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Management tools survey 2003: usage up as companies strive to make headway in tough times

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The annual Bain 2003 global survey of companies finds that managers are using more tools than ever to make headway in tough times. On average, the companies surveyed used 16 tools in 2002 with the heaviest reliance on tried and true "compass-setting" tolls such as strategic planning, benchmarking, and mission and vision statements. Surprisingly, given the pressure to control expenses, executive's choice of tools shows a clear bias toward growth over cost cutting. The message: moving ahead, not retrenching, is critical to control your destiny. The resolve to turn the economic slump into advantage showed up in the types of tools companies adopted in 2002. Overwhelmingly, senior executives favored tools that help sharpen strategies and prepare managers for an increasingly hard road to growth. Proven disciplines like strategic planning and core competencies drew raves once again for helping companies stay on course. This year, these tools were joined in the satisfaction ratings by tools focused on defining markets and improving customers relationships - key activities as companies tried to eke out as much revenue from existing customers as possible. A total of 78 percent said they used CRM systems compared with 35 percent in 2000. At the same time executives discarded tools that might divert management attention or require big cash outlays, such as stock buybacks, corporate venturing, and merger integration teams. A clear sign of the times in this year's survey was the soaring popularity of the corporate code of ethics. Given the rash of corporate scandals, it is not surprising that top executives at 78 percent of the surveyed companies said they have enacted a code of ethics to be their common standard for acceptable behavior.
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Keywords: Benchmarking; Business Ethics; Customer Relations; Mission Statements; Strategic Planning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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