’ return even with a little known level of appetite (Fraser & Simkins, 2009). As aforementioned, some past years failures imply that if the amount of risks taken exceeds the risk appetite, while it is only possible to prevent risks if the appetite is exemplary set and monitored. Notably, while setting the risk appetite, precautions should be taken to that not only the downside of risk but also the upside is considered (Tessier, 2012). The rationale behind this expectation is based upon the fact that considering risk appetite as an efficient risk frontier for the organization helps in mapping out both the downside and the upside risks, thereby developing a robust and more realistic view of the possible attributes of the specific organisation’s risk appetite.
Determining Risk Appetite
Every management board is expected to set the basic goals for their organisation’s strategy as well as ensure that they are within the agreed level of risk appetite (Green, 2010). Each organisation bears multiple strategic goals that require balancing and resource constraint prioritization. Since all the goals have some associated uncertainties, risk a thus stands out as a strategy formation input as well as a tool for managing and monitoring the outstanding uncertainties.
Risk appetite should thus be determined as a hierarchical representation of risk boundaries through organisational levels. For every business organisation, each of these boundaries is articulated in either qualitative or quantitative risk appetite statements (Liebesman, 2008). The resulting risk appetite should thus be cascaded downwards towards business units, business functions, and lastly to the processes that monitor the risk limits and mechanisms. It is possible to implement this in a top-bottom or in a bottom-top approach (Young & Coleman, 2009). Under the top-bottom approach, the leading risks, aims, strategies and other important factors are analysed, then the risk appetite is developed after which it is cascaded downwards. On the other hand, under the bottom-top approach, granular risks are aggregated through various levels, after which a framework that extends to the top is formed. The top-bottom is advantageous with respect to its ability embrace more strategic focus and stakeholders’ view that are not strongly highlighted in the bottom-top approach. However, the bottom-top approach takes consideration of all risks, which facilitates better buy-in from the specific risk owners. It however calls for the need to enhance its maturity as far as managing risk management is concerned.
Risk Appetite and Risk Management
Risk appetite should always be monitored and controlled in a way that it is aligned with the organisation’s risk management process and must at all times be supportive towards the company’s decision making strategies (Hillson & Murray-Webster, 2012). Basically, for the purpose of a clear articulation of risk appetite, every organisation requires to incorporate a substantial level of maturity within its risk management processes and practices. It is essential for an organisation to identify and understand its top-bottom risks, as well as do proper assessment of the bottom-top risks as well (Young & Coleman, 2009). Once the risk appetite is set for a given organisation, the risk management team draws guidance especially about the boundaries within which to operate so as to uphold the risk appetite provisions (Gokte, 2013).
In short, risk appetite plays a very important role towards the support and realization of an organisation’s strategy and key objectives (Ernst & Young Global Limited, 2014). The organisation culture under which JCB’s management operates exhibits this fact. This is basically featured under intense marketing of JCB’s products. The management has over the years pushed the presence of JCB products to already mature products like the US and Europe. More so, it has done more marketing even in such countries as China, India and Brazil where despite the presence of big populations, the infrastructural maturity is yet to be achieved. In short, JCB’s management maintains that each customer from any country is a viable entrepreneur suitable for the company’s growth. This explains why the risk appetite of this company stands at that relatively high level.
However, this adverse marketing has in some instances caused failed as in the case in Israel. In the year 2012, there were strong protests against the introduction of JCB toys in Israel from concerned citizens. As it surfaced, the protests were fuelled by the fact that many of the houses that had been demolished in Jerusalem in the light of industrialization, JCB machines were used. As a result, instead of positive yields, the marketing through the toys was met with negative reception (Nieuwhof, 2012). In India, the long-term prospect of the construction and earthmoving equipment industry is strong. However, due to the current economic slowdown, the effect on aspects such as project execution, environmental clearances, land acquisition and monitoring have all seen a notable decline in the demand for JCB equipments (Rajaram, 2013). In light of the above, risk appetite can be articulated by evaluating the operation of the business, specifically identifying both the lower and the upper limits of risk, thereby deciding the band through which the risks should reside (Gokte, 2013). The articulation of risk appetite provides a means through which to put acceptance boundaries, around decision making, strategy formulation and the daily operations involving the provision of guidance about what is acceptable in the organisation and what is not.
Risk Appetite Displayed by JCB
JCB displays various aspects of risk appetite in its day to day business survival operations. To start with, even with market for construction and building equipment being open to numerous systematic factors of risk, the company still yearns and works all ways out to ensure that it garners a good share of this market both in the developed and in the developing markets (JCB, 2013).
On the other hand, the operation of JCB especially with reference to the production of the equipments and machines in the United Kingdom is faced by a number of difficulties at the present. The most prevalent one at the moment is the decline of manufacturers for the necessary components needed by JCB (Atkinson, 2014). The lack of such components within the United Kingdom means that the company has to outsource them through importation (Mechanik S.C, 2014). This brings the risk of a higher cost of production, which in turn causes a ripple effect of increased price and resultant reduction in sales. However, JCB clearly shows its risk appetite by moving ahead to import the necessary components from across several European and Asian countries in the pursuit of maintaining a steady production level despite such challenges, without worrying much on the increased production cost since it has not yet become unmanageable.
JCB is globally placed at number three with respect to the manufacturers of building, construction and excavation equipments. Its backhoe is specifically so famous that most people call it the JCB (ProQuest, 2002). However, despite the fact that JCB comes third, it still has plans of getting significant market share even in the United States. In light of this, JCB invested over 40 million pounds by establishing a company in Georgia, United States, being quite aware that the United States is home of Caterpillar, the globally leading company in the industrial sectors in which JCB operates. This action is a risk to its investment strategy but due to its heightened risk appetite, JCB carried on with the implementation of the investment project in Georgia and it eventually turned out profitable.
As aforementioned, the manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom is faced by a significant decline that really affects the operation of big companies like JCB (Atkinson, 2014). However, even with this being the case, in 2005, JCB continued with its plans of building a new factory in Staffordshire, United Kingdom, investing over 20 million pounds in that project (UK Export Finance, 2014). Although the situation of the manufacturers of components was still poor and the new factory had to import too, JCB opted to operate under that risk citing that the returns from the growing demand for its products would help in crossing out any financial shortcoming that would result from the undertaking. This action also stipulates the extent at which JCB stretches out its risk appetite.
In short, the growth and development of JCB over the years has been characterized by a number of operation risks which it has been able to overcome through the effective and strategic articulation of risk appetite. It helps this company to make better decisions through the provision of risk boundaries under which these decisions are made, each involving a significant element of risk, and paving a way through which to overcome those management risks.
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