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Four Steps to Successfully Selecting the Right ERP System

Posted by David Shaffer    2/12/14 5:00 AM

The selection and implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system is perhaps one of the most traumatic and demanding undertakings for an organization. With a structured, proven and reliable process, the selection can now be made with a greater level of confidence.  In fact, the selection is an opportunity to solidify the management team behind a vision for the future.  ERP Systems are utilized in all industries and range from entry level through the Tier I and Tier II system levels.

In order to compete and grow, management reaches a logical conclusion to transform their business with the improvements promised in ERP systems. They are attracted to the many benefits including flexibility, reduced time and costs in the product or service fulfillment process, or increased efficiency when collaborating with customers.  Unfortunately, there are many stories of ERP system implementations that failed to meet those expectations.  The issues usually point back to the beginning of the implementation process, selecting the right ERP system.


Topics: Selling Your Business, Strategic Planning

Lean Thinking - A Framework for Common Sense

Posted by David Shaffer    2/4/14 12:09 AM

First Things First, “What is Lean Thinking?” and “Why Do I Care?”

Lean although it sounds very technical is actually a common sense strategic approach to efficiency.  Lean is defined as a managerial concept that results in the elimination of the eight kinds of wastes that hamper profitability, namely: 

  1. Rework
  2. Overproduction
  3. Waiting
  4. Unnecessary Transportation
  5. Inventory
  6. Unnecessary Motion
  7. Over Processing.
  8. Non-Utilized Talent

There are strong ties to Japan and the term “Muda” the Japanese word for waste.

You may be asking yourself, “What does this all mean?,” and “What does it have to do with my business?”  The answers squarely hit the bottom line — increases to revenue, efficiency, and employee effectiveness and decreased cost.  It is a focus on process efficiency that ultimately creates value.  Let’s look a little bit deeper.


Topics: Strategic Planning, Lean

4 Steps to Effective Strategic Planning & Implementation

Posted by David Shaffer    1/29/14 3:55 PM

Learn to “Charter” Strategic Initiatives, Manage Accountability & Achieve Results

Most companies schedule their management retreat to develop and establish the strategic direction for the remainder of the year, as well as a 3-5 year outlook. The process, although it can contribute to team building by “getting away” from the daily grind, frequently does not result in strategy. That’s because what starts as a noble intention or cause ends with little to no accountability, letting life return to “normal” soon after the planning meeting.  Effective Strategic Planning Implementation requires accountability both in the creation and management of strategic initiatives.  Here is practical & accountable approach to effective strategic planning and implementation.



Topics: Strategic Planning

Defining a Target Operating Model

Posted by David Shaffer    1/27/14 1:15 AM

Over many years of working with small to medium size businesses, particularly those looking for, or experiencing growth, a common theme has frequently emerged; one of assuring that the infrastructure of old is robust enough to match the demands of today. A misaligned organization can result in declining customer service, quality, profitability and employee satisfaction levels. It can destroy a company’s growth trend no matter how much potential exists for the business.

We have often heard such phrases as “in the good old days”... or “life was much simpler when”… or “how can we be down in profits when are sales are growing?”…

In order to tackle these common, yet difficult scenarios, this article provides a framework for taking the proactive steps necessary to align the organization to the strategies of growth. The points listed below represent a roadmap of activities that a company should consider to move from its current organizational and operational structure to what is known as a Target Operating Model (TOM). By following this roadmap, organizational realignment and growth are controlled, measured and profitable. Through the identification of the TOM, the company is focused on defining an infrastructure and corresponding processes that support growth rather than one that consumes the revenue at a faster pace than revenue is generated.


Topics: Strategic Planning

Growing Revenue with Value-Based Pricing

Posted by John Foley    1/22/14 9:00 PM

Raise your hand if you are challenged to grow revenue.  Setting the price for products or services is the most important revenue driver, and yet many companies have found themselves unable to charge the prices required to grow for competitive or other reasons. They have fallen into a dangerous position called the commodity-pricing trap.  The best way out of this trap is to adopt a value-based pricing model. 


Topics: Critical Few Planning, Play Book

5 Secrets of Selling to C-Level Executives

Posted by John Foley    12/31/13 11:31 PM

Selling to a C-Level Executive is far more effective and rewarding than selling to levels below, however it requires a new way of thinking along with organized systems, skills and disciplines. The second in a series of five revenue relief articles, this post will introduce the 5 essential sales requirements for providing value to the C-Suite.


Topics: Critical Few Planning, Play Book

2014 Predictions: High Growth Requires Vision & Innovation

Posted by John Foley    12/31/13 11:30 PM

As we roll into 2014, the indicators are all pointing towards moderate improvements from 2013. Nothing too exciting on the surface: slow growth, low wages, and fewer full time work opportunities…  Just below the surface there are many indicators that point to new directions.


Topics: Critical Few Planning, Play Book

Play Book Foundation Assessment: Financial Management

Posted by John Foley    12/31/13 11:28 PM

Essential Financial Management Best Practices For Your
Play Book

Arrow Up Partners wants to help your business overcome one of the biggest obstacles that limits growth—an actionable Play Book.  At the center of any high quality Play Book is the Financial section. For many businesses, this can be the most difficult component to create.  We’re here to take away the guesswork and complexity, beginning with five Financial Management questions included in our free Playbook questionnaire. 

With the free Play Book assessment from Arrow Up Partners, you can get a Financial Management assessment along with 10 other important categories. The Financial Management section includes 5 key questions. 


Topics: Critical Few Planning, Play Book

Play Book Foundation Assessment: Industry & Market

Posted by John Foley    12/31/13 11:27 PM

The Industry & Market Analysis is an Essential Component of Any Business Play Book

Most companies seeking advice on how to grow their business are dissatisfied with the advice they receive. They are looking for improvements and know that changes in one area of the business will influence other areas of the business.  An integrated approach is required to ensure success and the first logical step is to focus on a Play Book that clearly defines the business focus, direction and value.

A Play Book provides the road map for your business and guides communication with your bank, employees, partners, and even customers.  It also provides business executives and owners personal peace of mind.  Most importantly, you need a Play Book to obtain capital funding for your business that will allow growth beyond existing lines of credit.


Topics: Critical Few Planning, Play Book

Getting Started with a Blue Ocean Strategy in 6 Steps

Posted by John Foley    12/19/13 8:00 AM

The first in a series of five revenue relief articles, this post is focused on creating a niche category where your company can redefine the market, create differentiation, and establish dominance. This is Blue Ocean Strategy.

When we think about Blue Ocean Strategies, one big example comes to mind:  Cirque du Soleil took the best parts of a traditional circus, combined them with the best parts of traditional theater, and created a new category with no competition and high profit margins.  Audiences love Cirque du Soleil, buy tickets in advance, and have no problem paying full price.


Topics: Revenue Growth, Differentiation, Blue Ocean Strategy, Critical Few Planning, Strategic, Revenue Relief

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