Short examples of how we’ve made a difference for our clients.
Reducing Cost and Cycle Time to Market for a Struggling Manufacturer
This manufacturer was in trouble; they were suffering low productivity and poor staff morale. Their cost of doing business was escalating due to work duplication and inefficiencies. They realized that they had to undertake an in-depth examination of their business processes and called us in to help them. Working with employees, we examined end-to-end workflow—was work getting to the right person? Were there information silos inside the organization that affected work quality? Were employees unable to execute work properly because they were not getting the right information at the right time within the business workflow? In this way, we were able to identify the workflow bottlenecks and their root causes and provide guidance in creating work process improvements. Our effort helped this client reduce their cost and cycle time to market in a variety of areas of operation; corporate office, manufacturing, and logistics and improve customer satisfaction. This made it possible for them to remain competitive, become innovative, and increase profitability.
Integrating and Streamlining Multiple Business Processes for a Wireless Mobile Provider
This wireless mobile provider had several divisions and each division operated independently of each other. This made it difficult for them to offer a single solution to their customers. It was particularly true for their business customer segment; where there was a lot of competition. This company envisioned having a single solution for their business customers that would integrate the services of all divisions; cellular, phone, cable and internet. To do this they would have to re-design and reengineer their business processes so they called us in to help them accomplish this goal. We applied Business Process Management to help this client create a new, completely integrated business process. As a result of our engagement they are now able to offer one business solution to their customers that provide seamless service between all of their divisions.
Applying Strategic Quality Planning to Update Quality Policies
One division within a large government department had created a quality policy manual about 15 years ago. Nobody within the organization had updated this manual since its creation and now there were many quality problems throughout the division. This client brought us in to help them develop a Strategic Quality Plan that would lead to the right direction for quality in the division and provide measurable quality initiatives. The outcome of our work was a new and successful direction for this division plus a new policy manual for quality with improved quality processes and procedures.
Using Quality Planning to Improve Customer Service for a Retail Grocery Chain
This grocery chain wanted to improve their bottom-line by increasing their customer service levels and their effectiveness and efficiency. They created a steering committee to develop the best strategy to manage these challenges. The steering committee asked us to help them develop a Strategic Quality Plan. Our planning process helped the steering committee to develop several key strategies. In order to execute each of the strategies we formed sub-committees of employees; which the steering committee were to oversee. We then took each sub-committee through a planning session to develop a plan for implementation of the strategies. In these planning sessions, each committee identified potential barriers to success and then established ways to overcome them. There was a variety of barriers to overcome including: culture, lack of structures and processes and lack of quality tools. We addressed these issues with consulting, quality training and coaching. By engaging employees throughout the planning process we were able to help this organization improve their bottom line and received very positive customer feedback.
Using a Project Audit to Evaluate the Comprehensiveness of a Project Plan
This large, high profile government naval project was a four-year, 200 million dollar project that was neither on time nor on budget. Our client brought us in to undertake an in-depth audit to uncover root causes of their problems and provide recommendations to get the project back on track. We worked with both the core and extended project teams in its early project development. There were approximately 300 resources assigned to work on this project and we met with all of them. We discovered that the project plan lacked sufficient detail and so we worked with the project team to correct this problem. With our guidance, within 6 months, the project team revised the project plan to incorporate the necessary 35,000 tasks, and included all the interdependencies as well as task durations and resource allocations to meet the project deadline. They clearly identified all milestones and by the end of that year the project was back on track.
Using a Project Audit in a Lawsuit
This large pharmaceutical organization undertook a major project to outsource their logistics. Their objectives for this project were cost savings and minimization of resources. However, the project ended with disastrous results and cost the organization much pain. Not only did they lose profits but the negative effect on customers and staff was significant. The organization’s President called us in to conduct a project audit to learn from their mistakes and make sure that a similar situation would never happen again. During our project audit we discovered that there was no risk assessment or contingency plan to deal with possible risks. As a result, when problems occurred, the project team behaved reactively rather than proactively and this led to more mistakes and problems. Our project audit report included many recommendations to help avert future problems and our client was able to successfully sue the logistics company for damages.
