Case Studies

Southeast Asian Factory

A manufacturing company had invested in building a factory in Southeast Asia to target presumed sales opportunities. After three years of lackluster sales and losing millions of dollars per year, the company was faced with a decision of whether to write off the investment, shutter the factory and take a penalty in supply contacts in the tens of millions of dollars, or continue the operation at a loss.

We rapidly surveyed both overseas and domestic markets after interviewing both Japan and overseas internal stakeholders. We identified multiple opportunities, and came up with options to turn the factory from a loss maker to a profit generator.

The option chosen by the client turned the factory from a multi-million dollar loss generator into a multi-million dollar profit-maker. Job cuts in Japan or overseas were also averted.



Strategy Development and Management

A Japanese business had an ineffective strategy development and management system. Few people in the company understood the strategy or believed in it. Divisions directors were going the through motions of developing division level strategies, but never used it. There was no formal performance management system at the corporate level, so tracking progress against corporate goals was subjective and haphazard. Management and staff were becoming increasingly demoralized at every strategy development cycle and review. The company was failing to execute on strategic initiatives and change, which was impacting performance and bottom-line results.

We worked with the client to develop a framework for both strategy management and formulation. We opened workshops for executives, management and staff to understand the framework and how to use it. We trained a cadre of internal champions as experts in the framework and facilitators for development and reviews. We also worked with an internal team to develop capabilities for better planning and delivery of communications around strategy. We then coached the teams through two planning cycles, transferring strategy formulation and management capability to the company’s stakeholders.

The company now handles strategy formulation and management on its own. Management and staff are clear about strategy, and proactive in execution. There is greater buy-in and enthusiasm. The company now achieves strategic goals and is able to execute on initiatives. It is more agile in the changing business environment. Financial results have been increasing each year as the company moves forward.



Rapid Market Validation Capability

A Japanese manufacturer of specialty chemicals with a strong R&D capability was suffering from lackluster sales and a dearth of hit products, despite major R&D investment. Sales and marketing teams complained that new products did not meet the needs of customers. R&D teams complained that sales and marketing teams did not understand the brilliance of their technology. Distrust and resentment was high.

Rather than a face-off, we helped the teams stand together and focus on market opportunities and customers. We trained both sales and R&D teams together in techniques in rapid market validation. We then organized market validation teams with both sales and R&D members to investigate any potential market opportunity of their choice. We coached and advised the teams through the projects as they applied the techniques they had learned. We helped them analyze the results, and reach conclusions.

Sales and R&D now collaborate better and communicate more frequently. Some projects identified highly lucrative opportunities that the company then captured. Other projects identified opportunities that has been supported as unattractive. This allowed the company to avert millions of dollars lost investment and opportunity costs. The company continues to use these capabilities today. The rate of successful new product launches has gone up, sales are up, and margins are up. New product ideas are systematically subject to rapid validation. Those that don’t pass are dropped without compunction. R&D and sales now work as a team focused on achieving goals in the market, rather than being locked in internecine battles.