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The Burke-Litwin Change Model: Today’s Most Influential Model on Organizational Change

13 Mar

Organizations are continually searching for innovative ways of enhancing competitiveness. This is brought about by evolving external factors such as changing demographics, globalization, and technology. Because of changing dynamics, it has required managers to rapidly rethink and retool their organizational management strategies.

Coming up with the appropriate strategies calls for an increasing need for organizational diagnosis in developing and maintaining a competitive advantage. Researchers believe that in conducting organizational diagnosis, organizational effectiveness must be viewed from a systems perspective using a multidimensional approach in assessing the factors affecting enterprise performance management.

At this point wherein the role of organizational climate in business performance has become significant, there is a need for a business model that is most influential. To date, the Burke-Litwin Change Model is the best known and most influential model suitable when it comes to organizational climate.

A Quick Look at Burke-Litwin Change Model

The Burke-Litwin Change Model is seen as a conceptual framework that can best describe the relationships between different features of the organization, as well as its context and effectiveness.

According to Burke and Litwin (1992), Change Management models are not meant to be prescriptive. They are meant to provide a means to diagnose, plan, and manage change. Using the Burke-Litwin Change Model will provide organizations an effective diagnostic tool to improve overall organizational performance. It is a useful model for understanding the organizational change process.

The Burke-Litwin Change Model, as a change management tool, assumes 12 organizational elements that determine a change within an organization.

The Burke-Litwin Change Model 12 Drivers

The 12 key drivers of the Burke-Litwin Change Model interact with and affect each other. The change in the 12 key drivers brings about a series of changes in the structure, practices, and the system of the organization.

The 12 key drivers have been organized based on their specific roles within the organization.

Input.

  1. External Environment.  The External Environment is the external influences important fo organizational changes. These are the economy, customer behavior, competition, politics, and legislation.

Throughput: Transformational Drivers. Transformational Drivers are those that make up the fundamental structure of an organization. It relates to the organization as a whole. There are 3 Transformational Drivers.

  1. Mission and Strategy Development
  2. Leadership Development
  3. Corporate Culture

The 3 key drivers have over-riding importance of dealing with a change that is intended to share up “the way things are done around here.”

Throughput: Transactional Drivers

Transactional drivers are drivers that are more easily changed, but rarely have the same kind of impact on organization-wide performance. This concerns daily activities that take place in organizations and their mutual cohesion. There are 7 Transactional Drivers.

  1. Structure
  2. Systems
  3. Management Practices
  4. Work Climate
  5. Task and Individual Skills
  6. Individual Needs and Values
  7. Motivation.

The Transactional Drivers can affect performance.  However, performance can only be long-lasting if these key drivers are aligned. The 7 key drivers are critical in their role of supporting the change process.

 Output

Individual and Organizational Performance is the 12th key driver. It is the outcome of the change.

The 12th Key Driver: The Individual and Organizational Performance

The only thing that is constant is change. As output changes, so does the input and the factors of change. Individual and Organizational Performance is the measure of the effectiveness of the change. It measures the performance levels of both the individual employee and on the departmental and organizational level.

Individual and Organizational Performance can be measured on the basis of turnover, productivity, quality requirements, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. This is the key driver that impacts on the external environment.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Burke-Litwin Change Model? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the Burke-Litwin Change Model here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Modernize Your Board’s Role in M&A and Achieve the Greatest Deals

11 Mar

Many large corporations depend on M&A for growth and executives can boost the value that deals create. But poorly executed M&A can saddle investors with weak returns on capital for details. In fact, the margin between success and failure is slim.

Many Boards are reluctant to cross the line between governance and management. The level of engagement is often outside the comfort zone for some executives and directors. As such, they miss opportunities to help senior executives win at M&A.

There is a need to modernize the Board’s role in M&A. Modernizing the role of the Board in M&A can result in the alignment of the Board and management on the need for bolder transactions with more upside potential. Further, this is essential in achieving a competitive advantage.

The 3 Core Opportunities in M&A

There are 3 core opportunities for the Board to play an impactful role in M&A.

