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The uncertain times, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have spur leaders to reflect on what kind of organization, culture, and operating model they need to put Pic 1 Team Resiliencyin place. This is to avoid returning to previous patterns of behavior and instead, be able to embrace the next normal.

In this rapidly changing environment, people in organizations need to respond with urgency, without senior executives and traditional governance slowing things down. Waiting to decide, or even waiting for approval, is the worst thing to happen. Today, some level of coordination across teams and activities is crucial for the organization’s response to be effective.

Getting Ready for Business Resilience

Business Resilience is a management approach that integrates many disciplines into a single set of integrated processes. It is an enterprise-wide term that encompasses Crisis Management and Business Continuity.

Business Resilience enables organizations to face a wide range of risks—risks that can cause long-term harm, from a financial penalty to reputational damage. This is further emphasized with the global economy greatly affected by COVID-19, a pandemic that has overturned business and rattled the entire global business environment.

Addressing the COVID-19 pandemic

Leaders across industries cannot treat the Coronavirus pandemic like any other event. COVID-19 is unlike any other event. No single executive has the answer. In this rapidly changing environment, organizations need to respond with urgency. There are several initiatives that can be undertaken and integrated in Strategy Development. One of these initiatives is to build Team Resilience through the creation of a Network of Teams.

A Network of Teams is a cohesive and adaptable network of teams that are united by a common purpose. It is empowered to operate outside of the current hierarchy and bureaucratic structures of the organization.

The 4-phase Approach to Creating a Network of Teams

The Network of Teams needs to be created in phases for it to be effectively cohesive and adaptable.

Phase 1: Central Team with Response Teams. Phase 1 begins with a Central Team launching a few primary response teams very quickly. There are several key considerations that must be underscored in Phase 1.

Organizations must create teams that will tackle current strategic priorities and key challenges facing the organization. The model that is to be built must be flexible and capable of shifting when mistakes happen. The network must be created to learn, using the information to update actions and strategies. It must spur experimentation, innovation, and learning which is done simultaneously among many teams. There must be spontaneous learning in the face of challenges and opportunities at the individual, team, and network-wide levels.

Team leaders must be creative problem solvers with critical thinking skills, resilient, and battle-tested. Having teams that can respond to the dynamic demands of the external environment is one of the strengths of the network approach.

Phase 2: Hub and Spoke Model. The Hub and Spoke Model emerges when additional teams are launched to address rapidly evolving priorities and new challenges.

After the initial set of teams are created, leaders must shift toward ensuring that multidirectional communication takes place. There should be steady coordination with the central team hub in a daily stand-up meeting. Central Hub must make sure that support teams are using first-order problem-solving principles.

Leaders must take the role of catalyst and coach. The primary goal is to empower teams and support them at the same time, without micromanaging.

The next phase is Phase 3: Hub and Spoke with Subteams and Phase 4: the Network of Teams. The Hub and Spoke Model evolves into a Network of Teams when peripheral teams start connecting and collaborating directly with another.

With the Network of Teams, all self-organizations are turbocharged ready to face any disruptions the business has to encounter.

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There is a general belief among organizations that a large percentage of a product’s costs are locked in by design.  It is assumed that little can be done once the pic1 Integrated Cost Managementdesign is set.  This assumption has influenced cost management programs across diverse products’ life cycles. As a result, the focus during the design phase is Cost Reduction and Cost Containment during the manufacturing phase.

Yet, organizations that operated in a highly competitive market and demanded aggressive cost management showed that costs can be aggressively managed throughout the product life cycle.  Various cost management strategies or techniques may be used to increase the program’s overall effectiveness. One of them is the Integrated Cost Management.

A Purview on Integrated Cost Management

Integrated Cost Management is every organization’s prescription for lower cost and higher profits. It is the 21st business approach to achieving Cost Management efficiency.

