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Tag Archives: Operational Excellence

The Power of the 5 Cost Management Strategies in Reducing Costs

27 Jul

A commonly quoted statistic is that 80% to 95% of the cost of a product is determined by its design and is therefore set before the item enters manufacturing. This assumption suggests that the dominant focus of Cost Management should be during Product Development and not during Manufacturing.

However, contrary to a widely held assumption, companies can integrate a variety of Cost Management techniques not only in the design phase but throughout the product life cycle.  This is to ensure that there is a substantial reduction in costs.  In fact, companies achieving Operational Excellence and competing aggressively on cost might consider the adoption of some form of an Integrated Cost Management Program that spans the entire product life cycle.

An organization must have a good understanding of Integrated Cost Management and the 5 Cost Management Strategies that they can use to reduce costs but still attain the desired level of functionality and quality at the target costs.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies

The 5 Cost Management Strategies play a crucial role in the company’s integrated approach to Cost Management.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies can be applied throughout the product life cycle with one technique used during the product design and the rest during manufacturing.

  1. Target Costing. This is a technique applied during the design stage. Target Costing is best used when the manufacturing phase of the life cycle of a product is short.
  2. Product-specific Kaizen Costing. This is a technique applied during the early stages of the manufacturing phase. It enables the rapid redesign of a new product to correct for any cost overruns. The primary rule in Product-specific Kaizen Costing is that the product’s functionality and quality have to remain constant.
  3. General Kaizen Costing. The third Cost Management Strategy, this technique is applied during the manufacturing phase. It focuses on the way a product is manufactured with the assumption that the product’s design is already set.  This technique is effective when addressing manufacturing processes that are used across several product generations.
  4. Functional Group Management. This is the technique that is applied in the production process. Functional Group Management consists of breaking the production process into autonomous groups and treating each group as a profit instead of a cost center. The switch to profit as opposed to cost allows groups to increase the throughput of production processes even if changes result in higher costs. It enables the change in mindset that functional group management induces.
  5. Product Costing. The 5th Cost Management Strategy, this is the technique that coordinates the efforts of the other four techniques. It does coordination work by providing the other four techniques with important, up-to-date information.

Target Costing vis-a-vis Kaizen Costing

Kaizen Costing as known as continuous improvement costing.  It is a method of reducing managing costs. Kaizen Costing has a similarity with Target Costing but it also has its differences.  (Note: Kaizen is the Japanese term for Continuous Improvement and often tied to the philosophy of Lean Management.)

Both Kaizen Costing and Target Costing can achieve results with lower resources. This is basically their similarity. On the other hand, the differences lie in their usage and involvement.

Target Costing is used on the design stage and requires the involvement only of designers. On the other hand, Kaizen Costing is used during the manufacturing stage and requires high involvement of employees.  The general idea of Kaizen Costing is to determine target costs, design products, and process to not exceed those costs.

Interested in gaining more understanding of these Cost Management Strategies? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about 5 Cost Management Strategies here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The 12 Areas of Post-merger Integration (PMI): Your Guide to Starting PMI the Right Way

17 Jul

Post-merger Integration is a highly complex process. It requires swift action as well as running the core business activities simultaneously. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful PMI Process. However, careful planning focusing on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies will help maximize deal value.

Because of the complexity of the PMI process, it is of utmost importance that organizations—both the Buyer and Target, the integration team, and integration manager—have a guide that will provide them the detailed requirements of the process. The Post-merger integration framework has a structured approach that can direct attention to important integration areas to maximize deal value and achieve Operational Excellence. The inability to focus on priority areas can be a waste of resources, time, and investments.

The 12 Integration Areas

The Post-merger Integration framework drives a structured approach to identify important Integration Areas to focus on during the transition. There are 12 Integration Areas that need to be prioritized.

