The Well-Timed Strategy: Managing the Business Cycle for Competitive Advantage (paperback)

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9780138022921: The Well-Timed Strategy: Managing the Business Cycle for Competitive Advantage (paperback)

Most companies ignore one of their best opportunities for honing competitive advantage: the opportunity to proactively manage business cycles and macroeconomic turbulence. Despite the profound impact that the business cycle has on the fortunes and fate of so many businesses large and small--and the employees and investors that depend on them--not fa single book offers a comprehensive guide to strategically and tactically managing the business cycle. The Well-Timed Strategy shows how to manage not just the business cycle and industry cycles but also today's unprecedented level of macroeconomic turbulence. Peter Navarro shows how to align every facet of business strategy, tactics, and operations to reflect changing business conditions. Drawing on hundreds of examples, Navarro distills clear, simple management principles for managing economic upswings and downswings. Navarro addresses everything from inventory, production, and supply chain management to marketing, pricing, and long-term capital investment. Navarro presents examples from around the globe, ranging from Broadcom and Cemex to Paccar and Xilinx Chinese real estate developers to U.S. small caps. Clear, concise, and exceptionally readable, The Well-Timed Strategy makes complex macroeconomic forecasting easy to understand -- and even easier to act upon.

 

Introduction  xvii

 

Chapter 1: Strategies and Tactics of the Master Cyclist Executive  1

Chapter 2: Countercycling Your Capital Expenditures  15

Chapter 3: The Acquisitive Master Cyclist Buys Low and Sells High  39

Chapter 4: The Art of “Cherry Picking” and Other Well-Timed Tactics of the Human Resources Manager  55

Chapter 5: “Macromanaging” Your Production, Inventory, and Supply Chain  75

Chapter 6: Master Cyclist Marketing Through the Business Cycle Seasons  95

Chapter 7: Pricing the Cycle and Managing Credit and Account Receivables  111

Chapter 8: Proactive Profiting From Oil Price Spikes, Interest Rate Hikes, and Exchange Rate Risks  129

Chapter 9: When You Can’t Beat the Business Cycle, Hedge Its Risks!  149

Chapter 10: Surviving–and Prospering from–the Economic Shocks of War, Terrorism, Drought, and Disease  169

Chapter 11: The Master Cyclist’s Favorite Forecasting Tools  185

 

Concluding Thoughts  211

 

Appendix A: The Master Cyclist Project’s Treasure Trove of Data and All-Star Team  213

Appendix B: A Business Cycle Primer  223

 

Notes  233

 

Index  239

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California, Irvine.

 

He is author of the best-selling investment book If It’s Raining in Brazil, Buy Starbucks and the best-selling audio lecture course “Big Picture Investing: How, When, and Why the Stock Market Moves.” His weekly newsletter on the economy and stock market is distributed widely and is available to the public at www.peternavarro.com.

 

A widely sought-after and gifted public speaker, Navarro has appeared  on Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNBC, NPR, and all three major network news shows. Navarro’s articles have appeared in a wide range of leading publications, including Barron’s, Business Week, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Sloan Management Review.

 

Professor Navarro holds a B.A. from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Introduction

As inexorably as the sun rises and sets, the business cycle moves from a bright and healthy expansion and prosperous peak to a dark and often difficult recessionary trough and then back once again to prosperity. Over the course of this often dangerous economic roller coaster, the fortunes of most companies quite literally ebb and flow while at least some companies, caught totally unaware by the advent of recession, will tumble down the trapdoor of bankruptcy—often never to rise again.

Over the course of the business cycle so, too, is it that thousands of jobs are created in boom times while thousands more are again lost when things inevitably go bust. Meanwhile, millions of stock market investors—from penny-pinching pensioners to Master of the Universe mutual fund managers—will watch their portfolios exuberantly grow, then troublingly shrink and, if they are lucky or skilled enough, watch them grow once more again.

Despite the profound impact that the business cycle has on the fortunes and fate of so many businesses large and small—and the employees and investors that depend on them—you will not find a single book that offers a comprehensive guide to strategically and tactically managing the business cycle. This gaping gap on the managerial bookshelf is truly the "black hole" of corporate strategy—for it is arguably the case that the business cycle is one of the single most important determinants of corporate profitability and stock price performance.

Moreover, this lack of a comprehensive guide to managing the business cycle is all the more astonishing because, as I demonstrate shortly, the business cycle is not just fraught with numerous dangers. Its key expansionary and recessionary turning points also offer up a veritable cornucopia of profitable opportunities for the business cycle–sensitive corporate executive team.

The purpose of this book is to teach you how to effectively and presciently exploit these considerable opportunities—and thereby gain a powerful competitive advantage over your business rivals. I do so by illustrating a comprehensive set of well-timed strategies and tactics that you can deploy over the six major areas of "Master Cyclist" management.

These Master Cyclist management areas encompass virtually every major activity of the modern corporation. They range from the functional areas of marketing, production, supply chain management, and human resources to the all-important timing of capital expenditure programs, the equally timely execution of acquisition and divestiture strategies, and the intricate methods used not just to hedge business cycle risk but also to tactically exploit its opportunities.

Each of the well-timed strategies and tactics that this book introduces you to have all been "battle tested" and proven to lead to superior performance. Each has been developed from the extensive research of the Master Cyclist Project conducted at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California-Irvine. The goal of this five-year endeavor has been to answer this one very big question:

How can the modern executive team strategically and tactically manage through the various recessionary and expansionary phases of the business cycle to gain competitive advantage over rivals?

The quite literally hundreds of companies analyzed to answer this compelling question run the gamut from well-known behemoths, such as DuPont and Citigroup, that staff their own teams of economists and use their own sophisticated forecasting models to much smaller niche players, such as Isis and Xilinx, that few have heard of—but many executives can learn from. These companies also span the globe—from the Mexican cement giant Cemex and high-flying Singapore Airlines to the boutique Chinese real estate entrepreneur SOHO China.

Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of the concept of Master Cyclist management and the high stakes involved in managing—or mismanaging—the business cycle. Chapters 2 through 10 then use a host of highly entertaining real-world examples to illustrate each of the well-timed strategies and tactics of the Master Cyclist executive.

Having established the overriding importance of managing the business cycle, I illustrate in Chapter 11 how any business executive can learn to be his or her own economic forecaster using a relatively simple set of "off-the-shelf" forecasting tools and "leading economic indicators."

I hope, then, that you will enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it. It truly offers a treasure trove of managerial insights. These are not mine but rather those of the finest strategic minds running some of the best companies in the world.

On behalf of the hundreds of members of the research team who contributed to the Master Cyclist Project (described in Appendix A), I can therefore confidently echo these words of the author of Good to Great, Jim Collins, who, in similar circumstances, had this to say:

Our five-year quest yielded many insights, a number of them surprising and quite contrary to conventional wisdom, but one giant conclusion stands above the others: We believe that almost any organization can substantially improve its stature and performance, perhaps even become great, if it conscientiously applies the framework of ideas we've uncovered.


© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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