The Six Factors

A Foundation for Building Performance

Each middle market business has a number of elements that must function effectively to sustain profitable growth. At FortéOne, we call these elements The Six Factors. These six factors are the DNA that enables companies to continue to grow. If they are deficient, the company will not be capable of achieving sustained, and profitable growth. Knowing both the status and scalability of these factors is essential to our work, because when a company has built strong capabilities in all of these areas, the potential for growth is greatly enhanced. At FortéOne, everything we do revolves around assisting business owners to improve the performance of their company by strengthening these six areas.

 

 

1. Strategy & Priorities

Development, alignment/prioritization, and execution of corporate strategy

​Is your company well positioned for maximum value creation? Is the direction you have chosen sustainable, and will it allow you to continue growing? Do your employees know and embrace your strategy? At FortéOne, strategy is at the core of how we assist our clients.

Process

​Many of our clients find themselves juggling a huge number of “priorities” and unable to identify those that are important. The solution is stepping back and developing a focused plan that puts the true priorities front and center. We have helped management teams across many industries build effective plans for their company in just a few days’ time. There is great power in aligning your people behind a direction they have helped author. More importantly, with a clear strategy, every decision can be weighed against how it helps achieve the plan.

​Vision, Mission, Core Values and Long-Term Goal

  • Are there well-defined, long-term goals that serve as “true north” for decision making?
  • Why does the company exist? Are guiding principles shared with all stakeholders?
  • Have long-term (3 and 5 year) targets been established?

Well-defined and Implemented Strategies

  • Do all of the owners agree with the direction of the company? Has this strategy been shared with all levels of the organization?
  • Are your plans static, or do you adjust as the industry changes?

Focused Growth with Prioritized Resources

  • What are the top 3-5 actions to achieve growth objectives in the next 12 months?
  • Are resources available to accomplish these actions?
  • Do managers and employees “own” these priorities? Were they part of the authoring process?

The Outcome? A solid direction for growth that aligns long-term goals, competitive advantages, market opportunities, and resources.

2. Organizational Development

Creating a performance culture through talent optimization, staffing/design, and compliance

​FortéOne works to optimize your talent and develop your organization’s capability through alignment of strategy, structure, management processes, people, and rewards and metrics. This is more than “HR” – it’s about utilizing your people effectively, reducing risk / compliance exposure, and creating a permanent culture of performance.

​Process

​People are the most valuable resource in building a business, and good decisions about people are essential. The most common issue we encounter are businesses that have outgrown the structure of their organization and talented people doing the wrong jobs in these companies. The business has grown and changed, and people have “fit themselves into” new and often undefined roles. In some cases, new people are needed to take the business to the next level.

Once strategies and priorities for the company are clearly defined, FortéOne (i) reviews the current organization, (ii) helps build the organizational structure, and (iii) put the right people in the right places to position the business for success.

​Highly Effective Leaders and Employees

  • Is there strong leadership throughout? If not, what are the plans to top-grade and develop employees?
  • Does the company have the right organizational structure with well-defined reporting and responsibilities?
  • Are all managers fully engaged and contributing? Does each employee understand how he/she contributes to the company’s success?

Aligned Culture

  • Are owners and employees aligned in their understanding of goals, priorities and values? Are incentives aligned with “stretch yet achievable” objectives?
  • Do leaders reinforce the above regularly in all employee meetings with “success sharing” and Q&A sessions?

Trusted Relationships with Customers, Owners, Management, Employees, and Suppliers

  • How are management and employee satisfaction, as well as fair feedback, assured?
  • Are opportunities for improvement discussed? Or do managers “eat their young?”

​The Outcome? Strong leadership, organizational structure, and employee performance that accelerate a company’s ability to generate revenue and sustain growth.

​3. Financial & Data Management

Financial Leadership, systems, and reporting. Informed decision making with accurate & timely financials

The ability to make informed decisions requires a strong foundation of timely and accurate data, which is often missing in companies that have changed over time. At FortéOne, we combine finance with operational and leadership experience. We assist our clients with quickly developing the organization, financial processes, and performance metrics they need to monitor their business and improve their competitive position.

