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Business Transformation

The value an organization creates is not based on how elegantly and brilliantly crafted the organization’s strategic plan is, it is based on how well the organization executes and provides value to its customers and stakeholders.

We believe that a high-performing organization needs to focus on the things which matter most to its customer and stakeholders – that is delivering results. If you are facing similar questions or challenges as presented below, we can help.

  • Are we spending our time working on the right things?
  • How do we become more effective and efficient?
  • How can we reduce our operating expenses by X%?
  • How do we improve our customers’ experience?
  • Should our pricing model change? Are there opportunities to improve our cash flow?
  • We have experienced rapid growth and things are breaking. What can we do?
  • Which activities do we perform that add value to our customers? Which don’t?
  • Which activities should we perform ourselves versus outsource?
  • Are we set up for long-term financial sustainability?

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Sir Winston Churchill

Our Perspective

Stack’d Consulting’s Integration Approach Illustrated.

Illustrative business and operating model

To evaluate and transform your organization so that it creates more value for your customers and stakeholders is a function of how well your business model, operating model and strategy are aligned, and how well you execute on that design.

What is a business and operating model?

  • Your business model defines who your organization will serve, the products and services you provide, and how you will create value for customers and stakeholders (e.g. charge for your product or service, or achieve a desired outcome).
  • Your operating model is the combination of your management systems, core work processes, technology, culture, people and organizational structure that enables your organization to create value for your customers and stakeholders.

To effectively evaluate and transform your organization requires clarity on where you are going and what you are trying to achieve as defined by your business strategy. Only with this clarity can a ‘deep dive’ be made to identify, analyze, assess risks and make recommendations for changing your business and operating model.

It is critical that these recommendations are not simply high-level suggestions. A successful transformation that delivers sustainable value to customers and stakeholders requires a detailed implementation plan with well-defined accountabilities, measures, and change management plan.

Our Services

Operating Model Design and Evaluation

We provide your leadership team with an independent third party assessment, evaluation and design of your operating model to:

  • Align the operating model with your strategy and business model;
  • Identify opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness;
  • Redesign and reengineer your core work processes;
  • Identify areas of the business which can be standardized and/or offered through a shared services model;
  • Assess and transform your culture so it enables how you want to operate; and,
  • Determine which activities an organization should perform internally versus through a third party service provider.

Program Management

Relentless focus on execution is paramount to transforming an organization and executing its strategy. And, effective execution is about directing resources (people, capital, and management attention) to the activities that will create the most value, and managing those activities with the appropriate level of management disciplines and controls to achieve the intended outcome.

We can help your organization with managing the programs and projects to create your plans:

  • Program Management: Designing and implementing a program management office to oversee the execution of your plans in a way that is appropriate for the task at hand and fits your organization’s culture; and,
  • Project Management: Helping build project management capability and discipline so that when we step out, you can continue to execute.

Business Process Re-engineering

Business processes define the steps required to achieve an outcome. Sounds simple, but isn’t. In practice these steps have a profound impact given they touch a diversity of people, technologies, and functions throughout the organization. The implications must be fully thought through so that the re-engineered processes achieve the intended outcomes without generating unintended consequences.

We can help you design or enhance your processes so that:

  • Potential implications are identified, evaluated and managed;
  • Roles and responsibilities are well-defined and commonly understood;
  • Value-add activities are sharply focused on; and,
  • Desired performance and results are achieved.

Cost and Rates Analysis and Optimization

Knowing how much to charge for a service is complex. Specifically, Utilities have to balance the cost of delivering service now and into the future in order to arrive upon rates which are sustainable, equitable, and appropriate given specific organizational rate-setting goals and customer demands. Simultaneously, they need to satisfy risks of revenue instability and insufficiency.

With extensive expertise in performing cost of service studies, rate modelling, and working with utility leadership teams and municipal Councils, we can help you navigate this complexity with the objectivity of a third party expert.

Financial Sustainability Review

Sustainability has become a consulting buzz-word that people now use when referring to a variety of desired business outcomes. However, it is vital that organizations not only understand what financial sustainability means to them, but also establish plans to achieve it.

Simply put, financial sustainability means that the organization can reasonably and equitably fund its ongoing operations and capital programs on a long-term basis. What makes financial sustainability complex is the range of stakeholders, customers, regulatory constraints, environmental factors, social considerations, and cost drivers faced by an organization.

At Stack’d, we have the expertise to understand the implications of these factors, evaluate alternative funding models and develop an appropriate funding model to achieve long-term sustainability for your organization.

Our Results

Illustrative examples of our results with clients include:

  • Municipal Water, Wastewater and Drainage Utilities

    Stack’d was engaged to perform a Cost of Service and Rate Study for the Water, Wastewater, and Drainage Utilities of a major Canadian municipality. The main purpose was to develop rates for the 2019-2022 business cycle, as well as plan for longer term strategies.