Integration is necessary for Strategy Development as it can promote the achievement of the company’s profit objectives. In fact, there are major benefits to Integrated Cost Management. One of which is lowering of overall costs throughout the product life cycle.

Integrated Cost Management can facilitate a steady decrease in costs all the way to discontinuance.  In fact, it can result in an annual cost reduction of about 17% during manufacturing, savings that exceed 30$%, and a designed-in cost of below 70%.

Achieving this requires an understanding of the Integrated Cost Management Approach.

The Integrated Cost Management Approach

The Integrated Cost Management Approach focuses on the integration of cost management techniques which can lead to higher levels of cost reduction and superior overall performance.

The Integrated Cost Management Approach takes into consideration 5 Cost Management Strategies.

  1. Target Costing. This is the technique used or applied during the design stage.  It is a feed-forward mechanism that enables the retooling of the design of new products to reduce costs while maintaining the desired level of product functionality and quality.
  1. Product-Specific Kaizen Costing. This is a technique that enables the rapid redesign of a new product during the early stages of manufacturing to correct any cost overruns.  (Note: Kaizen is the general term for Continuous Improvement and often associated with Lean Management.)
  1. General Kaizen Costing. General Kaizen Costing is a technique that focuses on the way a product is manufactured with the assumption that the product’s design is already set. It is generally effective in addressing manufacturing processes that are used across several product generations.
  1. Functional Group Management. This is a technique that is used to break down the production process into autonomous groups and treat each as a profit center.
  1. Product Costing. Product Costing is a technique that coordinates the efforts of the other four (4) techniques by providing important, up-to-date information.

The 5 Cost Management Strategies enable organizations to better manage costs throughout the product life cycle, with just one (1) technique taking place during the product design and the rest during manufacturing.

The Key Takeaways

The application of the 5 Cost Management strategies has its key takeaways. These can be used as a guidepost in its application and a model of general concepts that organizations may consider.

One key takeaway is significant savings can still be achieved with short life cycle products and aggressive cost management focused on product design.   Taking to note this key takeaway, we have to consider that as the length of the manufacturing phase of the product’s life cycle increases, the opportunity for cost reduction increases.  Further, there is a need to explore the value of integrating multiple cost management during manufacturing.

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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-pic 1 Post-merger Integration (PMI) Integration Checklistall 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Supply Chain Management (SCM). This is undertaken at a later phase of integration as the fundamental change requires detailed planning and calculation.
  1. Production. This is one critical area where more experience and planning are required in decision making.
  1. 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.
  1.  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.

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assorted-variety-of-fruits-2255903The decision for pricing a product or service isn’t as simple as it seems.  It is a key consideration for executives.  Pricing way above the rival products risks not attracting the required customers while charging way below the competitor products could be equally detrimental.

Manufacturers can utilize research to have a better understanding on what consumers are willing to pay for a product.  There are a host of research-based pricing approaches available—e.g., Monadic, Sequential Monadic, Conjoint Analysis, Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter etc.—however, researchers often get confused on which one to use in a given product development phase.  Let’s discuss the Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter approach for now.

The Price Sensitivity Meter (PSM) is an easy-to-use method of evaluating price of a new product.  The method was developed by Peter Van Westendorp in 1976.  Through the PSM approach, consumers undergo a short survey where they answer 4 questions about their price expectations.  These answers are used to determine the maximum amount a consumer is willing to pay for a particular product and how higher the price be set for the customer to still buy the product.

The approach offers a ball-park figure for the price of a product, is easy to administer, requires less effort from the consumers, and the PSM results are communicated in the form of simple diagrams.  The approach, however, surveys only the “willingness to pay” attribute of a product, and is more appropriate for innovative products—as it is not easy to determine prices with competing products using this approach.  PSM analysis should be a part of your Pricing Strategy process.

The PSM approach encompasses the following key phases:

  1. Plan and Execute Market Research Survey
  2. Analyze Data
  3. Evaluate Intersections to Determine Price

Let’s discuss the first 2 phases of the approach.

