Business Turnaround Case Study

Overcoming Operational Challenges in a Manufacturer’s Turnaround

As part of a manufacturer turnaround process, several operational challenges needed to be improved to support the company’s return to profitability and a positive organizational culture. The company had been operating at below-breakeven volume levels, and management turmoil had led to the departure of several key, highly experienced operations staff members.


  • On-time delivery to promised due dates was below 50%.
  • Inventory turns were performing at only a 1.9 annual rate.  Excess material was crammed into working areas with low inventory records accuracy and tying up several hundred thousand dollars of working capital.
  • Customer Job Actual vs. Bid work hours exceeded 130%, indicating possible job performance issues and/or inaccurate bid estimating. In a bid-to-order environment, job bidding that is either high or low to actual production performance capabilities can lead to competitive or profitability problems.
  • Job completion lead times were highly variable, some extending out many months, causing lots of in-process jobs to clutter the facility, as well as missing a key competitive advantage for fast customer response.
  • Then, in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic added more business challenges and workplace cleaning requirements. 

Platinum improved operations to support return to profitability... MORE

Business Transition Trend & Tool

How to Plan a Productive Yet Renewing Business Succession Sabbatical

Business Owner Sabbatical Planning Template is a guide for Business Owners to plan an extended leave

By Steve Coleman, Partner

Looking to try something new to break old patterns and gain new motivation for change? 

As business owners and managers finalize their annual plans, they may be ready to test their capacity to step out of the driver’s seat by taking a sabbatical. Traditionally an academic and church concept, the trend in business sabbaticals is becoming more relevant to leaders who want to seriously evaluate succession options for retirement or their next business venture before making an irreversible move. All leave with the intention of returning – yet not coming back to the same routine.

Rather than a vacation, a succession sabbatical is a structured, facilitated experience for the leader and managers continuing in the business to achieve expected performance. Here are five basic steps – and a handy sabbatical template illustration – for planning a productive, yet refreshing, succession sabbatical... MORE

Family Business Article

The Bottom line in Family Businesses: Financial vs. Emotional Equity

By Tom Hubler, Executive Consultant

The entrepreneurial spirit flourishes in today’s society. People want their own business – for the freedom, for higher earning potential; or because they have a great idea, because they are the next generation. And people who have their own business naturally bring along their families. Even family members who do not work in the business are still part of it by blood and marriage.

When I began working with business families years ago, I noted that everyone was greatly concerned about the bottom line on the financial statement. But I soon realized there was no parallel concern about a bottom line on the family side, about issues between family members. Families were eager to improve their financial equity but were reluctant to confront personal issues that build or erode emotional equity. It became clear to me that the bottom line for families in business is three-fold: appreciation, recognition, and love. These represent the profit margins that produce emotional equity. But, as they say, openly sharing these issues is delicate... MORE

Business Advice Interviews

Bobby Tarnowski, Mathnasium Franchisee

Covid-19 related restrictions are forcing many businesses owners to contemplate raising prices, yet doing so can hurt business. Better options, says Bobby Tarnowski, are to create new types of product or service offerings, provide financing to those who cannot afford to pay for things outright, and try new and unique ways of marketing. Such constructive problem solving makes sense given he's a math enthusiast who owns a 10-location, 65-employee Mathnasium franchise in the Twin Cities. Watch or Listen as Tarnowski shares these ideas and more during this week's One Take CEO Interviews. [One of his creative ways of marketing is to ask business leaders to present to Mathnasium students fun examples of how they and their companies use math every day. If you have such an example to share, contact him at 763-269-6966.] 

One Take CEO Interviews are objective, unscripted, unedited discussions on how Minnesota CEOs are leading during the Covid-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on their operations, and the economy. They are produced by Dale Kurschner, a former award winning business journalist who today serves as a strategic planning, crisis management and PR/marketing consultant with Platinum Group.
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