The first 2 integration areas within the full checklist:

  1. Finance & Accounting (F&A). This is an integration area that is focused on establishing the financial sustainability of the new organization. Financial & Accounting needs clear instructions and templates for financial reporting at Closing. The better the information, the few surprises there are due to poor reporting or absence of data. Financial & Accounting has 9 sub-areas that are essentially important for organizations to have a good appreciation and understanding of.
  2. Legal. The role of the legal function does not end at the Closing. Many legal items need to be listed and considered immediately after the Closing. Special events, such as acquisitions of minority shares or the formation of joint venture companies must be considered. Legal is one vital area in building the sustainability of the new organization.

The next 2 integration areas within the full checklist:

  1. HR & Personnel. Integral in the Integration Process, HR & Personnel is a key area in integration. Management of the HR Integration Team is a primary responsibility of the Buyer’s HR manager. There are 5 sub-areas under HR & Personnel that must be given important consideration.
  2. Corporate Communications. Successfully using the Buyer’s and Target’s corporate communication functions for announcing and explaining PMI progress is a net sum of many factors. Essentially, communicating PMI progress requires the effective use of the corporate communication functions of both Buyer and Target.

The third 3 integration areas within the full checklist:

  1. Information Technology (IT). The goal of the ICT Integration Process is to link the ICT networks of the acquired entity with the Buyer’s corporate ICT network. It is necessary to facilitate access to systems and services provided by the Buyer and collaborate with business/market areas. Often, the integration process is let by an ICT individual from the Buyer’s corporate/company ICT or business/market area ICT.
  2. Corporate Culture. Corporate culture has increasingly become a critical factor in integration success, particularly in cross-border M&A. An M&A deal often impacts on corporate culture, both on the Buyer’s and the Target’s side.
  3. Sales & Marketing. This is a difficult sensitive area to be changed in the integration process. Sales & Marketing contribute largely to organizational financial stability, hence primary consideration must be undertaken.

The last 5 PMI integration areas within the full checklist:

  1. After Sales & Service. This is increasingly becoming important in value creation. It is an added-value that strengthens Sales & Marketing capability to sustain the market.
  2. Supply Chain Management (SCM). This is undertaken at a later phase of integration as the fundamental change requires detailed planning and calculation.
  3. Production. This is one critical area where more experience and planning are required in decision making.
  4. Technology. The extent to which the integration focuses on Technology and R&D depends on the M&A strategy. If the purpose of the acquisition is to gain technology or strengthen existing capabilities, then this is when the integration will focus on technology.
  5.  Synergies. This an integration area that can mean new strengths and opportunities from combined knowledge and experiences.

Organizations must take adept steps in undertaking the Integration Checklist as this will enable both the Buyer and the Target to reach the most strategic state necessary for the 12 Integration Areas.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Post-merger Integration (PMI) Integration Checklist? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Post-merger Integration (PMI) Integration Checklist here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The Devil is in the Details: Your Primer to a Lean Culture

3 Jul

Culture is essential today in helping employees and management survive in today’s environment. Survival has become a strong word today. Without culture, everyone in the organization would act or behave differently. No one would be able to anticipate someone else’s behavior, and no one would understand why people behave the way they do. When this happens, the organization’s performance would be very chaotic.

What is culture? Organizational Culture is a learned process and is developed by the organization as a response to the working environment established by the organization’s leadership and management team. It is established in all organizations, regardless of whether its development is guided or unguided. Either way, culture can have a positive or negative impact on the organization’s performance.

A Take Away at Corporate Culture and a Lean Culture

Corporate culture is a set of standards shared by members of an organization. It produces behavior that falls within a range that the organization considers proper and acceptable. Having the right culture will increase the organization’s chance to survive.

What is a Lean Culture? Lean Culture is a total system and represents a complete and comprehensive culture change in the organization. A Lean Culture enables lean implementation and represents a completely new way of managing the organization through Lean Management.

The development of a Lean Culture starts with a Lean Culture Framework.