Plan and Execute Market Research Survey

The initial phase of the PSM research entails deciding on the medium of the study and planning the logistics, design, resources, guidelines, and governance protocols for the survey.  More specifically, the phase involves:

  • Preparing the field research plans.
  • Determining whether the survey should be conducted online, telephonically, or face-to-face.
  • Identifying the consumers (respondents).
  • Assigning the required resources to the survey.
  • Getting the data collection tools and research instrument (questionnaire) ready.
  • The questionnaire includes the following questions:
    • At what price the product would become so expensive for you to even consider buying it?
    • Indicate the price that is expensive for you but you would still buy the product?
    • What would be the price that is too cheap for the product where you would start doubting its quality and not buy it?
    • Indicate the price of the product where you would consider it a great value for money (a bargain)?
  • Gathering data from the survey participants.

Analyze Data

The second phase pertains to analyzing the respondents’ data from the field survey.  This is done once the field data has been validated and cleansed of any inconsistent errors.  The steps taken in this phase include:

  • Ordering the 4 questions in a manner that it ranks prices as “Too Cheap,” “Bargain,” “Getting Expensive,” and “Too Expensive.”  The values of these ranks should be kept in numeric dollar values.
  • Plotting the responses of the survey participants on a graph.
  • Depicting the prices on the X-axis.
  • Representing the percentage of consumers who quoted the respective price (i.e. the cumulative frequency) on the Y-axis.
  • Reversing the values of the two curves.
    • The curves with the values “Too Cheap” and “Too Expensive” are drawn with inverse values. This creates two other curves.  These curves show the percentage of consumers who regard prices as “Getting Expensive” and “Bargain”.

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COVID-19 is shaping a “New Normal”—a Low Touch Economy that requires a strategic response.pic 1 Strategy Development Responding to COVID 19

The world is changing. Forced isolation and social distancing restrictions have been put into place with the advent of the COVID-19 health crisis. This is not expected to end soon but is expected to have a lasting effect on the world. In fact, a new generation of consumer behaviors is already being shaped.

The new world will not be better off or worse. It will be different. During this period of influx, some businesses will thrive in this change and reach accelerated success, while others will struggle to find their footing in all of the chaos. The Low Touch Economy is here.

The New Normal

The post-COVID-19 era will have an economy shaped by new habits and regulations based on reduced close contact interaction, tighter travel, and hygiene restrictions. While managing the current health crisis is the first priority, companies must start adapting its strategic response to the mid and long-term ripple effects of COVID-19.

Businesses, to survive, must learn how to effectively respond to COVID-19 that is marked with plenty of ups and downs and economic uncertainty. There will be fundamental shifts that are here to stay and there will be industries that will be turned upside down. Until there is a vaccine or herd immunity, the base case scenario will be continuous up and down of disruptions for the coming 2 years. Strategy Development now calls for business to make the right strategic approach.

The 3-phase Approach to Strategic Planning

During turbulent times, businesses must have the agility to switch from defense to offense. Taking the 3-phase approach to Strategic Planning will prepare organizations for the Low Touch Economy.

Phase 1: Protect

The first phase is focused on acting now to protect and run the business today. It is basically responding to the crisis and protecting the business. The primary objective of Phase 1 is to ensure the continuity and stability of the business despite the ongoing crisis.
This is best undertaken when employees and customers are grappling with one basic emotion and that is fear. The organization is faced with a declining revenue with prospects of liquidity freeze. Unfortunately, time horizons at this phase also remain uncertain.

When these scenarios are happening, the organization must strive to undertake strategies that will both protect the business, as well as ensure its continuity and stability. One strategy that must be undertaken is to put the safety of employees and customers first. With the advent of COVID-19, this is considered the most urgent thing to do and the most important. Once this has been taken care of, senior leaders can set up a war room where they can tackle immediate challenges.

