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The Turnaround Experience by Thomas F Schopflocher

The full title of this book by Thomas Schopflocher is

The Turnaround Experience: Saving Troubled Companies“.

In my review at Amazon.co.,uk, I rated the book at the Four Stars level. This means I consider it to be in the good to very good range.

Here is my review.

A practical book on turnarounds

I’ve been critical of quite a few turnaround books I’ve read recently but this is one of the better ones.

I liked the analogy that the business is in a race. Can the turnaround manager create a profitable business before the bank decides to pull the plug? This gives a sense of the urgency involved and shows that, once the business has big debts, it’s no longer in control but can influence it.

The author shares his knowledge and experience as a turnaround specialist and it’s written from the perspective of teaching someone how to be a turnaround manager. By this, I mean it’s not focused on how a business owner can turnaround his or her own business although there is plenty that can be learned.

It starts by focusing on the financial issues:
– Getting in control of cash flow.
– Understanding the accounts to see what has caused a good business go bad.
– Cutting costs.

Then it goes on to assess the quality of management and who needs to be replaced quickly, including perhaps the owner. It also looks at the organisational structure and how clearly the responsibilities of positions are

understood and aligned with the turnaround.

The book also looks at understanding the manufacturing process including productivity, downtime., absenteeism etc It’s a section that too me back to my younger days when I worked in manufacturing.

The book is strong on investigating the internal causes of decline but there is a major omission on the external side. It doesn’t tackle what I think of as the strategic marketing issues. Is there a strong demand for the products and services now and in the foreseeable future? Is the business competitive or does it have major weaknesses? In effect, it doesn’t answer the question of whether it’s worth trying to save the business.

The second half of the book looks at the issues involved with implementing the turnaround. It also recognises that the recovery plan may not be successful and it goes through the Canadian and American insolvency procedures.

If you are interested in becoming a turnaround manager or you need to turnaround your own business, then this book offers plenty of relevant advice but you will need to supplement it with others that have more strategy, sales and marketing.

If I was allowed half stars, I’d give it a rating of 3.5. I’ve been kind and rounded up rather than down.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.


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