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When Survival in the Midst of Chaos Calls for Supply Chain Sustainability

14 Aug

In the modern age, organizations are striving to form a sustainable Supply Chain system to cope with the challenges that are arising. Such issues include the emission of hazardous substances, excessive resource consumption, Supply Chain risks, and complex procedures.

Through Strategic Planning, organizations around the globe are adopting strategies to become a sustainable organization.  In fact, there is an increasing trend towards organizations adopting sustainable Supply Chain Management practices.

Gaining a Foothold on Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of Supply Chain activities. It addresses the fundamental business problem of supplying products to meet demand in a complex and uncertain world.

Looking at Supply Chain Management, we can see that it draws on the value chain concept of business strategist, Michael Porter.  It looks at supply issues at the multi-company level.  It creates net value, builds a competitive infrastructure, leverages worldwide logistics, synchronizes supply with demand, and measures performance globally.

The need for Supply Chain Management came about when shorter product life cycles and greater product variety has increased Supply Chain costs and complexity.  And as outsourcing, globalization, and business fragmentation became a common practice, there was now the need for Supply Chain integration. This was further emphasized with the advances in emergent technologies. which created more opportunities for Digital Transformation within Supply Chains.

The 4 Levels of Supply Chain Management Strategies

There are 4 Levels of Supply Chain Management Strategies. The first 3 strategies are foundational Supply Chain Strategies.

Before any Supply Chain can be considered sustainable, there are 3 foundational Supply Chain Strategies that need to be undertaken.

  1. Legal Supply Chain Strategy. There are a number of legal rules and regulations that need to be followed by organizations. The Supply Chain Strategy must cater to all legal rules.  An example is a ruling according to the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) wherein an organization must not rely on the mercury, cadmium, and chromium as they result in huge emission of hazardous substances.
  2. Ethical Supply Chain Strategy. To become an ethically strong organization, it is required that the organization operates with integrity and focus on what is right. The organization could develop a policy that governs the organization’s operations. It is also essential that the Supply Chain quality assurance team that is built complies with ethical sustainability.
  3. Responsible Supply Chain Strategy. To become responsible, the organization could spend resources in compliance with sustainable rules. The organization could set up training and development programs to drive sustainability within the organization. It can also focus on environment-friendly activities to boost its social responsibility.

Before an organization can become sustainable, significant efforts must be exerted to put the 3 foundational Supply Chain Strategies in place within the organization.

Reaching the Level of Sustainability

Sustainable Supply Chain Strategy has become increasingly important as more and more organizations are focusing on putting it in place.  According to the MIT Slogan Review, over 75% of organizations listed in the S&P 500 reported sustainability reports where it shows that catering up to the responsibility is becoming highly challenging and important.  There has been a significant increase and inclination towards sustainability and this depicts the importance of becoming sustainable.

With the passage of time, it has become evident that organizations around the globe are becoming fond of sustainable considerations.

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The COSO Framework: An Organization’s Guide to an Effective Internal Control System

12 Aug

As the business and operating environment changes, there has been a greater demand for transparency and accountability as to the integrity of internal control. This has become very critical today as businesses drive to enhance the likelihood of them achieving their objectives and be able to adapt to changes in the global business environment.

The Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) released in 1992 the Integrated Internal Control Framework that will enable organizations to effectively and efficiently develop and maintain systems of internal control. It also includes enhancements and clarifications that will provide organizations the ease of using and applying the Framework.

An Overview of the COSO Framework

The COSO Framework is the globally recognized framework for designing, implementing, conducting, and assessing internal control. It is recognized as the definitive standard against which organizations measure the effectiveness of internal control systems.

If we look at the internal control, this is not a serial process but a dynamic and integrated process. It is a process effected by an organization’s Board of Directors, Management, and other personnel designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the achievement of objectives relating to operations, reporting, and compliance. It can be considered an enabler when it comes to achieving Operational Excellence.

The COSO Framework provides for 3 categories of objectives. These categories allow organizations to focus on different aspects of internal control. It ensures that the internal control system is operationally efficient and effective, reporting reliable data, and remain compliant to laws and regulations.

