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Currently viewing the tag: "strategy development"

Supply chain thinking used to be limited to the managers of a few global companies—companies that were struggling to coordinate internal information and pic 1 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Managementmaterials. 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.

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Execution has become the new watchword in Boardrooms.  As organizations fail to effectively implement strategies, the importance of execution has risen to the pic 1 Organizational DNA Primerforefront. 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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Most organizations are unhealthy.  Only organizations that are recognized to be Resilient, Just-in-Time, and Military can be described and relatively free from pic 1 Organizational Behavioral Issuesdysfunction.  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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Decision rights are unclear. More than 50% of the respondents believe that the accountability for decisions and actions in their organizations was vague.
  1. 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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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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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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Post-merger Integration (PMI) can be complex, time-pressured, and unfamiliar for most organizations. It is a highly complex process. It requires swift action as well pic 1 PMI process1as 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.

It is inevitable that some elements of information will be withheld from a Buyer pre-deal. Further, not all the synergy benefits originally identified in the deal will prove to be achievable. The foremost challenge for management at the onset of the PMI process is to identify how value can be captured from the newly combined organization via synergies and cost savings.

Hence, undertaking the PMI Process requires a clear roadmap that will take the post-merger integration journey toward a more strategic and effective direction. This is where Strategy Development comes in.

The 5 Core Components of the PMI Process

Organizations must have a good understanding of the integration process to ensure that target results are achieved and that expectations are met. There are 5 core components of the PMI Process organizations must follow to make the process more successful where the deal value is achieved and realized.

  1. PMI Structure. This is the first component of the PMI Process that establishes the stages of the integration process. It consists of sub-projects that take place before and after the closing or change of ownership.
  1. Management Alignment. The second core component, Management Alignment is focused on aligning top managers of both Buyer and Target. For the first time, top managers of the Buyer and Target become part of the same organization. It is at this stage wherein there is a change of priorities and commitment of top managers. The new management team must be aligned and committed to the same goal.  This way, they convey the same message to the new organization.
  1. First 100 Days. The First 100 Days is where the PMI Process starts focusing on making changes. The First 100 Days is the maximum period people can live with the uncertainty regarding the new organizational structure and decision on redundancy. This core component is highly critical as this paves the way towards a smooth transition to a new organization.
  1. PMI Project Management. The fourth component is focused on budget planning and management. It is at this stage wherein the preparation of the first estimates of integration costs during the transaction or purchase phase is undertaken.
  1. Kick-off Meeting. The fifth or final core component is the Kick-off Meeting. Starting teamwork is its main focus. Participants are brought up to speed on events in both predecessor entities and the joint strategy.  This is the avenue to provide instructions, guidelines, and templates. A Kick-off Meeting is typically a 2-day session including the time to socialize.

The Red Flag Warning in Post-merger Integration

When going through Post-merger Integration, we can expect some red flag warnings.  These are disturbances that may warrant such a red flag warning.  As organizations go through the deal, there will be critical issues on personnel and customers that will arise.

One critical issue that may raise the concern of the Integration team is the possibility of losing your key personnel. Losing your key personnel can cause a dent in any organization. At this point wherein integration is happening, the more the support of the key personnel is of utmost importance. Losing them would be a great loss.

Aside from red flag warnings, there will also be key considerations organizations must take note of during integration. Being aware of these will prepare them as they move on forwards to achieving a successful deal.

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When organizations go through a Post-merger Integration, often management realizes that it is never a simple undertaking. It is a highly complex process. Swift pic 1 Tips for successaction is required as well as being able to run the core business activities simultaneously.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful PMI Process. However, to maximize deal value, there is a need for careful planning focused on the strategic objectives of the deal and the identification and capturing of synergies.

The PMI Process requires a Strategy Development approach geared towards unifying 2 organizations into one new organization with a common culture, equipped with the right people and good leadership in place. It is a challenging journey where organizations, both the Buyer and the Target, must take on the appropriate approach to be able to start off the process and close the deal with the expected results in place.

New organizations often benchmark Post-merger Integration Process leaders to guide them through the process. By following best practices, new organizations will have a better understanding of how to approach the PMI process in a more strategic manner.

Achieving PMI Success: The Top 10 Tips

There are top 10 tips that can help organizations conquer what could be a complex integration process.  Following the top 10 tips will enable organizations to successfully traverse through the process.

Let us discuss here 4 of the top 10 tips to achieve PMI success.

  1. Focus on Key Sources of Value. In focusing on key sources of value, we need to be able to communicate how the value of the deal will be captured. Success organizations often structure integration teams based on key sources of value. They make teams understand the value for which they are accountable and how this will be unlocked via the PMI process.
  2. Clearly Define Nature of the Deal. Often successful integrations are achieved when the nature of the deal is clear. Organizations need to be able to determine what is to be integrated and what is to remain as stand-alone.  They need to have a good idea of what the adopted culture will be and which people are to be retained. This way, organizations can easily jumpstart the PMI process in the right direction.
  3. Have the Right People in Placed. Needless delays in the implementation of the PMI process can exacerbate anxieties amongst staff. This can cause speculative conversations or result in staff insecurities. To address, organizations focus on the immediate mobilization of the integration process. One way of doing this is having the right people in placed.  Selecting people who are enthusiastic about the new vision and are happy to contribute it will facilitate a good start for the integration process.  However, there is a need to maintain balance. People from both the Buyer and Target must be selected and appointed.
  4. Get the Buyer up-to-speed. This is one important tip that will jumpstart the process. Get the Buyer up-to-speed. This can be done by encouraging the Buyer to begin planning the integration process even before the deal is announced. It is of great advantage if the Buyer will identify everything that must be done prior to closing. Active participation of the buyer is essential to keep the PMI process on high gear.

