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  • Category Archives: Operational Transformation

    From Around the Web: Supply Chain Management

    Supply chain management transformed while you were sleeping. Are you prepared? Charles Zulanas, Senior Consultant for MSS Business Transformation Advisory, shows some of the latest trends in supply chain management. Supply chain management is critical to every business at some level. This supply chain world amasses billions of goods and materials each day for sale to and purchase by the consumer. To some executives it may seem unnecessary to point out the importance of such an influential practice in business, but this article might be a wakeup call to some of you; you may be missing some freight.  Every nine days, another S&P 500 company is taken off of the index because the previous blue chip company, companies that for 60+ years had dominated their market, lost their competitive edge due to Complacency. Zulanas uses Amazon, Apple and Walmart as case studies in successful supply chain processes.

    Click here to read more.

    Taking the Leap from KPI’s to Balanced Scorecard

    One of the most influential methods a company can utilize to transform its organization is the Balanced Scorecard. According to Gartner, 50% of enterprise-level companies in the US have adopted this method and it was selected by Harvard Business Review editors as one of the most influential business ideas of the last 75 years. Yet, most mid-market companies are still working with KPI’s. It is time to make the leap.

    The Balanced Scorecard is a management system that enables an organization to translate their vision and strategy into action. It transforms the academic exercise of strategic planning into a fully realized system. This article speaks about the Balanced Scorecard and its uses for chief executives to transform their organizations and its different tenets of Customer Understanding, Employee Learning and Growth, Business Processes Development, and Financial Data Expansion along with recommendations on implementation.

    Click here to learn more

    How Asking One Question Can “Delight” Your Customer

    Is it good enough to simply meet the needs of your customers, or do you want to find exciting ways to elevate the value you bring to the table?

    Martin Bonadio, Management Consultant, explains the “Voice of the Customer” (VoC), a structured communication process that begins with non-leading, clarifying and probing questions, and progresses with active listening to acquire a comprehensive gathering of information directly from the customer. Bonadio helps businesses to see what the reason behind the customer’s needs so they can develop a better solution for their customers to revolutionize the industry they support. Bonadio walks each reader, step by step, through the process of how to elevate your business operates.

    Click here to read more

    RFP, RFQ, RFI – Oh My: Tips on Procurement Options

    We all have a love/hate relationship with buying big ticket items – the excitement of having something new that hopefully solves a problem we are experiencing, against the anxiety of going through the procurement process. Procurement people think this is the exciting part, not so much for the rest of us. There are several tools available to communicate your needs and desires to vendors, each one able to generate a specific outcome along the purchasing path.
    The tools I’m referring to are:

    Request for Information (RFI)
    Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
    Request for Proposal (RFP)

    Each has its place in the process, depending on what you want to achieve and the amount of knowledge you have about the item or service you are looking for.

    Let’s start with the most familiar first – the Request for Proposal or RFP.
    Depending on the business you are in, you may have been involved in generating a RFP for a product or service or perhaps been on the other side of the table providing a response to a RFP. Typically, a Request for Proposal is specific in what it is asking for. It will have a specific set of requirements. These tend to be more specific than high level business requirements but not as detailed as technical requirements – in other words, the level of detail required to ensure you get what you are asking for. It may also include specific contract requirements that the vendor will need to comply with. The vendor typically responds indicating how they will satisfy the requirements stated in the document, agree to the contract requirements, and provide specific pricing for the product or service you are looking for.

    What do you do if you don’t really know what solution you want?
    Perhaps the Request for Information (RFI) or Request for Qualifications (RFQ) would better suit your needs. These two tools are generally thought of as predecessors to the RFP. The Request for Information is a useful tool when you may not know exactly what you want – you’re looking for vendors with products or services that can solve a particular issue you have. While less burdensome than a RFP, there is still a level of effort required on your part. You need to be able to articulate what you are looking for either through a detailed statement of the issue or a high level set of business requirements for the vendor to review and respond to. If your organization has particular contract requirements, this is a good spot to introduce them. If you need budget cost numbers, this is a good time to ask for them. Understand that you are not guaranteeing you will purchase the goods or services identified and at the same time the vendor is not providing actual pricing. The end goal of this document is not to get a vendor on board or a contract in place, rather, the objective is to find a pool of vendors offering a solution that can work for you. The RFI or RFQ process is typically followed up with an RFP sent to the vendors you have identified as qualified from the RFI / RFQ process. Having gathered information from a variety of vendors, you are now better prepared to write your RFP.

