Sustainable competitiveness is an essential element in any corporate strategic plan and is necessary for assuring survival and growth of any business. Businesses operate in a very dynamic environment be it local, regional or global. The business executive assigned for the strategic planning must also be responsible for implementing the key components of the plan. The heart of the strategic plan is the information on competitors, their strengths, weaknesses, and their key reasons for success. Analyzing these data will provide the ingredients to develop the strategic plan for sustainable competitiveness.
Strategic planning process involves innovative approaches. Dynamic elements in the competitive business processes must be monitored diligently and decisions implemented immediately. Emerging markets and enabling technologies should be evaluated often and their appropriateness should be considered as the key elements of the plan and decisions implemented without any delay. For sustainability (and survivability) and for continued growth, business performances be monitored regularly and actions taken as necessary to continue sustainable operation(s).
Innovation in operational techniques and monitoring customer behavior are important elements in today’s business environment. It is essential that the operational programs be augmented and possibilities re-assessed or re-imagined immediately. Business leaders should be prepared to venture out of their normal roadmaps and be ready to demonstrate foresightedness in developing competitiveness enhancement.
Survivability, sustainability, and profitability are few daily challenges in any businesses that are involved in manufacturing products or providing services. Appropriate market research can assist in developing directions for understanding competitive fundamentals and the requirements for growths. Continuous improvement process is a technique for customizing functionality in any roadmaps. And, informed decision making is fundamental to creating winning business operation. Assessments of supply-chain-assets and optimizing those are important for maximizing revenue (profitability) and for readiness to take advantages of any M & A possibilities.
We live, work, and operate in global environment. The strategic plan for sustainable-competitiveness must include all possible activities in global context. Customer-care assessment and market intelligence are at the heart of sustainability and focused attention be given for implementation of any remedial actions. Where applicable, branding and brand opportunity marketing needs to be considered for competitiveness.
Businesses, such as energy, oil & gas, and manufacturing goods have adopted technologies that provide competitive advantages and growth. These include enabling technologies and techniques that would enhance cost reduction, energy savings, loss prevention, and improved product quality. The technologies are improved every day bringing additional enhancement to business operation. Businesses often miss recognizing these benefits. In addition, there are emerging technologies that could bring enhanced potential benefits to the businesses in the near-term basis. These technologies could help businesses become more competitive or create new products for a market segment. Businesses can accelerate by applying smart technologies such as digitization and automation thus enabling product-life-cycle faster, safer, and cheaper. Transformational technologies that are now being developed or tested would have commercial application in five-to-ten years.
The business leaders would benefit from sharpening their capabilities through capacity building and targeted learning processes. These industry leaders can serve as the point-person in their own business and become the “expert” to make their business sustainable and enable them to survive though the challenges in the dynamic market environment be it local, regional or global. In addition, industry consultants are available to assist in-house experts in demonstrating the process and techniques involved in developing the strategic plan.
Smart tools and techniques are available now to provide assistance in digitization, artificial-intelligence, machine learning, digital-twins, internet-of-things, and cyber security. Smart cloud based software are being developed and systems integration expertise are also available. Techniques for Life-Cycle-Evaluation should be considered appropriate for sustainability.
The in-house expert (and the industry consultant) must have process operational knowledge of the business. Operational technologies such as automation, optimization, process integration, energy conservation, resource-recovery and waste minimization do assist industrial sectors in making them sustainable and competitive. Their expertise must also include experience in risk analysis, aversion, and mitigation techniques. The strategy for creating the sustainable plan is similar for all most all the industrial sectors including for energy/power (coal, oil, and gas fired, geothermal and renewable such as biomass, solar, and wind), chemicals, petroleum gas processing and oil refining, petrochemicals, iron & steel, pulp & paper and manufacturing processes.
Once a Client Company is interested, the AGC Consultant will have phone discussions with them. The Consultant will then develop the proposed Program outline and share it with the Client for review and comments. The Consultant will them update the Plan and then use it during the Program.
It is recommended that the Program starts with Bronze level and during that period the Consultant will prepare the Program in details. Once the Client Company accept the Program and its approach and methodology, the service delivery can be increased gradually to the highest level. The Client Company does have the flexibility in proceeding according to their own pace. This CIG provides the details of implementation for the desired results.
Companies can elect whether they just require Appleton Greene for advice and support with the Bronze Client Service, for research and performance analysis with the Silver Client Service, for facilitating departmental workshops with the Gold Client Service, or for complete process planning, development, implementation, management and review, with the Platinum Client Service. Ultimately, there is a service to suit every situation and every budget and clients can elect to either upgrade or downgrade from one service to another as and when required, providing complete flexibility in order to ensure that the right level of support is available over a sustainable period of time, enabling the organization to compensate for any prescriptive or emergent changes relating to: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing; or Production.
