Orbit Approach & Case Studies

Orbit operates as a “servant-leader” consultant.

We work at all levels of the organization, but especially on the front lines with project teams to envision new possibilities and to create the future.

Our competency elevates client skill sets and mindsets through development and coaching. We guide your project teams to identify and solve tough problems as they emerge.

Context.  Understand the complete landscape for the opportunity to address. By creating a shared “whole-parts” mental model, we set the context for “What to Do” to maximize effectiveness, solving the right need in the right sequence. The right context addresses strategic alignment issues, avoids expert myopia that rushes to implement the wrong things, and optimizes strategic capital allocation. Project teams can wholeheartedly pursue solutions with confidence.

  • Life Insurer:  Instead of myopically cutting costs in the claims function, Orbit integrated claims into the overall customer experience to reduce claims losses, customer service costs, and increase renewals.
  • Electronics Distributor:  Instead of acceding to “repaving cow paths” by implementing a new inventory management IT system, we identified 46 materials management decisions for redesign first. Focus on their improvement (without all needing IT) improved this distributor from #3 to #1 in industry inventory performance.
  • Computer Manufacturer: Instead of continuing an overbudget, overtime systems implementation program that did not recognize the changing channel landscape, we pivoted the program by breaking up into four distinct supply chains:  two were outsourced, two were internally re-engineered.
  • Health Insurer:  Instead of blindly acceding to the CEO’s belief that a division had optimized sales performance, our deep dive into the integration of lead marketing and sales operations revealed significant opportunity. Sales productivity was increased by 40% as they assumed market leadership.
  • Consumer Brand: Instead of focusing on re-engineering a product development process to be more innovative and efficient, our team pursued offshoots of opportunity to create personalized/customized and “basic” product lines to reach new consumers.
  • Consumer Brand: Instead of focusing on minor function improvements, our team took on envisioning a new global supply chain and enterprise technology platform. This well-executed effort led to becoming a “Top 10 Supply Chain” and, more importantly, was a platform for global growth.
  • Consumer Brand:  Instead of listening to consulting “experts” who wanted to build retail distribution centers to support a retail growth strategy, our team creatively found ways to build an omni-channel model that fit its distribution profile.
  • Energy Exploration Producer:  Instead of following the usual headcount and ZBB cost reduction playbook during another downturn in the IT function, our team took a holistic look at the IT operating model.  By creatively tackling cost drivers, teams in four divisions were able to triple its targets without headcount reductions by focusing its portfolio strategically.
  • Mega-Retailer:  Instead of focusing on pick-up for a “Last Mile Supply Chain” strategy, the innovation team built a full portfolio of delivery options including: postal service, 3PLs, multiple external and internal crowdsource options, and autonomous vehicles.

The Bottom Line. Solving the right problem is worth BILLIONS in:

  • Revenues from cost savings capitalization
  • Opportunity costs by avoiding the wrong strategies
  • Capital working on the wrong thing

Knowledge, Know-How, Technology, and Action. Value creation is more knowledge-driven than ever. Generating the right context to develop the right solutions can be overwhelming. The starting point is understanding what unique knowledge-base and experiences each team member contributes (and must unlearn). Next, we identify and develop new knowledge. Acts of creation require developing a “personal knowledge systems,” spanning different types of knowledge to contribute to conceptualization, design, and execution.

  • Life Insurer:  A duo of veteran claims processors learned strategy and re-engineering to redesign the claims function within the overall customer experience.
  • Electronics Distributor:  Materials Management Directors raised their perspectives to look at impacts of inventory decisions on the P&L and balance Sheet. With this know-how, they learned how to prioritize and improve decisions without technology, and also how to best utilize technology specifically.
  • Computer Manufacturer:  We worked with an IT team that had lost its way in implementing new systems to meet the wrong need. We taught the team to perform process re-engineering based upon a redesign of each channel experience and business need to understand the concept of business process outsourcing and to explore new enterprise technologies.
  • Consumer Brand:  Teams across the enterprise mobilized to transform a wholesale brand into a DTC retailer. The entire value chain had to relearn and re-conceive itself to become a “vertical retailer” in the context of a powerful brand.
  • Energy Exploration Producer:  Orbit guided a virtual working group within each of four divisions through a cross-functional analysis, ideating and sharing cost reduction opportunities throughout the entire IT Operating Model Value Streams.