The 5 Components of the COSO Framework

In an effective internal control system, 5 Components of the COSO Framework must be present to support the achievement of an organization’s mission, strategies, and related business objectives.

Component 1: Control Environment. This is a set of standards, processes, and structures that provide the basis for carrying out internal control across the organization.

Component 2: Risk Assessment. This forms the basis for determining how risks will be managed. It involves a dynamic and iterative process for identifying and assessing risks to the achievement of objectives. It determines the possibility that an event will occur and adversely affect the achievement of objectives.

Component 3: Control Activities. The 3rd component ensures that Management’s directives to mitigate risks to the achievement of objectives are carried out. These are actions that are established through policies and procedures. It may be preventive or detective in nature.

Component 4: Information and Communication. This component focuses on the generation of relevant and quality information to support the functioning of other components. It is a continuous iterative process of providing, sharing, ad obtaining the necessary information. This is necessary to enable businesses to carry out internal control responsibilities to support the achievement of its objectives.

Component 5: Monitoring Activities. Monitoring activities, as a component, ascertains whether each of the 5 components of internal control is present and functioning. It includes the conduct of ongoing evaluations, separate evaluations, or a combination of both.

The 5 Components of the COSO Framework are essentially important as they represent what is required to achieve the objectives and the organizational structure of the organization. Each component has its underlying principles and key elements to better guide organizations in putting the components in place.

Additional Key Considerations

The COSO Framework sets the requirements for an effective system of internal control. An effective system reduces, to an acceptable level, the risk of not achieving the organization’s objectives.

There are additional key considerations that organizations must take note of. One consideration is that each of the 5 components and relevant principles is present and functioning. Present refers to the determination that the components and relevant principles exist in the design and implementation of the system of internal control to achieve specified objectives. Functions refer to the determination that the components and relevant principles continue to exist in the operations and conduct of the system of internal control to achieve specified objectives.

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Organizational DNA: The 4 Building Blocks to Effective Execution

10 Aug

The most resilient and consistently successful companies have discovered that the devil is in the details of the organization. No company may ever totally master the enigma of execution. But for them organizing to execute has truly become a competitive edge.

Execution only becomes effective when the company’s DNA is holistically integrated. This means weaving intelligence, decision-making capabilities, and a collective focus on common goals widely and deeply into the fabric of the organization so that each person and unit is working smartly and together.

The best Organizational Designs are adaptive, self-correcting, and robust. But creating such an organization does not happen quickly. It can take several years to get the basic right.

In understanding Organizational DNA, one needs to have a full grasp of the 4 bases of Organizational DNA, as well as the 8 core elements of the Organizational DNA. While the 4 Bases are the building blocks, the 8 core elements are the blueprint for Organizational Design.

The 4 Building Blocks of Organizational DNA

Organizations must have a good operational understanding of the 4 Building Blocks of Organizational DNA to better perform effectively and efficiently. The 4 Building Blocks are Structure, Decision Rights, Motivator, and Information.

Structure is the organization of business units around customers, products, or geography. In principle, structural choices are made to support a strategy. However, in practice, often a company’s organizational structure and strategic intent do not match.

Decision Rights specify who has the authority to make which decisions. Often, these put the flex o the organization chart and define where responsibility lies.

Motivators are incentives, rewards, and systems that enable employees to perform their functions well. It shows how people respond rationally to what they see, understand, and rewarded.

Information is one critical base in the company’s DNA that underly the company’s ability to ensure clear decision rights and motivate people. Information is among the most underappreciated contributors to Operational Excellence and competitive advantage. Often, better information flows did more than keep costs down. It helps allocate scarce resources far more efficiently than before.

Discovering the 8 Elements of Organizational Design

It is best to understand the 8 Elements of Organizational Design as it is the blueprint for Organizational Design.

Let us take a look at the first 2 rungs. The first 2 rungs focus on Authority, governance of behavior, and how a company governs behavior.

