One of our favorite clients related to our service line of “Eagle Eye” which is just as described – like an eagle, can you pick out your priorities (prey) rapidly and accurately – and “make it happen”. What else is there to say? There are lot of strategy experts but FEW who can execute – make it happen!
Our client was in the building products industry at the height of the recession with real estate prices in the toilet and construction on a dramatic slowdown. Of course, our client was not the only company in the industry to struggle. The key is how to reduce costs while being able to service customers slightly better than the competition. In this case, 5% improvement was enough to drive sales and stand out in the crowd – quite important in the middle of a nasty recession!
In this case, we completed an organization-wide assessment of people/ culture, processes and systems while evaluating distribution center size, margins, items, and innovative alternatives. Could we reduce our overhead base while finding a way to edge out the competition with service?
Although systems are always a part of our projects as they tend to be one aspect of the total equation, they rarely, if ever, are “the” solution. However, in this case, we uncovered an opportunity to leverage functionality unique to this configure-to-order industry that would provide an advantage in speed and service while minimizing the cost – and utilizing an already-existing asset (and one that was cost prohibitive for the competition to purchase during the recession) – a great yet unexpected “no-brainer” emerged.
However, this seemingly obvious strategic advantage wasn’t clear to anyone prior to the organization-wide review. Often-times, our best ideas and solutions are sitting right in front of us but we miss them. Take a step back and make sure you are seeing the trees in the forest. Do any look like unique opportunities? Undoubtedly, there will be one if you look hard enough!