Strategy – the clarity needed for the transformation journey
Strategy development and its implementation are essential for industrial manufacturing companies in the current highly dynamic and challenging environment. B&C has developed an approach for a customized strategy process respecting the specific constraints in combination with the maturity level of the company. Our approach enables companies to review and adjust their strategic direction in conjunction with the underlying operational setup in the shortest possible time while achieving high quality results. This is important because regular reviews are necessary to achieve sustainable success.
Strategy: “nothing new“, but more important than ever
Currently external and internal conditions are rapidly changing for many industrial manufacturing companies. In particular, the much discussed green transformation is a strong driver for the process industry. As a result, management and executives are even more involved in operational change management and can easily lose sight of the company’s medium and long-term strategic direction. The dynamics of these change processes will certainly continue to increase in the future. From B&C’s point of view, it is therefore important to clarify the strategic positioning and define corresponding anchor points. This is the only way to ensure that operational activities follow a clearly defined path. The key to sustainable success is therefore the definition and regular revision of the corporate strategy. In principle, this is not a new insight. However, B&C’s experience shows that the regular adjustment of the strategic direction as well as the communication to the team and the verification of the consistency of decisions with the corporate strategy are often neglected in the operational “hectic”. The resulting divergence in the pursuit of objectives can lead to high levels of inefficiency.
Tailored approach instead of standard toolset
The literature offers many standard procedures and methods for strategy development. However, each company has an individual level of organizational maturity in strategy development and implementation (e.g., uniform awareness of current market positioning). In addition, each company operates under specific internal and external conditions. Since managers always have very limited disposable time, strategy development should be carried out in an efficient and resource-friendly manner. The B&C approach takes the individual characteristics of each company into account and tailors the necessary building blocks to create a customized strategy process.
Starting Point: Goal Setting and Goal Hierarchy
Any strategy development requires a goal that is quantitatively defined. The corresponding metric should be consistent with the overall market positioning and basic service offering. This means that every commercially oriented company must set a target for the development of the company’s results in the period under review. This is essential to ensure a sustainable competitive position and to maintain and increase the company’s value. All other goals are subordinate to it and precisely serve this purpose. Finally, all goals must be prioritized so that strategic decisions can be weighed against each other at any time.
Positioning is often neglected, but essential
Setting realistic quantitative goals that can be achieved within a defined timeframe requires a deep and complete understanding of the “status quo” as well as the associated conditions and prerequisites. Many of our projects show that managers tend to focus on the desired future strategic positioning, but avoid a sufficiently detailed look at the current situation. This includes not only the financial figures, but also the strengths and weaknesses in relation to the company’s core competencies. This gap becomes even more apparent when it comes to developing the right actions to implement the strategy and reduces the quality of the strategy development process.
Identification of all solutions and selection of the best fit
Before concluding a concrete action plan, the desired goal should be compared with the current situation (status quo) in a structured way. Often a goal seems unattainable when you start to consider the current situation and the business environment. In this case, it is important not to give up, but to use the B&C scenario technique to identify alternative solutions. There are “no limits” to the possible solutions; all feasible ways to achieve the desired goal from the status quo are initially considered valid. This method is often used to overcome limiting thought patterns, to critically question previously established constraints and to open up new horizons. Afterwards, all identified solutions are evaluated and finally the best fit for the company is selected.
Action plans and communication strategy
After reaching a common understanding of the current situation, exploring the future positioning and selecting the best solution for the company (= selected scenario), congruent action plans need to be developed. We prioritize the actions according to their contribution to the strategic goal and focus on their implementation. This ensures a value-driven action plan. The action plan typically includes both internal measures, such as increasing efficiency to improve earnings, and external measures, such as market and customer development or investor relations. At the same time, communicating the new/changed strategic direction to managers and employees is a key success factor and ensures that all decision makers can immediately align their actions with the new strategic direction.
Controlling the implementation to secure a safe and sustainable achievement of goals
It is essential to regularly review the progress of the implementation of measures and to monitor the consistency of the decisions made with the strategic direction. This ensures that the goals defined in the strategy are achieved and that the corporate strategy has a lasting effect on the actions of the entire team. Implementation controlling also provides the basis for the next round in the strategy process, since the review and, if necessary, adjustment of the strategy should not be a one-time process, but a revolving one. B&C standards (processes and tools), developed and tested in numerous projects, ensure efficient implementation controlling.
Reviewing, adapting and, if necessary, redeveloping the corporate strategy and its implementation is the basis for a focused and efficient transformation. Any highly dynamic environment requires a revolving process tailored to the organization’s maturity level and individual business environment. In this way, management can provide an up-to-date framework for making important decisions in a timely manner, even in the hectic pace of day-to-day business.
For more information on strategy development and implementation, or to learn more about our services to customize your strategy process, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Matthias Weber,