Growing Great Companies


The Competitive Advantage

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Build Innovation Into Your Culture

Innovation is vital in maintaining your competitive edge. To insure that innovation is always a part of your company’s culture you need to:

  • Initiate constant research to help you understand, anticipate, and meet your customer’s expectations.
  • Encourage creativity in producing your products, in developing your processes, in your communication, in marketing and logistics, and in virtually every other facet of your company’s operations.
  • Generate enthusiasm for innovation by continually seeking input from your employees and rewarding their creative ideas at every level.
  • Publicize the ideas that lead to innovative changes and improvements.
  • Celebrate innovation as a mark of accomplishment.

Leverage Technology

Make IT your culture enabler. Harness the power of your IT function to learn more about your customers, learn faster, encourage creative discussion, and share your “corporate knowledge.” For example:

  • CRM applications –Customer Relationship Management tools have exploded onto the market and become more than a passing fad in recent years. However, beware of the common pitfall associated with this kind of investment. Many companies have “bought in” to the idea, but have failed to utilize the program to its fullest potential. The challenge is to find ways to use these applications to uncover substantial sources of customer knowledge. This knowledge can include information about customer purchases, preferences, attitudes and perceptions that can be analyzed to improve the delivery of future customer value. When you’re ready to make an investment in CRM, make sure you choose a system that will work for you, and create a strategy for how you’re going to utilize the information you collect.
  • Intranets – make your customer knowledge more accessible to more people with less effort. Encourage greater employee participation in brainstorming and other forms of creative and innovative thinking.
  • Extranets – get your customers more involved with your organization on a regular basis to make them an integral part of your decision-making processes. Create online communities that forge bonds between your employees and your customers.

The goal is to use technology in ways that will enhance your ability to respond to customer needs—whether it’s through faster service, lower costs or better innovation and responsiveness to problems.

People Are the Key

At the competitive edge the real difference is people. They implement your plans. They interact with your customers. And sometimes, their ideas turn out to be the most innovative and useful because they are most in touch with customers needs. As a manager, the consistent performance of your employees will be the key to your long-term success.

As a leader in your organization, you need to manage your workforce strategies aggressively. Be proactive in determining exactly whom you need to hire and where you will find the talent. Avoid making compromises in your hiring decisions. Be passionate in your management, never tolerating anything less than exceptional performance. Your attention to the details that drive culture will keep your business a fierce competitive force in the chemical industry.

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