Sometimes there is no one strategy

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In today’s age of restructuring, companies are seeking cost savings and synergies left and right. A global and more competitive chemical industry dictates calls for a well-oiled organization that can compete on a cost and technical basis to serve demanding customer needs.

However, simply mashing disparate businesses together into operating units does not generate any real value.

This is especially true for specialty chemical companies, which tend to serve a variety of end markets.

Craig Rogerson, chairman and CEO of US-based specialty chemical firm Chemtura, drove the point home in an interview last week at our New York office.

Rogerson is striving to take the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy by March 2010 – a year after its filing.

“In the past, a lot of time was spent force-feeding a common strategy for all the businesses. But the fact is, there isn’t one,” he said. “There is no one strategy that covers crop protection, petroleum additives, urethanes and pool and spa.”

And that’s OK, he said. The businesses can make decisions separately, as well as take advantage of certain shared services such as IT (information technology) systems.

Chemtura has submitted a 5-year long-range business plan to the unsecured creditors committee and set an October 30 deadline for all claims against it – the first steps in valuing the company’s assets and liabilities so it can emerge from bankruptcy.

The plan recognizes the differences between Chemtura’s many businesses. The strategies in the plan are business-specific and driven by the analysis of each one’s competitive advantages, he said.

If employees are force-fed a strategy that doesn’t apply, there is inevitably going to be that lack of belief that the strategy can be executed.

Photo credit: Sculptors.com

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One Response to Sometimes there is no one strategy

  1. ICBchief 27 August, 2009 at 3:39 pm #

    Thank you B! Yes, only for a poor plan.

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