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Developing a case of strategic direction

Whether you have children or not, back to school is a hectic time of year for everyone. Traffic is slower, school buses are out, and it seems, to me at least, that the long sunny days of summer are drawing to a close and an evening chill is slowly emerging. With the fast-paced environment of this past week, you have not likely spent any time considering the questions I provided you in order to develop a strategic approach to achieving your goals. Well, now is the time!

Shawn Casemore
Shawn Casemore
Last week I promised to provide you with a case study to demonstrate how these questions can be applied in even the simplest of circumstances, to help direct your focus, time, and capital in order to achieve your desired outcomes, be they as owner of a business, or an employee within one.

Well your wait is over! Consider the following case study with a circumstance that many of our clients have been faced with:

Situation: Shifting customer demands across a variety of product lines are increasing your on-hand inventory, which in turn is resulting in reduced storage space, inventory obsolescence, and significant capital tied up in goods that are not moving.

Challenge: You need to free up storage space and working capital to improve the bottom line, realigning inventory in order to better serve customers with faster turn around of high demand goods.

Solution: By applying the questions we discussed last week, we can identify a strategy to meet our goal. Below I have identified possible responses to each question as it applies to this circumstance:

1. What is your current position or circumstance?

- Space limitations are resulting in a reduced ability to carry high demand inventory.
- Loosing sales as a result of lack of having the “right” inventory on-hand.
- A large percentage of capital is invested in slow moving or obsolete inventory.

2. How did you get to where you are today?

- Bulk-buying practices have been used to take advantage of reduced prices.
- Rapidly shifting customer demands have altered stocking parameters.
- There has been a general lack of accountability for managing inventory.

3. What is your future vision?

- Right inventory.
- Right time.
- Right quantity.

4. How can you move from where you are today to where you plan to be in the future?

- Complete an inventory analysis and realign inventory based on outcomes.
- Negotiate the sale or return of slow moving or obsolete inventory.
- Assign a dedicated resource to monitor and manage inventory.
- Organize and restructure inventory space and shelving to improve space utilization.
- Realign buying habits with inventory strategy.

5. What are the potential obstacles or challenges that you might encounter?

- Culture within the organization (bulk buying habits, lack of accountability).
- Continuing shifts in customer demand (pull).
- Influence of manufacturer sales and promotions (push).
- Investment cost to revise storage space.
- Loss of invested capital in the resale of slow moving or obsolete goods.

In regards to question #6 that I presented last week, as your business structure, resources, and knowledge will vary, I will leave this item with you to determine.

So there you have it! Likely an easier process than you anticipated, but I am sure you would agree tremendously valuable in directing your time, focus and resources. Try applying these questions to a situation or circumstance for which a strategic approach would make sense and you will find the resulting road map is a valuable tool.

Good luck!

Shawn Casemore, President, Casemore and Co.

Lundi 1 Octobre 2012