Leaders: Here’s what the ‘profit engine’ needs to thrive

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on November 17, 2014

The “profit engine” of every company delivers products and services to its customers or clients. It runs on a set of finely-tuned policies, procedures and practices that are designed to efficiently generate revenue and profit. Innovation, continuous improvement and customer focus are the fuels that keep the profit engine running at peak performance. These are critical for long-term competitive success.

Companies that do not strive to deliver a world-class experience to its customers do so at their peril. Competitors will take advantage of this, and gain market share at the company’s expense. At PQ Corporation, we always strove to provide the market with world-class customer service, technical service and value. It was what differentiated PQ from the rest of the industry. As a provider of products and services, you want to be so good at what you do, that when a competitor learns that it is your company that they are competing against at a particular customer, they think, “Oh no, not those guys!”

Innovations range from improved operational procedures, to new capital investments in the profit engine, to launching a new business initiative. Occasionally, to successfully start a new business, a separate new business unit needs to be launched. The leader of the new unit and their team can more easily change paradigms and will exercise a level of creativity and innovation that established business units are unable to exercise because they are focused on their profit engine. The formal and informal organization of the company must fully support the new business unit to maximize the probability of its success.

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