Transforming a high-tech SME
to compete in a challenging, niche market
- 100% quality of product to the customer
- Transform from a family-owned SME to compete with larger players in the industry
- Attract and retain top university talent
The client produces bespoke, high-specification products to customers operating in environments where product failure is not an option (i.e., space). If their components fail, people’s lives are directly at risk.
The company had moved from a family-run business to an independent, following a management buy-out, and were looking to increase their market share.
The client recognised several challenges for focus.
Firstly, they required a move toward 100% quality to the customer on every component. This goal had been frustrated through the need to innovate new materials and components, which created a required level of “failure” in the process.
Secondly, the work is incredibly specialised and niche. There are few competitors in the industry – but each competes not only for customers, but also for talent. Attracting and retaining employees with the unique skills was an on-going challenge.
Finally, the new management team recognised their own limitations at running an organisation, following the management buy-out.
It was refreshing to work with a leadership team who are aware of their own blindspots – and open about both sharing and developing their approaches.
Working with the client, we initially focused on the customer outcome: 100% quality to the customer, every time.
Through building new processes, improving the QA approach and building an incentive programme that encouraged speaking up when things aren’t at the level required, this goal was realised quickly. This approach involved the leadership team being hands-on, and complimented the team development programme with practical, real-time impacts of the new approaches.
Through the focus on the team culture within senior management and the required quality outcome, this provide a “north star” for building out an attraction package for talent. It helped identify what to look for (in terms of skills) and could improve the candidate and onboarding experience through sharing a clear direction for the organisation.
The remedial approach included:
- Rebuilding incentive programmes to encourage innovation and a speak-up culture
- Development of leadership team culture and working practices
- Create an Employee Value Proposition for attracting specialised talent
- New incentive programme, with experiential prizes linked to employee behaviour, rather than performance
- Employee Value Proposition created to attract and retain people
- Development of senior leadership team
- Positioned as supplier of choice with 100% quality to customer pledge
- 2% increase in market share within 6-months
- 7% reduction in non-recyclable/non-repurposeful waste through quality improvements