A consultant recommended the book Mastering The Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish and I found some really good concepts. The best was his take on strategy. He simplified a fairly complicated subject by raising questions that every business should be concerned with. Strategy comes down to two things, 1. Do you matter? 2. Are you different? If your year over year sales are stagnant or going down, then changing your existing strategy becomes a priority.
Executive Data Control is a 43 year old company, and as such we have changed our strategy four different times through the years. With the Great Recession we saw our sales decrease approximately 30% the first year, 2008, and we saw two years of no growth, ’09 and ’10. That meant our strategy was off, that we didn’t matter to customers and we weren’t different. So we set out to change our strategy to bring in more revenue.
In 2007 Ford motor company’s new CEO decided that they needed to improve productivity and save cost by consolidating vendors. They went from 20,000 vendors to around 3,000. The vendors who won the opportunity had three things; 1. Great technology, 2. More products and services they could support, and 3. They could integrate with Ford’s systems and act as a strategic partner.
That story set the tone for our strategic change, because it described what had happened to us over the last few years. As far as technology we currently receive about 80% of orders through our online ordering technology. It’s easy, error-free, and very customizable. Our customers love it.
We have expanded our product lines to include anything with a logo on it. So to our usual print offerings we have added promotional products, logo apparel, and signage. And we offer all the same support services for these product lines; warehousing, fulfillment, reporting and analysis of the purchasing spend. One stop shopping is easier and saves money.
Our integration abilities truly set us apart and make us significantly different as a potential vendor. Our company always had roots in systems analysis and Lean detail process charting. We changed our orientation to Supply Chain Management utilizing Lean techniques. We have adopted best-in-class Spend Analysis Reporting and have shown real savings to several Fortune 1,000 companies. Lean keeps us transparent and gives us the best way to combine our people and technology into your company, we are your super-department that achieves your goals.
Our sales went up last year, around an 18% increase. And we are on track for similar results this year. We have added several new clients and we received contract renewals from our top three clients. Increasing sales and hearing clients who say they need us as a strategic partner tells us that the new strategy is working. Every company should periodically ask themselves if they matter and if they are different, have you asked your company lately? Can we help?