Rung 1: Authority and governance of behavior

In terms of formality, in the formal part, how decisions are made are elements that a company can precisely articulate. This can be expressed through governance forums, decision rights, decision processes, and decision analytics.

In the informal part, how people instinctively act or take action is the informal part. This can refer to values and standards, expectations, and unwritten rules, and behaviors.

Rung 2: The way a company governs behavior.

The formal part is the Motivators on how people are compelled to perform. These can be represented by monetary rewards, career models, and talent processes.

The informal part is commitment. It is how people are inspired to contribute. It is represented by shared visions and objectives, individual goals and aspirations, and sources of pride.

The first 2 rungs are essential in ensuring that the Organizational Design has a balance of both authority and behavior.

The 3rd and 4th rungs focus on flows of knowledge and insight, as well as structure and networking. These 2 rungs are essentially important in ensuring that appropriate structure and network is in place to support flows of information and insights.

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The 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking: A New and Revolutionary Way of Looking at Supply Chain Management

7 Aug

Supply chain thinking used to be limited to the managers of a few global companies—companies that were struggling to coordinate internal information and materials. This, however, led to an exciting boom in cross-business coordination based on Supply Chain Management concepts.

Today, the field has broadened and shifted over time. Current supply chain trends—differentiation, outsourcing, compression, and collaboration—are being used to restructure supply networks and improve coordination. As more companies integrate their networks, capabilities are improving. The levels of product customization and business complexity are also increasing. As this continues, Supply Chain Management is being used in new ways to create uniquely defined customer relationships anchored on appropriate Customer-centric Design.

The field of Supply Chain Management will continue to influence companies. The best way to understand the impact of a long-term trend is to examine how the trend has changed the way executives view their businesses and what issues they choose to focus on.

Rationale Behind Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities. It is the management of the flow of goods and services. Essentially, Supply Chain Management addresses the fundamental business problems of supplying products to meet demand in a complex and uncertain world.

Conceptually, Supply Chain Management draws on the value chain concept of business strategist, Michael E. Porter. It conveys the idea of looking at the supply chain issue at the multi-company level.

As the global business environment becomes more complex and competitive, there have been shorter product life cycles and greater product variety. Due to this, it has increased supply chain costs and complexity. The birth and growth of outsourcing, globalization, and business fragmentation has resulted in a crucial need for supply chain integration. Coupled with advances in information technology, this has led to the creation of greater opportunity for Supply Chain Management.

Why is Supply Chain Management essential at this time? There is now an increasing need to create net value, build a competitive infrastructure, leverage worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand, and measure performance globally. Only Supply Chain Management has a systematic process to satisfy these increasing demands.

With the increasing application of Supply Chain Management, there have been shifts in the view of management and influencing Strategy Development.

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking are the major shifts that have redefined management’s view which is far different from traditional Supply Chain thinking.

The first Core Pillar is Multi-company Collaboration. This is the shift from cross-functional integration to multi-company collaboration. Traditionally, Supply Chain thinking was focused on integrating within their companies. But with the new Supply Chain Management perspective, the focus now is on integrating across companies to coordinate and improve supply.

With the shift in thinking, what is asked now is how do we coordinate activities across companies, as well as across internal functions, to supply products to the markets. This is a great deviation from the traditional thinking which ask how do we get the various functional areas of the company to work together to supply product to our immediate customers.

With the first Core Pillar, we get to achieve significant breakthroughs. There are lower supply chain-related costs and improved responsiveness within a chain of companies.

The very essence of Multi-company Collaboration is rethinking how organizations align goals and make decisions.

The other Core Pillars are Market Mediation, Demand Focus, Product Design Influence, Business Model Innovation, and Customized Offerings. Each core pillar is considered an enabler that has a vast impact on Supply Chains.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the 6 pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) thinking? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Mastering Strategic Supply Chain Planning: The Pegasus of Strategy

5 Aug

Strategic Supply Chain Planning is the “Pegasus of Strategy.”  It can soar, but it also needs to keep its feet on the ground.