  1. Potential for Value Creation. The first core opportunity, potential for Value Creation enables the Board to challenge the executive’s thinking on potential transactions. This is an opportunity for the Board to maintain constant touch with the company’s M&A strategy, the pipeline of potential targets, and emerging deals.
  2. PMI Plans. This is an essential core opportunity that enables the Board to boost value creation to as much as 2-3x the net value. Post-merger Integration (PMI) Plans represent an opportunity to pressure test against stretch growth and cost goals before and after a deal. Greater variation in the quality of post-merger plans exist compared to financial analysis and pricing of transactions.
  3. Competitive Advantage in M&A. Competitive Advantage is a core opportunity that is unrelated to a transaction’s deadline. This is an opportunity to create a competitive advantage through M&A skills. These are corporate assets that can be difficult to copy. Making that decision to create a competitive advantage through M&A can lead to bolder decisions with more upside results.

The 3 core opportunities can promote greater Board engagement. When this happens, discrete deals can be converted into ongoing deal processes and dialogues that can deliver greater value from M&A.

Maximizing Core Opportunities to Attain the Greatest Deal

The potential of the 3 Core Opportunities to embolden the role of the Board in M&A is great. Organizations just need to have a good understanding of each core opportunity and the underlying key areas or dimensions of each key area. Let us take a look at the 1st Core Opportunity: Potential for Value Creation.

The Potential for Value Creation has 3 critical key areas that can challenge that lead opportunistic transaction to succeed. One critical key area is Strategic Fit.

Strategic Fit is key to determining why a company is a better owner than competing buyers. Deals driven by strategy succeed more often when they are part of a stream of similar transactions that support that strategy. This is a key element in Strategy Development.

How can we enhance the role of the Board relative to this key area? The Board can play a vital role in clarifying the relationship between a potential transaction and strategic planning. They are also in the best position to define how the deal will support organic-growth efforts in target markets and provide complementary sources of value creation.

The other key areas under the Potential for Value Creation are Financial Statements and Risks vs. Rewards. The Financial Statements is a key area that can correct the Board’s tendency to put emphasis on price-to-earnings multiples which can be limiting. The Risks vs. Rewards, on the other hand, is a key area that challenges the Board to acknowledge uncertainties in pro forma.

The other 2 Core Opportunities also have their own essential points or dimensions the Board must focus on. Only then can these core opportunities be of the maximum potential of modernizing the Board’s role in M&A and gaining the greatest value.

Interested in gaining more understanding of achieving Board Excellence through M&A? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Board Excellence: M&A here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Implementation Guidelines: Preventing the Risk of Failure

11 Mar

Business Process Reengineering (BPR) can be a great success but it can also be a great failure.

After months or years of careful redesign, organizations can achieve dramatic improvements in individual processes.  However, a paradoxical outcome has become almost a commonplace. Organizations suddenly find themselves watching the overall results decline. Process costs were reduced by 34% yet operating income stalls.  Claims process time cut by 44% yet profits drop. It seems that organizations are squandering management attention and other resources on projects that look like winners but fail to produce bottom-line results for the business unit as a whole.

Reengineering can actually deliver revolutionary process improvements and many organizations have been undertaking major reengineering effort.   However, like any major change program, a reengineering project can produce lasting results only if it is designed and implemented the right way.

Implementing Business Process Reengineering

BPR implementation is a series of waves that can wash over the organization for years, leaving a system for continuous improvement. It must be undertaken with a clean slate approach to process design. Only then can companies avoid a classic reengineering pitfall of focusing on fixing the status quo.

Implementation of the Business Process Reengineering requires that new infrastructures are planned and built to support this Business Transformation. The full commitment of senior executives on its redesign and implementation must also be present to ensure the success of the reengineering project.

It is essential that organizations have a good understanding of the success factors, as well as root causes of failure.  While reengineering projects can succeed, it can also fail.  There are 4 practices that are the most damaging.

The 4 Root Causes of Failure

The root causes of failure remain a challenge for organizations.  These are 4 causes they must watch out for to achieve a successful BPR implementation.