    This year-long engagement resulted in the following outcomes:

    • An equitable allocation of revenue requirements between customer classes;
    • Analysis of utility issues and determination of strategic objectives associated with cost of service, rates, and rate setting; and,
    • Fair and defensible rates for water, wastewater, and drainage services that inform the City’s 2019-2022 business plans and budgets.

    Throughout this engagement, Stack’d worked collaboratively with subject-matter-experts and various key stakeholders. Stack’d was responsible for ensuring the project was executed successfully and the final rate structure was defensible. Multiple strategic working sessions were conducted with the Steering Committee to gather input on strategic issues, confirm understanding, and review results. The final rate structure was approved by City Council.

  • Industrial Equipment Dealer

    Our client had traditionally grown through acquisition by purchasing independent dealer groups, but had never optimized and integrated the operations of its acquired facilities. Stack’d was engaged to execute a project to rethink and optimize its branch dealer network to increase profitability without sacrificing customer service.

    Our team worked with the client to review the current status and historical performance of its branches, capture its customers’ needs and wants from their equipment dealer, and identifying new and creative branch alternatives to deliver equipment and product support to their customers.

    The project resulted in recommendations to the facility types (i.e. Tiers) and the optimal geographic centers that the client should operate within supported by detailed financial analysis.

  • Government Ministry

    A provincial entity delivering vital programs, services, and products, endeavored to create a higher quality of life for its residents and their families. More specifically, the Organization wished to review the operations of the branch responsible for document solutions and logistics in an effort to identify potential service gaps, operational efficiencies, and cost synergies.

    Stack’d was engaged to perform a thorough review of two warehouses and the various services they provided. By integrating our municipal services delivery methodology and business and operating model review methodology to fit the specific needs of the branch, Stack’d identified key strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. As a result, Stack’d identified options for a future service delivery model for the two warehouses and provided recommendations for distribution operations that would maximize operational efficiencies and reduce ongoing operating costs while maintaining client service levels.

  • Large Municipal Waste Management Utility

    Our client wished to develop a long-term funding model for their waste and recycling services which reflected a comprehensive treatment of service costs in alignment with a new, integrated rate structure.

    Stack’d was engaged to lead a year-long detailed financial review, yielding the following deliverables:

    • A new funding model to meet the needs of their next 4-year business cycle;
    • A detailed cost of service study;
    • A new rate structure, integrated rates model, and indicative rates; and,
    • An implementation plan, including both financial and operational performance measures.

    A ‘to-be’ 2010-2022 funding model has been established with the client’s management team based on a comprehensive ‘as-is’ financial model review, input from leading practices, and WRS’ desired outcomes. This vision included the identification of specific sources of funds (e.g. user fees, commodity sales, tipping fees, etc.) which shall be used to pay for their corresponding services. In addition, a 10-year forward-looking cost of service study was performed and used to support the subsequent rate structure development for 2019-2022.

    To ensure understanding of how costs were allocated, Stack’d worked extensively and collaboratively with internal subject-matter-experts to understand the underlying nature of the work performed. In addition, we developed and confirmed a “translation” document with the client management team for how costs within each department and activity mapped to services, functions, and cost centers. Further, we conducted several strategic working sessions with the management team to gain input on strategic issues and confirm draft solutions for several deliverables.

  • Public School Board

    A large public School Board wished to review the operations of its Distribution Center which is responsible for offering schools the option to purchase from their suite of products and services such as classroom products, mailing, printing, and shredding, with the intention to maximize school purchasing power. The School Board wished to assess the current effectiveness of the existing service-delivery model and organizational structure, and identify any synergy opportunities with other business units within the School Board.

    Stack’d was engaged to perform the review, integrating our municipal services-delivery methodology with our organization analysis and design methodology to identify the key strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for the Distribution Center, define alternative service-delivery models for consideration, and recommend short-term and long-term reporting structures.

    The changes in organization design has since been incorporated into the School Board, and are now using the results to develop a more detailed supply chain analysis and design for future operations.

  • Industrial Equipment Dealer

    Our client had poorly defined procurement processes leading to great variation and adherence to how procurement was performed. The result was tremendous pressure and inefficiency on Accounts Payable to effectively pay invoices and provide sufficient purchasing controls. Stack’d was engaged to make recommendations to increase the efficiency and maturity of the client’s processes from initial procurement to vendor payment.

    The Stack'd team worked with a client team to document and review current processes and performance to identify opportunities to improve. Using learnings from best practice, and an understanding of the client’s unique operations, our team worked with the client to develop standardized processes to manage procurement through to vendor payment. Additional recommendations to evolve the procurement to pay processes were also provided. 

    The project resulted in recommendations for process improvements and additional initiatives to implement to reduce the cost per invoice substantially.

