Client Success Story: PSC Inc.
PSC Inc., Designing a Workable Strategic Plan
Picture this. Your corporation brings a new CEO on board. The Board of Directors wants to know how this will affect the company’s bottom line. All eyes look toward you to create a strategic venue that successfully launches this new venture and leverages your company’s presence in the marketplace.
Recently, Rhone Lee, Vice President of Human Resources at PSC in Eugene, Oregon, found himself in this very position. Recognizing an off-site strategic planning session was needed and having specific goals in mind, he hired Leadership Strategies to facilitate the three-day session.
PSC Inc. is a global provider of breakthrough data capture technology and services. They serve many industries including retail, manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and logistics by replacing the cha-ching of cash registers with the beeping of bar code scanners. One of their challenges is finding ways to leverage products that are continually in various stages of development.
“With our new CEO on board it made sense to start fresh by strategically examining our corporate direction and tactics. The session’s cornerstone purpose focused on creating a strategic plan that everyone could buy into. Because PSC is continually in the process of developing and launching new products, we recognize the importance of establishing and clearly defining corporate priorities within any new market we choose to pursue. It was important to determine that each strategic initiative aligned with our goals.”
Historically, PSC was product-focused and held a certain mindset: If we build top notch products that are feature-rich and market leading, then customers will come to us. It was the company’s core belief in how they conducted business. While pursuing this mindset, PSC oftentimes utilized strategic planning templates that soon were rendered useless or inactive because the template documents lacked strategic focus.
“What came out of the retreat was a subtle yet profound shift in PSC’s corporate thinking: determine which markets we want to play in, then create a specific game plan within those markets. In other words, rather than build a gadget we think they need, let’s become more market focused.”
This strategic shift in PSC’s marketing mindset caused a series of chain reactions. Engineering and Sales efforts began viewing PSC’s products through a different set of filters. Their primary focus became understanding the market where they wanted to increase sales. They also zeroed in on answering detailed strategic questions: What are that specific market’s needs? How can we meet those needs? This innovative mindset began permeating within the various functional areas at PSC.
“As you might imagine, this new avenue of thinking sparked some lively discussion to say the least! We’d never done business this way. I likened the change our company underwent to that of a luxury car. In our industry, PSC is considered a fairly good-sized sedan. For years our company was cruising comfortably down the highway, and quite successfully at that! Suddenly we found ourselves at a major crossroad, asking ourselves not only to turn our sedan in a different direction but also begin traveling along a different road. This wasn’t just any road; it was one we weren’t all that familiar with! One thing was certain however: all signs indicated this new road would lead our “sedan” to the desired destination.
One problem remained. Change is never easy! PSC was comfortable being a product-focused organization; now we were being asked to shift towards a more market-focused direction, involving out-of-the-box thinking. When any company is challenged to make a correction of this magnitude, even the best-running vehicles are bound to have varying degrees of tension and trepidation.”
Did Leadership Strategies and PSC’s strategic planning efforts produce marked results?
“Absolutely. It takes a certain amount of time to design, develop and subsequently launch new products.” Today, PSC’s product development, product features, form and factor are more heavily influenced in markets we want to play in versus marketing a great engineering tool with features…we’ve gotten away from a “buy our product because we think it’s cool” mentality. With this course correction, we’re well on our way to becoming a market focused organization. Market requirements have become more thorough and remain the foundations on which we create next generation products and services.
Leadership Strategies taught us to perform situation assessments using SWOT analysis focusing on Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. By using this strategic planning process we discovered changing market dynamics.
Exploring new technology and opportunities was another area we identified. There is value in identifying potential paradigm shifts and what they could mean to our industry. It’s pivotal to recognize what new technology is out there (or potentially out there) that we need to investigate and take an actively leading role in, to remain cutting-edge in our industry.
An unexpected opportunity was identified in Human Resources. By realigning our strategies, a program was launched designed to recruit top talent. We subsequently developed a recruiting CD package bolstering the PSC brand, providing an overview of what PSC is about and touting our Oregon headquarters and all we have to offer in a fun and informative way.
Ultimately PSC walked away with more than 3 days of conversations concerning strategy development, however in a relatively short period of time (one year later) we have a cohesive, overarching strategic plan that is supported by our Board and all parties involved. We are well on the on road to enacting that strategy as we speak.”
That’s progress at its finest.