The war room discussions must shift from just being reactive to being proactive when it comes to crisis management. At this point, model scenarios that are developed must be more aggressive than any of the team can think of. It has to be aggressive in the sense that it is capable of protecting the business from the disruption that COVID-19 is greatly inflicting on the organization.

At this time, during this phase, this is the best time too to invest in Innovation Management and R&D. While others are stalling, the most innovative companies spend more on R&D during the recession. The other 2 phases are Recover and Grow. Phase 2, Recover is focused on accelerating through the recovery and Phase 3, Grow is focused on achieving growth in the Low Touch Economy.

In what phase is your organization now? Are you Protecting? Recovering? or Growing?

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Supply Chain Resiliency is the capability of the Supply Chain to be prepared for unexpected risk events. It is the Supply Chain’s ability to respond and recover pic 1 Supply Chain Resiliencyquickly to potential disruptions. It can return to its original situation or grow by moving to a new, more desirable state in order to increase customer service, market share, and financial performance.

Resilience is currently an increasing concern in the Supply Chain caused by globalization. The Supply Chain is globally being subject to diverse types of disturbances. The largest disruption so far in the global Supply Chain in modern history was the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. With the rising level of logistical complexity, the resiliency of the Supply Chain has not kept pace. These disturbances need to be handled in the right way, compelling the use of tools and approaches that can support resilient Supply Chain decisions.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, resiliency in the Supply Chain is further emphasized.

Understanding Supply Chain Resilience 

The risk of Supply Chain disruption is increasing.  A recent study by Aon Risk Solutions showed that the percentage of global companies reporting a loss of income due to a Supply Chain disruption increased from 28% in 2011 to 42% in 2013.  The MIT Scale Network Study further showed that many large companies are unable to create contingency rules and procedures for operations during a complex, high-risk event.

According to the MIT study, approximately 60% of surveyed managers either do not actively work on Supply Chain risk management or do not consider their company’s risk management practice effective. Managers have been found to be lacking in a framework that will guide them in the deployment of risk management practices. In fact, it has been noted that there is little understanding of risks resulting in a lack of knowledge of what kind of framework fits a particular Supply Chain dynamics.

For Supply Chain Management to keep up with the increasing level of logistical complexity, there is a need to reconfigure the Supply Chain.

The 5-phase Approach to Supply Chain Resilience

In 2005, Cisco had difficulty coping when Hurricane Katrina struck. The Supply Chain performance level was not maintained to cope with the sudden surge in orders for new equipment to replace damaged telecommunication infrastructure.  The Cisco teams cannot locate all products in the Supply Chain or understand the financial impact of emergency sales. However, in 2011, that was a turning point for Cisco. Cisco had deployed a very solid Supply Chain resiliency program that addressed the impact of external vulnerabilities and the aftereffects it caused to the Supply Chain.

Cisco has succeeded by executing a 5-phase approach to Supply Chain Resiliency.

In reconfiguring its Supply Chain to make it more resilient, Cisco first identified its strategic objectives.

Phase 1: Identify Strategic Objectives. The first phase is focused on identifying competitive priorities for particular product categories. It matches priorities with Supply Chain capabilities.

Through Strategic Planning, Cisco was able to build its competitive advantage which depended on its ability to match global opportunities to outsource production with global market opportunities. This is known as the Cisco Lean Model.

Phase 2: Mapping Supply Chain Vulnerabilities. This focused on understanding the company’s vulnerabilities. Supply Chains are vulnerable on many fronts—political upheavals, regulatory compliance mandates, increasing economic uncertainty, natural disasters, etc.  Being aware of the vulnerabilities will enable the organization to come up with the appropriate design to achieve Supply Chain Resiliency.

In undertaking the second phase, Cisco focused on supporting a responsible global Supply Chain characterized by product differentiation, high value, and high margins. Mitigation measures were also implemented to make a resilient Supply Chain.