Government Department with Low Morale
This Government department was operating reasonably well but employee morale was low, staff turnover was high and employees were not always managing customer complaints well. The CEO believed that the employees needed to be fully engaged in identifying the sources of these problems and the solutions to them. He called us in to work with the employees and put the questions to them. We undertook employee engagement sessions that challenged them to identify the root causes of the problems and determine possible solutions to increase employee morale, staff retention and customer satisfaction. We then took these suggestions to the management team with a recommendation that they create employee groups to be responsible to implement the recommendations. The result was extremely positive and far more successful than management expected because employees had never been engaged in problem solving before and the impact it had on them was tremendous. Employee morale exploded.
Overcoming Employee Resistance to Change
The President of our client organization had a vision; it was a great and powerful new direction that would bring about a big change in their way of doing business. It would change their customers and the products and services they created for the market. The outcome would require changes in how employees interacted with each other. Unfortunately, employees did not readily accept the President’s new vision for the organization. So the client brought us in to help overcome employee resistance and identify what actions were necessary to increase employee support. As part of our review we held a number of full-day sessions with employees to hear their point of view about the President’s new direction and allow them to express their personal concerns and frustrations. We insisted that all employees would attend. At the sessions, we asked them to tell us about their previous personal experiences with changes that they had seen implemented; what they found difficult to deal with and what could have been done to make these changes happen more successfully. We also explored ideas for how to engage them in creating a future vision for the organization. We presented this employee input in a final report to the management team. This report had a big impact on them. The management team revised their execution plan to include these employee recommendations. And when the new plan was delivered, employees felt motivated and engaged in the execution because they could see how their contribution had impacted the plan.
Improving Leadership Skills for a Retail Convenience Store Chain
This familiar 24-hour convenience store chain had never provided any training or coaching to their store managers. In smaller locations these managers often operated with only 1 or 2 employees so they became both a manager and an employee. The leadership team observed that most store managers operated more like employees/workers than store managers. They asked us to create and facilitate a custom leadership program for store managers that reflected their unique culture, structure and operating practices. This program helped their store managers understand their role and responsibilities and had a positive outcome for our client of increasing average sales per square footage in most stores.
How a Major Financial Institution Overcame Leadership Challenges
This major financial institution was experiencing a multitude of people problems that seemed to be affecting their ability to grow their business. Project teams had insufficient resources for critical initiatives, work teams were continually in “reaction mode”, line managers were stretched too thin and there was limited cross training due to workloads. We undertook a Situation Analysis with the management team to explore the current state and determine the core problems. We identified one of the core problems to be poor leadership skills. This led to the development of specific and custom coaching and training for all levels of management. Our program has helped them to improve their managerial skills and place people with the right skills in the right places at the right time.
Improving Project Management for a Global Manufacturer
This global manufacturer wanted to enhance the skill and competency level of project leaders and their teams. As well, they wanted to engage their senior managers in discussions and training on how to create an effective project management environment. We began by undertaking a Project Culture Assessment™ to determine how ready this organization was to embrace project management. We determined the gaps they would need to close to ensure that they would be able to manage projects successfully and the major gap was project management training. We worked with them to train their project leaders and teams and held project leadership sessions for project sponsors and managers. Within the first six months they had trained almost 50% of their project leaders and teams. The outcome of our training was measurable improvements in business results for all projects.
Getting a Government Project Back On Track
This government client was unable to achieve significant progress on a project due to the pending introduction of a new piece of legislation that greatly impacted the project’s delivery. After six months into the project, it was failing to meet its delivery completion deadline, and so this client called us in to help them get the project back on track. We met with the project sponsor and project manager to map out a process for rapidly getting the project back on track. Then we facilitated a number of work sessions with them to: identify prospective team members, define the project’s scope and create a detailed project plan. Acting as an outside coach to the project manager throughout, we assisted with management of some of the project work and helped to create an on-line presentation for distribution to the field offices introducing the project to all employees. Within one month of working with this project team, they had made far more progress than in the previous six months and we managed to help them get a failing project back on track.
Handling Cultural Issues Resulting from the Merger of Competitive Retail Convenience Store Chains
These two large convenience store chains operated in direct competition for several decades. Then they merged and the result was a huge upheaval for employees. Because the cultures of each of the companies were different, we chose to work with the management to create a strategic change plan for the new organization. The most important element of our strategy was holding mixed group sessions with employees from both the store chains to listen to their needs and suggestions. We identified: what they didn’t want in this change, what they wanted in this change and how they would help to create this future. It led to a powerful change leadership strategy and the impact was tremendous. Within 3 months it was difficult to tell which employee worked for which of the original convenience stores because they were now working seamlessly towards a common goal.
Resolving Operational Challenges for a Government Agency Merger
This government client merged two large government agencies into one unit. The merger had a tremendous impact on their organizational structures and operating practices. Both organizations had to preserve the integrity of the services they were offering while also improving customer service and reducing their operating expenses. They felt they could achieve this objective with a flattened corporate structure of decentralized operating units and outsourcing of some of their services to suppliers who could be more responsive in meeting local needs. Business Improvement Architects helped this organization achieve its objective successfully and rapidly by guiding, coordinating and overseeing a strategic change management process for the transformation. We made sure that our client developed an effective communication plan to inform management and staff on the progress of the change. Within 6 months the two organizations had combined and improved their operating processes. They had also created a new corporate structure with a seamless level of service to their customers. One unexpected outcome was the increase in employee morale and staff retention. Another positive outcome of this effort was an increase in both employee morale as well as staff retention.
Averting Extinction for a Forestry Organization
The forestry industry has remained largely unchanged for many decades. One large government’s forestry department believed that change was imperative if they wanted to keep jobs. They had tried traditional leadership and change approaches but it hadn’t made much difference. So they brought us in to help them determine how to create a culture in which employees would be more creative and adaptive. We decided to apply a bottom-up approach to gain traction so that the employees wouldn’t perceive this as yet another management directive. Our client agreed that we could put all employees through facilitated sessions to generate creative ideas and determine what was necessary to take these ideas from vision to reality. We helped them create a steering committee to oversee the innovations and then worked with management to develop strategies for implementation. As a result of our work, the organization’s culture changed; the employees became engaged and they are now delivering new products and services that are helping to sustain this forestry department.
Innovation as a Growth Strategy for a Global Manufacturer
This global manufacturer had identified innovation as one of their key growth strategies. Some of their products had to be completely re-designed to meet the future needs of their customers. Their new product development process didn’t yield them the breakthroughs they needed to achieve these re-designs. Business Improvement Architects worked with their leadership team to create a vision, strategy and process for innovation. We assessed their innovation culture and planned the actions required to re-shape it. They followed-up by creating innovation teams. These teams followed our proprietaryinnovation process and just recently applied for patents for their first major innovation success!
Maintaining Market Leadership
This manufacturer had maintained their leadership position for a couple of decades. The last strategic planning session they had held, which they conducted with another vendor, was almost 10 years ago. The experience was poor so they resisted any attempt at undertaking another facilitated strategic planning session. However, the President realized that strategic thinking was necessary if they wanted to maintain their market share and decided to contact us. Although the leadership team was very tentative about bringing us in, within the first half day of the session they were completely engaged in the process. The final strategic plan gave them a new direction. They created new products and services. They restructured and they examined many of their key business processes for improvement. After completion of their two year review they invited us back to help them create their new strategic plan.
Overcoming a Competitive Threat
Our client is a dominant force in the marketplace for specialized training in North America and has held this position for the last two decades. Their highly specialized training is a requirement by many industries to maintain certifications for safety and to ensure their employees meet all regulatory requirements. When a competitor announced that they were going to start operations in the same location within the next 6 months our client called us in to help them develop a strategic plan that would abate any threat from the new competition. The outcome of a focused and intense strategic planning session was the identification of the key strategies they would implement to manage this competitive threat. The resulting changes enabled this client to successfully continue their operations in the face of significant competition.