Ask Us How: Strategy Implementation

Posted by Michael Derin

Published on October 16, 2013 under NSW Business Chamber Partnership

Does your company have clear direction and a strategy in place?  Is your company strategy as clear as the following companies? 

- Domain.com.au: “The easiest way to find property”

- Unwired: “No wires, no wait, no worries”

- Miele (household appliances) “Anything else is a compromise”

- Flight Centre:  “Lowest Airfares Guaranteed”

Assuming you do have a clear idea of your direction & strategic focus, now it’s time to discuss how to go about implementing those strategies.  We can look at three areas in turn: resource planning, operations planning and management planning. 

RESOURCE PLANNING

Resource planning, in its simplest form, is about the right amount of resources to meet your organisation’s strategy.

So what resources are we talking about?  For most organizations these will include cash, manpower, IT systems, marketing mix and in some cases manufacturing resources.  For start-up companies and fast-growing companies the most fundamental and important resource to manage is cash.  Without cash nothing is possible.

Once you have identified the required resources needed to implement your strategy, it is time to analyze what resources you already have, how you can multiply the value of those resources and what resources you will need to get.  Timing is an important issue.

For example, managers who are gearing up to a big sales push are often faced with the dilemma of whether to hire a new employee now before the sales volumes kick off or whether to wait until the sales levels are reached to justify the costs of hiring a new employee (Wages, Super, Workers Comp, Payroll Tax).  There is no easy answer.

One way for managers to allocate current and future resources is to analyze different financial outcomes from different scenarios with the aim of prioritizing resource spending according to need. 

OPERATIONS PLANNING

Operations’ planning involves doing the most with limited resources to meet your organisation’s strategy

Some examples of the importance of operational plans are as follows:

  • Capacity Planning: Matching workflow/production with demand, ensuring smooth supply & the possibility of subcontracting
  • Make or buy – Outsourcing: The decision as to whether to do a task in-house or to sub-contract to external suppliers
  • Supply: Source of supply, spread of supply, cost of supply, suitability of existing suppliers and the image or reputation of the supplier
  • Standardisation of products & services: Long production runs & reduced unit costs, reduced wastage, increased efficiency, less training, reduced inventory and increased productivity.

The final stage of operational planning is following through on policies & procedures.  For many Managers who are keen to get on with the business of making money this can seem dull and laborious, nevertheless a balance is critical.

MANAGEMENT PLANNING

Management planning provides the link between the organisation’s objectives and each manager’s individual goals. 

An organisation’s objectives should penetrate the entire company. All employees should be “on-board”; it is necessary that managers themselves have a clear understanding of the organization’s strategy and can communicate it to their staff.  It might sound obvious, but beware of personal agendas & office politics that can muddy what would otherwise be a clear & unifying vision!

Provided that all share the same clear vision of the company’s strategy, staff can be accountable to management.  Each manager and staff member should agree on the key tasks and the performance measures by which they will be judged, and how these measures relate to the strategy.  

At minimum, a systematic annual review of the performance against the measures, will identify the people to advance, to develop, and to consider for exit.  Often when an organization’s leaders are time-poor this is a task that some would rather avoid!

Nevertheless it is a vital step and, if done properly, it can highlight weaknesses that need to be addressed through training, and areas of strength that need to be rewarded through recognition, development opportunities, bonuses and even salary increases

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