The Bottom Line:  It is useful to know what and how to set the proper context, envision the future, and set up implementation. The good news is that it is easier than ever to learn and access knowledge, and to find deep experts for implementation help.

Process and Experience.  “Trust in the process.” High performing teams (particularly in sports) know that innate talent is not enough to win. It takes a mindful, deliberate process. Orbit designs the design and development processes needed to create the future and to cultivate your teams and organization. “Design-and-align” disciplines and “personal knowledge systems” are part of the “Project-as-a-Workshop” project model approach to guide and inspire your people to power the project.

  • Consumer Brand:  A team of 25 functional experts representing their own silos came together and learned how to envision an end-to-end supply chain, understanding how to analyze and find the leverage points for performance, working together to identify and prioritize integrated concepts. They also explored new enterprise technologies to understand how they could be used to improve functional and supply chain performance, then scale processes globally.
  • Mid-Size Consumer Brand:  An international consumer brand set out to re-engineer its supply chain strategy and to redesign key business processes. Working remotely, Orbit provided methodologies and led a virtual team through a streamlined process to analyze, envision, and design a new supply chain, shifting its manufacturing network, and expanding into new product lines. The final commitments were completed and celebrated in San Francisco.
  • Consumer Brand:  A team had worked for two years on a new supply chain process and tool implementation, and needed a turnaround. In a highly leveraged approach, the team was rejuvenated to deliver in three steps:
    • Declaring a breakdown across all workstreams (process design, technology design, batch window, testing, training, etc.) 
    • Elevating team mindsets and attitudes by rebuilding relationships and trust
    • Catalyzing completion of each workstream by laying out new processes, and hands-on coaching

The Bottom Line. There is a method to transforming individuals and enterprises.  A clear, legible and do-able approach elevates everyone’s performance, maximizing human capital and imagination to deliver more effectively and efficiently.  As a result, high performing teams execute solutions designs and project phases better. 

People and Culture.  “People are our most critical asset” is the oft-stated refrain. If this is so, why are so many work environments Dilbert-ian, with low levels of engagement and high levels of dissatisfaction? The Orbit approach builds the competence, autonomy, and connectedness that individuals crave. We cultivate the conditions to shift our personal limits, identity, and learning; to elevate new skillsets and mindsets; and to build high performing teams. These projects become transformational and lifechanging for team members long after the end of projects.

  • Chip Manufacturer:  An ERP project team asked for “change management” help after two years of no progress. The team was deeply resigned and unable to act to form commitments. Orbit worked with them to understand how they spiraled into this zone, then guided them on building a new architecture of commitments. This team got back on track immediately.
  • Consumer Brand:  A team of functional middle managers was formed to envision a new supply chain. The challenge was to overcome functional fiefdoms. Over a four-month workshop that completed a year’s worth of work, the team developed “head, hands, and heart.” Team members developed deep supply chain and analytic skills, and a creative mindset with emotional strength to push for bold ideas. Together, their “generative” design created a new platform for global growth.
  • Consumer Brand:  A systems test team was misled by a “test expert” and left only two months to prepare for the biggest go-live in a decade. Orbit worked with a deeply “resigned” team to transform themselves to be “radiant.” The team rallied to redesign and complete preparations in two months, achieving a high performance state. This team designed a new, “best-ever” comprehensive global testing model, rallied the extended test team to write high quality scripts at 10X productivity, and orchestrated testing worldwide.  Executives were stunned by the quality, and it had the highest confidence to move forward. It was widely acknowledged as the best test phase in company history.

The Bottom Line. There is no way to deliver change without enrolling your organization and making them part of the change. There are too many idiosyncrasies in the policies, processes, technology and organization. Everyone must be navigate the complexity and chaos. Not only is craftsmanship elevates and project tasks performed with greater qualities; project team members become leaders of this change and beyond.

“I don’t know what the magic was, but it was the best turnaround ever!”

“It was the best reorganization ever!”

“How can you triple cost reduction targets without recommending headcount cuts, while a competing firm is stuck?”

“How did you solve a problem that has existed for years?”

“Orbit is 10x better… no, infinitely better than the alternative because the other guys have never delivered, or deliver the wrong thing.”

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