CEO Challenge - António Costa, Senior Partner at Kaizen
In an increasingly competitive market, the Portuguese business set is still able to show examples of excellence associated with disruptive results and a sustained growth over time. Portuguese companies are, more often than not, considered as benchmark case studies within the multinationals where they are set. However, we do know that much remains to be done. To prove this, the latest Eurostat data shows that productivity in Portugal has declined in recent years and is now below other European Union countries, such as Germany or Spain.
Today we live in the Era of Digitization, namely the one being present in all human interactions. We are faced with hectic dynamics, where organisations are born and die every day; on the one hand, as a response to new challenges, while on the other, as victims of the speed with which markets develop and evolve. In the business world, the ability to reinvent and innovate towards this current paradigm is essential for survival. In fact, data confirms this assumption, especially when only 12 percent of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 are actually ranked in the same list today.
In this context, the Kaizen Lean methodology takes on an increasingly important role. Before introducing any technology whatsoever, it is imperative that processes are lean. Otherwise, companies will bear costs associated with digitising waste, thus rendering this whole transformation more complex and time-consuming. There is a clear trend towards automating all repetitive processes, aiming at less variability, non-dependence on people and lower labour costs. When digitising it is also very important to identify the customer’s needs and expectations, where VOC methodology (Voice of Customer) plays a key role.
Faced with this new reality, it is crucial to train people with an aim towards prioritizing problem-solving capabilities. The ability to develop this skill is the foundation for the corresponding evolution of the ecosystem so as to make sure that the expected results are met. Therefore, it is imperative that schools and universities urgently adjust their contents and teaching methodologies, right from the onset. . Additionally, and as far as new market requirements are concerned, "data translators" also play a key role. The competitive advantage of being able to speak and write in several languages, which has been privileged some years ago, is currently the role taken on by the individuals responsible for developing responsive solutions.
These paradigm shifts are essential for ensuring the future success of societies in a constantly changing world.