    Level the playing field with Scoring
    All of these processes, the RFI, RFQ, or RFP, will require some sort of scoring process for the responses. Typically, the scoring framework is developed in conjunction with the end user of the item or service. The scoring should be based, at least initially, on the vendor’s response to your requirements – do they say their product or service can do what you need it to do? Is their solution acceptable to the user of the product or service? This is the first phase in determining who you would like to have further discussions with. In the case of the RFI or RFQ, you are looking to reduce the number of vendors you will have involved in the RFP process so you are only reviewing proposals from vendors that can provide you with the product or service you need. In the case of the RFP, you are determining who you want to work with further on purchasing a solution.

    There are follow up activities for each of the processes that will help you better understand the vendor’s product or service. We will cover these in the second part on this topic.

    If you are looking to begin a purchase that will require a RFP or RFI, check with your company’s Procurement organization. They may have templates and guidance that can help you in creating these documents. If your organization does not have a structured purchasing process and you feel a RFI or RFP is required, there are outside resources that can assist you. These resources bring a level of expertise in developing requirements and documentation as well as working with vendors to assist you in the procurement. You can find organizations that are “vendor agnostic” – they have no association with a specific vendor and are focused on getting you the best product or service. Engaging these resources can help you streamline the process and get a better result – often is a shorter time frame.


    MSSBTA Management Consultant Wayne Haggstrom has more than 30 years’ experience in planning and program management for organizations ranging from the Department of Defense and Fortune 100 companies to privately-held corporations.  He has worked as an internal and external consultant in a variety of industries and has been on both sides of the RFP process. Wayne earned a Masters in Information Systems Management from Webster University and a BS in Civil Engineering from The Ohio State University.

    Is Decision Fatigue Sucking the Life from Your Employees?

    In his second article focusing on decision fatigue, Charles Zulanas, Senior Consultant for MSS Business Transformation Advisory, shares how decision fatigue, as a physical state, may be negatively impacting your business.

    In an increasingly commoditized world, employees have more options than they can handle before they even get to work, let alone at work. Many people find themselves in a state of decision fatigue or paralysis, resulting in poor decisions in the workplace that could threaten a business’s success and profitability. This mental fatigue is compounded because a majority of people (employees or not) in the United States are sleep deprived. According to the Center for Disease Control, insufficient sleep is a public health problem because individuals lacking sufficient sleep are likely to commit occupational errors and also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.

    How can companies lead transformation with so many sleep-deprived and decision fatigued employees? Make their decisions “no-brainers.”

    Click here to read more

    Embracing Business Transformation through Digital Technology Should be a ‘No-Brainer’

    Charles Zulanas, Senior Consultant of MSS Business Transformation Advisory, in this final installment of his 3-part series on decision fatigue, shows how organizations can increase efficiency and maximize profitability by embracing business transformation through digital technology.

    Technology does not eliminate the need for people to navigate their internal systems, but instead requires fewer technical and process-oriented roles which can be replaced with big-picture, strategic employees. Time-consuming and laborious processes can often be streamlined by technology and, as stated in previous articles, companies want to make processes as efficient as possible.

    3-D and augmented reality companies have created the best way to try furniture without going through the process of bringing it home then realizing it doesn’t fit the space or match the decor. This does not eliminate the need for sales people, but rather adapts their role into the bigger picture of customer-centric sales. Charles instructs regarding the best ways to gain profits and win customers through making “no-brainer” investments in technology.

    Click here to read the full article

    From Around the Web: Automation and the Technological Advances of Yesterday

    Charles Zulanas, Senior Consultant for MSS Business Transformation Advisory, writes about practical technological advances and automation in business.

    Many people protest the use of robots and automation. With the increase in technological advancements, employees fear they will no longer have stable job security. At present, activities that are process-oriented can be automated using the latest technology to save time, eliminate defects and create a standardized result and quality. Advanced systems often can be made more efficient through automation as well. During the standard business day, systems can automatically churn out the latest data that is relevant to business needs and communicate it in terms of the bottom line. Charles explains the increased efficiencies in business marketing, manufacturing, transportation and office management as a result of automation.

    Click here to read more

    Procurement – The Ideal Candidate for Operational Transformation?

    Every company pours a great deal of research, analysis, and resources into transforming their organization, asking themselves strategic questions: How can we accelerate our growth? How can we increase revenues XX%? How can we gain market share in our industry? Examine your operational support roles to ask: Are we getting the most out of our procurement organization?

    John Wieser, MSS Business Transformation Advisory Sr. Consultant, details how the procurement function must fundamentally change with the growth of the organization to be either a decentralized, centralized, or blended procurement organization. Signals for change are easy to see. In decentralized organizations, a signal for change could include low workloads for the procurement function related individuals, while in centralized organizations, procurement processes are cumbersome and slow to operations and managers. John analyzes the different factors to determine the best type of procurement organization for your company strategy. Restructuring and transforming your organization to be as efficient as possible leads to dramatic benefits.

    Click here to read the full article