Executive Insights

Volume XI, Issue 15 | November 12, 2009 | By: Dan McKone

L.E.K. Consulting's most recent survey of U.S. households indicates that consumer spending has ceased its plummet and has been relatively flat since April 2009. Consumers are indeed spending (albeit, still at reduced levels versus two years ago); however, they are proactively striving to realize the maximum value for each dollar. Discount retailer Wal-Mart, in particular, has benefitted from this increased search for value; the retail giant has gained a significant share of the average consumer's wallet during the recession.

Volume XI, Issue 10 | May 27, 2009 | By: Dan McKone

Despite all of the recent optimism being trumpeted by numerous economists and some of the media, L.E.K. Consulting's most recent research indicates that such confidence is likely premature. More specifically this economic downturn may result in long-lasting changes in consumer buying behavior which will have significant impact on the economy as a whole.

Volume XI, Issue 8 | May 1, 2009 | By: Jon Weber

During a recession most companies cut costs and recalibrate capital budgets. L.E.K. analysis demonstrates that exceptional management teams take a more holistic approach to both survive in the short-term and be well-positioned to achieve competitive advantage when the recession ends.

Volume XI, Issue 7 | April 9, 2009 | By: Jon Weber

In this article we address the third and final phase of managing through a recession; which is to thoroughly re-evaluate and improve your competitive position. We believe you will uncover opportunities to make bold strategic moves that will create sustainable competitive advantage through the next cycle and in turn deliver significant value for your shareholders.

Volume XI, Issue 6 | March 26, 2009 | By: Helen Chen

China is not immune. China has experienced nearly two decades of torrid economic growth with annual GDP increases around ten percent from 1990 to 2008. It emerged quickly and relatively unscathed from the Asian financial crisis as well as SARS. It is clear now, however, that China is not immune from the current global downturn. Forecasts for GDP growth have been continually revised downwards since late last year, and the latest consensus appears to have settled in the 5-8 percent range for 2009.

Volume XI, Issue 5 | March 19, 2009 | By: Jon Weber

In this article, we examine Phase II of managing through a recession, which uses Guerilla InnovationSM to persuade reluctant customers to spend. The goal here is to maximize sales and margins in the short-term by persuading reluctant customers to spend by quickly adjusting a limited set of levers (marketing, pricing, promotion). Doing this requires immediate understanding of your customers' needs and behaviors, rapid prototyping and quick optimization of winning commercial tactics.

Volume XI, Issue 3 | February 24, 2009 | By: Jon Weber

L.E.K. Consulting has found that successfully managing through the recession requires a holistic plan to ensure immediate survival, and a strategy to retool the business to exit the recession a stronger entity. In order to accomplish this, companies must astutely execute three interlocking phases. Each phase has goals, which if achieved, should ensure long-term value creation. In this three part series, we will examine each phase in-depth, and highlight priorities for success. The primary goal of the first phase is to ensure near-term survival. This requires preserving cash and minimizing operating losses. While many actions may be taken, the key levers include reducing operating costs, delaying major capital projects, tightly controlling working capital, and fully exploiting existing credit facilities.

Volume X, Issue 4 | December 1, 2008 | By: Dan McKone

L.E.K. Consulting's research study, based on a proprietary study of a demographically balanced set of 2,000 households, confirms that people feel that their personal financial situation has worsened dramatically, are determined to get their financial house back in order, and have made specific plans to alter their buying habits to achieve that goal.

Volume X, Issue 1 | February 21, 2008 | By: Jon Weber

This issue discusses four common traps managers sometimes fall into when initiating a cost reduction program. To avoid these pitfalls, L.E.K. Consulting recommends pursuing a process we have implemented at a number of companies. The examples profiled are best demonstrated practices which reinforce that cost-cutting can be instrumental in creating shareholder value.

Volume IX, Issue 5 | October 19, 2007 | By: L.E.K. Consulting

In the last few years, consumers have eagerly adopted gift cards. Yet many large retailers still treat them as an afterthought. However, gift cards can generate very significant revenue and profits. L.E.K. Consulting has helped retailers and consumer goods companies design, launch and grow their gift card businesses, and in the process has identified the factors critical to maximizing gift card potential. This issue of Executive Insights explores the gift card opportunity, discusses which factors impact a gift card program's success, and outlines specific steps to launch an effective gift card strategy.