One of my favorite ways to spend time is strategizing and overseeing the execution of growth plans for the business or entities that I am involved with. As Edward D Hess of the University of Virginia has written, “Growth can be good and growth can be bad. ‘When not approached carefully, growth can destroy value as it outstrips a company’s managerial capacity, processes, quality controls, and financial controls, or substantially dilutes customer value propositions.”
I found that growth is engaging and very rewarding when managed well. Smart growth requires a culture that is willing to change, implement additional processes, controls, and measures to sustain quality during the ramp up. They also need to have the ability to recruit people with the right skills to deliver ever better value propositions for the increasing number of customers. I learned early on in my career to focus our resources and prioritize our activities in areas that drive success and to let go of activities or services that don’t.
By benchmarking best practices, understanding our customer requirements, analyzing competitor strengths, and measuring our key performance indicators, we can determine where to focus our resources to better what we are already good at and what our profitable customers want more of.
Hess also wrote, “Growth stresses people, processes, and quality and financial controls and growth can dilute a company’s culture and customer value proposition and put the business in a different competitive space.” This is a risk that I have found requires very thoughtful management and a willingness to say no to certain customers that are outside our target market and may strain the capabilities of our organization.
Smart growth involves the entire organization participating in the development of our strategic plan so that every department understands why we accept some customer contracts and not others. It also requires that we understand what we do well and what just isn’t the right fit.
At Complemar we take all of the above points into account when growing our clientele and business. Smart growth always starts from within, with proper training and transparency with employees and customers, success is inevitable. Actively managing growth helps us protect and strengthen our company culture, maintain our quest to be better through continuous improvement, and provide the resources to sustain and build a great company.
All growing businesses - like online retailers, manufacturers, and CPG companies – will reach a point they can no longer handle product fulfillment on their own. This realization can come a few different ways. It’s usually first an awareness that warehouse space is getting too tight or finding labor to keep up with demand is a constant struggle.