The client is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers in their field. The business was established 40 years ago and is based around traditional skills that today compete with low cost production sources worldwide. Therefore attributes such as adaptability, quality, customer service, creativity and lead time are key success factors, which form the business’s competitive edge. The business offers a bespoke design & manufacturing service as well as selling their own range of standard products into a wide range of industrial applications, including demanding medical and public sectors.
The workforce is experienced and skilled. Similarly the management team are highly experienced, familiar with each others’ ways of working and ‘comfortable’ with the pace of the business. The future though requires change through evolution not revolution where the skills and knowledge contained within the organisation must be maintained whilst new ways of working are embraced and introduced to improve business performance.
The client’s core markets were becoming more competitive with companies amalgamating and foreign imports increasing. In addition the client had product patents which were aging. The Board wanted to see a more ambitious strategy executed to ensure the company’s long-term survival. Diversification of supply as well as product and services was envisaged.
The Managing Director’s plan to form a production centre in Eastern Europe, an alliance with SE Asian suppliers and adopt a more acquisitive approach for UK businesses offering synergy was approved by the board. In order to affect this transition the MD engaged AVASST to work with him and the management team.
AVASST’s approach was to offer the management team a facilitation service at their monthly management meeting and make additional regular visits to provide a Mentorship role to support each manager, on a 1:1 basis, through their transition.
The facilitation role was structured in 3 parts:
(i) to enable discussion from all the team; draw out valuable contribution from the quiet team members and manage the views from the more dominant members:
(ii) to challenge the existing ‘norms’ by using the Facilitator’s experience to reflect possible business scenarios they may face:
(iii) to help the team reach conclusions and develop action plans and review progress at ensuing meetings.
Integral to this approach was encouraging the team to:
- Debate how effective their procedures, processes and behaviours would be in delivering the new business plan.
- Explore the measures, monitoring and management of the business.
- Resolve issues at their own level.
The Mentoring service helped the managers to:
- Discuss in private their fears and work through different options and difficulties they faced.
- Have a regular period of ‘thinking time’ where they could step away from the day to day issues to review, reflect & plan.
- Evaluate the links & influences between the different functions and the effect their local strategies & tactics would have on others.
The early significant outcomes were that the strategy review and buy in to the tactical level ‘execution plan’ helped the management team to examine their perceptions of each others’ roles & demands. This in turn led to inducing a greater sense of purpose for introducing new ways of working which would provide them with greater empowerment to directly deliver the more immediate business plan objectives allowing the MD to focus on the business expansion elements of the plan.
On an individual basis the Mentoring has helped the managers to develop a more mid range view and better anticipate possible problems prior to executing their plans. It was mutually recognised that the process helped the team individually and collectively to better appreciate how their actions could affect others and to work together more closely thereby reducing the degree of fire-fighting that they used to be drawn into.
From the Managing Director’s view point his role and those of his senior team have all grown and he personally, as Chairman, can now concentrate on the strategy for the Group rather than the previous ad hoc modus operandi. The business has now become a small international group with businesses in UK (3), Europe (1) & USA (1)
In terms of the business performance we are pleased to be able to record that 3 years on sales has grown at 10% c.a.g.r. and profits have doubled.