Daily Archives: November 3, 2008

The Value of Proactivity in the Current Business Environment

Today’s guest post is from Robert Rudzki, a former Fortune 500 senior executive of supply management who now runs Greybeard Advisors, a strategic management consulting firm.

Bob has authored several business books including Beat the Odds: Avoid Corporate Death and Build a Resilient Enterprise and Straight to the Bottom Line.

He can be reached at rudzki <at> greybeardadvisors <dot> com and found on the Transformation Leadership blog.

Now is the time NOT to hunker down in a fox hole; rather, this is the time to be pro-active. One idea: take the opportunity to perform a candid assessment of your supply management and procurement practices. More companies are doing just that. In fact, in the past few months, my firm, Greybeard Advisors, has experienced an increase in requests for proposals to perform such assessments.

Proactive companies of all sizes seem to have renewed interest and seriousness about a number of critical topics:

  • understanding – candidly – how their current practices compare to “best practices”
  • identifying the specific financial opportunities, and quantifying them
  • developing a prioritized plan of action that creates near-term wins
  • using those near-term wins to help fund true strategic transformation along numerous dimensions required for achieving world-class status

Clearly, some of this renewed interest can be attributed to concerns about the economic downturn. But, what really excites us as practitioner-advisors: some of these companies are approaching it for other reasons; namely, wanting to be the premier firm in their industry, and realizing that procurement and supply management is a way to get there. Done well, procurement and supply management can impact not just total costs, but also revenues, and working capital. And that can have a powerful effect on total financial performance (ROIC, ROE, EPS).

These are very difficult and challenging times – all the more reason to approach your job with creativity, resolve and leadership.

Having been through a number of business cycles as a Fortune 500 corporate officer, I can attest to the challenge – and the opportunity – of being proactive in this environment. Companies that maintain their strategic focus and work to create their future will be well prepared to reap the benefits when the economy improves.

Thanks, Bob!