With the 5-phase approach, Cisco was able to achieve a resilient Supply Chain capable of effectively managing disruptions. It has also prepared them in addressing risk management warning signs and deploying the appropriate reactive tools to every kind of significantly disruptive event.

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Nowadays, sales reps who get to close the sale are those sales reps who get to discover the customer’s real problems. With life getting more hectic and people always pic1 Problem-centric Sellingon the rush, customers only prefer to spend more on the phone with sales teams whogets it.” These are the sales reps who do not only get to discover the customer’s real problem but also get to help them problem-solve in new ways.

Yet, a great number of salespersons miss closing the sale and reaching their quotas. In fact, in 2018, Salesforce found that more than 57% of sales representatives are expected to miss quotas for the year. This can be a challenge more so with organizations developing resolutions that revolve around increasing sales metrics and implementing new technologies.

The traditional method of selling is not enough anymore today. The first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve the core problem. A new method is now necessary that will require salespeople to first diagnose the real problem before coming up with the solution. This comes with a new Customer-centric Design.

The Future of Sales: The Upcoming Trends Salespeople Must Watch Out For

A survey was conducted on more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide. As a result of the survey, 5 Top Trends were revealed that are shaping up the world of sales. Two of these Top 5 Trends are changing sales mandate and the emergence of a Data-driven Sales Playbook.

  • Trend 1: As sales mandate change, teams are falling short of rising customer expectations. Technology is changing expectations on how companies should interact with consumers. It is now the salespeople who are on the frontline who are carrying the onus to deliver when customers demand more personalized consultative engagement. As a result, customer satisfaction has become the most-tracked sales Key Performance Indicator.
  • Trend 2: A Data-driven Sales Playbook is emerging. The ingenuity of salespeople with data-driven insights have been amplified. With the richness of data available, this has led to more effective methods of lead prioritization and forecasting.  There is now an increasing need for sales reps to prioritize leads based on data analysis rather than on intuition.

The effect of these Top 5 Trends has further been amplified with the increasing number of missed sales. Today, the traditional method of selling just does not work anymore.

A New Approach  to Selling: A Problem-centric Selling

The traditional method of selling is focused on determining the prospects’ needs. This does not work anymore as the first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve their core problems. There is now the need to shift to Problem-centric Selling.

Problem-centric Selling is an approach that diagnoses problems with as much specificity as possible. Often, the real problem is not well articulated by the potential buyer. With Problem-centric Selling, the specific customer needs are well identified thus enabling salespeople to better offer the right product or service.  It is thus important to integrating the philosophy of Problem-centric Selling into your Sales Management approach.

The Problem-centric Selling is anchored on 5 core elements.

Problem diagnosis starts with knowing and understanding your customer and their problems. This is where the first core element is centered on: Know the key facts about the customer.

Salespeople must be able to get a description of the environment of which the buyer works, the processes they use, the structure of the organization, the tools they have, the current goals of the business, and other information about the buyer and the business. The facts gathered must go beyond the basic name, size of the company, and the industry the business is in. This way, the salesperson can get to establish the context for where the customers’ problems lie.

The other 4 Core Elements are essentially important in guiding every salesperson to master the Problem-centric Approach and hit that sale with a successful deal.

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Supply Chain InformationSupply Chain Management is getting more and more complex.  The pressure on the Supply Chain information to be made public is also increasing day by day.  With the popularity and widespread use of social media, it has become more and more difficult for organizations to hide information pertaining to supply chain practices, employees’ treatment, suppliers’ processes, or waste materials generated that could affect the environment.  Social media often publicizes negative reports on companies’ supply chain practices—its best to have a robust information disclosure strategy before anything like that ever happens.

Executives must appreciate these external forces and information transparency demands, and react proactively to build and maintain competitive advantage for their organization.  They need to be able to, first, accurately predict the data requirements of various stakeholders and then unanimously decide on the type and frequency of the information to be shared.  A reactive information disclosure strategy is less time and planning intensive, but it does limit the chances of first-mover advantage over competition.

