It seems like there’s always a better time to do something, and that time is “later.” Many companies believe that improvement initiatives – like Lean, supplier partner programs, global expansion, or new product launches – will wait. The trouble is that while they’re waiting, their competitors are moving forward.
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” In the iconic movie Cool Hand Luke, Paul Newman’s character was sent to prison and eventually killed because of a failure to communicate. In business, the results of weak communication shouldn’t be that drastic, but without communication, it’s easy to miss important opportunities to innovate and improve. Within operations and supply chain, there are five essential types of communication:
You just accepted your first role as a Chief Financial Officer. Congratulations! You have made it to the top of your profession. There is a good chance you have a post graduate degree or two, professional certifications that give you expert status in specific disciplines and more than one non-profit or professional association has benefited from your presence. It’s been hard work getting qualified for this new job. You deserve it.
Even with all that preparation, we imagine you have a few butterflies fluttering wildly in your stomach. Our wish for you is great success. Maybe we can even help settle the butterflies and get you off to a great start in your new job.
The First 101 Days of a Successful CFO is a road map to help you assess where your efforts in the accounting, finance and treasury functions and in you leadership role should be focused in your first 101 days.
We divided the assessment part of this process into 9 components. With good time management the assessment should take about 2 weeks of your time. Don’t let that worry you. The components are areas you will become familiar with early on in your new role anyway. This formal process not only prevents you from overlooking key areas, it will save you time in the long run. These components are foundational to becoming a great CFO. Once these components are assessed you will have enough information to develop and execute a plan to get your operations in order.
The 9 components to be assessed are:
1. Review the Corporate Strategy: This should be done with the CEO and Board Chair. Look for completeness, consistency, communication and evidence that all parts of the strategy (or business plan) are being implemented. Take this opportunity to learn how they describe why the company exists and what they believe is important.
Obsolete inventory is one of the largest components of inventory cost and often is larger and more costly than executives are willing to admit. Many suggest optimistically (and often sheepishly) that there is no such thing as obsolete inventory because it will sell someday. I have developed a new three-letter acronym for this to go along with JIT, RAW, WIP and FGI. It is “GSM” for “Glacially Slow Moving”! Studies related to inventory cost and inventory reduction prove that obsolete inventory does in fact exist, along with the warehouses, containers and trailers to hold it. Warehouse personnel will express how frustrated they are because the inventory takes up prime bin locations and gets counted, recounted and moved many times during its life. Most companies are busy searching for ways to return, sell, give or throw away obsolete inventory, but the important question isn’t how to get rid of it, but how to avoid it in the first place.
The word “failure” has a stigma attached to it I believe should be challenged.
Failure is a noun defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as:
- omission of occurrence or performance
- lack of success
- a falling short
- one that has failed