The strategic and sustainable competitiveness plan for the Client Company must satisfy their desired requirements. The ideal plan should be flexible or agile enough for continuous improvement. The details of the plan will vary based on the business, industrial sector, and the country (or the region) where the Client would be operating. The plan must be kept current and reviewed frequently and updated for currency. The plan be appropriate for the baseline(s) established, the targeted competitiveness, fulfilling the requirements, and the sustainability desired.
The plan will address appropriate details including (1) Products along with technologies (current & emerging); (2) Markets (local, regional, global); (3) Customer Care (feedback surveys, review of comments, complaints mitigation, product enhancement, pricing policy reviews, etc); ( 4) Distribution (including supply-chain and warehousing); (5) Business Partners (strengths and weaknesses); (6) Competition (strengths, weaknesses, and agility); (7) Market Entry (and Barriers); (8) Budgeting and fund Utilization; (9) Financing; (10) Road Maps and Milestones; (11) Profitability (12) Sustainability; (13) Valuation; and (14) Investors’ rewards.
The Plan will be well defined or specified matching customer preferences. The technology or technologies being used must be well defined so that, if required the Client can understand its superiority or weaknesses. The plan should identify any emerging technology planned for use in the future with timing for the change-over. The local, regional, global markets shall be well identified or specified with all of its characteristics. The customers and their product preferences and pricing desired would be recognized. Customer feedback surveys with timing will be identified and specified. Feedback comments be reviewed quickly, and complaints resolved very quickly. Also, based on customer feedback the products quality improved and pricing policy reviewed and adjusted, if and when appropriate. The distribution logistics will be well defined for supply-chain and warehousing-assets optimization. The market entry activities (and barriers), should be well defined, and adjusted when implemented.
The plan will specify any business partners being used. Detailed information on these partners should be stated including their strengths and weaknesses. The details in the plan must provide appropriate data on Competition. All appropriate financial information will be included in the plan. Budgeting and fund utilization guidelines will be included in the plan The plan will include the milestone when certain activities are supposed to be taking place. The road-maps with milestones would allow improvement(s) when appropriate. The Client Company’s asset and the valuation will be developed for sharing with their stakeholders. It is more so if this Client is a publicly held company. So, the sustainability of the competitiveness is always at the shareholders mind and should be held at the very top considerations.
ChevronTexaco (Chevron acquired Texaco, Unocal and Getty Oil)
Texaco Chemicals: $8 million Dollars and 2-years Program; New Lube Plant; Texas, USA
As the Project Manager for building the Texaco’ Lube oil’s new production facility in Texas ($8 million US Dollar), the Consultant insisted on studying Texaco’s existing production facility first. After the study and adjusting the operation of the existing plant, the Consultant was convinced that Texaco could upgrade the existing plant to get the desired products by spending about 25% of the approved capital budget only. Thus, Texaco chemicals saved 75% of the capital ($6 million) already authorized. Texaco management was very pleased and had a party in their head-office to recognize the Consultant and his project team with traditional Texaco “Belt-Buckles”. The presentation was attended by their Divisional Vice Presidents of Production, Engineering, and Marketing.
Unocal Oil Refinery: $50 million and 15 months Program; Refinery Fire Rebuild; Illinois, USA.
As the Project Manager for the Project, the Consultant completed the project in 9 months (compared to 15 months scheduled) in spite of major construction challenges and earned performance bonus for early completion. The refinery was shut-down because of fire and explosion. Early project completion (six months) allowed Unocal earn six-months’ revenue.
Unocal Oil / Air-Products Joint-Venture: $65 million and 18 months Program: New Hydrogen Plant, California, USA
As the Program Manager for the Project, the Consultant helped completing the project saving 38% of the capital budget. The Hydrogen plant process design was modified based on Consultant’s design-team’s recommendations.
Unocal Oil/Gas Production: $18 million and 18 months Program: Offshore Platform Upgrading; Off-Shore California Coast, USA.
As the Program Manager for the Project, the Consultant recommended re-evaluation of design data. After re-evaluation of the design data and the project-economic-life assessment, the project was cancelled as the project could not support economic justification any more.
Getty Oil Refinery: $50 million and 2.5 years Program; Refinery Upgrading, Delaware, USA
The Consultant lead a team to save 50+ % of heat input in the refinery and upgrade the existing Fluid-Coker to reduce emissions from the refinery. The Consultant completed the project within the schedule and project budget in spite of major construction challenges. The Getty Program Manager acknowledged the achievement in a top-management meeting. Getty had two other major projects under implementation around