September 27, 2016
Dana BaldwinIs your organization thinking outside the box to reach an effective solution for the benefit of your customers? How can you offer better customer service, faster-to-market products and higher customer satisfaction? Please comment on our blog.


M. Dana Baldwin

Customer Service - Thinking Outside the Box

By M. Dana Baldwin

Dana Baldwin Very recently we heard that Nike, Inc. signed a long term agreement with Apollo Global Management, a private investment group, to establish manufacturing in the United States as well as complete logistics operations. The goal of this arrangement is to improve deliveries, to shorten lead times and to improve Nike's ability to respond to market demands with new products and quick turn-arounds at a cost competitive with or lower than their current supply chain from Southeast Asia.

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This column is intended to answer common questions related to strategic planning and strategy in general. In each issue we will answer questions posed by seminar attendees, our clients and our readers. Please send your questions to - Mail: CSSP, Inc. PO Box 8272, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Article Archives

Did you miss these recent articles?

What does good differentiation look like?

By Robert W. Bradford

One of the things we strive for in our strategies is good differentiation. As a key dimension in strategic competency (the other is value to the customer), differentiation is what makes both specialty and commodity strategies work. With a specialty strategy, the differentiation must help target customers to decide that our product or service is worth a premium price. In a commodity strategy, our differentiation is what enables us to succeed at a lower price point than undifferentiated competition.

Are You Preventing Your Company from Growing? How You and Your Leadership Team Could Be Causing Bottlenecks

By Denise Harrison

One CEO complained that his financial person was preventing his company from growing. How was that possible? Over the years when issues arose, the financial person would develop a system of checks and balances that would prevent the issue from occurring again. While conceptually it is good to have policies and procedures to prevent issues from arising, continuously adding more and more can simply become cumbersome and impede forward motion.

Unintended Consequences of Well-intentioned Actions

By M. Dana Baldwin

In Strategic Planning, teams make decisions based on data and on the best knowledge of the planning team and organization. Unfortunately, well-intentioned plans can result in incurring unintended results. While analyzing what could possibly go wrong with a strategy or high level tactic, it simply is not possible to anticipate everything which could occur in carrying out the plan.

The Volume Trap

By Robert W. Bradford

Over the years, I've encountered dozens of companies that seem to be caught in a trap of their own making. It's the result of doing whatever it takes to satisfy customers that, in the end, will buy from the supplier who offers the lowest price.

CVS Envisions a Different Future

By Denise Harrison

Over the years CVS has transitioned its business from a traditional drug store format to become more of a health care company. Why? Some trends indicated that more profitability came from its sale of prescription drugs, so a focus on health care rather than consumer products made sense. To further its movement into being a healthcare provider, it purchased MinuteClinic and opened MinuteClinics providing routine diagnosis, screening and vaccinations in many of its stores.

Another Look at What Makes Good Customer Service

By M. Dana Baldwin

How often have you gone into a store or a restaurant, called a service department on the phone, emailed a customer service unit of a company, and had anything but outstanding customer service results? All too often, customer service contacts don't address your problem directly, or don't serve you well, or worse, serve you indifferently. You can go through layers upon layers of automated phone attendants, only to have to start over when one of the buttons you pushed ends up putting you on a wrong track.

Five Ways to Think More Strategically Every Day

By Robert W. Bradford

One of my favorite parts of my work is speaking at conventions. Interestingly, I've noticed far more interest in hearing about strategic thinking than strategic planning in the past few years. While this trend is likely because most people are doing strategic planning the wrong way, it's still interesting to ponder why people have difficulty thinking strategically.

Strategic Planning: What Did You Learn?How One Company Went Off Course

By Denise Harrison

"Follow the plan; don't get distracted by seemingly large opportunities," replied one CEO when asked the question: What was one key lesson you learned from following a systematic approach to strategic planning. How did he learn this? The hard way, of course.

Why Don't Companies Plan?

By M Dana Baldwin

What is there about strategic planning that keeps companies from making the effort to plan their futures? Why are companies afraid to plan? We have some experience in overcoming this hesitancy through exposing companies to strategic planning in our seminars: Simplified Strategic Planning. Let's look at some of the reasons why companies avoid going through the work of building a strategic plan.

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Strategic Thinking

Success in today's business environment requires that a company's leaders have the ability to create a vision of the organization's future direction as well as the course it needs to get there.

While various business improvement techniques such as Total Quality Management and Re-engineering are often extremely beneficial to the ongoing progress of a business, correct Strategic Focus remains the single most important element in a company's success.

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