Issue 4, 1992

Viewpoint Organisational Learning: The Key to Success in the 1990s

Ray Stata

Ray Stata is chairman and CEO of Analog Devices, Inc. This article is based on a presentation Mr. Stata made to Arthur D. Little staff members in June 1992. [...]

Issue 4, 1992

Environmental Performance and Business Strategy

Karen Blumenfeld, Ralph Earle III, and Frank Annighofer

Across North America and Europe, companies in a variety of businesses are beginning to use environmental performance to achieve competitive advantage, integrating the management of environmental, health, and safety issues into their operations, business processes, and corporate strategies. In this article, we outline current trends toward linking environmental performance with business strategy, suggest guidelines for identifying strategic environmental issues, and set out options for effective action. [...]

Issue 4, 1992

Acquiring World-Class Resources Without Selling the Ranch

John L. Forbis, Ernest R. Gilmont, and Hon Wai (Paul) Lam

Acquiring critical resources has become an increasingly important aspect of strategy as the established leadership positions of the 1980s have come under siege from new competitors in rapidly changing markets and technologies. [...]

Issue 4, 1992

Division Management: In Charge or at Sea?

J. Michael Younger

We have seen much evidence that the extensive delayering of organizations in recent years has left both CEOs and division managers in many companies confused about their roles. The CEO of an engineering conglomerate told us proudly that he had taken 15 to 20 staff out of each division office. Later the same day, one of his division managers asked us: "If the CEO deals with strategy and the chief financial officer with budgets, what should I do?" [...]

Issue 4, 1992

Business Strategy: New Thinking for the 1990s

Tamara J. Erickson and C. Everett Shorey

Strategy is what determines the framework of a firm's business activities and provides guidelines for coordinating activities so that a firm can cope with and influence the changing environment. Strategy articulates the firm's preferred relationships with its environment and the type of organization it is striving to become. [...]

Issue 4, 1992

Envisioning: Creating the Context for Strategy

David C. Shanks and W. Tom Sommerlatte

A CEO friend of ours recently expressed a deep concern about his staff's inability to "think strategically." This was surprising to us, given that this corporation is well-populated with excellent talent. Its staff includes brand-new MBAs armed with the latest management tools as well as seasoned "old China hands," Eurocitizens, and global venture experts. Furthermore, the corporation's fortunes had improved during the turbulent '80s, although much of its strategy had been of the "preserve and protect" variety designed to rally the core businesses of the enterprise. [...]

Issue 3, 1992

The Japanese View of Eastern Europe

Ezra F. Vogel

During 1990 and 1991, mission after mission of Japanese business executives went to Eastern Europe to explore potential business opportunities. Prime Minister Kaifu and other Japanese political leaders also paid visits. By and large, Japanese businessmen concluded that in the next few years Eastern Europe would not loom large in their global strategy. [...]

Issue 3, 1992

Privatising Privatisation: The Czech Experience

Jan Vrba and Pedro J. Pick

As the dust begins to settle almost three years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (often referred to as the C.S.F.R.) has emerged with what is arguably the boldest policy on privatisation among the former Eastern Bloc countries. Unlike Hungary, Poland, and the former East Germany, where control over the privatisation process lies mostly in the hands of one central authority, the C.S.F.R. has transferred most of the responsibility for the privatisation process to the individual companies being privatised. These companies must prepare their own privatisation projects for approval by the relevant ministries. Thus the privatisation process itself has been privatised. The result has been an enormous decentralised mobilisation of resources and a massive and rapid ongoing privatisation process, the likes of which has never been experienced anywhere. [...]

Issue 3, 1992

Industrial Renewal Through Regional Development

Dietrich Stobbe and Sasha Page

The dissolution of the centrally controlled political and economic system in Eastern Europe has led naturally to the regionalization of this part of the continent. National and - increasingly - regional (i.e., subnational) governments are assuming responsibility for fundamental political and macroeconomic decisions formerly made for them by central planners. On the enterprise level, the managements of large combines are becoming more and more independent of their respective governments. [...]

