Case Studies

Vertical integration

Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds You
Desire to vertically integrate can be quite tempting when you see that other participants of the value chain are making good money. But chasing profits can be risky business when you irritate those that send you business.. Read more



Driving Change in Your Organization

Rallying the troops around a common objective is a difficult task, even for the most successful leaders. Each year, that task becomes more difficult as management is inundated with a multitude of programs designed to propel their organizations into the stratosphere.

Many of the programs have become so commonplace that they have taken a life (and an acronym) of their own:

Process reengineering, agile manufacturing, best practices and many other useful tools and concepts have been developed to help business leaders diagnose, plan and implement programs to drive their organizations toward a better future.

While Motorola has the resources to develop its own college, hire trainers and external consultants to drive the process in one of these change programs, John Smith may struggle with hiring enough quality people throughout his organization.

Fortunately, the critical value of these programs can be achieved in small to mid-sized companies, but the approach must be simpler and more focused.
The truth of the matter is that these programs are all after the same thing, increased profits and cash flow.

Large organizations can easily lose sight of this and may need to rally their troops around a common program just to force such a diverse group of people to stay on task. Sometimes, the process takes a life of its own and may even alter the objective (e.g. – increase quality beyond the requirements of the market at the expense of profits). It’s not that these programs are not helpful, but when they don’t have a positive impact on profits and cash flow, they should be modified or re-examined.

Small to mid-sized businesses may generate significant value by implementing a process similar to these large company programs, but must be tailored to fit their specific needs.

  1. Develop a well-defined objective:
    • Keep it simple, but specific
    • Be able to trace the objective to improve profits or cash flow
  2. Find a Champion:
    • Each program needs a strong, motivated and passionate person committed to achieving the objective
  3. Utilize cross functional teams:
    • Go across organizational boundaries
    • Pick leaders, well-respected, often busy people
  4. Measure and Monitor the progress:
    • Provide information that allows each person to see the direct correlation between their impact and project success
    • Though tricky, tie compensation to meeting objectives
  5. Communicate Frequently
    • Provide feedback to those participating in the change process continually
    • Over time, encourage program participants to present their findings and ideas directly to senior management
  6. Walk the Talk!
    • Senior management must embrace the change program and support it at every turn if it is to be successful

Ultimately, you want to adopt those nuggets of ideas and methodologies that best utilize your assets to produce profits and cash flow. Don’t feel that you are ineffective because you don’t adopt a specific program in its entirety.

When people ask you what program you are running, just say “the SB Model – Smart Business.”