An unconventional, strategic approach to optimizing business profits.
Bielat and Bryan (The BestPossible Enterprise, 2013) are champions of “Enterprise Optimization,” or “EO,” a method that Bryan created that’s intended to help drive companies “towards new levels of profitability.” Their book is, in essence, a concise, well-written description of EO’s conceptual design as well as a discussion of its benefits. The challenge, however, is that EO is not widely known and is somewhat unconventional. It relies on computer models to test “all of the possibilities within the realities of your company’s complexities” and help leaders make the best use of what the authors characterize as five basic resources: capital, procurement options, sales opportunities, production capabilities, and information. (The titular “Profit Hawks,” they explain, are business leaders who employ EO to “make the best use of their limited resources in pursuit of optimal profits.”) Not surprisingly, the authors believe that strategic planning is more critical to success than tactical or operational planning, asserting that it “typically offers the greatest bottom-line, advantage, yet is the least common in companies that are locked into defensive, cost-based management.” This, in fact, is the central argument of the book: that companies must radically change their decision-making processes if they are to achieve “best-possible” performance and profitability. This book does an admirable job of explaining the EO methodology completely yet succinctly as well as justifying its use. Still, the book concentrates almost entirely on the high-level benefits of EO while neglecting the specifics of how to implement it. Several question-and-answer sections bring the discussion down to a functional level, but it might have been helpful to cite a few concrete, real-life examples to provide evidence of EO’s validity to reassure business leaders.
Some readers may find this a forward-thinking overview of an intriguing profit-oriented methodology, but others are likely to be more skeptical of its practical applications.