Business strategy requires the integration of a wide range of information followed by communication in such a way as to drive the organization towards its vision. Understanding the context for business strategy is much like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where we gather various bits of information and then assemble a picture of the competitive environment in which the organization operates. In doing so, we are looking for unique ways to deliver value to customers that will result in competitive advantage and value creation.
Ken Vaughan has a broad and deep base of experience that enables an understanding of business and key issues and the ability to make decision regarding business strategy. He has worked alongside many thought leaders in the area of business analysis and strategy, including Michael Porter, Ram Charan, and several of the leading business consulting firms.
Ken’s background in strategy began to develop while he was involved in the small business run by his father. In this business he had the opportunity to see the importance of understanding the customer. He also had the opportunity to see the workings of several industrial companies that were customers of the family business.
After earning an engineering degree, Ken held positions with two different large manufacturers of construction equipment, first in a product engineering role and later in a manufacturing engineering role. In both of these companies he participated in cross-functional projects with sales and marketing to analyze competition and to interface with customers regarding their needs.
With this prior experience and an MBA degree Ken spent the 1980’s in the automotive parts business in a variety of business development positions. During this time his work helped to shape the corporate portfolio through M&A and divestiture projects and portfolio analysis and recommendations regarding investments and direction. During this period Ken had a lead role in developing business strategies for various global businesses and in training management teams in the area of strategic thinking. His work guided the growth of several businesses and led to the divestiture of a number of non-strategic businesses.
During the 1990’s Ken built the marketing function for a mid-sized manufacturer of industrial equipment. His team was responsible for product management, marketing communications, sales support, and otherwise guiding the company to become more customer-focused and competitive in the market. He interacted with customers and with the sales function to better understand market and customer needs and to guide the company in meeting those needs. During this time he also assisted many other functional areas in their efforts to improve business processes.
Since 2002, through New Horizon Partners, Inc., Ken has assisted a broad range of industrial companies in making good decisions about where and how to compete. This has included projects in the areas of new business development or new market development, identifying and developing core competencies, aligning strategy with the needs of target markets, identifying and focusing on attractive market segments or niches, etc. These projects always include developing an understanding of markets, customers, competitors, and the internal organization followed by recommended actions that will lead to building value through some combination of increased sales revenue and improved profit margins. Project engagements have ranged from quick advisory roles to longer-term roles acting as chief strategic officer pro tem. Clients have included a broad spectrum of industries and ranged in size from small family businesses to very large multinational organizations.