Companies with a global supply chain now need to introduce its strategic left hand to its operational right hand.  To make planning more valuable, its strategic supply chain planning needs to combine strategic planning with its tactical supply chain planning.  The importance of aligning strategic direction to the supply chain has become of utmost importance.

Senior Managers formulate strategies to maximize shareholder value. Supply chain planners run optimization models to minimize costs. If scenario planning is combined with supply chain planning, the best of both worlds is achieved. The company can expect to achieve a long-term competitive advantage.

Strategic Supply Chain Planning provides the framework in selecting projects that best support the organization’s supply chain objectives and strategies. It plays an essential role within the Planning Spectrum.

The Planning Spectrum

Within the Planning Continuum are 3 decision-making models of importance to the business.

The range of Strategic Planning approaches across the Planning Spectrum depends on the fundamental changes it is focused on.  Strategic Planning, Strategic Supply Chain Planning, and Tactical Supply Chain Planning differ in terms of scope of decision making, decision horizon, flexibility to act, and possible tools to use.

Let us take a look at Strategic Planning.  In Strategic Planning, its scope of decision making covers the entire nature of the business. This means that the planning scope covers the reevaluation of the business model.

When undertaking Strategic Planning, there are several tools that can be used.  Organizations may use the Framework Analysis or lower-level analysis that may entail the use of spreadsheets. Dynamics tools and other simulation tools may also be used.

If we look at the Strategic Supply Chain Planning, its scope of decision making is more focused or directed. This is undertaken to determine whether there is a need to open or close plants and distribution centers.  It is used to determine whether there is a need to modify capacity, change product offerings even the decision to manufacture in-house or to outsource it. Strategic Supply Chain Planning is more directed towards a specific area.

Once Strategic Supply Chain Planning has been undertaken, it is appropriate to follow this up with Tactical Supply Chain Planning. It is at this point wherein organizations now have to plan out and determine which plant should produce what product over the coming months depending on the demand forecast.

When undertaking the Planning Spectrum, it is best to understand the scope of decision making of each planning approach for organizations to achieve the best results.

Other Organizational-based Tools

The 3 Planning approaches have demonstrated effective use of organization-based tools to maximize results and impact. One is the use of Optimization Models for Strategic Supply Chain Planning. The Optimization Model has been known to have been applied effectively by corporations such as Baxter International, Inc., Pet Inc., and GM.

Baxter International, Inc. has been successful in using SAILS or Strategic Analysis of Integrated Logistics Systems. It has been used to evaluate consolidated approaches. Pet Inc was able to used SAILS to assess supply chain synergies from 2 potential acquisitions.

The use of the Optimization Model in Strategic Supply Chain Planning and Tactical Supply Chain Planning differs both in design and use.  Hence, it is essential for organizations to have a good understanding of the Planning Spectrum to effectively integrate to use the Optimization Model.

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Organizational DNA 101: A Guide to Defining Your Organization’s Behavior and Characteristics

3 Aug

Execution has become the new watchword in Boardrooms.  As organizations fail to effectively implement strategies, the importance of execution has risen to the forefront. Essentially, the first step in resolving these dysfunctions is to understand how the inherent traits of an organization influence and even determine each individual’s behavior. Organizations must also understand how collective behavior affects company performance.

The idiosyncratic characteristics of an organization can be codified using the DNA. When the DNA of an organization is purely configured, unhealthy symptoms and counterproductive behaviors are demonstrated.

Understanding the DNA and the Organizational DNA Framework

DNA has been used as a family metaphor to codify the idiosyncratic characteristics of a company.

The Organizational DNA Framework examines all aspects of company architecture, resources, and relationships.  It ensures that managers focus their efforts on reinforcing what works in the organization and modifying what does not. It helps companies identify and expose hidden strengths and entrenched weaknesses.

In identifying unhealthy symptoms and unproductive behavior, the Org DNA Profiler is used as a tool.  It allows management to gain insight into what is and is not working deep inside a highly complex organization.

