Tilt: A book review by Bob Morris

First Friday Book Synopsis

Bob''s blog entries De Beers Ford Motor Company Harvard Business Review Press How and why downstream [comma] customer-led activities and preferences will dominate the competitive landscape in the future Infosys Niraj Dawar the locus of activities that add value (those the customer is willing to pay for) the locus of competitive advantage the primary fixed costs in the business Tilt: Shifting Your Strategy from Products to Customers Toyota Motor Company Walmart

A New Look At Budget Setting

Women on Business

Corporate budgeting used to be simple: review fixed costs once a year, control variable expenses as much as possible, calculate the ROI on capital expenditures and relax until the end of the fiscal year. The goal was clear and easily quantified (though not so easily achieved): maximize profit. Smart organizations are adding three elements to

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A Quick Guide to Breakeven Analysis

Harvard Business Review

It’s a simple calculation to determine how many units must be sold at a given price to cover one’s fixed costs. Assume she must incur a fixed cost of $25,500 to produce and sell a kite. These costs might cover the software needed to design the kite and be sure it is sufficiently aerodynamic, the fee paid to a graphic designer to design the look and feel of the kite, and the development of promotional materials used to advertise the kite.

A Quick Guide to Breakeven Analysis

Harvard Business Review

It’s a simple calculation to determine how many units must be sold at a given price to cover one’s fixed costs. Assume she must incur a fixed cost of $25,500 to produce and sell a kite. These costs might cover the software needed to design the kite and be sure it is sufficiently aerodynamic, the fee paid to a graphic designer to design the look and feel of the kite, and the development of promotional materials used to advertise the kite.

The Customers Who Are Happy to Pay More for Less

Harvard Business Review

drink costs only $1 more than the “small” 30 oz. Yet, in her new book Soda Politics , Marion Nestle showed that the deal is less generous than it seems when you realize that the larger drink only costs $0.21 Size is perhaps the most neglected marketing tool.

What the Nonprofit Sector Needs to Reach Its Full Potential

Harvard Business Review

Imagine eliminating all of the redundancies in fixed costs. The nonprofit sector has limbs.

Business Model Generation : Blog | Executive Coaching | CO2 Partners

CO2

It is useful to distinction between three motivations for creating partnerships: Optimization and economy of scale, Reduction of risk and uncertainty, Acquisition of particular resources and activities) Cost Structure – The business model elements result in the cost structure. (It It is useful to to distinguish between two broad classes of business models Cost Structures: cost cost-driven and value-driven from the following categories Cost-driven, Value-driven.

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What BMW’s Corporate VC Offers That Regular Investors Can’t

Harvard Business Review

Third, corporate VCs and accelerators are costly and complex to operate, turning them into a slow and expensive innovation tool. And the fixed cost from “touchpoint-to-pilot” are immense. For example, in the case of a $100 million CVC fund, which can close five to 10 investments a year, these costs typically range from $1 to $2 million per startup — not including the administrative and variable costs of the pilot itself.

What Happens When All Employees Work When They Feel Like It

Harvard Business Review

Eden McCallum, thus, manages to keep its overhead and other fixed costs at a minimum. Do you work for a firm where managers think employees really have to work (what is called) “full time”? That forty hours per week (or whatever is considered “full time” in your profession) is really a necessity? Perhaps you are one of those people with that conviction yourself — that in your job it is really not possible to work “part time.”

How Drucker Thought About Complexity

Harvard Business Review

Almost 80 years ago, Ronald Coase won the Nobel Prize in Economics for an essay that suggested that we do this for the sake of scalable efficiency — it costs less to coordinate activity within a firm than across independent entities.

Why Tesco’s Strengths Are No Longer Good Enough

Harvard Business Review

The “ accelerated recognition of commercial income and delayed accrual of costs” undoubtedly flatters short-term results, but it soon catches up with you, as four suspended senior executives have found out. Troubles at Tesco, the UK’s leading retailer, are mounting.

The U.S. Media’s Problems Are Much Bigger than Fake News and Filter Bubbles

Harvard Business Review

The media’s bias toward big events stems from three features of its economics: Fixed costs. The cost of covering a golf tournament doesn’t depend on whether Tiger Woods plays. Fixed costs have always been central to the economics of media. A combination of fixed costs, an advertising-reliant model, and spillovers produced a staggering difference in earned media coverage during the primaries: $2 billion for Trump and $300 million for Sanders.

3D Printing Will Revive Conglomerates

Harvard Business Review

That gave it a steadier cash flow to cover the costs of its large fixed cost investments, but did not eliminate the unused capacity of plants dedicated to one kind of product. Conglomerates, at least in the United States, have a checkered history.

