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Five New Year's Resolutions to Shape Up Supply Chains
December 2001
Businesses haven't got much to cheer about this holiday season. But they can take steps to avoid having 2002 be a repeat of this year. Specifically, they should look to untapped value in their supply chains. Bain's research highlights five "New Year's resolutions" that companies should make to roll back inefficiencies in inventories and forecasting—the kinds of inefficiencies that supply-chain exemplars like Dell are delighted to exploit.

Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst
October 2001
Even before the terrorist attacks in the U.S., business executives were paddling furiously to traverse economic doldrums. Now the crossing looks longer and harder. Companies determined to push through are pulling on at least three practices: strengthening bonds of loyalty; planning contingencies and protecting their core assets. Chris Zook and Darrell Rigby explain how.

Management Tools 2001: Executives Vote for "Tried & True" Tools to Navigate Downturn
June 2001
If soft sales following a year of chaotic growth have your company whipsawing from expansion to layoffs, you'll appreciate the insights of 451 senior executives from around the world who responded to Bain & Company's 8th annual Management Tools Survey. This year, respondents opted for "tried-and-true" tools to manage the fundamentals of cost and corporate direction. Meanwhile, executives defected — at up to four times the mean — from new economy tools like Corporate Venturing and Customer Relationship Management, once thought to provide quick and easy paths to growth.

Wanted: Corporate Venturers (Weak Businesses Need Not Apply)
April 2001
When American Express was assessing how the Internet would affect its business model, it decided to test uncharted waters by dipping a toe. It took a small stake in a precocious start-up, freemarkets.com-an online business-to-business exchange. Early returns led to a second round of investment, and to American Express learning a lot about business-to-business e-commerce and making some money to boot.

Looking for Profitable Growth? You may need a map
February 2001
Senior executives should be worried. About 40 of the nation's top 200 CEOs were replaced last year - twice the ratio replaced a year earlier - mostly because they failed to deliver satisfactory growth and earnings. Indeed, 90% of public companies worldwide failed to achieve sustained, profitable growth over the past decade. Ninety percent. This, despite the fact most CEOs list profitable growth as their No. 1 goal.