How Planning Can Lead to Business Success

Business, like war, requires adequate planning and strategising for you to achieve success. Just as a warrior would never go into battle unprepared, experienced business leaders use the planning stage to identify the business’ strengths and weaknesses, capitalise on opportunities and mitigate risks. As military genius Sun Tzu said “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

Here are five ways that planning can help you become more proactive and not simply reactive in your business:


Lesser costs compared to reactive maintenance

Planning helps you take a preventive approach in your maintenance regimes. A Plant Engineering 2016 Maintenance Study found majority of respondents, or more specifically 76 percent, used preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is cost-effective and may save you anywhere between 12 to 18 percent compared to reactive maintenance. Furthermore, it could lower incidents of unscheduled downtime of facility equipment.

The same survey by Plant Engineering identified the most common causes of unscheduled downtime as aging equipment (50 percent), operator error (15 percent) and lack of time (14 percent). Respondents said they planned to implement preventive maintenance strategies to address these issues and decrease downtime.


Better budgeting

Planning and budget formulation must go hand in hand. A budget cannot be properly executed without a clear plan in place. According to a report by the Standish Group, an analysis and consultancy group, fewer than a third of all software projects were successfully completed on budget in 2012. One factor that causes overbudgeting is the failure to consider risks and these risks could have been identified and addressed properly at the planning stage.

With accurate data, planning can help organisations stick to their budget and improve profitability. According to a study by Nucleus Research, organisations earned back an average of $10.66 for every dollar they spent on deploying data analytics.


Improve customer experience

Customer experience is a vital part of Customer Relationship Management and overall business success. Businesses could lose up to 20 percent of annual revenue due to poor customer experiences according to an Oracle global research study which was conducted among 1,342 senior level executives from 18 countries around the world. Furthermore, ninety-one percent of the surveyed executives expressed desire to be considered a customer experience leader in their respective industry.

Planning is essential to creating the optimal customer experience. By staying one step ahead, managers are able to identify their customers’ pain points and come up with the most effective strategies to target these points from conducting training programs for employees to integrating new consumer analytics technology.


Make cost-effective capital investment

Capital investment decisions need adequate planning because they involve a significant amount of money and a high level of risk. An example that illustrates the importance of planning prior to making equipment upgrades is a case study of a multinational engineering firm that utilised the Aston-I system to make a lifecycle analysis of 452 buildings of 7 university campuses in Western Australia.

The project, which took place over a span of 6 months and was carried out by a small 4-man team, identified over 40,000 maintenance issues, 1,000 compliance issues and over 30,000 inefficient light fittings. By being proactive and utilising efficient planning methods, the university was able to reduce its risk and make cost effective strategies for the maintenance regimes, repairs and upgrades to their equipment.

To be victorious in the ever-shifting battlefield of business, we need to be more proactive and informed in the way we make decisions. Planning ahead could lead to consistent improvements in workflow, increase uptime and reduce unnecessary spending.