Benchmarking as a Way of Strategic Planning Approach to Business Success
This article is to proportion some of the experience attained during one of the Strategic Planning Review session. Unlike the regular Strategic Planning where several analytical tools such as PEST, 5-forces of competitions, SWOT examination etc. are used. But this case study is about using Benchmarking as a Strategic Planning approach. Does it worked?
In regular Strategic Planning, it is fair to mention that is time consuming for team member use various tools to analyze the business and competitive ecosystem. The choice of PEST, 5-forces or SWOT very much depends on the complexity and competitive position of the business. These tools assist us to understand the business scenarios and competitive ecosystem in addition as internal capabilities.
I was in the Budget Roll-Out session conducted by one of the companies I worked with. It is a regular event at the end of the financial year. The CEO of the company communicates what has transpired between his management and the shareholder of the company during the budget review session.
During the session, the CEO of the company reinstated the company direction and give a presentation of the business outlook and without failed, he presented the company performance expectations and a total picture of the business scenario.
In between his talk, he quoted several examples of Best-Of-The-Best: case studies by several successful companies such as Honda USA, Porter-Gamble, Nike in the OEM and Li-Fong in Asia also in OEM; and changes in scenery in the Banking Industries in Malaysia.
In his strategic development course of action, he chosen a few best practices by these companies and balanced them with his business ecosystem. He then developed a hybrid strategy called the orchestra form. He advised the participants that during his dialog with some of the CEO of these successful companies, they are neither Marketer not Engineer by profession. Most of them came from a background of military.
He also quoted Wall-Mart, how the strength of basic-Mass can breakthrough a market like Japan. How Wall-Mart strategize to market a pair of suit that is so affordable for daily change for the Japanese working class.
He quoted that when a new candidate join the military, one main thing that he will not be send to aim in handling a gun or some sort of weapon. However, the first day of reporting to duty is to shave off his hair on the head. Once it is done, he has to take a shower and changed on to a new set of military uniform. The next morning, they will be wake up at five in the morning for a morning exercise.
He further explained how he interpreted these events in the business sense. He quoted why these success stories exists? He quoted for example that in military, while discipline is meaningful to operation, the next important factor is the alignment where all solders follow one direction. To reinforce these factors, all solders have to wake up 5 in the morning to break down your normal self. The objective is to force the solders to get out of their comfortable box.
In business strategies, there is no sure win strategy. He quoted that the first person who conquer the Mount Everest was indeed failed in his first attempt but he challenged himself again until he succeeded. In summary, in this complicate business ecosystem and ever changing scenery, leaders need to adopt to various resources for consideration in developing a business strategy. A generic strategies such as capture more market, reduce operation cost is no longer adequate. Leaders need to have an open mind to capture meaningful advantage of various options and to develop a hybrid strategy to ensure its business successes.