  • Provincial Utility Operator

    Our team was engaged by an organization operating within the Alberta power industry that was grappling with how to better execute on its portfolio of over 200 projects across the enterprise. Each year, no matter how much effort or intent was exhibited by the executive team and staff, the organization continually failed to execute on all of its commitments.

    We recommended to the client that they implement an enterprise portfolio management office (EPMO). Key elements of the implemented EPMO included: portfolio management processes to manage trade-offs between strategic priorities, programs and projects, business case development and approval guidelines, improved portfolio reporting, and guidelines on how to work with existing PMOs across the organization.

    The resulting EPMO enabled the client to identify, evaluate, prioritize, allocate resources to, and report against its range of day-to-day base work, technology investments, and strategic / performance improvement projects.

  • Public Oil & Gas Corporation

    A publicly traded integrated energy company required a review of its process to better align the management of information in its upstream business units.

    Our resources designed and developed a portfolio alignment process across upstream business units for new information management, data, subscription, and application projects and acquisitions.

    This enabled the client to better manage the efficiency and effectiveness of its suite of upstream information management services.

  • County Water & Wastewater Utility

    Our client recognized that rates for their utility services had significantly increased in recent years and Council wanted to ensure rate stability going forward.  In addition, although a high-level rates model was previously developed based on a “full utility basis”, the model did not allocate costs between different customer classes. 

    As a result, the County engaged Stack’d to perform a detailed cost of service and rate study. This included developing the following deliverables:

    • A comprehensive “as-is” review to understand the unique utility systems, service levels, operational volumes and customer consumption levels, and customer classes;
    • A detailed cost of service study; and,
    • A new 10-year rate structure based on changes to current customer classes and desired rate-making objectives. 

    As a result, the client established a fit-for-purpose methodology for determining rate revenue requirements based on availability of asset financing data and sufficient funding for forward-looking infrastructure investments. A “modified utility basis” was developed and selected as the most appropriate method to calculate rate revenue requirements for the Utility. In addition, a focused rate study resulted in an updated rate structure that reflected (1); changes to existing customer classes (based on different service levels, advanced statistical analysis of customer class consumption patterns, and costs), and (2); desired rate-making objectives.

  • Municipal Utility

    The municipality (pop. 50k+) required a review of its funding requirements for its Waste, Wastewater, Storm Water, and Waste Management Utilities for the purpose of developing Utility Fiscal Policies.

    Stack’d Consulting performed a comprehensive cost structure and policy review resulting in recommendations in utility funding, financing, reserves management, rate-setting, and overall financial management. Key considerations were given to how the Utility should fund projected infrastructure replacement and growth requirements.

    Council provided accolades on the quality of analysis and reporting and ultimately adopted policy recommendations as brought forward by administration.

  • Government Innovation Body

    A provincial organization focused at technology innovation across industry, government, and educational institutions had recently adopted a new mandate and operating model.

    To support this new operating model, new operating processes were required to guide how provincial technology innovation investments should be evaluated, selected, monitored, and reported on. Our consulting professionals facilitated a client team comprised of senior, cross-functional leaders in the design and development of a Corporate Portfolio Management Office (CPMO). The purpose of this CPMO was to identify, evaluate, and prioritize investments and internal projects to better track and achieve desired technology innovation outcomes.

    The CPMO was designed, developed, and launched within 6 months, providing our client’s management team the basis to holistically review, evaluate, and select new proposed investments to the province’s innovation system.

  • Major Municipality

    A major municipality (pop. 1M+) engaged our team to lead the development of customer service standards across all departments and services.

    We led a multi-year project focused at reviewing current customer service practices and developing a Corporate Customer Service Framework and Strategy. A senior, cross-organizational team was facilitated to develop a desired future-state vision, customer service standards for common customer interactions, an internal governance model to lead subsequent customer service implementation activities, internal employee learning and development initiatives, customer service performance measures, and an implementation plan. A Corporate Customer Service Framework was established as a guide which individual Business Units could subsequently use to establish customer service standards for their unique, priority services.

    This project provided the municipality the basis to both communicate what desired customer service outcomes look like for the corporation and subsequently create and align customer service promises for individual municipal services with its overall vision.

  • Regional Utility Commission

    A regional waste management commission required assistance in establishing 5-year rates for its various services. The commission was comprised of 6 individual member municipalities and supported 7 different waste management services across 4 distinct customer classes.

    Our team performed a detailed cost of service study and designed a custom rates model for the waste management commission. This included projecting future desired rates given anticipated capital expansion, financing, and operating cost projections. Detailed cost structure analysis was performed to ascertain appropriate fixed vs. variable cost characteristics and allocate fully-loaded costs to each distinct service and customer class. An integrated rates model was developed to enable the customer to determine future rates given annual operational and financial updates. The model was delivered complete with full end-user documentation and support.

    At the project’s conclusion, the Commission’s Board of Directors and Manager noted the quality of work as “exceptional”.