What are the expansion plans for the key products, by region and by customer?
The expansion plans for key products both geographically or by customer type will be an important part of your business’s strategy whether this is written or spoken. It’s important for HR people to be aware of the income from the company’s significant products: if they expand, this will dictate increased revenue for the business. It’s also crucial to know who buys the products, what the influences are on their businesses or situations and who within your business looks after those customers.
As an HR person, these factors will help to determine your people and organisational plans. There will be implications in terms of the skills your business needs to follow key expansion plans, and therefore on what resource it needs in terms of people and skills. You will also be in a strong position to strategically support this need if you can identify whether you can source these skills internally or whether you will need to look externally. Ask yourself what is the demand for the skills your business needs? Is it going to be easy or difficult to get them? All of this information will help you to put together the timescales for your people plan and ensure that you have the skills and resources the business needs as and when it needs them.
Knowing about the expansion plans for key products is implicit in knowing about your business, and that, of course, is important if you are going to be truly strategic. This knowledge will help you to understand how your business is performing, what’s going on with your key customers, and the relative strengths and weaknesses of your business and its products against your competition.
If you are unsure of the answers, ask yourself how much better you could be performing in your role if you knew more of this information. Why don’t you know it? What assumptions are you making or beliefs do you have that might be holding you back from finding it out? This information is essential if you are to have meaningful and strategic conversations with your clients. To perform at your best you need to make every effort to find it out.
You can find this information from the usual suspects: management information, sales director, your internal and external networks.
Jan Hills, director, HR with Guts