The Lean Culture Framework

The development of a Lean Culture starts with a definition of a Continuous Improvement Lean Culture. As a starting point, the Lean Culture Framework consists of 5 essential elements.

  1. Definition. This element ensures that the organization gets to properly define what Continuous Improvement Lean Culture really means for the entire organization. When this is undertaken, improvement becomes a part of the organization’s culture.
  2. Translation and Integration. The second element ensures that culture is well translated and integrated into values and related behaviors. It is important for organizations to understand that strong values can guide the behaviors of people.
  3.  Strategic Applications. This basically refers to the strategic application of cultural elements. If problem-solving is one of the cultural elements, the strategic plan of the organization can take a problem-solving approach to achieve key targets.
  4. Diligent Development. This element focuses on the diligent development of a comprehensive culture. This ensures the alignment of programs with a long-term problem-solving culture of improvement of the organization and eliminates conflicting messages.
  5. Reinforcement. The fifth element ensures that reinforcement is undertaken with regular recognition. When this is done, the organization can expect to gain more improvements.

The five (5) elements of the Lean Culture Framework must be properly structured to ensure its effective implementation. In today’s business environment where Competitive Advantage and Operational Excellence is gaining ground towards sustainability, organizations just need to learn how to operate smartly and effectively. This can be done when a Lean Culture Framework is established and implemented.

The Devil is in The Details: The Implementation

Culture change typically is not greeted with open arms. To be successful, a Lean Culture change initiative must have a few DO-NOT-PASS-GO items. A few of these are leadership involvement and engagement, cultural dynamics, and education. Implementation of a Lean Culture Framework may seem easy but it is not. It requires care, patience, a bottomless energy source, and an iron will to succeed. It can be of advantage if organizations are well guided in undertaking a culture change. A well developed and thought-of plan can highly help organizations go through culture change with just a few bumps along the way.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Lean Culture? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Lean Culture here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Developing an Organizational Design that Works: The Galbraith Star Model

28 Jun

“A problem well framed is a problem half-solved.” — Jay Galbraith

Organizational Design is more than just structures. It is having policies and strategies that are aligned with one another.  When this is achieved, it allows organizations to operate at maximum efficiency and achieve Operational Excellence.

The Galbraith Star Model™ is the foundation on which a company bases its design choices. The organization’s design framework consists of a series of design policies that are controllable by management and can influence employee behavior.

Organizations use the Star Model™ framework to overcome the negatives of any structural design. Every organizational structure has positives and negatives associated with it.  If management can identify the negatives of its preferred option, it can better design other policies around the Star Model™ to counter the negatives while achieving the positives.

Understanding the Galbraith Star Model

Galbraith Star Model™ is the organization’s design framework for effective strategy execution. It consists of 5 major components.

  1. Strategy. This component is the company’s formula for winning. It is the goals and objectives to be achieved, as well as values and missions to be pursued. It defines the basic direction of the company. Strategy Development is essentially important in specifying sources of Competitive Advantage.
  2. Structure. The second component, the Structure, determines the location of the decision-making power. It is the placement of power and authority in the organization.
  3. Processes. Information and decision processes is a component that cuts across the organization’s structure. It is a means of responding to information technologies. Management processes can either be vertical or lateral. Either way, these are designed around a workflow from new product development to the fulfillment of a customer order. If the structure is the anatomy of the organization, processes are its physiology or functioning.
  4. Rewards. The fourth component provides motivation and incentive for the completion of the strategic direction of the organization. Rewards are recognition that influence the motivation of people to perform and address organizational goals.  It becomes effective only when they form a consistent package in combination with other design choices.
  5. People. People is the fifth component that focuses on influencing and defining an individual’s mindset and skills. It looks into the human resource policies of recruiting, selection, training, and development of people needed by the organization to achieve its strategic direction. HR policies work best when these are consistent with the other connecting design areas.

