Managing Change

CASE STUDY 14 – Management and Working Hours Reorganisation – Chemical Manufacturing Plant

This Company had recently re-located its operation to a brand new site, which was the centre for production/sales and support services for markets in UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The Company’s business is the supply of specialist manufactured ingredients to the Pharmaceutical industry.
A number of construction problems remained unresolved which significantly interfered with routine operations and so following the move the business was falling behind on its production and delivery schedules; silly mistakes and errors were contributing to this and in some incidents threatening the continued business from some large customers. Added to this, morale was perceived as low in the production area and middle management was becoming increasingly frustrated and having to resort to an autocratic and sometimes aggressive management style, to get things done. Furthermore, the US Parent Company was engaged in a programme of restructuring and de-layering elsewhere in the world but UK Management wanted to retain control of its destiny. Things had to change.
Proposed Solution
The Production Director reviewed the situation with his managers and the HR manager and came to the following conclusions:
• The Company’s working conditions were well above average
• Salaries paid were in the upper quartile
• Output requirements were well within productivity capability
• Output demand was well within current equipment capacity
• Cult of individualism existed
• Poor discipline
• Morale lower than before re-location
• Ineffective management at supervisor and chargehand levels
• Commercial pressures were increasing to improve on-time shipments
• The US Parent would not tolerate existing performance levels for long

The solution was decided therefore to do away with the current roles of supervisor and chargehand and flatten the management structure. The existing shift pattern would be retained but instead of job rotation from shift to shift the employees in production would be split into permanent product related teams with a team leader in charge of each team. The team leaders to have more management control and authority over such things as timekeeping, sick-pay and absence, working practices, discipline, training and day to day operations.
The Challenge
The problems to overcome were:
• Selling the idea of a new shift pattern
• Selecting the team leaders
• Changing the culture and management style
• The company didn’t want many of the current supervisors and chargehands to be team leaders
• Such projects had in the past led to low morale, reduced productivity and a ‘blood on the walls’ scenario – this could not be allowed to happen
Strategy and the Implications
Ken Herseywas invited in by the HR Manager to present a method of achieving the solution and dealing with the challenges.
Ken saw this project immediately as a strategy and culture change project, which would yield all the results and benefits the company required. Step one was to present ‘The Strategic Change Model’ to the Production Director and senior management team. The project was agreed and work began immediately. The key stages in the Strategic Change Model were:
Step One
Using ‘Multi-sensory Interpretation Diagnostics’ the desired strategic change was identified and catalogued from the Director and Senior Managers. Ken reflected this back for agreement.
Step Two
The blocks to change were identified using ‘Culture Cloud Analysis’ so that the communication process for the project could be mapped out. The result of this, in this project, was that a series of shift details, working practices, culture statement, team size and numbers, management style details and an outline of ‘how we do things round here’ were set down by the management team.

Step Three
Implementation was planned by Ken using his very powerful ‘Time Shift Communication Concept’. This involved taking the whole employee group through a presentation, which involved a simulated journey through time to a date in the future when all had been achieved. Details were given via an exhibition and a ‘Parkinson’ type interview of the senior management team. Questions were taken and dealt with and everyone was involved in the discussion of the changes made and successes achieved. This session was so successful no one wanted to leave – even though it was home time for many.
Step Four
As set out in the work of stage three all employees were evaluated using the Launchpad Employee potential computerised system. This allowed comparisons to be made of everyone with Job profiles developed in the planning stage of the project. Vital personal feedback was given to all employees and an Organisational Profile was revealed using the Launchpad data.
As a result of this work and the communication process in step three all the employees who the Company didn’t want to be team leaders volunteered themselves for demotion on their own accord. Team leaders were selected (one found from the temporary labour team currently earning £7.50 per hour) and teams were developed using the personality profiles and operational style details from Launchpad as an aid to the decision process.
Step Five
The new Leaders and teams were announced and 7 days later the organisation went live.
Over the next six months Ken held development workshops on one day a month with the Team Leaders looking at practical management skill issues as well as Organisational and upward management issues. One to one coaching was also used to deal with very specific needs.
In the words to the Production Director:
"The ideas to develop the strategy and particularly to communicate it, I thought at first sight to be crazy. But the reputation and references Ken gave me which I took up, were so glowing and my need for real practical innovation was so high, I decided to go for it".

"The results have exceeded my expectation. No aggravation, ineffective supervisors and staff selecting themselves for change and asking for help. New shift patterns installed without any hiccup. Errors reduced, a massive increase in productivity and improved morale plus substantial cost savings over and above those from productivity."
"I am using the knowledge and experience gained through working with Ken and his fascinating approach to strategy and change in my day to day work."

Submitted by Ken Hersey, Professional Member

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