case studies

High-Performance Culture and Cooperation

The best business within the best supplier network – this is the high benchmark set by the plastics purchasing unit of a well-known German vehicle manufacturer. The head of the main purchasing department is aware that this undertaking requires optimum cooperation between the various locations and business units, such as Purchasing, Production, Planning and Quality Management. What is key here is an assumption of responsibility at team level – each employee has to buy into playing a continuous optimisation role and regularly challenge processes currently in place. This generates a lively yet constructive dialogue between employees and management.

stadler/schott/ enables a shared understanding of culture and forward-looking entrepreneurial thinking to be actioned at departmental head level to deliver an effective, highly flexible unit.

More Proactivity and Co-Determination

At a truck manufacturing facility the management team has come to the conclusion that, in order to remain competitive, the organisation would benefit from employees demonstrating greater proactivity and personal responsibility. stadler/schott/ mentors the culture process by involving all hierarchy levels.

The key to developing this culture is matching the overall process to a culture map, which illustrates both the history of the facility and status-quo and target cultures in easily comprehensible everyday situations. The map helps to encourage employees enter into dialogue and formulate tangible action to facilitate successful cultural change. The process is also designed to promote self-assurance and point the facility in a new direction. The module team leader summarises the objectives as follows. “Our executives and employees have to free themselves from being driven by events and take matters into their own hands. Furthermore we want to enhance confidence in the management team and make this facility fit for the future.” The basic requirement for achieving this change of mentality is improved cooperation between individual management levels.

Cultural Foundation for New Factory

A vehicle manufacturer launches a new era of visionary mobility at its new factory. Here a unit has initiated an organisational development process for the successful start-up of a new range, designed to integrate all those involved in the process and the new units into existing factory structures. The key to success is the development of a basic culture in parallel to implementing the technology and recruiting the new team. The Head of Production says, “the hallmark of this culture is that everybody treats each other with a high degree of respect and is prepared to flag emerging problems at an early stage. Everyone has to think for themselves and help develop viable solutions by communicating regularly with colleagues.”

stadler/schott/ mentors the set-up process through to the start of production.

From Production- to Customer-Focused Thinking

To mark its corporate anniversary a manufacturer of crushed limestone adopted the following motto – “Moving away from production- to customer- and innovation-focused thinking!” Employees divided up into interdisciplinary teams visited customers themselves and found out during the course of interviews what the latter think of their service provider, how satisfied they are with quality and service and what still has to be improved. Sales executives were accompanied by colleagues, who otherwise do not have any direct customer contact.

This not only intensified customer focus throughout the company, but also removed the dividing line between “back office and field sales” and embedded entrepreneurial thinking throughout the organisation. The business units gained a new-found dynamism and their mutual understanding improved considerably as the project progressed.

The CEO’s résumé was “stadler/schott/ mentored us through our ‘Customer-focused staff, director coaching and employee survey’ project, displaying a high level of professionalism, empathy and an impressive determination to achieve objectives and results. In just eight months our senior executives have developed a better understanding of what leadership is all about, we are now familiar with and apply new leadership tools and have enhanced our overall customer and service focus”.

Appealing to the Best Up-and-Coming Engineers

A unversity located in Switzerland is subject to immense pressure to change. Given cutbacks in its previous levels of funding income, it is forced to increase its efforts to raise external funding. It also keeps on having to justify what it does to its public-sector backers. In order to meet these challenges, the university has developed a mission statement, into which stadler/schott/ has helped to breathe life top-down.

A common culture based on shared values, in which identity and an ‘us’ feeling grow, is born. The scope for constructive feedback and knowledge transfer is being gradually increased. The Principal is certain about what the objective is - “by having a vibrant culture of values we are able to raise our profile and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We not only appeal to graduates but also improve technology transfer to companies and our chances of raising funding from external sources.“

Storming the Bestseller Lists

A successful publisher initiated a change of strategy three years ago. Focusing on new distribution channels combined with drastic restructuring resulted in a rapid business upturn. Yet the development of a corporate and leadership culture could not keep pace with this business dynamism. Key employees left the company and unease spread.

An extensive analysis of the company’s existing culture by stadler/schott/ identified the most important areas where action needed to be taken. Within a very short period several project groups had been set up to address these issues and to generate viable solutions. Feedback processes in particular are designed to deliver gradual change at a behavioural level and intensify dialogue with employees. Other prerequisites include improved cross-departmental cooperation, open communication and constructive handling of mistakes