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2014-08-13    来源:财富网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


After more than a decade of widespread expansion, picking up everything from beauty products to razors to batteries, Procter & Gamble announced last week that it was going to prune more than half its brands in an effort to grow. CEO A.G. Lafley said the company would divest up to 100 brands and focus on the 70 or 80 in its portfolio that produce the highest revenue. The world’s largest consumer products company wants to slim down to get bigger.
经过十几年的全面扩张,宝洁(Procter & Gamble)已经无所不包,从美容用品、刮胡刀到电池不一而足。上周该公司宣布,将砍掉一大半品牌以实现增长。首席执行官雷富礼表示,宝洁最多将剥离100个品牌,以便将注意力集中在70-80个收入最高的品牌上。这家全球最大的消费品公司,希望通过“瘦身”来变得更强。

P&G’s announcement illustrates a contradictory pattern we have seen in companies both big and small and across industries as businesses pursue growth—the seduction of more and the wisdom of less.

Every business is expected to grow to create shareholder value. Too often, this results in growth by any means possible. Extend product lines. Expand existing brands. Acquire more customers. Venture into new markets. Every expansion opportunity seems attractive because it brings in revenues. But not all growth dollars are equally green. The mindless pursuit of growth opportunities is the seduction of more. If companies aren’t disciplined in how they grow, the complexity of their business increases at a faster rate than revenues do. The result: unwieldy operations, dilution of focus, higher costs and lower profitability.

So why do smart companies like P&G let things get so far before they act? Why did P&G hang on to its marginal brands so long? Sometimes, the problem doesn’t make itself apparent until it’s too late. It’s like overeating—just as it takes 15 minutes for the message that you are full to get from your stomach to your head, companies suffer a delay in recognizing what is happening. By then, the corporate calories have piled up.

P&G’s experience isn’t unique. And like P&G , Kraft Foods , another big consumer products company, came to see what we call, the “Wisdom of Less.”
宝洁的经历并不特殊。和宝洁一样,另一家大型消费品公司卡夫食品(Kraft Foods)也早已意识到了“收缩的智慧”。

A few years ago, Kraft’s developing markets business carried a sprawling portfolio featuring dozens of categories of products – more than 150 brands in over 60 countries. The business was sputtering—it lacked cohesion and direction. Starting in 2007, the division kicked off a strategy to bring focus to the organization. Labeled 5-10-10, the strategy called for concentrating on five strong categories, 10 power brands and 10 key markets. The new approach narrowed attention and targeted resources, allowing the company to make a few big bets. Within six years, the developing markets business for Kraft Foods soared from $5 billion in revenues to $16 billion, with double-digit organic growth, while profitability shot up 50%.

More recently, Microsoft , perhaps the world’s most sprawling technology company, seems to be going through a similar transformation. After a multi-year binge of product expansion and acquisitions, Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, is slimming the company down. Microsoft is cutting back on its Nokia devices business and focusing on becoming a mobile-first and cloud-first company.

Prioritizing is the key—finding what really works and focusing on that. Doing fewer things, but doing them bigger and better. That’s what we call, “the Wisdom of Less.”

Some of the most successful companies of our time practice this principle. Apple offers only a handful of products and brands. Enterprise Rent-A-Car emphasizes the replacement market for consumers who don’t have access to a car. Even startup companies that focus have been handsomely rewarded. DocuSign concentrates solely on document signing. Uber only does cab services. The lesson: No market is too narrow if you go deep enough. In fact, to broaden your revenues, you should narrow your markets!
当代最成功的一些公司都采用了这样的原则。苹果公司(Apple)旗下的产品和品牌屈指可数。租车公司Enterprise Rent-A-Car将重点放在手头没车的消费者构成的更新换代市场。就连那些聚焦的初创型企业,也能获得不俗的回报。DocuSign的业务重点就是文件签收。Uber只提供出租车服务。由此可见:只要你将一个市场挖掘得够深,这个市场就不存在“太小”一说。实际上,要扩大收入规模,你应该缩小市场!

For P&G, the hard chore now will be managing the process of slimming down.

Recklessly shedding products and brands can be disastrous if the growth in the priority brands does not compensate for revenues lost from the brands being divested. Some non-priority brands may even be worth holding onto, at least, for a while, if they throw off profits and can be managed without much senior leadership effort. As for those being divested, price is only one factor—the separation has to be as swift and as simple as possible to avoid disruption.

Concentrating on the core helps weed the underbrush of complexity. Strategy gets simplified. That allows managers top to bottom to work on execution. That’s the advantage of a focused operation and the Wisdom of Less. P&G faces a trying period as it executes its new strategy. But if it gets to the other side, it will become a leaner, smarter operation, one that produces growth that is both profitable and sustainable.

Sanjay Khosla is a senior fellow at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Previously, he was president of developing markets of Kraft Foods (now Mondelez International) from 2007 to 2013. MohanbirSawhney directs the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management. They are the co-authors of Fewer, Bigger, Bolder: From Mindless Expansion to Focused Growth (Portfolio, 2014).
桑杰•科斯拉是西北大学凯洛格商学院(Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University)高级研究员。此前,他于2007-2013年在卡夫食品[现在的亿滋国际(Mondelez International)]担任市场开发总裁。莫汉比尔•萨赫尼是凯洛格商学院技术与创新研究中心(Center for Research in Technology & Innovation)主任。两人合著了《更少、更大、更大胆:从无意识的扩张到有重点的增长》(Fewer, Bigger, Bolder: From Mindless Expansion to Focused Growth,Portfolio Hardcover出版社出版,2014年)一书。(财富中文网)

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