Is Rooftop Solar Finally Good Enough to Disrupt the Grid?

Harvard Business Review

The costly and complex operations of transporting energy have made utilities natural monopolies, while regulatory barriers and the high fixed costs of building and maintaining regional electrical grid infrastructure have also kept much competition at bay.

The End of Traditional Ad Agencies

Harvard Business Review

In every part of the industry, the open innovation model is changing the economics of advertising by switching significant fixed costs to variable costs and sourcing creative from more relevant and, many times, lower cost sources. They''ll also need these networks in order to compete on cost: The open innovation model can shave time and expense off the old ad development cycle. Much like newspapers, conventional advertising agencies are becoming irrelevant.

Solving the Internet's Congestion Problem

Harvard Business Review

However, the model separates subscriber revenue from the cost of the network. Congestion, rather than raw usage, is the key driver of this phenomenon; given that the Internet Service Provider network is largely a fixed-cost asset.

Solving the Internet's Congestion Problem

Harvard Business Review

However, the model separates subscriber revenue from the cost of the network. Congestion, rather than raw usage, is the key driver of this phenomenon; given that the Internet Service Provider network is largely a fixed-cost asset.

Who Wins in the Gig Economy, and Who Loses

Harvard Business Review

A full-time job provided the steady income needed to support our traditional version of the American Dream: the highly leveraged, high-fixed-cost house; the cars; the latest consumer goods. The winners and losers in the U.S. economy have traditionally been easy to identify. If you had a full-time job, you won.

Ad Blocking’s Unintended Consequences

Harvard Business Review

Placing ads next to content helps websites recover the sizeable fixed costs of creating content. But ad blockers cut off this revenue stream and make it difficult to offset even the running cost of storing and delivering content to visitors.

Of Course Disney Should Use Surge Pricing at Its Theme Parks

Harvard Business Review

Since theme parks are high fixed cost/low variable cost entities, revenue from discount-enticed new customers is virtually all profit… free money. The Walt Disney Company is reportedly considering implementing surge pricing at its various theme parks.

The More Climate Skeptics There Are, the Fewer Climate Entrepreneurs

Harvard Business Review

remains home to a considerable number of “climate skeptics,” who clearly impact the politics around the issue, as they are unlikely to support costly actions such as carbon taxes intended to mitigate the challenge of climate change. A drug company must incur a large fixed cost to do the basic research, so it has strong incentives to predict what the demand for the drug will be if its research succeeds.

Deliver Big Impact on a Small Budget

Harvard Business Review

We didn't want to burden the organization with fixed costs. Almost everything had to be free, and the few things we paid for had to be scalable so that the unit costs would eventually approach zero.

Revenge of the HourlyNerds

Harvard Business Review

These businesses have powerful disruptive potential because they can provide consulting at a fraction of the cost of traditional models, largely because they do not need to carry expensive fixed costs like recruiting, training, consultant “beach” time, and expensive real estate. HourlyNerd, by encouraging students to bid against each other, likely drives down the hourly cost of projects even more.

Aligning Your Organization with an Agile Workforce

Harvard Business Review

This arrangement is often complicated by inconsistent decision criteria: purchasing wants the lowest price and a fixed cost, whereas the business or operation wants the best resource, a good cultural fit, and enough flexibility in the contract to allow for changes in scope or strategy.

We Can’t Study Short-Termism Without the Right Metrics

Harvard Business Review

However, firms can efficiently increase margin growth without much revenue growth by managing to squeeze out their fixed costs to service the same level of output. Repaying such profits to shareholders through share repurchases is better than misinvesting that cash to diversify into unrelated businesses in which management has no expertise or overinvesting in projects that may not return cost of capital.

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Get a Better Return on Your Business Intelligence

Harvard Business Review

Further, sales variation can get widened much more when it comes to financial variation because of fixed costs. There is a lot of hype and buzz around business intelligence. Companies are investing millions of dollars in business intelligence technology. However, unless this is accompanied by the simultaneous creation of a strong foundation for taking intelligent business actions, they are unlikely to reap a good return on that investment.

Bringing the Power of Platforms to Health Care

Harvard Business Review

Exploring cutting edge ways to lower costs and improve quality. In healthcare, the need for administrative automation is viscerally felt – and the potential for alleviating burden and draining cost from the system is significant. On any given day in America, 40% of hospital beds lie empty, their enormous fixed costs weighing heavily on the system. is at a critical juncture, with an urgent need to bend the cost curve – slowing the rate of cost increases.