Issue 3, 1992

The Russian Republic: Issues and Opportunities

Jeffrey Sachs and Frank Yans

Jeffrey Sachs is currently leading a team of economic advisers to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Frank Yans is a vice president of Arthur D. Little, Inc. This conversation took place on April 30 at Professor Sachs' home in Newton, Massachusetts. [...]

Issue 3, 1992

Eastern Europe: The New Investment Frontier

Nicholas Steinthal

Eastern European countries have strong industrial traditions, much like those of the West, but their economies have been severely distorted by the mismanagement of the now-discredited communist system. Therefore, investment opportunities in the region are often clouded by significant issues. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

Viewpoint The Message from Rio

J. Ladd Greeno, Gilbert S. Hedstrom, and William F. Wescott II

The historic Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro - the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development - effectively demonstrated to the world the magnitude of the challenge we face. Those of us who represented industry and government in Rio, like the many delegates and environmentalists who participated, came away with a renewed sense of urgency. After two years of intensive preparation and two weeks of even more intensive negotiating, the real work remains to be done. Earth Summit agreements on climate change, biodiversity, and forest protection lack prescribed mechanisms for ensuring that words become actions. Furthermore, despite a broad consensus that industry/government partnership is essential for launching significant new initiatives, the actual roles of industry and government remain blurred. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

Viewpoint Multimedia Technology: Social Issues and Implications

John F. Magee

Within the next decade, many of us will be able to turn on our digital television sets and receive programming that is tailored to our individual interests - as well as interactive access to worldwide databases and communications. Maintenance technicians will be able to rotate a picture of a machine on their workstation screens, identify a problem component or area, and call up a list of procedures to fix it. The advent of multimedia technology - the potent intersection of broadcasting, publishing, and computing - promises tremendous increases in professional productivity. Its responsive-ness and flexibility permit greater timeliness and personalisation. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

Making Communication Work

Oscar Hauptman

Effective communication among individuals and groups is critical to the execution of complex business processes. It is the vehicle of leadership and vision, coordination and control, the transfer of knowledge, and the realization of creativity. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

The Role of Telecommunications Technology in the Year 2000

Phil O?Donovan

Products such as the facsimile machine, the video recorder, and the personal stereo are the fruit of numerous incremental developments in technology. Our ability to forecast the "what and when" of such incremental technical innovations is satisfactory, although the prediction horizon stretches barely seven years. We are not so good, however, at predicting the what, let alone the when, of technical quantum leaps requiring scientific breakthroughs. Examples from the past are the transistor and the laser; future possibilities might be bio-implant communications devices or robotic pets. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

True Wirelessness: A Whole New Ball Game

Clifford A. Bean and Malcolm H. Ross

By the year 2000, ubiquitous wireless personal communications services will change the ways that individuals, businesses, and other institutions in North America and Europe manage their affairs. Already, people are becoming increasingly mobile in their personal and professional lives. More and more, they want to use rapidly emerging wireless technologies to communicate directly with other individuals - not merely with other telephone instruments - anytime and any place throughout the world. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

How the New Telecommunications Will Change the Way We Live

Heidi S. Bomengen and David L. Fishman

Since 1984, the fateful year of divestiture, the historic trickle of new telecommunications products and services has swelled to a flood. Today, telephone companies are rapidly upgrading networks and implementing software platforms that will reduce the time required to introduce new services from more than two years to less than six months. The flood shows every sign of increasing in the next decade. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

Telecommunications Services: Industry Directions and Regulatory Implications

Arthur A. Owen, Hugh Small, and Arthur H. Solomon

Over the next 15 years, the telecommunications services industry will achieve dramatic growth in both new services and revenues - with significant implications for nations, businesses, and individuals around the globe. [...]

