In all likelihood, you and your team already know what strategic planning is - deciding what you want your company to be in the future and then determining when, where, and how you will get there given the resources that you have at your disposal. At ECM3D we see it as our role to help you filter out the noise (your personal/organizational biases, massive amounts of seemingly insurmountable market data, or a major paradigm shift in your industry, to name just a few) in the strategic planning process so that you can make sound, data driven business decisions that will ensure not just your company's success in the marketplace but its ability to be flexible and proactive given the winds of change so common in business today. So, don't expect us to come in to your organization and dazzle you with fancy PowerPoint presentations or acronyms that you don't understand. Instead, expect us to come in, roll up our sleeves and apply sound, proven business practices and business intuition to the wonder that is your organization and the complexities of your current situation.
BUSINESS PLAN DEVELOPMENT
You have now completed the strategic planning process successfully, laying out the roadmap for the future of your company. Now you need a living document that will effectively and succinctly capture that vision in an easily recognizable and understandable format for your management team and prospective lenders/investors. At ECM3D we use the standard United States Small Business Administration (SBA) template for business plan development because it is a comprehensive format that most financiers are comfortable with. That being said, we also understand that first impressions are everything and that the organizations that are in a position to help finance your vision see a lot of business plans. So, we go the extra mile to make sure that your business plan is up to date with regard to the latest thinking in your industry, that it is visually impactful, and that all of the information contained therein is accurate, well documented and unimpeachable. That way, when it is time to negotiate the valuation of your business with prospective investors, you can focus on achieving consensus regarding assumptions for the future prospects of your business rather than the accuracy or completeness of the data that you have presented.
FINANCIAL PLANNING & ANALYSIS
Your strategic planning process is complete, investors loved your business plan, and now you are funded, up and running. What you need now is an flexible platform that provides you with actionable "decision support" information about the progress of every aspect of your business relative to your goals and objectives for the short and long-term (1-5 years). Many think of FP&A as the term given to a suite of activities that include budgeting, periodic reporting, forecasting, ad hoc analysis, and your mechanism for monitoring key performance indicators (KPI's). However, it is much more than that because, technically, you can do a great job of generating timely, slick reports that have accurate data and still have your company go off the rails if your management team is not focused on the correct things, your operating unit strategies are not aligned with the organizations overall objectives, or no real effort is put into monitoring and controlling business activities. So by extension, FP&A becomes the process by which you ensure that management knows and understands the organization's critical success factors, and that your operating units are strategically aligned. That way, should the occasion arise when a shift in strategy, tactics, and action are required, you can respond in a proactive, rather than reactive, manner. At ECM3D, we like to think that we have an App for that - its called 60+ years of collective, successful, on-the job FP&A leadership and innovation with some of the Fortune 500's global segment leaders.
FINANCE PROCESS TRANSFORMATION
If you have ever dreaded month-end-close because you know it will be two weeks or more before you see an analysis of your results for the period, received heated telephone calls from your suppliers threatening to stop shipment on critical components due to outstanding invoices, or seen several line items in your operating results mushroom out of control without explanation, then your organization may be a candidate for "Finance Process Transformation." Needless to say, the examples provided here are only a small sampling of the possible red flags that may be telling you its time for a change. The critical point to recognize here is that if your are experiencing anxiety from these types of occurrences on a regular basis, your finance processes are probably inefficient, ineffective, and out of control. ECM3D can help you perform a critical review of your processes in order to help your team eliminate unnecessary or repetitive tasks, automate intensively manual processes, leverage transaction processing economies of scale via shared services, ensure that all processes are aligned with your organizational strategy, develop an accountability model and performance measures for each function, reduce the overall cost of finance, and ensure the success and continuity of the initiative with a strong change management program.
ERP IMPLEMENTATION & INTEGRATION
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are those which enable your organization to share data in order to plan for and allocate resources seamlessly across your entire value creation chain including, but not limited to, sales and marketing, global procurement, manufacturing and logistics, research and development, accounting and finance, human resources, and information technology. However, like most software based applications, the value that you derive from the system is directly proportional to the effort that goes into conceptualizing and developing the system. If you merely transfer your old, existing processes into the new system, then as the old adage goes, "...garbage in, garbage out..." Thus, the challenge of correctly implementing an ERP system is ensuring that the proper "business analysis" and "process transformation" for each function is completed prior to actually configuring the system. Likewise, decisions regarding data warehousing, data security, system access, interfaces with other systems, and the appropriate handling/conversion of historical information must be addressed in advance of final system configuration and go-live. Finally, once the system configuration has been accepted by your user community, a strong change management program must be implemented to ensure its success. At ECM3D, our management team has years of experience implementing and integrating ERP systems across industries and the globe. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you as you consider your ERP implementation options.
Organizational Development covers a wide range of topics - organizational structure, talent acquisition, leadership development, succession planning, performance incentives, workforce development, compensation planning, customer/supplier engagement, capacity building, and corporate social responsibility to name just a few - that are typically assumed to fall under the auspices of Human Resource Management and are often thought of as "soft" management skills. However, nothing could be farther from the truth. Organizational Development is really about how you structure all of the facets of your business across all functional areas to ensure that they are aligned with your mission, vision, values and strategic objectives, and ultimately it defines the look and feel of your corporate culture. So in many ways it is "...where the rubber meets the road..." and if you do not get it right, all could be lost or at a minimum, severely impaired. At ECM3D we will have a robust conversation with you and your team about which of these topics is relevant, what challenges and opportunities we see, and how we can help you make sure that your Organizational Development strategy makes sense given where you are and where you want to be three, five, and/or ten years down the road.