Illinois Tool Works (ITW) is a $17B organization with over 800 different operating units. One of their guiding principles is the 80/20 Rule. Here is their description:
“A driving force behind much of our success at ITW is our 80/20 business process, a practice that keeps us focused on our most profitable products and customers. The concept underlying 80/20 is simple: 80 percent of a company’s sales are derived from the 20 percent of its product offering being sold to key customers.
Put simply, too often companies do not spend enough time on the critical 20 percent of their key customers and products and spend too much time on the lower volume 80 percent…”
Earlier this year, we had a chance to speak with ITW at SCOPE. Interestingly, you can apply the 80/20 to your network design models as well. We spend a lot of time in the book talking about how to aggregate your customers and products. ITW’s 80/20 rule suggests another way build models– only build models that include the 20% of the customers or products that drive 80% of the business. This simplifies your model and gets you focused on the most important parts of your business. (If you are skeptical, you can always build two versions of the model– one with the most important 20% of your customers and one with all of the customers– and see if they give different answers).