Issue 2, 1992

Communications: What CEOs Need to Know

Peter B. Ellis and David C. Shanks

To do their jobs well, the CEO and management team of any organization must meet the needs of several important constituencies, including their customers, employees, owners, competitors, suppliers, and the community - each of which interacts uniquely with management. The success or failure of those interactions may be determined largely by communications tools, particularly when they act as the distribution network for advanced information systems. For a "quick and dirty" test of the effectiveness of the communications tools used in your organization, we invite you to take the following quiz. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

Viewpoint Japanese Executives Face Life Out of the Nest

Yoshimichi Yamashita

Just as the abrupt end of the Cold War has created a "new world order" for statesmen to puzzle over, management leaders worldwide are facing the challenge of a new economic order. Incongruous as it may seem, the legendary Japanese management system appears ill-prepared to cope with this transition. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

The Lean Difference: Building a High Performance Enterprise

James P. Womack

In 1979 I set out with a number of colleagues at MIT to understand why the best Japanese firms seemed to be so much better at making things. At the time, the favored theories were low factor costs ("they've got an undervalued currency and low wages"), Japan, Inc. ("they cheat"), and culture ("they work harder"). We thought otherwise. Indeed, we believed that there had been a fundamental shift in the philosophy and organisation of manufacture - a shift moving the world from the age of mass production into a new era. However, it was hard to be absolutely sure that we were right. Convincing others was even harder. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

High Performance in Truck Manufacturing: The TELCO Story

Arun N. Maira

The story of how an Indian truck manufacturer outperformed four Japanese firms is a good example of the principles of the High Performance Business in action. This school of thought, recently developed at Arthur D. Little, holds that the most successful businesses manage to satisfy customers, employees, and owners while focusing on processes, resources, and organisation. Only by addressing all six elements can a firm achieve its true potential. In some cases - such as TELCO's - the results can be nothing short of dazzling. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

Removing the Barriers to Becoming a High Performance Business

Peter B. Scott-Morgan

Two years ago, one of our clients, the international Morgain Group (not its real name) tried to implement its internal vision of the High Performance Business. Having analyzed the sometimes conflicting needs of interested parties, Morgain had focused its efforts on improving crossfunctional processes related to product development and launch. Now it was ready to transform itself into a streamlined business. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

Creating a High Performance Service Organisation: A Case Study

Nigel Godley, David Hanna, Armando Ascione, and Ana Gonzalez

In recent years, quality management techniques have once again captured the imagination of management in industries around the globe. However, while the techniques have a ready and obvious use in work process redesign, their application to organisational change is less obvious. A recent Arthur D. Little engagement demonstrates that "rethinking the business" requires integrating the quality-based redesign of work processes with organisational restructuring and resource allocation - while maintaining a clear focus on the interests of customers, employees, and owners. In this article, we demonstrate a process for linking the best theories of organisational design with the practical application of quality concepts to lay the foundation for a High Performance Business. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

High Performance in Product Development: An Agenda for Senior Management

Homer J. Hagedorn

By now it is commonly recognized that creating a High Performance Business requires the commitment and active leadership of senior management. Part of that leadership consists of achieving concerted thrust, balance, and integration of the organisation's resources so that they align with its key processes. The resources in question include people, facilities, information, technology, and supplier capabilities. In this article we suggest important considerations for senior managers aligning their organisations' human resources with the vitally important process of product development. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

Process Thinking: Today's Path to Improved Performance

Robert M. Curtice, Laurence P. Chait, and Anthony J. Lynch

In the past, when a business was underperforming, its management selected from a set of traditional paths for improvement. They looked at specific functions or identified problem departments or concentrated on broken business units. For example, a company would take a function such as marketing and examine in great detail its staffing, structure, costs, and productivity. They would analyze that function across a broad spectrum of factors, including structure, geography management span, control mechanisms, and product lines. Usually, the outcome was a plan to reduce staffing and costs. [...]

Issue 1, 1992

The High Performance Business: Accelerating Performance Improvement

P. Ranganath Nayak, Erica Drazen, and George Kastner

Wouldn't you like your business to have:

  • 95 percent of its customers say they are highly satisfied with the products and services it provides?
  • Its employees say that it's one of the best companies in the world to work for?
  • Its growth rate exceed the average for its industry?
  • Its return on equity in the top five percent of companies in its industry?
And, on each of these dimensions, wouldn't you like your company's performance to keep improving at such a pace that the competition can't keep up? [...]

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About Prism

Twice a year, Arthur D. Little covers the latest cutting-edge thinking on strategy, technology and innovation in its corporate magazine Prism. For over 20 years Prism has continually set the standards in innovative thinking and groundbreaking concepts in the world of business and management.

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