Working With Certitude

Clients like working with us because we are consistent in our approach. There are several things that we consistently bring to client engagement including Service Delivery Process, Service Delivery Innovation, The Case For Enterprise Performance Optimization (EPO) and Management Operating System (MOS).

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Competency requires a sufficient amount of skill and knowledge expanded by a variety of experience.  Certitude Group consultants have career experience in numerous industries including:

  • Financial Services:  Banking, Insurance
  • Manufacturing:  Automotive, Discrete, and Process
  • Natural Resources:  Oil & Gas, Mining & Metals

Each Industry and Engagement is Different

It’s true!  But… experience in our teams helps unlock the potential of our client’s team.  We have likely “seen it” before and our consultants know what works.  Application of experiential learning allows us to work efficiently with clients to understand and address their business performance issues.

Going back several decades to before we started Certitude Group, our consulting teams have delivered a large number of projects over the years.  Our intent here is to provide a representative sample of the industries and project topics.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for drop us a note and we will respond.  Chances are very good that we have experience and a point of view on whatever issues you are currently facing in your business.

How We Operate

Our business is all about helping great clients become better and best performers.  Financial performance improvement is key but at the end of the day our clients define how they want to measure their progress.  We have a great business and wish to be known only by the high quality of our work.  Clients like working with us because we are consistent in our approach.  There are several things that we consistently bring to client engagement:

We Implement

Our teams work shoulder to shoulder with your people to ensure timely execution and benefit realization.

Business Process DB

We start each engagement with a comparative review of your processes with our database of common business processes and benchmarks

Incremental Risk

Aligning your processes to profitable business is not a "bet the farm" proposition. We assess your process "as-is" and recommend improvements to enhance profits.

Your Business - Your Plan

Some consultancies do it to you, we prefer to do it with you. We've found this approach makes your improvements far more acceptable and sustainable.

Self Funding

The value of improvements exceeds your investment in our services, typically within 6 months after the start of implementation.

Management Operating System (MOS)

Out unique approach to metrics and reporting that track project and business progress toward goals during and after our involvement.

Our Approach

Our approach has two key dimensions.  At a project level the approach is highly structured within our Joint Delivery Model down to the activity, deliverable, and timing.  Yet every project is somewhat different because every situation is different and what we specifically do is highly situational and customized to our client’s environment.

Structured Joint Delivery Model

  • Every assignment is designed around proven delivery milestones
  • Tailored to local culture, often with the intent of changing some of it
  • Cross-functional teamwork enabled by clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Frameworks for development of improvement actions and decision making
  • High involvement of employees at all levels
  • Early warning of barriers and recommended solutions

Customized and Focused Approach

  • Each business and situation is unique, so we adapt as needed
  • Starts with listening, first we understand then embrace client needs
  • Activity is important only if it delivers progress against our client’s goals
  • Highly interactive approach that demands high levels of participation and client ownership
  • Time is money:  expect to move more quickly with us than without us
  • Innovation can be incremental or game-changing depending on risk tolerance
  • Designed to ensure we and our clients understand how to hold each other accountable for results

1: How to get started: The A & D

Certitude delivers value to our clients through a proven and disciplined process comprised of activities, milestones, and metrics.  We execute a “shared cost” Phase 1 Assessment & Design (A&D) project in the first few weeks of engagement.  There are a number of objectives for this work:

  • Understand people and culture
  • Test hypotheses regarding stated business issues
  • Develop deep understanding of root causes
  • Formulate approach to solutions and metrics
  • Define value of improvements
  • Build enthusiasm for change

From the A&D result we will propose the path forward and attach a financial value to realization of benefits.  At this point we stop if there is no compelling business case to continue.  Otherwise we begin to prepare for implementation of recommendations and delivery of the business case.  Every project is different, if for no other reason than each business situation is unique.  Our implementation projects are customized to ensure success in client environment.  The following graphic depicts high-level activities commonly seen in both the A&D and Implementation phases.

