• Cool chart of total usage and overall satisfaction of Scenario and Contingency Planning tools since 1993. "Scenario Planning allows executives to explore and prepare for several alternative futures. It examines the outcomes a company might expect under a variety of operating strategies and economic conditions. Contingency Planning assesses what effect sudden market changes or business disruptions might have on a company and devises strategies to deal with them. Scenario and contingency plans avoid the dangers of simplistic, onedimensional, or linear thinking. By raising and testing various "what-if" scenarios, managers can brainstorm together and challenge their assumptions in a non-threatening, hypothetical environment before they decide on a certain course of action. Scenario and Contingency Planning allows management to pressure-test plans and forecasts and equips the company to handle the unexpected."
  • Bain & Company has been conducting global Management Tools and Trends surveys since 1993. Never before have we surveyed executives during a period of such economic turbulence. It is a sign of the times that a cost-cutting tool-Benchmarking-has become the most popular tool for the first time in 11 years. The latest questionnaire was conducted in January 2009 and reflects behavior in 2008. (See figure 1.) It was completed by 1,430 international executives from companies in a broad range of industries and focuses on 25 tools. (See "A history of Bain's Management Tools and Trends Survey," opposite page.) Their answers provide insights into how they think their companies are performing in the downturn and where they believe their organizations ultimately are headed.
  • Since 1993, Bain & Company's global Management Tools and Trends surveys have been an excellent gauge of the business climate. That remains true today. In an extraordinary time, the 2009 questionnaire produced a telling set of findings. Benchmarking, a cost-cutting tool, was the most heavily used among the 25 tools surveyed. Outsourcing, another way to reduce costs, jumped to No. 4, while Business Process Reengineering remained on the Top Ten list. As another indication of where executives feel their companies are headed, the vast majority-88 percent-of those who downsized in 2008 plan more cuts in 2009. And only 24 percent of executives believe that today's market leaders will still lead in five years.
  • A dramatic shift has shown up in our 14-year survey of companies’ use of more than two dozen management tools and techniques: an abrupt and sustained surge after September 11, 2001, in the use of scenario-and-contingency (S&C) planning tools. The change reflects corporations’ growing focus on managing uncertainty in an increasingly turbulent world…. In the relatively stable world of the 1990s, preparing for scenarios that had a low probability of happening, or a limited impact if they did occur, often felt superfluous." In the 2000s, though, use "has remained at or above the mean ever since, hitting 69% globally in our 2006 survey…. Moreover, executives are finding the tool more valuable, last year ranking their satisfaction with its performance at eighth out of 25. This growing satisfaction is probably due to improvement in the S&C tools, increased experience with them, and a broader appreciation for them, as global events have underscored their value.