The strategic planning process can take a variety of approaches. It may take months of preliminary analysis or just the collective knowledge of the management team. Either method requires the company to make decisions about its future route. In this article, we'll show you how to use strategic filters as a way to filter your data and make the best decisions. Then we will focus these decisions on some resources and the accomplished important goals [WIG].
Strategic Planning: Strategic Filters and Key Objectives
- Drive Filter – You can prove the competitive advantage
- Emerging trend filter
- Customer filter
- Very important goal
- Strategic map
Driving force filter
The driving force is the company's key differentiation advantage or competitive advantage. Proof is the most important factor in driving force. If you want your employees and your customers to believe in it, then you must find data that supports your claim.
Examples of unacceptable driving forces are listed below:
- Knowledgeable staff
- customer service
- and many more.
The reason these are not good examples is that any company can claim this and everyone is saying it. If everyone says so, no one will believe it.
Here are some examples of the driving forces that the market can consider to be truly differentiating:
- Innovation / Experience – We invented surgical adhesives to replace sutures. The use of surgical adhesives reduces surgical time by 20-90% and reduces the risk of infection.
- Speed - We will produce any custom product in 2 weeks or less compared to competitors of 6 weeks or longer.
- Rugged – We produce the most rugged portable power generation equipment for military use. Our average time between failures is 10,000 + hours.
- Customer Service/Training – Last year we trained 1,580 customer mechanics in service/repair technology and two mechanics dedicated to assisting customer mechanics over the phone.
- Product Leadership – We are the only consulting firm in the Midwest with experience in applying quantitative process improvement tools to streamline sales and marketing; reduce costs and increase sales.
Once you understand and agree with your company's driving force, you can use it to understand:
- What did you do is the best
- Core competence to support your drive
- How do you stay in top shape?
Emerging trend filter
Emerging trends are external forces beyond your control that may affect your business. These may include:
- Economic/currency trend
- Political/regulatory trends
- Social/population trends
- market outlook
- Customer property/habit
- Competitor Profile / Mix
- Technological evolution
- Manufacturing capacity
- Product design / content
- Sales and marketing methods
- Distribution method/system
- Resources – Nature / Human / Financial
We hope these are strategic filters because they may require you to change your business model beyond internal capabilities and customer requirements. The way they will affect you:
- Planned acquisition
- Develop new products and services
We live in a period of great external destruction. Books and newspapers are a good example. Amazon changes book purchases by making almost all published books, whether through its warehouse or through old book partners. You can get recommendations for new books based on previously purchased items, and read reviews from other consumers before buying, instead of just buying items from the bookstore.
Amazon changed again by providing a Kindle e-reader that links to its online bookstore. Now you can get thousands of books in 1 minute and buy them wirelessly over cellular networks. Newspapers and magazines will be sent to your Kindle every day at 3am. No ink, no printing, no late or missing delivery service, no problem when traveling. Instead, you will get the perfect service.
Now we now have Apple's iPad, which promises to embed graphics and videos in books, magazines and newspapers. This will combine the Kindle's electronic delivery capabilities to make the reading experience completely different.
Printers and publishers need to see these trends in order to survive and thrive. These developments can close big companies and make other companies a smart winner.
Other notable trends are environmental/clean technology, currency/interest rates and global markets/supply chains.
Knowing that your customers can complete the filtering challenges and enable you to make the best decisions about your strategic plan. It took a lot of time to find out who is your best customer. We recommend quantitative methods to select key measurable features that are critical to your organization, and then use Pareto Analysis to classify customers from best to worst based on these metrics.
Once you know who your best customers are, you can determine the characteristics they share. There are two key issues you need to ask through sales people or communicating directly with these customers:
- Why are they buying you?
- What pain do they have?
At the end of the Customer-Filter session, you will learn:
- Who is your best customer?
- The best feature [different from others]
- Why did the customer buy from you?
- What kind of pain can customers solve? Special emphasis on the best customers
Very important goals [WIGs]
Once you have completed all the preparations, you can now develop a strategic plan. The best companies are always focused on achieving some very important goals. Everyone in the organization is dealing with important things every day. Providing services to customers, delivering products, guiding employees, buying, etc. are all important and need to be done daily, weekly and monthly. Strategic planning focuses on a longer time frame. Therefore, we need to go beyond important goals and focus on some [three or fewer] important goals that take longer, but create breakthrough results for your organization.
This concern makes the plan realistic. Many organizations try to do too much, and ultimately either do not do most of the work or do an average job. You want to be great!
These WIGs can include:
- Acquisition or divestiture
- Major capital expenditure
- product development
- Geographic expansion
- Entire new business or brand
- Marketing activities
- Global supply chain
- Internal Process Improvement Work [Lean Six Sigma]
- Implement a new information technology system
- There are other infinite ideas
The final step is to align the organization with key goals. Strategic maps are a simple tool that visually shows how each department supports each WIG.
To see an example of a strategic map, visit http://supplyvelocity.com/whitepapers.asp.
You will see an example of a medical technology company whose major goal is to significantly increase new product development. The map shows how marketing, research, development/engineering and manufacturing all support this strategy.Ultimate Cleaning Business Package, Click here!