Phase 1: Assessment & Design

Duration: 4-8 Weeks


  • Focus interviews
  • Assess change readiness

Process Mapping

  • Asset work management as-is / gaps
  • Comparative process analysis, benchmarking
  • Principled waste analysis

Optimization Analytics

  • Validate lost production data
  • Loss Pareto and root cause analysis
  • As needed, create loss data from total capacity analysis
  • Develop asset uptime priority criteria

Work Management Analytics

  • Compare CMMS data with planning & scheduling data
  • KPI assessment
  • Cycle time, WIP, and principle waste analysis
  • Work order management process

Business Case

  • Benefits / Timing / ROI

Implementation Work Plan

  • Acceptable ROI or STOP
  • MOS (schematic)
  • Project Approach & Charters

Phase 2: Implementation

Duration: 6+ Months

Process Effectiveness

  • Integrate activities, meetings, and data flow
  • Establish roles & responsibilities
  • Install prioritization rules
  • Pilot and rollout maintenance and operations reporting

Develop & Install Management Operating System

  • KPI and production loss reporting
  • Reporting hierarchy & process Bottom up / Top down
  • Practice daily / weekly / monthly cadence

Leadership & Communications

  • Establish frequent staff updates
  • MBWA opportunities for sponsors
  • Cascade through "standing" meetings
  • Follow-up & commitment

Project Management

  • Deliverables
  • Schedule attainment
  • Benefits attainment

2: Enterprise Performance Optimization (EPO)

In addition to helping our clients improve their business performance we focus much of our innovation on improvements in our service delivery model.  Most consultancies utilize a three step process that includes client acquisition, business analysis, and then implementation of improvements.  We have a quick and smart way to look at most any business:  modeling net profitability by transaction. 

Value Modeling is a building block of the Enterprise Performance Optimization approach.  We call this “Value Modeling” because the model make identification of value creation and destruction in the business pretty straightforward.  The model can be built either before or during our initial Assessment & Design and can ultimately be utilized during and after implementation as one of the underlying databases in the Management Operating System that we leave with our clients as a sustaining improvement tool.

We still find many manufacturing businesses that struggle with many of the “usual suspects”:

  • Asset Reliability issues leading to high operating and maintenance costs
  • Labor utilization below the minimum acceptable 65% hands-on standard
  • Short-term financial focus often trumps long-term strategic plans
  • Lack of disciplined planning processes that drive short, medium, and long term actions
  • KPI’s that are not understood or utilized by operations personnel
  • Ineffective material control for production inputs, WIP, and FG as well as MRO

While many of these issues occur due to lack of complete functional integration with business processes, we have also seen most of our clients struggle with “trying to do too much with too little”.  Why?  Because they are honestly trying to do the right things, utilize best practices, or optimize the operation.

Manufacturing best practices are well documented, so why do we keep seeing these issues?  We asked ourselves that and the best answer we had was because they do not utilize the proper analytics.  To be sure, most any operation could use a good shot of discipline and reinforcement as to good practices.  But what if executives understood the bottom line profitability of every single product they produced?

Well, they probably would find that their pricing scheme needed some adjustments, they might ask why they make certain products, they might be surprised that their product and customer base follow Pareto rules where only 5% of Customers and Products generate 150% of their profits while the rest eat away at that bringing it down to the 100% that gets reported. 

Questions That EPO Can Answer:

  • Why are we making and selling at a loss?
  • What do we look like if we eliminate the losers?  SKU’s and/or Customers?
  • What can we do to reduce the cost for unprofitable products?
  • Where do we increase prices?
  • And on and on…  sometimes into the hundreds of questions

The EPO findings can be so disruptive to the status quo that some clients look nothing like they did before we started with them.Ultimately the difference is in reduction of business complexity.The business focuses on activities, products, and customer that provide healthy profits.While not every unprofitable transaction is removed, at least these are understood for what they are with some intangible importance to the overall business.

We highly recommend this approach to all of our clients.

3: Management Operating System (MOS)

The MOS is the reporting and decision making vehicle that we leave with each client to support sustainable continuous improvement.  Although we encourage our clients to take this tool set into the Information Systems environment it is not software.  The MOS is a collection of tools and management processes that provide the basis for business performance review and formulation of corrective actions.

Management Reports

  • Define base, target, and plan for each KPI
  • Design new or modify existing reports to track the KPIs
  • Ensure data is reliable and repeatable

MOS Report

  • Determine meeting structure in which to review KPI reports
  • Assign reports to meetings
  • Integrate with MOS structure from other teams