How to Manage a Profitability Turnaround


MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar SeriesJonathan Byrnes

Jonathan L.S. Byrnes, Senior Lecturer, MIT

Date: June 6, 2011

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About the Presentation

We now live in the Age of Precision Markets, yet most of the management processes taught in business schools were developed for the prior Age of Mass Markets. Today’s savviest managers are exploiting this disconnect by rethinking strategy and, in the process, developing fresh approaches to customer relations, operations, and metrics. Dr. Jonathan Byrnes believes that every business has enormous potential waiting to be unleashed and in this webinar, he offers bold new strategies to help you find and grow your islands of profit.

Byrnes will discuss an astonishing fact from his award-winning new book, Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink: it is possible for every manager to meet or exceed budget targets and for the company to still have an enormous portion of its business remain unprofitable. In fact, nearly 40 percent of every company is unprofitable by any measure, and 20 to 30 percent is so profitable that it provides all the reported earnings and subsidizes the losses.

Dr. Byrnes will explain — and then reject — such harmful myths as:

  • Revenues are good, costs are bad
  • All customers should get the same great service
  • If everyone does his or her job well, the company will prosper

In addition he will provide a practical, step-by-step guide to raising net profits by as much as 50 percent.

About the Speaker

Jonathan L.S. Byrnes, senior lecturer at MIT, is an acknowledged authority on supply chain management, account management, and profitability management. His extensive experience spans virtually every industry, including healthcare, transportation, software, retail, financial services, distribution, and others.

At MIT, Dr. Byrnes has taught at the graduate level and in executive programs for 20 years. He has authored over 100 books, articles, cases, notes, and expert submissions. In addition, he wrote a monthly column on managing profitability for Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge for four years, and recently authored Islands of Profit in a Sea of Red Ink, which named to its list of Best Business Books of 2010.

He also is president of Jonathan Byrnes & Co., a consulting company founded in 1976. In that role he has advised over 50 major companies, medical institutions, and industry associations. Dr. Byrnes serves on the Board of Directors of MSC Industrial Direct, Inc. (a New York Stock Exchange company) and has served on the advisory boards of Objectiva Software and Autopart International, two companies that were acquired at a substantial gain. He currently serves on the advisory boards of RMG Networks, OCO, and WaveMark, all development-stage companies. Dr. Byrnes earned a DBA from Harvard University in 1980.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.