Supply Chain information can be classified into 4 categories:

  • Critical
  • Strategic
  • Non-critical
  • Optional

Critical Information

Organizations using this information category know that they have certain glitches in their Supply Chains that could potentially be a source of criticism from NGOs and the media and may bear adverse effects on their reputation.  This includes information concerning unhygienic or inferior quality products; unfair supply chain practices; or environmental problems.

Strategic Information

Even though stakeholders do not ask for this information, this information category is considered strategic as disclosing this data can boost brand value and product differentiation.  The strategic information category is high value to the organization but is low on risks for the supply chain.  For example, in the beauty, fashion or food products industry, sharing information about organic ingredients may be instrumental in achieving product differentiation and brand reputation.

Noncritical Information

Disclosure of this information category is typically un-called for and has negligible effects on brand value.  This information category has low value for the company and has low risks for the Supply Chain.  For instance, needlessly sharing child labor data in regions with actively enforced child welfare laws.

Optional Information

This information category is a matter of internal supply chain consideration and has no bearing on the customer.  The optional information category is low value to the organization and is actually highly risky for the Supply Chain.  For instance, potential quality issues and defects in the supply chain that are identified and resolved during quality control, and do not affect the finished product.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that organizations can adopt to ensure a viable and high-quality Supply Chain Information Disclosure.  However, the approach needs to be evolving based on individual circumstances.  Senior executives should promptly respond to public inquiries, ensure fair treatment of employees, and guarantee compliance with basic human rights to protect their organizations’ reputation.  Experts suggest the following 8-phase approach to address and improve Supply Chain Information Disclosure.

Appreciate the criticality of Supply Chain information disclosure

The first step is to analyze the forces that demand increased supply chain transparency and ascertain the importance and priority of information for the stakeholders.  Once it is established, the leadership must take actions to address the information requirements of key stakeholders.

Appraise Supply Chain data collection abilities and resource requirements

The next step is to assess the competence of the organization—and that of the suppliers—to gather quality supply chain data.  The executives should also evaluate the costs and resource requirements to enable improved information disclosure.

Determine the existing and desired levels of Supply Chain information

The third step is to ascertain the existing knowledge of supply chain information among the executives and suppliers.  The leadership needs to identify the desired levels of supply chain data collection and sharing capabilities, and invest to fill any gaps between the existing and desired supply chain data collection and sharing competencies.

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For Post-merger Integration (PMI) to be successful, it is critical that we have clearly defined, appropriate, and comprehensive roles and responsibilities.pic 1 Roles & Responsibilities

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.

While it may be a highly complex project, a successful PMI may be achieved and greater deal value can be expected. Right from Day One of PMI, it is already important that the Buyer and Target have the right people in place.  The success of the integration project depends on leadership, project management capabilities, and selection of the right personnel to the work in teams/streams.

Roles & Responsibilities in PMI: Why the Need for Emphasis

So, what are the requisite PMI roles and responsibilities?  Clearly defined roles and responsibilities are a fundamental factor that can make a big difference between gaining deal success or failure.

The Integration owner, together with the Integration Steering Group plays a critical role in defining the integration path of the organization. In Leadership Development, their role in the First 100 Days is a fundamental factor in achieving success or failure.

  1. Integration Owner. The Integration Owner is a member of the Buyer’s management team. He/she is basically the owner of the integration phase. It is the responsibility of the Integration Owner to oversee the integration phase, as well as the transaction/purchase phase.
  1. Integration Steering Group. The Integration Steering Group is the governing body of the integration phase. The specific role of the Integration Steering Group is to supervise the work of the Integration Project Manager and the Integration Team.
  1. Integration Manager. The Integration Manager is the Project Manager. He/she is the one in charge of the day-to-day management of the integration. If the Integration Manager has little or no project management experience then active hands-on support is required from the M&A Project owner.
  1. Integration Team/Stream. The Integration Team/Stream consists of an Integration Manager and its members. Streams are areas of the organization split into district parts but which are aligned to the overall strategy. Integration streams are often decided after the first appointment of the Integration Manager. Each stream is often headed by the Integration Stream Manager.