Aside from the 4 top tips, the other 6 top tips are equally effective in guiding organizations to achieve deal maximization. These top 10 tips can be of great help to organizations when faced with challenging obstacles as they go through the process of integration. The PMI Process is a very complex undertaking but it can be achieved and be conquered with just the right approach and guide.

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“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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

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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 PMI Day One Activitiesall 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.

It is inevitable that some elements of information will be withheld from a Buyer pre-deal. Further, not all the synergy benefits originally identified in the deal will prove to be achievable. The foremost challenge for management at the onset of the PMI process is to identify how value can be captured from the newly combined organization via synergies and cost savings.

Understanding Post-merger Integration

Post-merger Integration is the fundamental stage of realizing the value of an M&A deal.  A highly complex process, it entails bringing together 2 companies experiencing change while ensuring that business continues as usual.  A truly challenging undertaking that must never be underestimated.

When 2 companies agree to undertake a Post-merger Integration, its primary objective is to maximize synergies to ensure that the deal lives up to its predicted value. It is a phase during which the results of the Buyer’s M&A strategy and expectations for the closed deal start to materialize.

In the entire phase, Closing and Day One of change is the most critical. It is the initial starting point towards the change of ownership and where Strategy Development is at its core.

Closing and Day One

During Closing and Day One, Managers must focus on 3 important areas.

  1. Communications. Corporate Communications must be well planned and well implemented. This is to enable managers to lead an M&A project more effectively. Through structured communication, trust is built, motivation developed, and important information shared. In fact, it can prevent the negative impact of rumors and unify the different parts of the joint company.
  1. Operating Structure. New operating structures and systems are made once the joint company’s strategy and goals have been agreed upon. From Day One, it is important that new management and operational structure/reporting procedures are clearly communicated. In the development of the operating structure, it is important that a CEO has been appointed, the key personnel roles decided, and there is already an agreement on operative and statutory structures.
  1. Systems & Controls. A clear and detailed Systems & Controls must be established by Day One. This is essential for management to be able to gain control of the operations of the Target. If operational structures are not finalized at this point, a temporary management system and control need to be established.

The Important Role of a CEO and Key Personnel from Day One

The CEO plays a vital role in the joint business. The CEO or Managing Director is involved in the acquisition process.  Hence, it is important that from Day One, a CEO or Managing Director has already been appointed.

Often the CEO comes from the Buyer or its group or corporate entity.  If an existing CEO of the acquired entity continues the same role, then the Buyer must nominate a controller to ensure financial integration and smooth reporting.

The Key Personnel is also essentially important from Day One.  In fact, there is a need for positions and roles of key personnel during the integration process to be planned in advance and communicated at closing.

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No free lunch was ever served quickly. Traditional supply chain cannot offer both low prices and fast delivery.pic 1 Agility in Supply Chain Delivery Design

Online retailing has changed. Before, we see e-commerce companies fulfilling consumer demand from a small number of large-scale warehouses that carried a similar catalog of items. Inventory for low-volume products was maintained in a few locations as possible while maintaining service levels that met customer expectations.

Today, consumers are demanding more than just low prices. Consumers are also demanding that products ordered be delivered quickly. As a result, the demand for quick day delivery is now pushing retailers to experiment with new Strategy Development and operation models. Notably, known retailers such as Amazon.com, Nordstrom, and Macy’s are redesigning their distribution networks. Retailers today have recognized that the terms of competition have changed.

The Shift from Traditional Online Retailing to Fourth Industrial Revolution: Why the Need for Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

The early days of online retailing were not as competitive as today. Inventory costs were kept low and economies of scale that large fulfillment centers provide are taken advantage of. Consumers were willing to wait for deliveries as proximity and speed were less important than cost savings.

But today, customer expectations go beyond lower prices. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has changed the terms of competition in online retailing.

Achieving same-day delivery has moved retailers to use third parties (local city-specific delivery services) and crowdsourcing (paying individuals by the task to shop for and deliver groceries). Retailers are also looking at setting up physical lockers where customers can retrieve their packages or use of physical store networks to fulfill online orders. Others are adding warehouses near major urban markets and IT solutions are now being used to access real-time sales data and inventory information.

The chain in the online retailing landscape has changed and there is now an increasing need to achieve Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Understanding Agility in Supply Chain Network Design

What is putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design or Distribution Agility? It is the ability to invest in real-time sales and inventory information, coupled with advanced analytics to accommodate fluctuations and changes in the business environment quickly. This is Agility in Supply Chain Network Design.

Putting Agility in Supply Chain Network Design requires a 3-phase process. Let us take a look at one of the 3 phases: The First Phase.

The First Phase is to Reinvent Network Design Thinking. This phase has an important implication on cost performance as they relate to customers. It requires redesigning the physical distribution network and the information network for it to be able to support the Supply Chain Network Design. The first phase ensures that the real-time information system is in place that incorporates data on sales by time and location.

Once the first phase is undertaken, this will facilitate an immediate response to agile and traditional systems. This is what Amazon.com Inc. did. Amazon opened 43 small-scale delivery stations and 53 hubs to augment a distribution network of 101 fulfillment centers and 29 sorting centers. They applied real-time stock visibility across the network and intelligent product replenishment and fulfillment to mitigate the cost of trade-off. As a result, it allowed them to effectively and immediately respond to changing consumer demands. While not all online retailers can be like Amazon, yet all can have an Agile Supply Chain Network to make them competitive in today’s digital era of Business Transformation.

Putting the other 2 phases in place will complete the entire process of ensuring an Agile Supply Chain Network Design. Why is agility important? Agility in Supply Chain addresses the outmoded conflict between low prices and fast delivery. It enables organizations to build strategies that can make adjustments both at the planning and operation levels.

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