By: Edward Blickstein, Managing Partner at TSC
One of least satisfying corporate processes is strategic planning. We have observed this and heard about it from many of our clients. Senior as well as mid-level executives are often disappointed and criticize the planning process as extremely time consuming, bureaucratic, and not all business and market issues are addressed with insight and the right attention particularly in regard to rapid changes brought on by technology, changes in customer buying factors and necessity for high satisfaction levels. The takeaway from this is that strategic planning needs to be done with market intelligence, continuous collection and analysis of big data supported by agile technology and business leaders that pay very close attention to what change and challenge their customers face in their markets.
Now, much more than “yesterday”, companies need to devote time to supply chain strategy and recognize the overall importance of this element in corporate strategic planning. Companies succeed or fail based upon supply chain performance. This is more evident than ever when looking at public company’s financial performance.
Key to achieving strategic preparedness takes a structured, organized thought process to identify and consider potential threats, disruptions, and opportunities—which is, for want of a better term, strategic planning. In short, the problem isn’t strategic planning. It’s that most companies lack an effective strategic-planning process that is deep enough instead of mostly a high level approach.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to strategic planning, we have found that the companies that get the most benefit from their strategic-planning activities have four things in common:
- They assess their past performance, what they have learned from their customers, what their customers’ forecast and plans are for the next 3-6 years and then explore-develop their strategy at distinct time horizons.
- They constantly challenge their business units, the corporate supporting staff, engage in creative exercise and research and stimulate the strategic discourse.
- They engage the broad organization and not just the business unit leaders.
- They invest in execution, detailed measurement, analysis and continual snapshot monitoring.