  1.  Assign average performers. This is the tendency of organizations to enlist average performers from headquarters. This often happens because of an existing belief that assigning top performers will affect the business unit’s performance.
  2. Measure only the plan. Measuring only the plan happens when there is a lack of a comprehensive measurement system.  The organization also fails to track whether the implementation is succeeding or failing.
  3. Settle for the status quo. Settling for the status quo is a very deadly decision or reaction. When this happens, aspirations are never translated into reality. There exists the inability to think outside existing skill levels, organizational structure, or system constraints. Further contributing to this is the existence of political infighting on incentives and information technology during implementation. When this exists, often the decision is to maintain a status quo that could be debilitating to the organization.
  4. Overlook communication. During BPR implementation, there is a tendency to overlook communication.  Probably due to a lack of proper understanding, the level of communication is underestimated during implementation. Often, communication is done using memos, speeches, or PR videos.  While these may have its purpose, at times these methods can be limiting.

BPR implementation requires a small group format where employees can give feedback and air their concerns.  This may be time-consuming but it is important. In fact, organizations must create a comprehensive communication program that uses a variety of methods of communication.  When this is undertaken, the chances of succeeding during the BPR implementation is high.

BPR implementation is most crucial.  Hence, organizations must have a keen eye, as well as strong leadership development and commitment, to pursue it despite its challenges. BPR implementation is a series of waves that can wash over the organization for years. Hence, a system of continuous improvement must be in place.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Implementation Guidelines? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Implementation Guidelines here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The 4 Tactics our Board Should Adopt for a Long-term, Strategic Mindset

9 Mar

When things go wrong on a grand scale, often we direct our attention to the role of the Board. Debate exudes and often gets heated up and intensifies. This often happens when the Board spends more time looking in the rearview mirror and not enough scanning the road ahead. When this happens, governance suffers.

Often, the Board of Directors spend a bulk of its time on quarterly reports, audit reviews, budgets, and compliance.  However, with the change in the business environment, there is a greater need to redirect the Board’s attention on matters crucial to the future prosperity and direction of the business. One of this is Strategy Development.  Achieving this requires the development of a dynamic Board with a long-term mindset capable of creating forward-looking agenda and activities that get sufficient time over a 12-month period.

The Changing Board Agenda

The Board Agenda is changing. It is becoming more dynamic and it has increasingly highlighted forward-looking activities.  Long-term economic, technological, and demographic trends are radically shaping the global economy. The second Industrial Revolution now requires the Board to shift focus. The Board is now challenged to focus on matters crucial to achieving Operational Excellence and the future direction of the organization. Directors must devote more time to strategic and forward-looking aspects of the agenda. They must cease seeing the job as supporting the CEO, but instead, be strategic in making sure long-term goals are formulated and met.

Having a forward-looking Board has now become every organization’s imperative.  However, this can only be achieved if there is a solid foundation that is anchored on three guiding principles. Organizations must have the right Board Member, a clear definition of the Board’s role, and greater time commitment from members. At this time when a long-term mindset has come to a fore, these have become essential.

Developing a Long-term Mindset: The 4 Essential Tactics

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu

Organizations can undertake 4 essential tactics to encourage the Board to have a long-term mindset.

  1. Study the External Landscape. This is the starting point of creating a forward-looking mindset. The primary purpose of this tactic is to expose the Board to new technologies and market developments relevant to the company’s strategy. Studying the external landscape will challenge management with critical questions.
  2. Participate in Strategy Development. This tactic focuses on making strategy a vital part of the Board’s DNA. Participating in the Strategy Planning process will strengthen the Board’s role in co-creating and ultimately agreeing on the company’s strategy.
  3. Focus on Long-term Talent Development. The third tactic, this tactic focuses on unleashing the full power of the people. It will effectively reallocate skills and experience to a business with more potential.  To achieve its expected result, the key is the Board must agree with management on a sensible approach to reviewing executive talent.
  4. Identify Existential Risks. This is the tactic that focused on the Risk Management of existential risks. Because of accelerating technological progress, existential risks have become a recent phenomenon. Existential risks have a great detrimental impact not only on business but also on mankind. The Boards have the duty to ensure that management teams pursue bottom-up investigations, identify key risk areas, and act on the results.

The 4 tactics are essentially effective in creating long-term mindsets.  When this is achieved, Board Excellence is never far behind.

Interested in gaining more understanding of achieving Board Excellence via a Long-term Mindset? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Board Excellence: Long-term Mindset here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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How to Achieve Board Excellence? Have A High Impact, Strategic Board

7 Mar

The pressure on Boards and Directors to raise their game has remained acute. A survey of more than 770 directors from public and private companies across the industries around the world suggested that some are responding more energetically than others.

