Strategic Planning

  • Does your HR department support the strategic directions of the business?
  • What is the basis for determining the value you receive from your logistics investments ?
  • Is your IT organisation prepared to provide business solutions and deal with accelerating business change?

In too many companies, the strategic objectives sit in isolation – guiding principles with no direct connection to each other or to the day-to-day running of the business.

Successful business objectives should:

  • arise out of stakeholder and customer needs
  • be connected to the business’s operations – it needs to be clear how they will be implemented
  • be mapped against other objectives – because some objectives are more important than others, objectives need to sit in a hierarchy. In other words, you need to know how one objective affects another and what order they need to happen in for the others to be achieved
  • be supported by clear and measurable personal objectives to ensure the appropriate focus is attached to the relevant activities

“One of the things that I really admire about Rama is that he can enter the most difficult and political of situations and work through the issues and bring them to a conclusion with all major stakeholders fully bought in.”

Silica Associates can guide you through the most effective way of implementing successful business objectives through one or more of the following techniques, dependent on your needs:

Facilitated management process involving senior management & line of business management, ensuring that a consensus is formed regarding business goals and strategies. However, a coherent and inspirational picture of the future is not enough. A vision without a clear strategic plan is not enough to ensure success. There is a need to understand why performance is poor.

“Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes the time, vision with action can change the world.” Joel Barker

The main features of QFD are its focus on meeting customer needs (or in this context the business goals / strategies) through the use of their actual statements (termed the ‘Voice of the Customer’), its facilitation of multidisciplinary team work and the use of a comprehensive matrix for documenting information, perceptions and decisions.

The outputs are :

  1. A strategic action plan driven by a multi relationship diagram between:
    • overall business goals, their respective importance, their measures & targets; with
    • the supporting organisational processes, their potential for contributing (or not) to each business goal, their measures & targets; with
    • the likely synergy or conflict between processes, and thereby the communication needs between
  2. Challenges to the organisational structure to best support the action plan
  3. Challenges to the management behavioural standards to ensure performance targets are achieved
  4. Input to a communication plan for cascading the vision and strategic plans
Evaluation of the degree that each department’s projects, processes and initiatives support the overall business goals via a detailed ranking alignment matrix, i.e. departmental activity vs business goal. The output will allow you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the relationships in terms of goals, strategies, processes and structures by department or function.

A way of understanding your stakeholders to enable you to target your most profitable customers, forge better relationships with suppliers and reduce costs. It also aims to help you focus your business’s efforts on creating value where it is most relevant to your stakeholders. In other words, it helps you to deliver what your customers and your suppliers want. The concept is about determining who and what are critical to your business’s performance.

From a Customer perspective, Value Mapping encourages you to:

· assess the profitability of your relationship with some customers

· analyse their habits to identify sales opportunities

· understand their needs to determine their loyalty to you or your product

· examine your relationship to encourage more effective means of doing business, e.g. via online ordering

· compare current and possible customers to determine if your customer profile needs to change

From a Supplier perspective, Value Mapping encourages you to:

· decide what you need from your suppliers, e.g. reduced total costs ; innovation ; risk sharing

· establish what kind of relationship you have, i.e. how important is your business to them

· look for savings by negotiating better deals

· profile your ideal supplier, based on management style, track record, financial security, location etc..

“That which is measured is known, but if we cannot measure something, if we cannot express it in numbers, then our knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind” – Lord Kelvin

Measurement is at the heart of management. Without the ability to objectively measure your performance, and how it is changing, all the other tools become unfocussed and subjective, and ultimately difficult to justify. In developing a complete set of measures it is important to ensure a balance of measures. This will ensure that in pursuing improvement in one measure, in one aspect of your business, that you do not inadvertently mess up other aspects of your business.

This technique will feed into the QFD process to ensure the following quality standards are applied :

· Is the measure specific and unambiguous, such that it cannot be misinterpreted and argued ?

· Is the measure important, does it reflect a key aspect of your performance, and does it not reflect in other measures ?

· Is the measure variable and influenced by your efforts ? Will observed deficiencies drive prompt analysis and action ? (Measures are pointless if they do not drive behaviour)

· Is the measure practical and cost effective ? Is the cost of administering the measure only a fraction of the benefits that can be obtained by keeping it under control ?

All businesses need to set objectives for themselves or for the products or services they are launching as described above. However, what does your staff hope to achieve? Setting the right objectives are important, it focuses them on specific aims over a period of time and can motivate them to meet the business objectives set.

A simple acronym used to set objectives is called SMART. It stands for:

1. Specific – Objectives should specify what they want to achieve.

2. Measurable – You should be able to measure whether you are meeting the objectives or not.

3. Achievable – Are the objectives you set, achievable and attainable?

4. Realistic – Can you realistically achieve the objectives with the resources you have?

5. Time – When do you want to achieve the set objectives?

Finally, according to documented research (by 2GC, of a survey of companies in the ‘Times 1000’ list) there are seven traditional causes of strategic implementation failure:

  • Adopting unrealistic strategic visions
  • Not identifying the right strategic goals
  • Lack of top team consensus on or ownership of strategic vision and goals
  • Poor communication of strategic plans
  • Weak or irrelevant performance feedback
  • Management processes that fail to support strategic implementation activities
  • Inadequate or inappropriate resource allocation

Therefore, by adopting the approach we are recommending you can put yourself in a position to better recognise & identify the inhibitors to your business’s success and address them with confidence