The Critical Role of the Integration Stream Manager

The Integration Stream Managers are selected from among the Buyer’s managers. They play a vital role as they are responsible for the development and implementation of detailed plans.

The Integration Stream Managers act as the team builder and introduce the team members to each other.  They ensure that the team members have all the information and tools needed for the task. They clarify goals, targets, timetables, reporting, and other important matters relative to the integration.  As Integration Stream Managers, they are expected to ensure that everyone in the team understands the goals the same way and is committed to making it happen.

In certain circumstances, it is possible that the Integration Stream Manager may also be Target’s manager.  This happens when Target’s manager has specialized knowledge or attributes necessary for the integration.

Undertaking the Post-merger Integration Process the right way can maximize deal value. On the other hand, it can result in the greatest potential loss of value when not done right. Being able to select the right people is the key.

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

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Learning n DevelopmentTransformation of an organization into a Next-generation Learning Organization (NLO) is a challenging endeavor.  The main hurdles include convoluted hierarchies, bureaucratic red tape, delayed decision making, and complicated organizational systems and processes.

To develop a learning organization, leadership needs to trim down bureaucracy and complexities.  They should make the best use of technology to gather holistic real-time data, deploy Artificial Intelligence at scale, and develop data-driven decision-making systems.

Five Core Pillars of Learning are essential for the creation of a Next-generation Learning Organization, including:

  1. Digital Transformation
  2. Human Cognition Improvement
  3. Man and Machine Relationship
  4. Expanded Ecosystems
  5. Management Innovation

Let’s take a deep dive into the first 3 Core Pillars.

1. Digital Transformation

The first pillar is Digital Transformation.  Next-generation Learning Organizations (NLOs) are characterized by their speed of learning and their adeptness to take action based on new insights.  They use emerging technologies to automate as well as “autonomize” their businesses, without relying too much on human intervention and decision-making.

By autonomizing, the NLOs enable machines to learn, take action, and evolve on their own based on continuous feedback.  They create integrated learning loops where information flows automatically from digital platforms into AI algorithms where it is mined in run-time to gather new insights.  The insights are passed to action systems for necessary action that create more data, which is again mined by AI, and the cycle continues, facilitating learning at fast pace.

2. Human Cognition Improvement

Next-generation Learning Organizations (NLOs) schedule time for their people to have unstructured reflection on their work.  While most organizations fear disruption of human work in future by AI and machines, NLOs assign unique roles to their people based on human cognition strengths—e.g., understanding relationships, drawing causal judgment, counterfactual thinking, and creativity.  These organizations are aware of AI’s advantage—in analyzing correlations in complex data promptly—as well as its shortcomings in terms of reasoning abilities and interpretation of social / economic trends.  NLOs make design the center of their attention and utilize human creativity and imagination to generate new ideas and produce novel products.  They assign roles accordingly, inspire imagination in people by exposing them to unfamiliar information, and inculcate dynamic collaboration.

3. Man and Machine Relationship

NLOs foster innovative ways to promote collaboration between people and machines.  They recognize that this helps them in better utilization of resources, maximize synergies, and learn dynamically.

To create effective collaboration between people and machines, NLOs develop robust human-machine interfaces.  The existing AI systems lack the ability to decipher everything, which is an area where humans excel.  NLOs supplement these shortcomings by setting up human-machine interfaces, where humans assist the AI by corroborating its actions and suggesting sound recommendations.  These learning organizations bifurcate responsibilities based on the risks involved, assign humans and machines appropriately against each job, and select a suitable level of generalization and sophistication between humans and machines.

Interested in learning more about the Core Pillars of Learning?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Next-generation Learning Organization: Core Pillars here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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