There is a dramatic difference between how directors allocate their time among boardroom activities and the effectiveness of the Boards. One in four directors assessed their impact as moderate or lower, while others reported as having a high impact across Board functions.

Today, the call to become more forward-looking and achieving Board Excellence is further highlighted. This is further emphasized when the Board and Management are pressured to find the best answers to global business concerns and issues. In Strategy Development, this becomes invaluable. It does not only lead to clearer strategies but also the creation of alignment essential in making bolder moves.

While these are essential, there is a need to raise the quality of engagement on strategy between the Board and Management for each group to achieve smarter options. This is possible only if organizations have high impact, strategic Boards in place.

High impact, strategic Boards have a greater impact as they move beyond the basics and face increasing challenges.

The Challenges that Today’s Board Face

Business is fast-changing and rapidly transforming. The global economy is increasingly pushing businesses, as well as the Board to face a gamut of challenges.

What are the 2 main challenges facing Boards today?

First is Time Commitment. Working at a high level takes discipline – and time. In fact, the greater time commitment is expected on high impact activities. The Board often have 6 to 8 meetings a year. As a result, they are often hard-pressed to get beyond the compliance-related topics to secure the breathing space needed for developing a strategy.

Often, it is the very high impact Directors who invest more time compared to moderate or lower average Directors.

Who are your very high impact Directors? They are those spend a total of 40 days a year working for the Board compared to 19 days of low impact Directors. An extra 8 workdays a year is invested in strategy and an extra 3 workdays a year are spent on Performance Management, M&A, Organizational Health, and Risk Management.

High impact Directors who believe that their activities have greater impact spend significantly more time on these activities compared to low impact Boards.

Second is Strategy Understanding. Why is Strategy Understanding a challenge for the Board? Limited understanding of the organization’s strategy can result in the Board’s limited engagement with the organization. Based on the survey made, only 21% of the Directors have a complete understanding of the current strategy. Often, Board members have a better understanding of the company’s financial position rather than its risks or industry dynamics.

If we look at high impact Directors, they invest more time in dealing with strategic issues. In fact, they invest 8 extra workdays a year on Strategic Planning and discussing strategy compared to low impact Directors. High impact Directors center on Strategy Focus Areas which can, in turn, spur high-quality engagement from the Board on strategy development. The quality of Board engagement on strategy is enhanced, both when the engagement is deep and during the regular course of business.

The Board just needs to focus on 3 areas of discussion for the Board to enhance Strategy Development. One of them is Industry and Competitive Dynamics.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Board Excellence via High Impact, Strategic Boards? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Board Excellence: High Impact, Strategic Boards here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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How to Use Leavitt’s Diamond to Achieve Change

5 Mar

“The only thing that is constant is Change.” – Heraclitus

An epidemic of change is happening globally–reengineering, restructuring, and revamping! Workplaces seem to be launching one change initiative after another.  Digital Transformation is happening everywhere. Yet, the hard truth is that many change initiatives fail.

Change Management initiatives fail because of the way organizations view change. Often, change is seen as an isolated process. Organizations tend to focus on only one part of the organization in isolation. This can be a fatal error.

Everything in an organization is connected, and changing one piece can impact another. Hence change can only be successful if all interconnected pieces are considered. In 1965, Harold J. Leavitt designed an integrated approach to change, the Leavitt’s Diamond.

What is Leavitt’s Diamond?

Leavitt’s Diamond is a framework for understanding the connection between the key factors in an organization, and building an integrated change strategy. This is an essential element in Strategy Development.

The Structure, Tasks, People, and Technology are the 4 essential components of the Leavitt’s Diamond.

  1. Structure – The Structure refers to the organization’s hierarchical buildup and the layout of the various departments. However, this is not limited to its hierarchical buildup. It can also refer to the mutual relations that exist between departments and employees, the coordination between various levels of management, and the communication patterns.
  2. Tasks – The Tasks refers to the functions individual employees are assigned within their jobs. This relates closely to the organization’s goals on the strategic, tactical, and operational levels.
  3.  People – These are your people – your staff, your employees. Beyond its physical countdown, this component also refers to all skills, competence, knowledge, and efficiency that employees bring to the organization.
  4. Technology – Technology refers to the upgraded machines and devices, as well as systems and software applications that build up the performance of tasks within an organization.

