Back to zero: Companies use 1970s budget tool to cut costs as they hunt for growth

Use of zero-based budgeting (ZBB) in 2017 is expected to increase dramatically around the globe. Bain & Company reported last year in a survey of 406 North American companies that 38 percent of that group would use ZBB, up from just 10 percent in 2014.

"You continuously have to ask what are strategic costs and how can we invest behind the things that drive the highest volume," said Jason Heinrich, a partner with Bain.