Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Key Driver of Innovation is When Time:Matters!

By Connie Harryman, Applied Concepts Creativity
Guest Blogger IIR USA
LIVE Front End of Innovation Europe 2010

Service Innovation and New Markets …Key Elements of Time: Matters’ Growth Strategy

You will get innovation from the view of a mid-size company. They provide special speed solutions for the “planned emergency.”

He then gave several examples where speed of delivery is essential. This includes a Formula 1 race, where there was an engine failure but the needed spare parts were stored in Cologne. There are only 36 hours until the race begins.

Another example is when a bone marrow transplant is in Jacksonville, the donor is in Cologne and there are only a few hours to change and or save lives.

Building trust is the key. He hires “freaks” who can figure out the logistics to transport emergency parts for nuclear power plants while minimizing the risk, yet keeping cool while managing the logistical complexity. They have a solution focus and take on the responsibility to deliver when time matters. The company culture encourages and supports them to be fast, flexible, excellent, obsessed, fearless, unconventional, extreme, rule breakers, passionate, and unique.

They serve a market for “When tomorrow is too late …” or standard not enough! They are asset free. They can deliver in hours worldwide. The business is rather complex and the industry is fragmented, especially on an international scope.

Standard delivery is based on price. Special speed solutions are based on value and trust. There are many competitors in the local market but there are few competitors internationally. The projections for special speed solutions are between 10-20%.

Growth is driven by global trends. The key industries are: automotive, aviation and aerospace, machines and tools, oil and gas, life sciences, and medical.
Time:Matters works by coordinating the market, customer, operations, customer service, as well as the processes and or networks.

In 2005 they embarked on a growth strategy focusing on service expansion and internationalization through buy and build. Strategic targets included: internationalization, target market expansion, network and service expansion.

Their strategy was matched to the market trends. Drivers of growth included these factors: global, reduce complexity, risk management/contingency, outsourcing, standardization, warehouse centralization, cost/service pressure, niche markets, emerging markets, lean production, JIT, and after sales service.

Every solution can be a service expansion. Their challenge is to transform ad hoc solutions created under high pressure into a standard. They turn tailor made solutions into a modular product tool-box. They develop a collaborative and learning organization with long term planning and a daily exchange. There is regional flexibility with central steering.

With service and network expansion and internationalization Time:Matters has realized a greater than 140% growth since 2005.

Key learning’s:
1. Innovation process = project management
2. Expectation management…upfront target and results planning, clear and reasonable milestone and timelines
3. Quick results …feasibility test and motivation booster
4. One leader..clear responsibility for results with one person
5. Ensure support…engagement of all teams (include Young potentials).
6. Incentives…new services development results as part of corporate target setting.
7. Learn and adapt…team member’s work on innovation parallel to a minimum of tasks.
8. Prototype before launching.. pilot phases with real customers
9. Discipline! realize when it’s time to pull the trigger …and pull it
10. And avoid consultants…why would they be better than your own people?

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