Jimmy Dixon, principal with Oliver Wight Americas, says top executives are shifting from short-term survival considerations to longer-term strategizing, and in the process are creating stronger organizations for the future.
Companies are continuing to struggle with the short-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including labor acquisition and retention, access to materials, transportation constraints, higher costs due to inflation, and rising customer expectations. “That’s the world we live in today,” Dixon says, “but it’s not going to last forever.”
At the same time, executives are turning their attention to long-term planning. They’re making choices with an eye toward fueling profitable growth in a time of limited resources. They’re engaging in segmentation analysis to determine which customers and markets to focus on in the months and years ahead.
The move now is toward integrated strategy management. It’s the next step forward in a continuum that saw the adoption of sales and operations planning as a foundational best practice, then integrated business planning. The more recent evolution to ISM involves placing greater attention on corporate, business unit and functional strategies, all with the goal of driving both long-term strategy and short-term tactics.
No longer can executives rely exclusively on annual strategy meetings tied to budget cycles, Dixon says. Strategy must be tightly integrated with operations, allowing for rapid adjustment to changes in supply and customer demand.
In the process, says Dixon, companies can acquire a level of agility that recognizes the constant nature of change, and the need to be constantly adjusting strategy in line with reality. That’s a lesson they’ve learned from the pandemic and its associated impacts. When the crisis is over, he says, businesses and their supply chains that embrace integrated strategy management will be stronger and more resilient than ever before.
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