How to focus your corporate energy
In the Zero Vector Mode
Today organizations need to continuously get faster, leaner, be more international and offer more diversity in products. In order to cope with these requirements, products, technology and business processes need to be under continuous development. As a result a company has dozens if not hundreds of continuous improvement activities going at the same time – next to the daily business to “keep the wheels on”.
Zero Vector thinking is the realization that these improvements projects have a tendency to be antagonistic, opposing. Thus they are in the end a "zero vector", where no significant progress is made towards the result on business progress and its strategic objectives despite an enormous amount of energy being deployed.
Example of a product development process: The Purchasing department is working on extending the time to negotiate with suppliers to get low prices and high quality for parts. Inventory is working to minimize inventory levels and minimize number of parts, marketing is defining plans for faster and new product development launches and aftermarket wants high fill rates for spare parts. Additionally senior management is sending out mixed messages: "lean", "low cost, "innovation", "reduce WIP", "improve time to market" and more. Activities are deployed for each effort to achieve each separate goal, but as they are conflicting, most of them end up creating friction, frustration and worst of all, no tangible overall results.
Break The Circle
How to break the circle? Essential activities and projects selection need to be driven by strategic objectives linked to “what do you want to be to which customer, where on this planet”. Since an organization will have only 10% of its capacity available to develop strategic initiatives, strategy is as much “no, we don’t do that” as it is “we will do that”. The scope of activities must be slimmed down to “really required” only. Activities must be bundled as an overall change program and executed with display of great discipline. Taking an overall disciplined holistic approach will get you out of your “Zero Vector mode”.
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