Case Study – Medium Sized Manufacturer
Company: Medium sized manufacturer of industrial products selling primarily through local distribution channels to large manufacturing companies. Company is privately held.
Assignment period: June 2005 to January 2009
Number of People: Approximately 125.
Situation: Company was stagnating at a steady (but profitable) sales level after absorbing a number of plant closings due to significant changes in the business conditions with several of their large end user clients. The company competes with one larger player in its market and several smaller players. When we began working with them, sales were less than 12 million US$. The industry is growing at 4-5% but there are substantial structural changes that are altering the structure of the playing field. Channel re-alignment is an issue as the traditional value added proposition of classic distribution is being questioned. This has caused considerable downstream challenge for the customer’s business model.
Scope of Assignment: Working with the VP Sales (who became the President in 2007), we were given a broad mandate to assist them in coming up with ways to re-energize the business, and develop a strong plan that could ensure the following:
Company will resume its growth and gain share from its competitors
Company will grow its profits – the shareholders do not wish to sacrifice profit to gain sales or market share
Company will develop a clearer sales process as the channel strategy clarifies itself
Company team members will learn to work together and silos will be removed
Company will improve to a point where it can claim that it legitimately delivers superior customer service
Actions taken: We did a comprehensive assessment of needs. This resulted in the identification of the need for a professional sales manager and general manager. For the first time, sales people were required to submit a sales plan and be governed by it. At the same time, we made active use throughout the organization of a number of team effectiveness profiles as well as the DYNAMIX® profile (once it became available). We helped the company hire and train several key managers. Today, we continue to coach them and the President even though the formal part of the assignment has ended. Nonetheless the DYNAMIX® profile is considered an essential tool in the organization and it is widely used to promote understanding and effective team work.
Outcomes: Company sales have risen beyond 25 million US$. The various Peak Performance2 sales and team performance principles are foundational to the company’s DNA.
Market realities can cause stalled sales growth but vision, leadership and a consistent development plan can serve as a catalyst to propel growth.
Superior relationships in the company are a source of hidden profits. The company discovered that there were huge improvements in communication resulting from an elevated understanding of the differences of people’s styles. These improvements spilled over into downstream relationships and this, in turn, helped sales and profits grow.