It’s a best practice to ensure there is always enough competitive analysis being done to know where you are in relation to your competition, especially when assessing your competitive edge.
Consider these seven questions as you do your self-assessment:
- Are you better or worse than your competition at satisfying the customer?
- Are you holding your own in market share?
- Are you increasing?
- How fast are you getting new products to market compared to them?
- How long is your lead time on current product delivery relative to theirs?
You want to stay ahead of the competition, but there is no guarantee that your company can implement the good ideas that would give you the leading edge. So…there is one more question to ask about your competitors:
7. How good are they at managing the changes that will deliver them the competitive edge?
Even if you already manage change well, it is critical to unify and integrate the knowledge, resource, and tools of change management scattered throughout the company into a comprehensive structure methodology. Without that structured methodology, there is a good possibility that even the best change agents will skip steps in the process. They certainly cannot guarantee repeating the process consistently if they have not identified all the steps. Equally important, change agents need to replicate themselves in order to build a critical mass of change agents within the company.
Charles Savage in Fifth Generation Management says the organization itself must become a “changing agent,” responding to and dialoging with its markets. There must be a process to teach everyone in the organization about change.
The latest change tools are common knowledge, they’re just as accessible to your competitors as they are to you. They know, as you do, about improving engineering processes, involving employees and doing major whiteboard thinking about streamlining processes and upgrading systems. Like you, they understand that they have to give customers what they want. They know they must develop and integrate product design and development methodology, and they see how concurrent engineering and quality function deployment are tools to make that happen.
So what gives any one company a competitive edge when everyone knows what they should look like? Change management is that competitive edge.
Building a systematic change management strategy into your plans will increase your payback from change efforts. It will ensure that the specific changes going on are integrated into your overarching change efforts. It will show the company, your customers, and your competitors that you know how to make change happen.