Between these 4 components, there must be the right balance. Only then can change be successfully implemented.

From the Drawing Board to the Ground Running

Having a good understanding of the Leavitt’s Diamond is important for organizations. However, the most critical is having it on the ground running. Each of the components must be identified, defined, and determined–your main tasks, your people, your tasks, and structure.

This is critical because you are building a basic framework for starting the change model. Without the right balance of Structure, People, Tasks, and Technology, the Business Transformation necessary will never occur.

Organizations must also take note that a primary change will always have an impact on each of the 4 components. A change in one component comes with changes in other components of the Leavitt’s Diamond. When this happens, there is a need for necessary adjustments.

Taking The Impact of Change on Tasks As an Example

  • Change in People Component: Training or specific hiring policy can change staff and employees’ knowledge and expertise.
    • What is the impact on Tasks? There is a change in individual tasks within the employees’ job.
  • Change in Structure Component: Restructuring of departments, change in the arrangement of job positions, or even reorganization.
    • What is the impact on Tasks? A different way of working is expected from employees to include different ad/or additional tasks.

This is also expected when there is a change in Technology and a corresponding impact on Tasks. Organizations must need to take note that changes in any component must be aligned with changes in other components. Again, there must be a balance for Leavitt’s Diamond Change Model to succeed.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Leavitt’s Diamond Change Model? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Leavitt’s Diamond here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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How to Use the Porter’s Value Chain in Identifying Cost Savings and Differentiation Opportunities?

26 Feb

The Value Chain concept, first described by Dr. Michael Porter in 1985, is a series of actions that a firm—in a specific industry—accomplishes to produce a valuable product or service for the market.  The value chain notion visualizes the process view of an organization, perceiving a manufacturing or service organization as a system comprised of subsystems of inputs, transformation processes, and outputs.

Another way to define the Value Chain principle is, “transforming business inputs into outputs, thereby creating a value much better than the original cost of producing those outputs.”  These inputs, processes, and outputs entail acquiring and utilizing resources—finances, workforce, materials, equipment, buildings, and land.

An industry Value Chain includes the suppliers that provide the inputs, creation of products by a firm, distribution value chains, till the products reach the customers.  The way Value Chain activities are planned and executed determines the costs and profits.

Value chains consist of set of activities that products must undergo to add value to them.  These activities can be classified into 2 groups:

  • Primary Activities
  • Secondary Activities

Primary activities in Porter’s Value Chain are associated with the production, sale, upkeep, and support of a product or service offering, including:

  • Inbound Logistics
  • Operations
  • Outbound Logistics
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Service

The secondary activities and processes in Porter’s Value Chain support the primary activities.  For instance:

  • Procurement
  • Human resource management
  • Technological development
  • Infrastructure

Value Chain Analysis Benefits

The analysis of a Value Chain offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Identification of bottlenecks and making rapid improvements
  • Opportunities to fine-tune based on transforming marketplace and competition
  • Bringing out the real needs of an organization
  • Cost reduction
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Increased profitability and business success
  • Increased efficiency
  • Decreased waste
  • Delivery of high-quality products at lower costs
  • Retailers can monitor each action throughout the entire process from product creation to storage and distribution to customers.

Value Chain Analysis (VCA) Approach

Businesses seeking competitive advantage often turn to Value Chain models to identify opportunities for cost savings and differentiation in the production cycle.  The Value Chain Analysis (VCA) process encompasses the following 3 steps:

  • Activity Analysis
  • Value Analysis
  • Evaluation and Planning

Activity Analysis

The first step in Value Chain Analysis necessitates identification of activities that are essential to undertake in order to deliver product or service offerings.  Key activities in this stage include:

  • Listing the critical processes necessary to serve the customers—e.g., marketing, sales, order taking, distribution, and support—visually on a flowchart for better understanding.
    • This should be done by involving the entire team to gather a rich response and to have their support on the decisions made afterwards.
  • Listing the other important non-client facing processes—e.g., hiring individuals with skills critical for the organization, motivating and developing them, or choosing and utilizing technology to gain competitive advantage.
  • This stage also entails gathering customers’ input on the organization’s product or service offerings and ways to continuously improve.

