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CASE STUDY - Port Strategic Planning
During 2009, one of the most productive and financially self-sufficient port authorities in North America (the Port) faced an increasing number of opportunities and challenges in its core marine terminal businesses, including:
  • Evolving shipper supply chain and distribution strategies
  • Shifting sourcing and international container trade patterns
  • Container shipping industry concentration and consolidation
  • Port industry competition
  • Intermodal rail developments
  • Tightening financial markets
  • State and local political challenges
The Port engaged Norbridge to assist in updating and developing a clear, focused strategy to effectively deal with the myriad of external and internal threats and opportunities it faced in an increasingly competitive North American port industry.

Approach
In conjunction with the Port's senior management and Board members, Norbridge designed a collaborative, phased approach to updating and developing the client's strategic plan. The planning process was driven by a series of meetings and conferences, facilitated by Norbridge and attended by the client's senior decision makers (highlighted below):

Kickoff Meeting

  • Refine work scope and schedule
  • Collect and review existing studies, reports, and data to "Establish the Facts"
  • Conduct interviews with:
    • Senior management team
    • Board members
    • Selected stakeholders

Vision, Mission and Objectives Planning Conference

  • Evaluate the Port's current mission and objectives within the context of leading companies' mission statements and an internal and external "SWOT" (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) competitive analysis and benchmarking
  • Develop consensus on a working vision statement, mission statement and objectives

Strategic Issues Planning Conference

  • Identify and prioritize the Port's strategic issues
  • Norbridge defined a strategic issue as:
    • An opportunity or a threat,
    • That fundamentally affects the ability of an organization to achieve its mission,
    • Involves major uncertainties or risks, and
    • Requires significant resources or senior management attention to address.

Strategic Options Conference

  • Identify the continuum of strategic options
  • Prepare screening criteria for evaluating the strategic options
  • Evaluate, prioritize and select a list of strategic options to address the Port's most critical issues

Update the Port's Strategic Plan

  • Summarize results of the vision, mission and objectives and strategic issues and strategic options conferences
  • Present the draft strategic plan to the Port's senior management team for review, amendment, and acceptance
Value Added
Norbridge and the client successfully drafted an implementation plan aimed at addressing the Port's key strategic issues (including sequential actions, schedule, milestones, estimated resource requirements and responsibilities). That implementation plan is in the process of being executed. The updated draft strategic plan was presented to the client's Board for discussion and refinement and received full approval. A subsequent Strategic Plan Executive Summary is being prepared for the client's key stakeholders and the public at large.
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