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Shaking Things up: How to implement a disruptive business model

The Company of Tomorrow, Today

Part Two

What does a Company of Tomorrow, Today transformation look like in a manufacturing company?

In Part One of this series I wrote about competitive threats and described the core tenants of the Company of Tomorrow, Today (CoTT):  social, digital, millennial, and a start-up mentality.

In Part Two we will review the CoTT principles and the implementation steps.

CoTT Principles 

Solve problems through an end to end lens. Typically, a business challenge such as poor service is a symptom of a problem existing somewhere else in the business process. CoTT requires co-operation between multiple functions.

Manage by exception. Utilize data and analytics to create plans. Monitor these plans by identifying out of tolerance thresholds. Spend 20% of your time on business as usual and 80% of your time on exceptions, unexpected events and making improvements.

Introduce social collaboration. Define digital groups of individuals with multiple skills that have a single focus. For example, a customer-focused work team chartered to delight the customer, comprised of the various disciplines needed to achieve that goal, working on a specific product line.

Work in NOW Mode. Create a core competency in responding to change. In reality, nothing is sequential or cyclical. Using digitization technologies and exception detection you can collapse cycle times and more effectively respond NOW to your customer.

Create horizontal work processes. Restructure your organization to remove vertical silos by focusing on the business processes that cross functional boundaries.

How Does This Translate to Business Improvement?

Consider your 2018 objectives. Growing sales, improving service, reducing cost and improving cash flow are likely on the list. The core business challenges have not changed. What has changed is the speed in which disruptive companies are addressing these challenges with innovative solutions. You must become a disruptor yourself to survive. But how do you get there?

10 Steps to Becoming the Company of Tomorrow, Today

  1. It starts at the top. Become a CoTT leader. Leaders of Companies of Tomorrow, Today are great innovators. They question everything. They are fearless about new business models. They recruit the right people.  They create and role model a collaborative culture. They commit to rapid experimentation of new ideas.
  2. Benchmark your current state. Understand what it means to be a Company of Tomorrow, Today. Complete a maturity assessment to identify your strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  3. Map your customer experience. Hearing the voice of the customer will lead you to a true understanding of your customer/consumer/patient and their needs. Understand buyer priorities and behaviours – the Two Moments of Truth (when they choose and use your products).
  4. Review and refine your business strategy. Start with a business strategy that reinvents your business model, identifying the future market space for your industry crafted around the customer.
  5. Review and refine your operating strategy. Translate your business strategy into positioning, sales, marketing, product, and processes.
  6. Specify how digitization can enable your strategy. Define a digitization strategy integrated into your business strategy, that delights the customer/consumer. Design a target end-to-end architecture for applications, data, and systems. For example, social media tools, IoT to enable real-time visibility and optimization, using big data and machine learning to analyze and optimize consumer behaviour data, weather patterns, and key variables across the business.

Digitization in itself is dramatically changing the competitive landscape. According to the World Economic Forum white paper on digital transformation in the mining industry:

Across industries, the current value chain structure with incumbent businesses is being challenged not only by macroeconomic conditions, but by increasingly fast-moving and pervasive digitalization.”

  1. Apply the CoTT principles to an improvement initiative. Put these concepts into action to tackle challenges such as poor service/backlog, product launch issues, inventory, manufacturing efficiency, or quality.
  2. Test and experiment in an innovation lab. Introduce new processes, social models and technologies in a low-risk environment using an agile methodology to test and refine.
  3. Drive Cultural Change. You will be solving problems differently than you have in the past. Changes in culture are often the hardest. Start with an effective communication plan to align beliefs and behaviours with strategy and vision.
  4. Measure your success. But not in the typical way. Measure the co-operative impact of your KPIs versus maximizing the performance of one KPI at the expense of another. Define your performance metrics based on trade-offs that drive balanced decision making.

Interested to see these steps in action, enabling transformation to a Company of Tomorrow, Today? See how a brand pharmaceutical company incorporated these key principles to achieve target service levels within 6 months, reduce production cycle time by 70%, and become a cohesive, collaborative organization well equipped to respond to change.


Carol McIntosh

Carol McIntosh has been advising and implementing innovative supply chain practices as a business consultant for 17 years, with an additional 17 years experience in supply chain management positions leading cross-functional teams to drive service up and inventory down. Her expertise includes concurrent planning, response management, and control towers.