Value Analysis

The second phase of the Value Chain Analysis necessitates identifying tasks required under each primary activity that create maximum value.  This phase is characterized by:

  • Ascertaining the key actions for each specific activity identified during the first phase.
  • Thinking through the “value factors”— elements admired by the customers about the way each activity is executed.
    • For example, for the order taking process, customers value quick response to their call, courteous behavior, correct order entry, prompt response to queries, and quick resolution of their issues.
  • Citing the value factors next to each activity on the flowchart.
  • Jotting down the key actions to be done or changes to be made to under each Value Factor.

Interested in learning more about the other phases of the Value Chain Analysis Approach?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Strategy Classics: Porter’s Value Chain here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Are You Interested In Transforming Your Traditional Warehouse into a Lean Warehouse?

23 Feb

As the last decisive step in customer service, a warehouse ensures cost effective distribution.  Latest technological innovation has turned warehousing into a competitive advantage.  It offers untapped potential for improvement. However, warehousing is a hugely neglected part of global supply chains.  There is inconsistency in picking, packing and shipping orders, storing receipts, and managing inventory and logistics operations.

These and the following roadblocks in the way of smooth warehousing operations and Lean Management exist in every traditional warehouse:

  • Lack of focus on acquiring technology to facilitate in improving efficiency and quality.
  • Inability to utilize a structured approach to ascertain the reasons for poor performance.
  • Lack of a big picture viewpoint pertaining to processes, costs, or external supply chain partnerships.
  • Absence of a continuous improvement culture to achieve warehouse operations excellence.
  • Lack of communication, organization, and proper training of resources.

These shortcomings call for implementing Lean Warehousing methodology to unlock improvement opportunities and savings in operational, efficiency, and maintenance related costs.  First initiated by Toyota, the Lean Warehousing approach has a deep emphasis on eliminating 3 basic limitations: waste, variability, and inflexibility. The Lean Warehousing methodology focuses on the following 3 improvement areas:

  1. Cost Reduction
  2. Customer Quality
  3. Service Levels

Cost Reduction

The Lean Warehousing methodology concentrates on increasing productivity and reducing operating costs.  This is achieved by:

  • Cutting undue walking and searching
  • Preventing needless replenishment, reworks, waiting times, and double handling
  • Upgrading demand and capacity planning and manpower allocation

Customer Quality

A Lean Warehouse seeks to take the customer quality to the next level by avoiding:

  • Order deviations
  • Picking errors
  • Damaged goods

Service Levels

Improving service levels is at the center of a Lean Warehousing methodology, which involves:

  • Reducing lead times
  • Enhancing on-shelf availability

Lean Warehousing Transformation

Lean Warehousing Transformation entails streamlining operations to identify waste, know how to increase service levels, implement standardization and innovative ideas, and learn to evaluate and manage performance.  Such transformation becomes a reality in an experiential learning environment and by developing organizational capabilities in 3 critical areas:

  1. Operating System
  2. Management Infrastructure
  3. Mindset and Behaviors

Operating System

The organizational capability to configure and optimize all company physical assets and resources to create value and minimize losses.  The focus areas under operating systems include eradicating variability, encouraging flexibility, and promoting end-to-end design.

Management Infrastructure                                                                   

The organizational capability to strengthen formal structures, processes, and systems necessary to manage the operating system to achieve business goals.  The focus areas under Management Infrastructure are performance management, organizational design, capability building, and functional support process.

Mindset and Behaviors

The organizational capability to manage the way people think, feel, and act in the workplace individually as well as collectively.  The target areas to focus on here include a compelling purpose, collaborative execution, up-to-date skills, drive to improve, and committed leadership.

Model Warehouse Implementation

Lean Warehousing Transformation necessitates developing a “Model Warehouse,” which presents facilities for supply chain people to practically experience state-of-the-art warehouse operations in a modern warehouse and shop-floor environment.  The Model Warehouse incorporates newest technology and systems, and offers real-life conditions for building capabilities—i.e., optimization of storage, pick and pack, and dispatch processes.  Newest technologies—e.g., Smart Glasses and HoloLenses—available at the facility help improve the performance of pickers significantly and execute multi-order picking efficiently.

