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An Introduction and Farewell to Bain's Management Tools

Bain's list of tools offered many techniques to make businesses more successful. Many of these can be implemented in Excel.

by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports

If you're an Excel user who's looking for ideas about ways to improve your company's performance, you could find many insights at Bain & Company's Management Tools Home Page.

In 1991, Bain & Company launched a multi-year, world-wide research effort to get the facts about tools and techniques that promised to make a business more successful. Bain called them Management Tools.

Bain's objective was to provide managers with the information they needed to identify, select, implement, and integrate tools that can improve bottom-line results.

For each year between 1991 and 2015, Bain repeated the survey. But they ended it after 2015. Even so, their Management Tools Home Page provides an excellent summary of the tools they uncovered during those years—all of which still are being used today.

And many of these can be used or enhanced by Excel.

 In recent years, the company has paid special attention to the 25 tools that are most widely used each year. Bain lists these at their "Management Tools 2015" on ther Management Tools Home Page.

Although Bain's list of tools is a long one, it necessarily is incomplete. Bain lists the most widely used tools that their surveys have found. They don't necessarily list the newest tools, nor little-used tools that could be very useful to your company.

To give you a sampling of what Bain means by management tools, here are their top 10 of 2015...

Bain's Top-Ten Tools of 2015

Customer Relationship Management... a process that companies use to understand their customer groups and respond quickly—and at times, instantly—to shifting customer desires.

Benchmarking... a tool thats use varies by region as executive priorities begin to shift toward growth and the tools that support it.

Employee Engagement Surveys...
...measures whether employees are fully involved and enthusiastic about their work and company.

Strategic Planning... a comprehensive process for determining what a business should become and how it can best achieve that goal.

Outsourcing... a cost-cutting tool that appears to be losing favor as executives seek growth. Along with downsizing and shared service centers—which also are used to reduce headcount—outsourcing earns below-average satisfaction scores.

Balanced Scorecard...
...defines what management means by "performance" and measures whether management is achieving desired results.

Mission and Vision Statements... among the most widely used tools, and it consistently ranks above average in satisfaction.

Supply Chain Management...
...synchronizes the efforts of all parties—suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, dealers, customers, and so on—involved in meeting a customer's needs.

Change Management Programs... a new addition that's particularly favored by European firms, who are the leading users.

Customer Segmentation... another growth-oriented tool, it's most effective when a company tailors offerings to segments that are the most profitable and serves them with distinct competitive advantages.


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