Monday, March 2, 2009

Success beyond accidents of the marketplace

Ron writes: It might be easy to dismiss McDonald’s strong sales performance as nothing more than the result of a heightened consumer desire for inexpensive food during tough economic times. But having worked with the company for more than a dozen years on a number of advanced analytic projects covering operations, marketing and HR, I know this is only one of a host of even more salient factors contributing to the very positive numbers coming out of McDonald’s. A recent story in the New York Times explains how the company has won over skeptical customers with its thorough, nearly obsessive effort to get things right. Here are a few of the key ingredients that have contributed to McDonald’s supersized success, even as the economy and the rest of the restaurant industry have struggled.

A clear, customer-focused goal: McDonald’s has single-mindedly united its people behind “Plan to Win,” an internal playbook that encourages employees to “focus on quality, service and restaurant experience rather than simply providing the cheapest, most convenient option to customers.”

Adjustments based on brutal facts:
McDonald’s discovered that customers were becoming more interested in dining early or late, so stores were opened earlier and stayed open later. Executives “pored over data to determine what consumers were eating and drinking and where McDonald’s could expand to capitalize on changing trends.” McDonald’s transformed beverages from an afterthought to a central offering, resulting in higher sales and plaudits for its coffee quality.

Grounded, open leadership:
McDonald’s selects leaders who have restaurant experience, not merely academic credentials. Jim Skinner, McDonald’s CEO, never graduated from college but rose steadily through McDonald’s ranks. He’s comfortable mingling with everyone from coworkers to restaurant staff. According to John W. Rogers Jr., a McDonald’s board member, Skinner has “created an environment where these guys have been allowed to shine.”

Patience: Some changes at McDonald’s took time to implement, such as rebuilding restaurants, improving employee training, and reconfiguring the drive-through. Luring skeptical customers back to the restaurant took years, not months. As McDonald’s president, Ralph Alvarez says, “The lesson there is, be patient.”
Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Facebook Google Bookmark

No comments:

Post a Comment