The five components are essentially important. Each component has its underlying purpose and impact.  How the organization can effectively align the components with each other makes a huge difference in achieving an impact. Further, in this fast-changing business environment, organizations must be keenly aware of the implications of implementing the Star Model™ framework. The Star Model may have its implications, including the interweaving nature of the lines that form the star shape.

The Man Behind the Organizational Design Framework

Dr. Jay Galbraith was an internationally recognized expert on Strategy and Organizational Design.  With more than 45 years of research and practical experience, Dr. Galbraith’s extensive knowledge came from his background in information processing systems, chemical engineering, and organizational behavior.  As the original creator of the Star Model and the Front-Back organization structure, Dr. Galbraith transformed organizations across a broad span of industries including consumer goods, manufacturing, health care, financial services, and telecommunications, among others.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Galbraith Star Model™? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Galbraith Star Model™ here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Are you a management consultant?

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Objectives and Key Results (OKR): Your Management Strategy to Achieving That Goal

3 Apr

Peter Drucker, one of the first managerial thinkers, introduced MBO or Management by Objectives. This eventually paved the way for the birth of the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) management philosophy. Andy Grove, known as the “Father of OKRs”, introduced the approach to Intel during the 1970s. This was further popularized by John Doer by introducing OKRs at Google in 1999.

Today, successful organizations are now using OKRs.  Objectives and Key Results is an efficient way to track company and team goals and measure their progress. It helps every organization’s success by cutting out unimportant goals and focusing on what truly is important within the organization.

Objectives and Key Results (OKR) has been seen as a way to communicate so that there is clarity of purpose.  It is also a tool for motivating and aligning people to work together to achieve Operational Excellence. It increases transparency, accountability, and empowerment.

What is OKR?

OKR or Objectives and Key Results is a popular Management Strategy for goal setting within organizations.  The goal of OKR is to define how to achieve objectives through concrete, specific, and measurable actions.

The OKR framework is structured with two framework components: the Objectives and Key Results. This is to connect company, team, and personal goals to measurable results and direct all towards one unified direction

  1. Objectives. The Objectives consist of a list of 3-5 high-level objectives. This is supported by initiatives—plans and activities focused on achieving the objective and moving forward the key results. Setting objectives requires a lot of thought as it goes beyond making money. In fact, it must follow defined characteristics and undertaken in a well-planned approach.  This is to ensure that the objectives formulated are well-defined, focused, and achievable.
  2. Key Results. Key Results add metrics to objectives. These are measured on a 0-100% scale or 0 to 1.0. Under each objective are 3 to 5 measurable Key Results. It measures how far from the objective your team is. It will give them a clear direction on what to do and how to do it.

Developing the right OKR requires being able to properly define your Objectives and Key Results. One way of doing this is by using the SMART goal setting model.

A Look at the SMART Model

The SMART Model ensures that organizations get to effectively develop the right OKR.  The SMART Model is the easiest way to set Key Results. Organizations just need to follow the SMART goal guidelines. Knowing what to do, as well as knowing not what to do, on an OKR journey to minimize problems and mistakes.

The use of OKR requires cultural change and change itself is difficult. But with the use of the SMART goal guidelines, organizations can get the hang of it and can be effective in its OKR journey.

Let us take a look at OKR examples that provides a clear application of the SMART model.

The first example is the use of Sales OKR. Set Objective is to increase Q2 recurring revenues. Key Results are increased average subscription size by $500 per month ($0-$1500). The second Key Result is to increase the share of monthly subscription vs. one-time contracts sold to 85% (50%-85%).

Another example is the Human Resource OKR. Set Objective is to improve internal employee engagement. Its first Key Result is conduct a monthly “Fun Friday” all-hands meetings with an external motivational speaker (0-3 meetings).

Interested in gaining more understanding of Objectives and Key Results? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Objectives and Key Results (OKR) 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.

Are you a management consultant?

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