Portfolio compass for future security
On course for growth with innovative strength and customer proximity
A medical technology manufacturer has successfully positioned itself internationally as market leader. With thousands of products, the Group offers a portfolio with many variants worldwide, thus covering a wide range of applications. However, in the innovation-driven and dynamically growing medical technology market, portfolio size alone is no guarantee of future security and growth. In order to remain on course for success in this respect, the right portfolio strategy is essential. In particular, this strategy should identify growth drivers, evaluate product positioning and thus support business objectives in the best possible way. Together with ROI-EFESO, the company developed the appropriate instrument to realign its Product portfolio and develop a future-proof portfolio strategy: the Portfolio Compass.
Right from the start, we test solution approaches with the real existing portfolio, distribute "homework" at fixed intervals and thus mobilise and activate all relevant stakeholders in the company for the process right from the start.MORE
ROI-EFESO success model
Bringing in best practice and project examples and working in partnership at eye level with the responsible departments. Combine methodological expertise and industry know-how in the development of the portfolio compass so that it meets the specific objectives of the company.MORE
The company recognized early on where action was needed: the previous portfolio strategy, including the product roadmap (PRM), did not provide sustainable answers to specific issues such as growth targets, customer proximity, resource allocation and transparency. In many cases, product development was technology-driven rather than customer-driven. The effort required to maintain the existing portfolio was high and also competed with the capacities for new product development, which made a sensible allocation of resources difficult. There were no valid criteria for the strategic evaluation and streamlining of the portfolio. In addition, the lack of transparency in the portfolio strategy led to limited control and intervention options.
Three success criteria in focus
To solve these challenges, the project team developed a portfolio compass tailored to the company's requirements. This was to depict three elements critical to success:
- Development of a methodology for more sustainable and strategically derived portfolio decisions.
- "Health Check": Classification of the current portfolio and identification of products for cost improvement and exit.
- Adjustments to the Product Roadmap (PRM) based on the results of the previous points.
Portfolio Compass from ROI-EFESO
The ideal basis for this approach was again the portfolio compass developed by ROI-EFESO. This is a methodology for the monetary and strategic evaluation of growth opportunities in the existing and neighbouring market segments of a company. The compass uses extensive market data and combines this with an inventory of figures, data, facts of all active products in all locations. This ensures that the actual Product portfolio is recorded and evaluated transparently and thus correctly. Five levels form the core of the methodology:
- Product / Platform Assignment
- Portfolio evaluation
- Extension Portfolio Compass
- Organizational anchoring
In the medical technology manufacturer's project, it was already apparent in the initial phase that the data basis for product and platform allocation could be improved. There were too few hard facts to classify the individual procedures and associated products. The danger of incorrect derivations in the evaluation of incomplete information was therefore relatively high.
Agile approach decisive
In order to avoid these mistakes, teams consisting of sales staff, different business units, product management and development, combined their expertise with the consultants from ROI-EFESO. In the conception phase, they conducted workshops in regular four-week cycles to find a common basis for evaluation or to test the sustainability of approaches already developed. The workshops provided new ideas and "homework" for the participants, which had to be completed by a fixed deadline. The core project team prepared this input, including key figures from comparable projects, applications and best practice examples from ROI-EFESO. This enabled the team to identify and prepare suitable solution variants for the challenges at an early stage.
These results were finally presented four weeks later in the next large workshop and tested by the participants. This process was repeated every four weeks during the six-month project phase for implementing the Portfolio Compass.
Close to the customer with co-creation
The advantage of this approach is that the new strategic portfolio concept was not formulated in purely theoretical terms and was therefore remote from practice, but could be tested on the existing client portfolio from the outset. Important criteria for assessing and classifying products or answering central questions about market positioning and customer attractiveness thus became tangible and comprehensible for those involved. By intensively comparing different approaches and concrete results for the customer portfolio, a sustainable consensus for the further procedure was reached.
The regular workshops played an important role. These played a significant role in bringing together the initially very different perspectives and priorities of the participants and, at the end of the six-month process phase, transforming them into an overall solution. The early involvement of the affected areas in the conception phase also ensured that the workshop participants also took on responsibilities within the process. Their willingness to contribute their technical expertise and their views was thus very high. In this way, the project team succeeded in anchoring "ownership", i.e. a sense of responsibility for the process across all levels.
Pilot projects yielded valuable experience
The ROI-EFESO team accompanied the pilot projects in all business areas and countries. This showed that intensive communicative support was absolutely necessary to reduce resistance and increase acceptance. The reorganisation of responsibilities in product management and the centralisation of important processes led to shifts in competence and uncertainty, which the project team had to moderate and accompany in terms of content in order to motivate employees to support and help shape the change process.
More than 60 local multipliers from the company are accompanying this change on site, for example by discussing important issues and making decisions transparent in regular meetings. In addition, Group Management informed employees about the current state of affairs in a monthly newsletter. A clearly structured, comprehensible "PLM pocket plan", which employees were given in their hands, supported the various training units. E-learning offers such as gamification or e-training provided additional motivation for the employees. Ultimately, this enabled around 700 employees in six countries to be successfully qualified for the new PLM.
Sparring partner with industry expertise
In addition to co-creation, stringent preparation and moderation of the workshops by the ROI-EFESO project team was crucial to the success of the project. Whether as a sparring partner for the workshop participants during intensive discussions and talks or as a source of inspiration for the appropriate evaluation criteria: the consultants scored points with the teams through their industry know-how and through their expertise from comparable projects and applications, which they brought into the discussion.
Health Check for portfolio valuation
As the next project step ROI-EFESO uses the so-called "Health Check" to evaluate the actual portfolio. The aim here was to determine how "healthy" the products and product groups in the company's portfolio are in terms of margin and growth in order to identify potential for optimising the cost structure or resource allocation. The state of health of the innovation pipeline is of central importance for medium and long-term growth.
Adaptation of the product roadmap
Such a "health check" of the portfolio naturally also brings to light products or product groups that were continued although they cost too much money, tie up resources, block innovations and are therefore not sustainable. In this project too, it proved to be a difficult step for some employees to part with such "dead horses".
However, when adapting the product roadmap, it is precisely the question of dealing consciously with the portfolio and, for example, setting up a profitability program through a target positioning. In addition, market potential analyses are carried out for the concrete monetary evaluation of individual products or product clusters. In this case, these also enabled a customer-oriented and growth-oriented positioning of the company in the market on the basis of the expected sales growth and the potential for gross profits.
Global roll-out to all locations
With the Portfolio Compass, ROI-EFESO provided the company with a comprehensive set of tools for evaluating the current Product portfolio and identifying future positioning opportunities in the market. With this strategic instrument, the medical technology manufacturer significantly improved its existing Product portfolio in terms of cost structure and resource allocation. The developed solution convinced all parties involved and was rolled out to all locations worldwide after completion of the nine-month project phase. It now forms the basis for streamlining the Product portfolio and prioritizing the relevant development projects. In addition, the company is successfully using the compass to identify portfolio gaps and the resulting strategic market developments.