The 4 Key Areas or Building Blocks

The Org DNA Profiler, as an Assessment tool, was used to fix problems by identifying and isolating them.  Launched in 2003, the Org DNA Profiler measures an organization’s relative strength in 4 Building Blocks on the basis of individual employees’ responses to 19 questions.

What Type of Organization Do You Have?

When diagnosing and overcoming organizational impediments, there is also a need to identify the type of organization that you have. There are 7 broad types of organizations; each organization fitting a certain type.

There is a Resilient Organization.  A Resilient Organization can adapt quickly to external market shifts.  It can remain steadfastly focused on and aligned with a coherent business strategy.  Resilient Organizations can anticipate changes routinely and addresses them proactively. They can attract motivated team players and offers a stimulating work environment, resources, and authority to solve tough problems.

However, there is also a disadvantage when it comes to Resilient Organizations. Resilient Organizations have the tendency to be overly adapted toward one direction or the other.

Another type of organization is the Just-in-Time Organization. The JIT Organization demonstrated an ability to turn on a dime when necessary, without losing sight of the big picture. They can manage to hold on to good people and performs well financially. A Just-in-Time Organization is a stimulating and challenging place to work.

While this may be a good place to work, it can also have its disadvantages. A Just-in-Time Organization is not proactive in preparing for impending changes. In fact, it has not made a leap from good to great. As such, it tends to miss opportunities by inches rather than miles.  It celebrates successes that are marginal rather than unequivocal.

The third type of organization is the Military Organization. This type of organization succeeds through sheer force of will of top executives. However, it has a shallow and short-lived middle management bench.

There are 4 other types of organizations. There can be the Passive-Aggressive Organization, the Fits-and-Starts Organization, the Outgrown Organization, and the Overmanaged Organization.

The Passive-Aggressive Organization is considered the most prevalent of all types of organizations. The Outgrown and Overmanaged Organizations, on the other hand, are those that are often considered unhealthy.

The intricacies and defining characteristics of the 7 types of organizations are effective in creating specific interventions to enhance performance and execution.  Knowing and understanding the types of organizations can better assist organizations in the analysis of their DNA and guide them in undertaking Business Transformation or Strategy Development.

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When Organizational Behavioral Issues Start Affecting Organizations

31 Jul

Most organizations are unhealthy.  Only organizations that are recognized to be Resilient, Just-in-Time, and Military can be described and relatively free from dysfunction.  Yet, only 27% of the responses gathered from the Org DNA Profiler showed a healthy profile.

The Org DNA Profiler is a short online self-assessment tool launched on December 9, 2003. It was used to measure an organization’s relative strength in 4 key areas, on the basis of individual employees’ responses to 19 questions. From a total of 4,007 completed assessments collected, there were 6 Organizational Behavioral issues that were prompted.  These issues can still be turned around by undertaking the appropriate step.

The 6 Key Issues on Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavioral Issues are observations on the prevalence of dysfunctions among business organizations.

  1. Most organizations are unhealthy. More than 60% of the organizations are either Passive-Aggressive, Fits-and-Starts, Outgrown, or Overmanaged.
  2. Organizational DNA changes as companies grow. Small companies report more Resilient and Just-in-Time behaviors. They become more centralized and demonstrate Military traits as they grow.  Once annual revenues cross the $101B threshold, decentralization occurs. However, often this is undertaken badly.
  3. Attitude determines attitude. There are sharp differences between senior management and lower-level personnel. A disconnect exists between the organizations that senior executives believe they have established and the organizations they are actually running.
  4. Non-executives feel micromanaged. Junior managers feel a lack of maneuvering room compared to senior managers who view their self-professed involvement in operating decisions as good.
  5. Decision rights are unclear. More than 50% of the respondents believe that the accountability for decisions and actions in their organizations was vague.
  6. Execution is the exception, not the rule. Less than 50% of the respondents agreed that important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action in their organizations.

It is expected that all organizations have behavioral issues.  However, unlike humans and other organisms, organizations can change their DNA by adjusting and adapting their building blocks and resolve these issues. There are just processes that organizations must take into consideration to effectively address these behavioral issues and turn them around for the benefit and advantages of the organization.