​Process

FortéOne has experienced financial people who work alongside our clients to assess current financial systems and processes, and then put a plan in place for improvement. The objective is to ensure these systems are measuring and reporting the elements essential for business performance, which includes both internal and external metrics. We are an implementation firm and not afraid to roll up our sleeves and dig into the detail. It’s how we make change happen, working alongside our clients.

​Sufficient Liquidity

  • Are receivables, payables, inventory, etc., being tracked?
  • Are there adequate lines of credit and bank relationships if needed? Is there a “liquidity disaster” plan?

Financial Trends that build Enterprise Value

  • Is monthly reporting timely Are variances analyzed?
  • How do financial ratios compare to the industry? Does the Finance department restate data? Why?
  • Are pricing processes based on the market or internal cost?

Accurate and Timely Reporting Packages

  • Are comprehensive reporting systems in place to ensure the firm is tracking the internal and external factors/metrics that impact performance?
  • Is data tracked for both critical historic and “future looking” metrics?
  • Is this data viewed with company leaders on a periodic basis?

Structure and Resources for Success

  • Do company systems and talent ensure accurate financial and other essential data? Both internal and external?
  • Are financials audited/reviewed?

Customer/SKU Profitability

  • Does the company know where it makes (and loses) money?
  • What is being done about low margin items? Have “80/20″ pricing and service/product rationalization been explored?

Pricing Architecture

  • Where should my offerings be positioned and why?
  • What market / industry drivers should have the greatest impact on my pricing strategy?
  • What are the price based customer segments I serve and what is there corresponding willingness to pay?

Price Change Management

  • What are other revenue management levers that can grow my bottom line?
  • What is the best way to communicate price changes?

The Outcome? Timely and accurate data that drive decision-making as well as enhance liquidity and profitability, build enterprise value, and optimize margins.

 4. Operations & Supply Chain

Operational excellence, LEAN manufacturing, process improvement, and Supply Chain/SIOP

​FortéOne works with clients on a wide range of operational challenges including product development, procurement, production, service, distribution, and administration to reduce waste, lower costs, and set up sustainable programs that achieve quality, dependable outcomes. Our focus is delivering significant sustainable change that creates significant value.

Process

​Because our consultants have themselves run complex operations, we take a practical approach to analyzing every company’s operations and their quality of products/services. Streamlining processes and optimizing the supply chain ecosystem always improves our clients profit margins.

Transportation & Logistics

  • What are the freight and warehousing spend as a percentage of net sales? Do you know how to partner with your logistics company to lower your cost?
  • Do you need to improve your customer and supplier delivery times?

​Supply Chain Optimization

  • How is your current inventory management system and inventory turnover? Do you have supplier scorecards?
  • Do you have an established Sales, Inventory, and Operations Planning (SIOP) process?

​Lean Processes

  • Have KPIs been identified for each department? Are they measured and reported in an easy to understand manner?
  • Are there bottlenecks in your process? Do you know what they are and how to remove them?

Tracking and Continuous Improvement

  • Are there a select number of major initiatives to improve profits and customer satisfaction? How are these initiatives determined, led and success measured?
  • How does the company identify, prioritize, staff and track internal initiatives? Are advanced project management processes employed?

​Quality Throughput

  • Do practices ensure safety, quality and regulatory compliance… always? Do all products and services have detailed specifications for tracking and reporting?
  • Does the company use advanced Onboarding and Training for quality and retention?

​The Outcome? Streamlined operational processes and measurable metrics that drive company focus, increased profitability, and higher customer satisfaction.

​5. Marketing, Sales, and Innovation

Organic sales improvement, sales structure, leadership, holistic marketing strategy, and pricing

World class marketing & sales processes enable a business to achieve and sustain revenue growth above their industry norms. Customer intelligence, sales strategy, and sales structure are just the beginning. FortéOne develops and executes comprehensive “go-to-market” strategies and delivers improved sales performance customized to the unique industries and operating environments 

Process

We have helped many of our clients grow their sales and build professional sales organization. Some have more than doubled their sales within 18 months. But more importantly, they now have sales organizations in place that are both predictable and scalable. The black box of sales is gone. They now know how to select and train salespeople and sales managers, how to fill the sales funnel, how to run a high conversion sales process, and they have the tools to look over the horizon and monitor sales production. Achieving that goal is possible for any company with the courage to ask the following questions and the leadership to make changes.