Joint Ventures Reduce the Risk of Major Capital Investments

Harvard Business Review

For instance, the cost of building and equipping a leading-edge semiconductor fab has climbed to $7 billion, as the technology required to make more advanced chips is getting more complex. Another risk is the opportunity cost of not benefiting from lower investment costs.

How the U.S. Can Reduce Waste in Health Care Spending by $1 Trillion

Harvard Business Review

All will claim to reduce costs and improve quality. But, as Michael Porter and Robert Kaplan of Harvard Business School have argued , we need to examine costs at a more granular level at which clinical outcomes are matched with the business and administrative processes.

Why HR Really Does Add Value

Harvard Business Review

Within the first year of our effort net sales increased 27 percent while fixed costs were reduced by 40 percent. Not all fixed cost reductions were people. In light of today's economic volatility and uncertainty every aspect of business is being re-examined for its value in creating and sustaining profitable growth. I've worked in human resources for over 25 years, the past six with Newell Rubbermaid, and this is not a new endeavor for me.

China’s Slowdown: The First Stage of the Bullwhip Effect

Harvard Business Review

Consequently, although companies should cut costs now, they should be on the lookout for the quick rebound that is likely to follow. During an economic crisis, the exaggerated decline in orders can be especially damaging to upstream suppliers that have high fixed costs tied to production assets.

Don’t Compare Virtual Reality to the Smartphone

Harvard Business Review

The theory of disruption explains why incumbent businesses – with high fixed cost infrastructures and embedded beliefs about what the market wants – fail to adopt business models that lower the cost of their services and drive product accessibility to entirely new sets of users. “Over the next 10 years, virtual reality will become ubiquitous, affordable, and transformative.”.

You Bought It. Does That Make it Yours to Sell?

Harvard Business Review

for an energy bar at the airport, which would have cost about $2.00 My willingness to pay the higher price reflects both the convenience to me of getting the bar at the last minute, as well as the fact that the retailer's costs at the airport are likely higher. But since books have low marginal cost (printing and distribution) relative to fixed costs (research, writing, and editing), Wiley can profitably sell its textbooks there at lower prices. The U.S.

You Bought It. Does That Make it Yours to Sell?

Harvard Business Review

for an energy bar at the airport, which would have cost about $2.00 My willingness to pay the higher price reflects both the convenience to me of getting the bar at the last minute, as well as the fact that the retailer's costs at the airport are likely higher. But since books have low marginal cost (printing and distribution) relative to fixed costs (research, writing, and editing), Wiley can profitably sell its textbooks there at lower prices. The U.S.

How to Know If a Spin-Off Will Succeed

Harvard Business Review

In parallel, it reduced its fixed costs by restructuring its industrial footprint and overhead structure; increasing sales, marketing, and R&D expenditures in targeted areas; and dramatically reducing working capital.

Groupon Doomed by Too Much of a Good Thing

Harvard Business Review

ACSOI essentially measures Groupon's profits before subtracting its subscriber-acquisition costs and stock option-based compensation. Secondly, expecting a business to be profitable quickly forces it to keep its fixed costs low. Because a business's cost structure determines which customers it finds profitable, keeping these fixed costs low preserves strategic options for the company when it is choosing which customers to target. "Alright, you caught us.

How Uber Explains Our Economic Moment

Harvard Business Review

So to cover his monthly fixed costs of student loan payments (on more than $100k in debt), rent, and health care he was driving for Uber. I couldn’t agree more; they’re absolutely necessary to fix what ails us. Every once in a while you have one of those “microcosm experiences” that perfectly encapsulates the trends shaping our world. My most recent one came last week during an Uber ride.

The Get-Big-Quick Fallacy

Harvard Business Review

If you are inside a big company, profit-draining ventures are typically early sacrifices in corporate cost-cutting exercises. How will you generate enough transactions to cover the fixed costs involved in running your business?

Why Spotify Will Kill iTunes

Harvard Business Review

I could substitute a free cup of coffee from my own office, which would provide my much-needed caffeine at no cost. It was in your home, had no shelf space limiting its inventory, and could beat Tower on price because of its lower fixed costs. We gave up minicomputer performance for the cost advantage of PCs, we gave up plasma television contrast for the slimness of the LCD, and we gave up the personality of written letters for the speed of emails.

When M&A Is Not the Best Option for Hospitals

Harvard Business Review

Historically, larger scale has offered hospital systems a number of advantages, including increased referral volumes, better access to capital, stronger pricing power, and classic cost economies. Fix the Handful of U.S. Hospitals Responsible for Out–of–Control Costs.