Such a setting allows people to observe and analyze the performance of an exemplary warehouse and implement this knowledge at their own premises.  Leading organizations organize a week-long rigorous knowledge sharing workshop—in an experiential learning environment of a Model Warehouse—for their people to have a hands-on experience to learn Lean Warehousing, actual picking, packing, root cause analysis, and performance management.  The participants of the Model Warehouse Knowledge Sharing Workshop are excellent candidates for “change agents” to implement Lean Transformation.

Interested in learning more about Lean Warehousing, Model Warehouse Implementation, and Lean Warehousing Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Warehousing Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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First Law of Digital Transformation: 3 Key Elements to Manage Digital Transformation

21 Feb

Digital 2

Gordon Moore, Intel co-founder, observed that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.  He projected that this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade.

His observation, termed the “Moore’s Law,” has correctly predicted the pace of innovation for several decades and guided strategic planning and research and development in the semiconductor industry.  Moore’s law is based on observation and projection of historical trends.

In 2015, Gordon Moore foresaw that the rate of progress would reach saturation.  In fact, semiconductor advancement has declined industry-wide since 2010, much lower than the pace predicted by Moore’s law.  The doubling time and semi-conductor performance has changed, but it has not impacted the nature of the law much.

Although many people predict the demise of Moore’s law, exponential growth in computing power persists with the emergence of innovative technologies.  Moore’s law is only part of the equation for effective Digital Transformation—there are other contributing factors including the role of leadership.

First Law of Digital Transformation

George Westerman—a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management—proposes a new law, which states that, “Technology changes quickly, but organizations change much more slowly.”  The law known as the “First Law of Digital Transformation” or “George’s Law” is a pretty straightforward observation, but is often ignored by the senior leadership.  This is why Digital Transformation is considered more of a leadership—than technical—issue.

Just announcing an organization-wide Transformation program does not change the enterprise.  According to George’s Law, successful Digital Transformation hinges on the abilities of senior leadership to effectively manage the so many contrasting mindsets of its workforce, identify and take care of the idiosyncrasies associated with these mindsets, interpret their desires, and focus attention on encouraging people to change.

Above all, the leadership should focus on converting Digital Transformation from a project to a critical capability.  This can be done by shifting emphasis from making a limited investment to establishing a sustainable culture of Digital Innovation Factory that concentrates on 3 core elements:

  1. Provide People with a Clear and Compelling Vision
  2. Invest in Upgrading or Replacing Legacy Technology Infrastructure
  3. Change the Way the Organization Collaborates

Let’s now discuss the first 2 elements of the First Law of Digital Transformation.

Provide People with a Clear and Compelling Vision

Without a clear and compelling transformative vision, organizations cannot gather people to support the change agenda.  People can be either change resisters, bystanders, or change enablers.  However, most people typically tend to like maintaining the status quo, ignore change, or choose to openly or covertly engage in a battle against it.

For the employees to embrace change, leadership needs to make them understand what’s in it for them during the transition and the future organizational state.  This necessitates the leaders to develop and share a compelling vision to help the people understand the rationale for change, make people visualize the positive outcomes they can achieve through Transformation, and what they can do to enable change.  A compelling vision even urges the people to recommend methods to turn the vision into reality.

Invest in Upgrading or Replacing Legacy Technology Infrastructure

Problems and shortcomings in the legacy platforms is an important area to focus on during Digital Transformation.  The legacy technology infrastructure, outdated systems, unorganized processes, and messy data are the main reasons for organizational lethargy.  These issues hinder the availability of a unified view of the customer, implementing data analytics, and add to significant costs in the way of executing Digital Transformation.

Successful Digital Innovation necessitates the organizations to invest in streamlining the legacy systems and setting up new technology platforms that are able to enable digital and link the legacy systems.  Fixing legacy platforms engenders leaner and faster business processes and helps in maintaining a steady momentum of Innovation.

Interested in learning more about the First Law of Digital Transformation?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on First Law of Digital Transformation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

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Strategy Classic Series: Porter’s Five Forces

20 Feb

competition-Ice Hockey

Michael Eugene Porter—a Professor at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School—is widely acclaimed for his unmatched prowess in competitive strategy, strategic planning, global economic development, and the application of competitive principles and strategic approaches.  Renowned as the father of modern day strategy, Dr. Porter is an author of 18 books and a number of articles.

