Implementing an Operations Strategy

Implementing an Operations Strategy

9 Episodes

Work with an implementation team helping one of the world’s most profitable and largest aluminium smelters improve profits and production by implementing a new operations strategy. The parent company has divested under-performing upstream (mining) assets during the recession and is relying on the downstream (processing) businesses, like the smelters, to boost profits and raise margins as input costs, like bauxite, rises. You will learn the 4 focus areas, the 8 categories of skills needed, the 20 traits and 25 tools that MUST be applied in all implementation programs, and HOW to apply them all.

The study is tough since the facility is already one of the best run in the world, making incremental changes harder to achieve and is unionized meaning that under-performing employees must be retrained versus replaced. The study is detailed since you will be able to follow step-by-step as we examine the new corporate strategy, build the operations strategy to support the corporate strategy, develop the business case, cascade the metrics into the operations, develop the operating plan for the aluminium smelter to support the operations strategy, launch the first pilot to implement the recommendations and adjust the implementation plan using the lessons from the pilot.

The program will focus on the pilot where we will go as far as taking over a small part of the smelter and working alongside the production team to implement the new targets set by management. Implementation always takes place at this level of detail and you will learn how to change employee behaviour to generate lasting changes.

In the next phase of the study, after the pilot, we will implement one of the largest opportunities identified: lowering procurement costs of raw materials by developing a strategic sourcing program.

You will learn the 4 themes, 8 key performance areas and 25 tools that are used in all implementation programs, including the tracking charts/sheets, and we will show you how to adapt them. While the study is set in a metals facility, these 4 themes, 8 key performance areas and 25 tools are used in any type of implementation: in a distribution centre, back-office, tech company, start-up, bank, digital research centre, Pharma R&D unit etc. If you master how to use them, you will have mastered implementation. Despite the guidelines above, we strongly discourage rote application of tools. We will teach you how to think through and implement from 1st principles.

We will explain why so many implementation programs fail: it is primarily due to the objective of the program and the definition of implementation, which leads to the wrong tools being used. Implementation is different from strategy and operations. In implementation the team must bank/realize the promises made in the strategy and/or operations analyses. The tools, techniques and methodologies are different. In essence, it means helping your company/client generate the $xM benefits that were promised.

In a corporate environment, you are promoted for results. This is a major misunderstanding many executives make when trying to adopt the tools of BCG and McKinsey: they focus on smart analysis and slides. You do not get promoted for strategy analyses and recommendations which you fail to implement. The executive with the ugliest slides and weakest analyses will become CEO if he can implement changes that create value for the client/shareholders. Implementation is about creating measurable value. Implementation is not about planning to create value. A company’s share price does not rise because of a great strategy document, but rather by the results of implementing the strategy and investors’ confidence that management can continue implementing the strategy.

This program should be watched alongside “Implementation. Building a New Innovation Division” and “The Operations Study”, the latter which includes reading “Succeeding as a Management Consultant.”
Image from Robert Cook under cc, cropped, added text.

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Implementing an Operations Strategy