Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting, strategy
Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting

Case Studies

 

Here are some examples about the type of strategic analysis we've done. Click on an item if you would like to read more about it.

 

Creating and approving a restructuring plan

 

Small Business Growth

 

 

 

Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting, strategy

Our Methods

 

We believe that one of the ways in which an expert should be judged is the degree to which they can explain their ideas and methods clearly. Experts don't fear challenge or criticism, they welcome the opportunity to explain their ideas more fully and learn from the experiences and perspectives of others. We hope you will find this material interesting. This isn't the full detail of our approach, it's meant to help us have a conversation.

 

Scenario Planning Fundamentals

 

Looking At How Efficiently The Value Chain Supports The Customer

 

Example Analysis: Implications Of Brexit For The UK Automotive Industry

 

 

 

What Strategy Means To Us…

 

To us, strategy is about deciding where you want to be in the future and how to get there. Depending on the task, that could be years from now or nearer term. There are many voices out there spending inordinate amounts of time trying to define strategy, saying “strategy does mean this, it doesn’t mean that”. We don’t seek to add to that debate, we are just trying to help businesses map a path for the future and then make it happen.

“If we rely on tactics all the time then ultimately other people will be making all our big decisions for us”

The only key distinction we draw is between strategy and tactics. A strategy is a set of choices that an individual or organisation makes to try and create the future state they want and ready themselves to receive the benefit when they get there. This doesn’t mean we can control all the factors governing that future; it means we thought about the trade-offs that we are willing to make, where we will put our energy and resources, and the reward that we believe will result. Tactics are processes and routines that we use or a set of responses we take to unexpected situations. Both have their place but if we rely on tactics all the time then ultimately other people will be making all our big decisions for us.

“Often a good strategy is much more about the people we want to be on good terms with than about outwitting and defeating our sworn enemies”

In many people’s minds, strategy is innately linked to war. We enjoyed reading The Art Of War as much as anyone else but in business people don’t have to get hurt! It isn’t always a zero-sum game and often a good strategy is much more about the people we want to be on good terms with -- our customers, our staff and our suppliers -- than about outwitting and defeating our sworn enemies (that’s just a satisfying by-product). After all, if we achieve our aims, do we really mind if there are left-overs for them? There is an entire line of business strategy based around being a fast follower and mimicking the class leader but if you want to do that then you don’t really need any advice from us other than this: work out who the market leader is and then copy them more quickly than anyone else while maintaining a price advantage and steering clear of intellectual property lawsuits. You may be surprised how often it works when done right.

 

A few examples of strategic issues we can help with…

 

We’ve lost the ability to win…

It feels as though the business has lost direction and momentum. Although sales are still increasing it seems like this is only coming through economic growth and recent acquisitions. Our traditionally strongest business lines are slowly but surely losing share, this is even after we’ve reduced prices -- something which we are now finding hard to stop. Our competitors don’t seem to be making a much better product but it’s a bit cheaper, it’s a bit easier to use and we seem to be struggling to respond. We’ve got some good people in the team but it feels like they are too thinly spread and all our efforts result in things that are just good enough -- we’ve lost the ability to win.

 

Our customer is changing in ways we aren’t sure we understand…

It feels like every other day there is some new report out about how different things are going to be in a few years’ time. A few of our most valued investors have even questioned whether we have a future. We have spent time thinking about what the future might hold and what we can do but frankly the exercise seems to be getting us nowhere. Everyone we speak to has a different opinion, even though they are all “experts”. People are very happy to give us advice and thought leadership but no one can tell us what we should be doing right now. We have lots of big business decisions coming up, ones that will have an impact for many years. We are concerned about making the wrong choices and saddling ourselves with the wrong structure for the future -- our customer is changing in ways we aren’t sure we understand.

