Reshaping Tomorrow: The Bartle & Gibson Case Study on Strategic Planning
Without a formal strategy in place, how does an organization keep ahead of its challenges? When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it created a series of obstacles for Bartle & Gibson. Their teams, used to responding to strategic problems or opportunities as they arose, felt like they didn’t have cohesion or a unified purpose. Without a framework to align tactics to, it created a difficult situation and raised the question: How do you start with the end in mind?
Bartle & Gibson
Bartle & Gibson, Western Canada’s premier plumbing, heating, and electrical distributor, consists of 31 branches and is supplied by 3 main distribution points. They employ approximately 550 people company-wide and are proudly 100% Canadian.
How inVision Helped
To achieve their goal of a clear, actionable strategic plan, the leadership team at Bartle & Gibson participated in a strategy workshop with inVision. First, they worked to clarify what they were working towards, determining their desired future state. From there, they identified the current forces impacting their business.
They then took all of this information and identified three big goals, each with step goals, to focus on over the next several years. Lastly, they identified and worked on eliminating any obstacles, and established a plan for execution with a rhythm of accountability throughout the wider organization.
The Bartle & Gibson team aligned on their mission, vision, values, and new strategy, gained clarity on both their actions and what to avoid. With this clear strategy going forward, they began to see employee engagement increase year over year. They also began to transform interactions with their teams, shifting from a reactive to an intentional approach on key business initiatives.
As often happens, there are additional unforeseen benefits to goals within a plan. While they had a goal to improve inventory management, which was on track, they also discovered an unintended improvement on inventory management using their new ecommerce platform (a separate goal) by using the platform during over-the-counter transactions, resulting in increased sales across various branches.
The new strategic approach also helped them manage inventory costs, as their inventory grew by 40% due to COVID and the global supply chain disruptions. Enhanced analytics have enabled quicker and more accurate inventory management, allowing them to increase the right items and reduce the excess.
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