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The Difference Between Success and Failure Is a Robust Strategic Plan

Developing a successful strategic plan that positions a company for future growth in its core markets is not easy, but very necessary.

It can be done by embracing a process that takes the company out of its comfort zone and realistically looks at the issues that keep leadership up at night.

When finished the strategic plan will touch every employee in the company and focus everyone on shared goals and a common vision. The result will be expanded growth and profitability.

A big thing to remember is a strategic plan is a living document that should be revisited quarterly to benchmark goals and objectives.

Strategic planning begins with the executive team analyzing the company’s current products, processes and procedures and taking a no-holds-barred, 360-degree look at its operations both internally and externally.

That’s the process Jim Hudak applied when a $155 million supplier of piston rings and powder metal products hired him as a consultant.

Together Jim and the executive team began the process.

He first led the executive team through that 360-degree look to develop the long-term strategic planning and analysis tools and processes needed for continued growth.

Jim then worked with the sales, engineering and manufacturing teams across the company to set up a new product management framework. His goal was to identify which product lines and customers offered the most potential for growth and profitability and which ones needed to be reassessed or exited altogether.

The team started with a very rigorous and detailed analysis of current products, customers and processes. They used the 360-degree thought process to determine which products held the best opportunity and where to invest the companies’ resources for accelerated profitability and growth.

The process aligned the team, made it easier to communicate the company’s vision and led to ongoing strategic actions that positioned the company for targeted growth.

With the new plan and analysis in hand, the product line managers were better able to plan, prioritize and deliver products that met their customers’ needs and business goals and contributed to the company’s bottom line.

Jim also recast several other corporate activities to complement the new framework.

He worked with the company to rethink its internal strategic analysis and business segmentation activities. The result drove home a new understanding of annual sales, profitability and growth in specific product groups, applications and assemblies. The process contributed to corporate profitability and growth.

In addition, Jim developed long- and short-term marketing plans for the company that included market and customer-focused strategic analysis tools. Those tools were adopted by the management team as the company's core sales, marketing and executive management plans.

The plan was so successful, other divisions of the parent company were directed to use it as a framework for their individual strategic marketing plans.

Strategic planning takes you out of your comfort zone and that can be scary, but the results will help your company survive and thrive in today’s fast changing business world.

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