 

We aren’t sure how Brexit is going to affect our business…

Things used to be so simple -- the UK was part of the European Union and from a business perspective it was all quite straightforward. Product standards had converged and although we found some of the rules to be a bit odd, once everything was in place it was easy to sell our products and services across Europe. We got used to planning our business based on slow change in the same direction. The referendum changed that: the UK will be out of the EU and we don’t understand what that means for us. Brexit hasn’t happened yet but some of the effects are already real. We have suppliers and customers who are saying things might have to change and the weaker pound is already hurting. There is plenty of stuff being written about the politics of Brexit but virtually none of it helps us to understand the impact on us, what we should do about it or how to plan in such uncertain times. Ideally, we just want to wait and see but are there actions we must take ahead of knowing what things will be like? We have some big decisions coming up but don’t feel comfortable committing ourselves -- we aren’t sure how Brexit is going to affect our business.

 

Our industry is in decline and we’ve only got a few good years left…

Things aren’t like they used to be, that’s for sure. We’ve built our business by concentrating on use cases where we knew that we could outperform others by getting things right first time for time pressured customers. In our business speed and quality matter more than price and so being the best at what we do has served us well for a long time.

“What happened to all the people who made DVD cases?”

The problem is that the world is changing and the customers that we rely on are shrinking. It isn’t any one thing they are doing, it’s an industry wide problem, like how DVD manufacturers couldn’t stem the tide of movement towards online streaming. What happened to all the people who made DVD cases? They either shut down or had to do something else. We want to find new uses for our resources and skills. We know that we can’t become a completely different company overnight but we need to plan for a future which is different to what we have experienced in the past -- our industry is in decline and we’ve only got a few good years left.

 

We’re following but we aren’t fast, we aren’t cheap and we aren’t sure who the leader is…

We’ve had some innovative products in our time but over the years we lapsed into a more responsive way of working. Everything we do seems to be based on what we see our competitors doing; our pricing, our product, even the amount of advertising we buy. The market keeps getting more and more fragmented and we aren’t really sure who is winning, apart from “not us”. There are some of our competitors who seem to be gaining share but their system just seems to be to do everything, right now. We can’t afford to keep pace with that.

 

We seem to be in the right place at the wrong time…

We think that we can offer our customers things that no one else can but they don’t seem to appreciate our product in the way we expect. We have spent lots of time thinking about the benefits of our product and we have proved that it delivers but we can’t seem to get our customers excited about it. We walk away from sales meetings having answered all their questions, we’ve even had successful trials at their sites, yet still the orders aren’t coming in. Our investors have started murmuring that our growth projections are too optimistic and they might hold back on funding. When we look at the market we are certain of the need and we still seem to be the only people offering solutions. Customers agree time and time again that they have the problems we can solve but they aren’t biting in high enough numbers -- we seem to be in the right place at the wrong time.

 

We are worried about too much of a good thing…

Our product has just started to take off and we are concerned that we might not manage our growth properly. People keep telling us that this is the best problem to have in business but to be honest that doesn’t make things that much easier! We’ve spent years building our company in the hope that our vision would be right and the market would love our innovation -- and it happened! We are now faced with three problems that in hindsight we didn’t really plan for. The first is that growth isn’t predictable, it comes in waves and we must be ready to go when the next one hits but we can’t afford to carry lots of spare capacity for long. We are concerned about making decisions that could leave us unable to fulfil customer demand. The second problem is that the mainstream customer has different wants and needs to the early adopter. We know all the business literature already says this but to be honest we’ve been fighting to keep this company going for so long that we haven’t focused on that. We always told ourselves that we were the mainstream customer. Maybe at some point that was true but as the product has gained popularity we’ve realised that we aren’t thinking like customers anymore -- we are too tied up in what it takes to deliver. The third problem is that we never have any time to think! For years, we’ve been used to getting the product right and really thinking about how to wow our customers. Now it feels like all we spend our time on is getting things shipped. We are concerned that we might lose our edge and be so fixated on maximising sales now that we don’t develop the next big thing. Rapid growth is what we have always dreamed and we don’t want to blow it by failing to make the step up in size and thinking -- we are worried about too much of a good thing.

Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting
Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting
Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting
Automotive strategy, Automotive strategy consultants, Automotive strategy consulting