The Need to Unlearn, Learn, and Relearn

It is advisable for an organization to continue to analyze its organization as it grows into and occasionally out of dysfunction.  This can be done by using a 4-step evolutionary process.

Step 1: $0 – $500 Million. The first step or Step 1 generally demonstrates characteristics depicting Resilient or Just-in-Time profiles.

Organizations at this level are effective at executing and adapting to changes in the environment. They are generally younger small companies that are attuned to and aligned with the vision and strategy of the founders. They are known to be able to adapt more nimbly to market shifts.

Step 2: $500 Million – $1 Billion. The second step is an evolutionary phase where organizations are starting to experience the adverse effect of growth in terms of size.  This is basically the stage where Military profile has reached its peak in revenue segment. These are the organizations that are bureaucratic, slow, and overly politicized. At this point, expanding middle management starts to second guess and interfere in lower-level decision making.

Step 3 is where organizations are becoming too large and step 4 is returning back to a Resilient profile. The 4-step evolutionary process reflects the stages of development of organizations as they start from being small to being large and complex. It is a reflection of the issues they are encountering at each step of development that they are in. Knowing where they are at this point will enable an organization to better undertake their Strategy Development in a most effective approach.

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Understanding The Importance of Organizational DNA: 10 Core Principles

29 Jul

Organizations can change over the years. Change may happen because that is what the customers expect or it is because the organization gets to have even the most coveted skills. Despite the changes, there are those that stay the same—the organization’s brand, its unique culture, and its shared lexicon. These are the underlying organizational and cultural design factors that define an organization’s personality. Metaphorically, these are called Organizational DNA. The Organizational DNA can indicate whether the organization is strong or weak in executing strategy.

Today, execution has come to a fore as organizations fail to effectively implement strategies. Organizations now realize that it must first resolve this dysfunction by understanding how the inherent traits of an organization influence and even determine each individual’s behavior. The idiosyncratic characteristics of an organization can be codified using the DNA. When the DNA of an organization is purely configured, unhealthy symptoms and counterproductive behaviors are demonstrated. High performing organizations have shown that there are precepts that they closely follow to ensure that their Organizational DNA is in order.

The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA

The 10 Principles of Organizational DNA are the precepts upon which high-performance companies are built on.

Let us take a look at 5 of the 10 Principles of Organizational DNA.

  1. Organizations always identify with 1 of 7 behavioral patterns regardless of industry and geography. Enterprise-wide behavior can either be passive-aggressive, overmanaged, outgrown, fits-and-starts, just-in-time, military-precision, or resilient. The complication here is that companies can face and conquer even the most pernicious performance problems by changing personalities. When this happens, it is crucial that the company must be ready for any problems that may arise as a result of the change in personality type. The inability to address these problems may be detrimental to the organization. Changing personality is not easy. It must be well-studied and strategically planned.
  2. Companies contain a mix of personalities. Business units fall under different archetypes, particularly in major acquisitions. At this stage, it is possible that a resilient organization may have a division that matches the fits-and-starts profile, characterized by smart entrepreneurial talent. However, despite that, it may lack the collective discipline necessary.
  3. There is a strong connection between personality type and strategy execution. In the survey conducted, 48% of the respondents fit a profile that is distinguished by weak execution. Passive-aggressive organizations may have people who pay lip service to results but they may consistently undermine some necessary efforts.
  4. Strong execution can be sustained. Organizations with a strong execution archetype cannot afford to be complacent. Leaders must continually seek feedback from the market, encourage and act on criticism from customers and frontline employees, and take action to address minor issues. These must be done before any problem gets bigger.
  5. The combination of building blocks determines the organization’s aptitude for execution. Organization DNA is made up of 4 building blocks. These are decision rights and norms, motivation and commitments, information and mindsets, and structure and networks. Complications may come in when companies decide to improve execution. At this point, building blocks must be considered and these must be considered as a whole and not individually.

