Retrenchment Strategy

Retrenchment Strategy

Retrenchment Strategy Jonathan Poland

Retrenchment is a business strategy that involves reducing the size or scope of a company in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness. It is typically used when a company is facing financial difficulties or is in a declining market, and it can involve measures such as layoffs, downsizing, or divestment of non-core assets.

There are several different approaches to retrenchment, including:

  1. Cost-cutting: This involves reducing expenses in order to improve profitability. This can be done through measures such as layoffs, wage freezes, and outsourcing.
  2. Restructuring: This involves reorganizing the company in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs. This can include reorganizing departments, streamlining processes, and introducing new technology.
  3. Divestment: This involves selling off non-core assets or businesses in order to focus on the company’s core competencies.
  4. Diversification: This involves expanding into new markets or product lines in order to reduce reliance on a single industry or product.

Retrenchment can be a difficult and controversial strategy, as it often involves layoffs and other measures that can impact employees and stakeholders. It is important for companies to carefully consider the potential impacts of retrenchment and to communicate openly with employees and other stakeholders about the reasons for the changes and the plans for the future.

In conclusion, retrenchment is a business strategy that involves reducing the size or scope of a company in order to improve efficiency and competitiveness. It can be an effective way for companies to navigate difficult financial times or declining markets, but it is important for companies to carefully consider the potential impacts and to communicate openly with stakeholders. The following are illustrative examples of a retrenchment.

Selling Assets

Selling assets such as investments, facilities, machines or entire divisions of your organization. For example, an airline facing a liquidity crisis that sells its facilities at a key airport.

Abandoning Markets

Abandoning a particular market location or segment. For example, an investment bank that closes its Tokyo office when markets crash and the business becomes unprofitable.

Abandoning a Line of Business

Closing an entire line of business such as an insurance company that stops selling flood insurance after a major flood.

Decreasing Production

Decreasing production of a product such as an automobile manufacturer that closes or idles a factory to respond to a fall in demand.

Eliminating Redundancies

Layoffs in areas that are perceived as non-critical or low value are often referred to as redundancies. For example, a bank that has grown a large layer of middle-management who have abstract job titles not directly tied to revenue or critical operations may aggressively cut these positions when revenue declines.


Downsizing, also known as layoffs, is the process of terminating employees through no fault of their own. This is often done in response to business conditions whereby a firm seeks to conserve resources to survive. In some cases, a firm seeks to downsize without exiting any markets or businesses. For example, a firm may require all departments to cut 10% of their staff without any changes to the responsibilities and goals of these departments.


The process of assigning a business function or process to an external partner, often to reduce costs. Outsourcing is only retrenchment when it is done urgently. For example, an IT company that suddenly sells its data centers and outsources to the company that purchases the data centers to generate cash in a crisis.

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