Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Strong Economy Creates Long-Term Growth Opportunities for Smart Businesses

I was included in this press release from The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC):


Art Tatum and Strategic Innovation

What can we learn about strategic innovation from famous 1930's jazz pianist Art Tatum?
Art Tatum would get excited whenever he arrived at a club and found a broken or out of tune piano.

Strategic IT - Today All Companies Are Tech Companies

Today's business world requires a tight integration between business and technology.  All companies are now tech firms—in the sense that technology is now central to their mission and a source of competitive advantage.

An example of Pivoting Your Business

Marlin Steel manufactured metal bagel baskets.  But, around 1998, the Atkin's diet became popular and the demand for bagels (and bagel baskets) fell.

Then, Chinese bagel baskets came on the market that cost less than Marlin could manufacture them for.

The company was in trouble.

But then Boeing placed a surprise order for custom wire baskets to wash precise parts on an assembly line.   The company owner then pivoted the company into making custom engineered containers for aerospace, defense, medical, and automotive companies.

Salty Lamb - Strategically Simple Food Innovation

I recently read an interesting innovation of New Jersey-based, D'Artagnan Foods, one of the first farm-to-table, antibiotic-free meat producers.

They introduced a breed of lamb that are raised on seaside cliffs.  Their meat becomes naturally salted by ocean breezes.

Value Stacking

I recently read a Forbes article about Jeffrey Owen, whose company, Lightning Technologies, is innovating the pallet industry.

Traditional wooden pallets can harbor bacteria, become contaminated, break, or catch fire easily.

Plastic pallets haven't replaced them because they cost three times as much and can't be easily fixed.

Lightning, on the other hand, uses a spray coating that keeps wooden pallets safer, cleaner, and more durable.

But the thing I found most profound is that Lightning builds value by stacking multiple innovations together into an unbeatable package.

Besides the coating, they also:

1. have active (vs. passive) ID chips installed in the pallet.  While passive chips need to be scanned, the active chips beam information into the cloud automatically.  This allows for intelligent, easily traceable supply chains.

2.  The wood comes from fast-growing, sustainable forests.

3. Their manufacturing process has almost zero waste.  Access sawdust is vacuumed up and sold for making more wood pellets, while extra spray is recirculated.