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Business Consulting Services. Jeffrey M. Kurtz. Agenda. Problem Definition discussion Problem Definition Exercise Objectives: Understand the Problem Definition Process Be Able to Define a Client’s Problem. What’s a Problem?.

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Business consulting services

Business Consulting Services

Jeffrey M. Kurtz


Agenda

Agenda

  • Problem Definition discussion

  • Problem Definition Exercise

  • Objectives:

  • Understand the Problem Definition Process

  • Be Able to Define a Client’s Problem


What s a problem

What’s a Problem?

Something that isn’t right that has finally reached the point that it can’t be ignored any longer.


Presenting problems symptoms

Presenting Problems = Symptoms

Symptom - Back Pain

Ask questions:

Where? In the middle of my back & sometimes my neck.

How long? About 2 hours.

When does it hurt? It started when I was shoveling snow. It goes away if I sit down and rest.

Are there any significant medical issues in your family? Dad died from a heart attack.

Do Research:

Check Pulse – rapid

Check BP – high

Check Breathing – labored and shallow

Check Skin – pink, cool and damp

Hypothesis: Heart attack.

Treatment: Immediate cardiac care.

Symptom - Back Pain

Ask questions:

Where? In the middle of my back.

How long? About 2 hours.

When does it hurt? It started when I was shoveling snow. It goes away if I sit up straight and don’t turn my head.

Are there any significant medical issues in your family? No.

Do Research:

Check Pulse – normal

Check BP – normal

Check Breathing – slightly elevated and shallow

Check Skin – pink, warm & dry

Hypothesis: Strained back muscles.

Treatment: Ibuprofen, heat, relaxation.


Presenting problems

Presenting Problems

Presenting Problem – Profitability

Ask Questions:

What has happened to sales? Remained steady.

What has happened to expenses? Increased

What areas have increased the most? COGS

Why? I’m not sure.

Research:

  • Industry Norms

  • Historical – COGS% up

  • Break down components of COGS – shipping costs 30% above industry norm.

    Hypothesis:Examine ways to lower shipping costs of raw materials.

Presenting Problem – Profitability

Ask Questions:

What has happened to sales? Declined.

What has happened to expenses? Increased slightly.

What products have declined the most? Our pink widgets.

Why? I’m not sure.

Research:

  • Industry Norms

  • Historical – Pink & Striped widget sales are down

  • Competition, trends, pricing, etc.

    Hypothesis:Competition has increased in the Pink widget business and technology has made Striped widgets unnecessary.


Defining the problem

Defining the Problem

1. Uncover the Presenting Problems.

2. Identify the key questions to ask and investigate further.

3. Answer the key questions and define the overall issue.

4. Define a course of action.


Developing the overall issue

Developing the Overall Issue

The 6 Step Process

  • Assess the current situation

  • Define success measures

  • Identify drivers of the measures

  • Identify the key elements of the context / environment

  • Define the overall issue in the form of a question

  • Develop a strategy for solving the problem.


Issue decomposition

Issue Decomposition

Issue Decomposition = A tool to define/structure key questions to be answered to solve a business issue (i.e., Issue Tree)

Issue Tree Enables You to:

  • Clearly state a business problem

  • Understand the business problem’s key drivers and components

  • Identify interrelationships between factors

  • Comprehensively answer/address the business problem

  • Organize efforts to collect relevant information

  • Communicate your approach, and, eventually, your recommendations in a logical fashion


Basic decision tree

Basic Decision Tree


Decision tree example

Decision Tree Example

  • Ensure that all aspects of the business issue are considered and that no overlaps exist.

  • The number of primary questions and the number of question tiers is dependent upon the business issue being addressed.


Mutually exclusive elements

Mutually Exclusive Elements


Business consulting services

Mutually Exclusive Elements


Practice

Practice

How can your retail client optimize profitability?


Case practice as a group

Case Practice as a Group


Have a great weekend

Have a Great Weekend!


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