The Vancouver transit authority, Translink, just released their business analysis for their routes for 2014. Every organization benefits from analyzing their operations and their business strategy to see where they might better allocate resources.
In Translink’s case, they looked at all their routes to see which ones created the most benefit, and which ones were taking resources away from more valuable areas. These reports help them develop their strategy for future transportation investments in the region.
What I found most interesting from the report were the trade-offs that were recommended. For example, one route was shown to cost 50,000 per year to run, and only accommodated a few thousand passengers a year in a specific area and travel directions. While the cost per ride was rather high (30$ per trip), removing the route would severely inconvenience thousands of people in need of that service. The benefit of saving $50,000 was not greater than the cost that was brought to the people in that community.
Another route that was examined cost 1.5 million dollars a year to run, and they realized that by reducing service and diverting them to other routes they could achieve 15-20% savings with minimal cost or inconvenience to the customer.
Strategy is about trade-offs and choices. As you run and grow a business, you’ll be put in the position to make strategic choices in regards to what markets to service, where investments should go, and were your team should place their energy (i.e. developing your strategic priorities).
Without getting too technical, the most useful tool I find for strategic decision making is a performing a cost/benefit analysis and then aligning that with your vision for the future. Performing a cost/benefit analysis takes into consideration the costs and benefits of your predetermined alternatives over time, and then weighs them against the status quo of doing nothing. There are both financial and non-financial benefits to decisions, so taking those into consideration is key.
Maybe this choice you want to make will bring short term financial gain, but how will it affect your employees and stakeholders in the medium and long term?
In the case of Translink, they took the time to get analysis done so they could figure out where to best put their money and to best serve the most amount of people in the most cost effective manner.
Take time to do a cost benefit analysis to guide your business strategy and decision-making so that you get the most value from your existing business processes. You might be surprised what comes out of your analysis.
Learn more about cost benefit analysis:
Learn about the benefits of working with a skilled facilitator: