"Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs." Henry Ford.

To be successful in the short, medium and long term, the cost strategy must do more than describe how the whole business will drive or hold costs down on an ongoing basis. It should also clarify how leaders will engender a cost-conscious culture throughout the business (for example through kaizen) and gain the buy-in of all colleagues.

With advances in technology, competition comes increasingly from half a world away. It used to be that change was adopted discretely on a project-by-project basis. To succeed over the short, medium and long term, change must be viewed as a continuous process.

"The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time." Henry Ford.

The quotes from Henry Ford epitomise the need for continuous improvement in cost-competitiveness. Toyota has long since overtaken Ford and General Motors to become the world’s biggest and most profitable car maker. It has done so by making continuous improvement to every employee’s business, every day.


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