Hope is not a Strategy

A founder and entrepreneur of a family business in the area of the so-called «New Economy» invited me to his headquarters to obtain advice in respect to his growth strategy.

For the entire existence of the company, his sales grew steadily and robustly but there were no resources left to take the next step.

Both financially as well as measured by the structures, processes and personnel qualifications, things had not been going very smoothly at all.

After the entrepreneur outlined his situation to me, I asked him about is target vision. He made it clear that he would like to be able to delegate more. And that he wanted to create the structural prerequisites for a more professional order processing. And, last but not least, he hoped to take better advantage of their market potential compared with the competition.
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The Unrecognized and Underestimated Potentials of Master Data Quality

In a globalized business world, companies operate within an area of tension created by margin pressure, customer satisfaction, as well as speed and quality standards.

Reliable information as well as high process efficiency and safety are some of the most important factors responsible for the success of a company.

Thus, master data of high quality are today a fundamental prerequisite for effective and efficient business practices.

Master Data in the ERP System
Companies are often not aware of the importance and impact of a high quality of their master data. We find this situation again and again in the field while we accompany our customer during the implementation of ERP projects.
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Interim Management in the SME Sector

There are numerous reasons why companies decide to hire an interim manager:
bridging management vacancies, corporate restructuring, establishment of new business lines, internationalization of the business, transformations or even traditional project management.

Interim Management is becoming ever more popular and is being used with increasing frequency, not just in Switzerland.

In the past, Interim Management was often associated with recovery. Thus, for many this term still conjures the picture of the merciless, cost-cutting job killer. There are certainly situations where this is still the case today, but Interim Management is presently used much more extensively to buy missing know-how for a predefined period of time.
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What does «Business Transformation» mean for the Company Management and its Employees?

Almost every day a new business trend is touted with big fanfare, promising to increase the performance of companies beyond measure or, at the very least, to ensure that companies remain competitive in the marketplace.

What is supposed to bring enlightenment to companies is one day the digital transformation, the next time artificial intelligence is hyped, and then again robotics, but in the end a focus on employees seems to also be urgently needed.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all developments, trends, technologies and concepts that have their place and can be-and partially will be-of critical importance for the future of a company.

But if we wanted to be involved in all developments and topics that could potentially be relevant for companies and were striving to avoid missing any opportunity, it would probably become a massive undertaking with enormous costs and no guarantee for the continued existence of a company. Quite to the contrary-undertakings in this context that lack coordination and prioritization will more likely be accompanied by chaos and a loss of the company focus on the market. When dealing with the continued development of the company, it is therefore necessary to exert caution and prudence.
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The Trend in IT – Personalized Customer Care through Field Support

In recent years, many corporations centralized their dispersed IT service providers like consulting services or support units. The current technologies and networking capabilities allow the support of users via remote access and the monitoring of the systems via central monitoring systems.

The only choice a user now has is to contact the central helpdesk, which is not really a choice. More than a few companies even outsourced the IT helpdesk to a service provider in a foreign country because of cost considerations.

But there are IT issues that cannot be solved at all or only inadequately from afar. The attempt to do this anyway often leads to poor solutions that employees then simply try to live with.

Not many companies today offer training courses for standard software applications since this knowledge is assumed and expected to gain employment. But IT competencies are-contrary to foreign language skills-verified only rarely in the course of the recruitment process. Also frequently forgotten are employees who have been working at the company for many years and never benefited from continued training in the field of IT applications. Statistical data show that these employees in most cases possess only rudimentary skills to be able to perform their jobs effectively. These individuals are usually not comfortable to come forward and admit that their expertise is not on the level that is expected or required for their job. Here a trusted contact person that is familiar with IT issues can help to meet this challenge. A centralized helpdesk is usually unable to do this.
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And Whom do we Marry Today?

In today’s era of low interest rates, the coffers of many European companies are well-filled, and what could, therefore, be more obvious than a strategic acquisition?
Consequently, increasing valuations through acquisition of other businesses is these days frequently on the minds of many European companies of varying sizes. Strategic considerations range from the takeover of competitors in the same business sector to the vertical acquisition of companies in related business sectors. The rationale behind an acquisition is widely known: A horizontal acquisition is expected, following the successful integration, to lead to the distribution of the costs of the secondary value-added processes across a greater business volume and thereby to cost degression and margin improvement.

The vertical acquisition is expected to tap into related business sectors with higher margins by leveraging existing corporate capabilities with the goal of increasing the average profitability within the company. With these or similar considerations in mind, more and more companies are beginning to search for acquisition targets. But how does one find a suitable acquisition target?

Seek and You Shall Find
Sometimes it is quite simple: The dialogue with the target company had already been established before the buyer knew that he was a buyer. But most of the time it is more challenging-requiring a search based on filled coffers and strategic vision. Such a search for an acquisition target offers an opportunity to create a map of one’s own industry, to analyze competitors and the appeal of related business sectors, and, as a result, to also scrutinize and review one’s own strategy and objectives for the acquisition – at best with the inclusion of a third party.
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Leadership in Times of «Digital Transformation»

Everyone is talking about digital transformation! Lectures are held, multi-million dollar projects are launched, new structures and processes are established…even an executive board position is created: the CDO (Chief Digital Officer).
But what exactly “Digital Transformation” means, what objectives the transformation serves and what requirements arise for the management of a company, is rather nebulous and controversial. As is so often the case, the desired change remains elusive and shaping the corresponding leadership behavior consequently becomes, if anything, a product of chance.

We can certainly quickly agree that the digital transformation will affect all business areas of a company. From logistics through production and sales to the supporting processes (finance, controlling, marketing, personnel management), it is about reaching both the internal and the external consumers more effectively and efficiently. The effectiveness of this process can be measured not only by the success of meeting the customer’s requirements, but also by the extent of customer acquisition and customer retention. The efficiency of this process describes the effort that we have to put into it. Digital media act as a value driver through the optimum utilization of existing data and information. That is at least the theory!
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