​Strong Company Brand

  • Has the company defined who it is, what it does, and three meaningful points of difference?
  • Do all stakeholders understand the offerings (products and services)? Are marketing and sales clear on the benefits?

Strong Sales Leadership

  • Do you have a tested process for selecting salespeople and sales leaders?
  • Have the Sales leaders and account managers been trained in and demonstrated owner alignment and customer relationship building?
  • Do they apply team motivation/management daily?Are annual Key Issues & Opportunities Reviews completed for all important geographies, categories, customers and product lines?

Annual Sales Planning

  • Are annual Key Issues & Opportunities Reviews completed for all important geographies, categories, customers and product lines?
  • Has a Sales Growth Plan been developed with advanced tactics regarding offering mix, pricing, promotions, new products/services, etc.?

Promo and Trade Management

  • How can I optimize my bid pricing?
  • Do I know my ROI on promotions that I run? How do I maximize it?
  • How can I increase the conditionality of my discount investments into the market?

Mix Management

  • Do I understand how consumers migrate between my offers?
  • How do I use price to drive sales to higher margin offers?
  • What trade tools can I use to drive my mix?

Sales Performance – Delivery, Tracking, and Forecasting

  • Are sales tracked by account manager, customer and key product/service? Is this reported with “reasons why” at least monthly?
  • Does Sales Management track and forecast what is happening in every key prospect and current customer account (Red/Yellow/Green status and relationship details)?
  • Does the company know the likely pipeline dollars to be achieved next month and quarter?

Voice of the Customer and Vendor – Referral Rating and Satisfaction

  • Are client and vendor surveys performed regularly?
  • Is client retention measured, and are measures in place to improve retention?

Ongoing Innovation that Leverages Proprietary Strengths and Intellectual Property

  • What are the “trend-right” areas for growth in the company’s categories? Are resources being allocated to this future lifeblood of the firm’s profitability?
  • What new competitive barriers are being built and which can be strengthened?

The Outcome? Robust marketing and sales organizations that deliver high levels of customer retention/satisfaction and targeted revenue growth.

​6. Technology, Processes, & Systems

Process, systems, and technology strategy and advisory services with implementation support

Do you have the data you need to efficiently run your company, and is it updated and accurate? Is your systems group requiring ever larger investments and falling farther behind on projects? Do you worry that you are losing ground to competitors with more advanced IT strategies? Do you know what to do with the data you have and how to get the data you don’t? At FortéOne, we rapidly assess your IT organization, then work with you to implement a high-performance organization, governance, and project management capability.

Process

​Today, every company needs technology at some level. And there are many great options available. But systems alone won’t “fix” poor internal processes nor will they cause a company with silos to work together. The art is first establishing efficient processes, then choosing and carefully implementing technology that automates those processes and can scale as you grow. Our people have helped companies build their internal processes and then install financial and ERP systems, as well as specialized systems throughout the enterprise. And we have been asked to help in situations where new systems were installed with great expectations but are still not working, while frustrations grow. We see these as opportunities to build sustainable value, and by asking the following questions, we can quickly assess the path to value.

Effective Processes

  • Have key processes in each critical function been mapped so employees can be trained to contribute when they join the firm or move into a new position?
  • Do only a few Super Stars know how to “make things happen” or is this knowledge transferred throughout the organization?
  • Is succession planning in place to reduce the risk of key personnel departures?

Productive Systems

  • Are technology systems in place with the right level of functionality for each department? Do these systems provide the metrics that are used by managers to monitor performance?
  • Do people within the firm use the systems, and if so are they accurate and timely?
  • Are there systems that have been purchased but not installed, or installed but not successfully?
  • How are current and new employees trained on the systems? Do employees use the system as intended, or are there workarounds?

Risk Management

  • Are you completing a risk assessment annually? It’s important to identify risks to your business, both tangible and intangible (fire, data availability and security, theft, etc.)
  • Have you quantified these risks based not only on loss of income but also on reputation?
  • Do you have a risk prioritization and containment strategy in place?

​The Outcome? Sustainable and effective internal processes and systems that maximize efficiencies and improve company value.