His scholarly writings on management and competitiveness are ranked as the most influential pieces of work till date.  Dr. Michael Porter is widely known for his Porter’s Five Forces framework, which is a useful tool to evaluate the competitiveness of an organization with respect to its rivals.  Competition is part and parcel of every industry, and for the existence of an enterprise it is important to know its rivals and how their product / service offerings and marketing strategies affect the market.  It is a common foundational framework used in Strategy Development.

The Five Forces framework emphasizes on 5 critical elements that determine the attractiveness of a business against its rivals in the industry:

  1. Threat of New Entrants
  2. Supplier Power
  3. Buyer Power
  4. Threat of Substitution
  5. Competitive Rivalry

Threat of New Entrants

This element examines the simplicity or complexity of an industry for the competitors to jump in.  High-return industries are more appealing to new entrants.  A market with easy access for new entrants poses greater risk—of market share diminishing—for established businesses.  New entrants in an industry are able to dent the profitability of established players unless the incumbents retaliate strongly and make the entry of new firms challenging.

A serious threat to entry also relies on the existing barriers in the industry.  If the market entry barriers are high and there is an expected sharp response from the entrenched competitors, the newcomers will think twice before entering the market.  Another important factor for new entrants is the requirement for large capital for branding, advertising and creating product demand, which limits their entry in a niche market.  Aspiring market entrants should thoroughly analyze and understand all the critical barriers to entry before entering an industry—such as economies of scale, product differentiation, capital investment, access to distribution channels, and government policies and regulations.

There 6 prevalent types of barriers to entry:

  1. Economics of scale
  2. Product differentiation
  3. Capital requirements
  4. Cost disadvantages (independent of size)
  5. Access to distribution channels
  6. Government / regulatory policy

Supplier Power

Suppliers are a powerful force that influences the competitiveness of an industry.  They create immense pressure on market players by slashing the quality of goods and by increasing prices, thereby squeezing the margins of manufacturers.  For instance, by jacking up the price of soft drink concentrate, suppliers erode profitability of bottling companies.  The bottlers, in turn, don’t have much leverage to raise their own prices because of intense competition from fruit drinks, powdered mixes, and other beverages.

The power of a supplier group amplifies if it’s dominated by a few firm, has differentiated and unique products; and has built up switching costs that buyers face when changing suppliers, for making investments in specialized equipment, or in learning how to operate a supplier’s equipment.  The supplier group also thrives when there isn’t much competition for sale to the industry, or when the industry is not its major customer, as this saves the supplier from selling at a bargain and investing in R&D and lobbying for the industry.

Buyer Power

Buyer or customer groups also impact the competitiveness of an industry landscape by exercising their power to bring the prices down, insist on higher quality, or demand more service.  A buyer group is powerful if it buys in large volumes in an industry characterized by heavy fixed costs and buys undifferentiated or standard products.  Buyers have the ability to put one supplier against another and find alternative suppliers.

The power of a buyer group increases if it’s a low profit business—providing it the reason to be price sensitive and insist on lower purchasing costs—, if the industry’s product is insignificant to the quality of the buyers’ products or services, or if the product that suppliers provide does not save much for the buyer.  Buyers can also use the threat of self-manufacturing as a bargaining lever against the suppliers.

Threat of Substitution

Substitute product or service offerings restrict the capacity of an industry by placing an upper limit on prices it can charge.  The industry’s earnings and profits will continue to suffer lest it can enhance the quality of products or create differentiation through, for instance, aggressive marketing.

If substitute products offer more competitive price-performance trade-off, then the industry’s profitability gets limited or goes down.  For instance, the erosion of profits for the sugar industry due to substitution of sugar with commercialized high-fructose corn syrup.

Internal Rivalry

Internal Rivalry, existing at the center of Porter’s Five Forces framework, represents the competition between existing players often leads to rivals using manipulative tactics like price competition, new product launch, and advertising wars.  Companies can use strategic shifts to improve their competitive position—e.g., raising buyers’ switching costs, increasing differentiation, and focusing on low fixed costs areas.

Interested in learning more about the other critical elements of the Porter’s Five Forces and their role in in determining the state of competition and profit potential of an industry?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Porter’s Five Forces here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a Management Consultant?

You can download this and hundreds of other consulting frameworks and consulting training guides from the FlevyPro library.

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