The other 5 core principles of Organizational DNA are essentially necessary. Even the company with the most desirable profile, the resilient organization, must continually stay at the top of the game. Hence, it is essential that organizations must adopt the most appropriate behavioral pattern and personality to be able to build high-performance organizations. Strategy Development must be able to integrate into the organization’s Business Transformation the 10 core principles of Organizational DNA.

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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.

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COVID-19: 10 Trends in Consumer Behavior

24 Jul

COVID-19 has taken the world by a storm. Financial markets, manufacturing, services, and tourism have been hit hard.  In fact, it has also changed the way we work, communicate, interact, and shop more than any other disruption in the decade.

As a result, there have been key changes in Consumer Behavior. There is a growing reluctance to visit crowded places, the increasing shift of work from the office to home, and the higher propensity for digital adoption and Digital Transformation.  The changes are inevitable. For businesses to stay relevant, businesses have to adjust to the new norms.

We are now entering the Low Touch Economy, a new normal where there are behavioral shifts and entirely different rules and policies.

A Glimpse of the Low Touch Economy

A new economy will be shaped as a result of new habits and regulations. There will be reduced close-contact interaction, tighter travel, and hygiene restriction.

The global economy will transition into a Low Touch Economy as an aftermath of the COVID-19 2020 crisis.  A Low Touch Economy will be characterized by entirely different rules and policies, habits, and behaviors. New rules and policies will be passed that will limit the number of people gathering, restrict travels, hygiene requirements, and strict adherence to practices that will ensure the protection of vulnerable groups.

In the work organization, there will be more people working from home and there will be a greater need for access to e-commerce and logistics.  With the Low Touch Economy, traditional business and lifestyle norms will be greatly challenged and behavioral shifts occurring.

The 10 Trends in Consumer Behavior

While COVID-19 has made a great dent in the global economy, it has also triggered a shift in human behavior. There are 10 trends in Consumer Behavior driven by COVID-19 that are becoming more and more prevalent.

Let us take a look at the first 4 Trends in Consumer Behavior.

Trend 1: Mental Health

As a result of COVID-19, there is an increasing state of anxiousness, loneliness, and depression.  People have started feeling isolated, experiencing lower productivity, and even loss of a job. Relationships have also been affected and the cost of healthcare increased.

Trend 2: Hygienic Concerns

The second trend is geared more on limiting COVID-19 exposure on the job.  It is the ability to respond to varying levels of disease transmission through prevention and control measures.

As a result of this trend, there has been increased caution when interacting with people and products.  In fact, establishments, offices, and even individuals are increasingly demanding for formal proof of hygiene and current health status.

Trend 3: Travel

Travel and Tourism is the trend that has the biggest impact as an industry.  There are now extended travel restrictions, even within one’s country.

We can expect local tourism to flourish and there will be longer extensive holidays with quarantine taken into consideration.

Trend 4: Working from Home

Trend 4 is a COVID-19 preventive measure that used to be an office perk.  There is now a need to optimize remote work home setups, which are beyond typical office jobs. As a result of this trend, individuals and families will start figuring out news ways to balance work-life needs within the confines of home.

With more people working from home, we can expect a reduction in office space and infrastructure.  At the home front, there will be the presence of special equipment, machines, and advanced video/audio setups to accommodate the change in lifestyle.

There are 6 other trends on Consumer Behavior that have propped up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With these trends, there are response mechanisms we can expect from organizations, families, and even individuals.

What to Expect

With the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, we can expect organizations to come up with response mechanisms that will address concerns arising from these trends. Relative to mental health, risk-stratified crisis counseling needs to be initiated as additional support to employees. In fact, it is essential that organizations provide comprehensive benefits for their employees that will center on mental health.

For each trend, a corresponding response mechanism must be put in place if we are intent on ensuring the well-being of our employees and the continuity and stability of our organization.

Interested in gaining more understanding of 10 trends in COVID-19-driven Consumer Behavior? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about COVID-19: 10 Trends in Consumer Behavior here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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