References

From experience we know that our holistic approach, embracing the entire corporate value chain from strategy development to operations management, ensures success in development projects in all industrial sectors.

Synergy’s open-minded and results-oriented collaboration with a wide range of customers has produced more than 250 implementation success stories.

Automotive

Customer

One of the biggest heavy commercial vehicle and earth moving equipment after-sales companies in Finland and the Baltic countries.

 

Objective

To develop a post-merger integration plan and facilitate a successful merger with another after-sales company.

 

Challenges
  • Excessive overlapping in almost every function
  • Inefficient and underutilized workshops almost in the same city
  • Utilization of the leasing concept of the acquired company for all businesses
  • Two different corporate cultures
  • Old-fashioned and bureaucratic management style of the acquired company
  • Lack of a sourcing strategy for the spare parts business
  • Low profitability of spare parts
  • Providing services to customers, but not entering into competition and conflict with the importers, who also had their own after-sales businesses

 

Our approach
  • A quick scan of workshops was conducted to evaluate the best locations and practices.
  • A new operating business model, including operating procedures, was developed on the basis of existing best practices among workshops.
  • A detailed spare parts sourcing model was developed.
  • A conversion plan for the integration of workshops was developed.
  • An integration office was set up, managed and coordinated, and all projects were documented according to established project management processes and tools.
  • A cost follow-up tool was developed to monitor restructuring costs related to integration at the cost center level.
  • Barriers to, and corrective actions for, integration were identified on a weekly basis.

 

Results
  • All projects were implemented within the expected timeframe.
  • The efficiency of the workshops was improved.
  • The new sourcing business model created major savings and a better bargaining position with the importers.
  • The amount of overlapping and uncoordinated work was minimized.
  • A wider leasing offering increased revenue.

Chemicals & Processes

Customer 

Medium-sized global chemical producer

 

Objective

To assess the impact of selectively reducing the range of stock keeping units (SKUs) in order to maximize margins, given a certain capacity

 

Challenges
  • Convincing Sales & Marketing to eliminate some SKUs with good volume, but low margins
  • Avoiding alienating current customers who buy significant volumes in some SKUs and segments
  • Collecting valid and reliable data from the right sources

 

Our approach 
  • An ABC (activity-based costing) model was built to evaluate and verify product margins at the SKU level
  • Sales and production data was analyzed to determine sales volumes, order frequencies, product interdependencies and capacity requirements concerning each SKU
  • Tools (e.g. spider web diagrams) were used to visualize the interdependencies between SKUs, sales volume and customers
  • Workshops were organized with segment managers to present findings and discuss product strategies and their implications in the marketplace
  • Based on its quantitative and qualitative analyses, Synergy proposed a roadmap showing which SKUs to eliminate, which to raise prices on and which to evaluate further
    • Workshops with Sales & Marketing focused on providing alternatives to eliminated SKUs and on the possibility of allocating freed-up capacity to higher-margin SKUs
  • A scenario analysis tool was built to continuously evaluate the effects of changes in SKU mix and volume on capacity and EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes)

 

Results 
  • Margin improvement in excess of EUR 1 million per year
  • Defined strategy for improved management of SKUs
  • Clear roadmap for reduction of SKUs

Electronics & Telecom

Customer

A subsidiary in Finland of one of the biggest global electronic companies, specializing in a device for the construction sector

 

Objective

To develop a quick turn-around plan to emphasize the offering of solutions rather than products, and to develop an after-sales concept

 

Challenges 
  • Declining market share due to being a product and technical-driven organization
  • Pushing products and technology at the customers, rather than understanding customer needs
  • Offering only products to customers, rather than solutions
  • Lack of clarity and consensus on what concept should be developed for what product in order to increase sales
  • Development of a new sales concept for all selected products and managing the business on the basis of the new sales concept rather than the products
  • The logistics process did not support the new sales concept

 

Our approach
  • The market potential of products vs. solutions was analyzed.
  • The attractiveness of offering new solutions rather than products was assessed.
  • The competitiveness of the new offered solutions was analyzed.
  • The most attractive solutions were selected and a new sales concept was developed.
  • A key account organization was defined, along with strategy and goals.
  • A new logistics process was designed and implemented to support the new sales concept.

 

Results 
  • The market share increased.
  • The sales organization was transformed from a technical-driven organization to a customer-driven one.
  • Customer sales and profitability started to be measured.
  • The key accounts strategy and the new goals generated positive drive for the company.

Energy & Utilities

Customer

Global mechanical engineering company in the energy sector

 

Objective

To speed up growth in the global service business through acquisitions

To develop an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) strategy and an implementation roadmap

To identify and prioritize potential acquisition targets

 

Challenges
  • The targeted service market was an emerging, fast-growing global market which was in constant change
  • Developing an M&A strategy in a situation where there was little or no in-depth knowledge of the market in different geographical areas
  • There was a strong presumption that the company  should acquire entities with complementary technologies and the appropriate service competence
  • The company had no defined competitive service concept with which to aggressively increase market share

 

Our approach
  • The strategic starting point was systematically analyzed
  • A necessary additional market analysis was identified in order to define the competition strategy
  • A competitive service concept was analyzed and defined
  • Growth strategies (organic or M&A) per customer segment were analyzed and defined
  • M&A criteria were defined in order to clarify the desired complementary competence and expected synergies
  • An analysis was made of which geographical areas would have the greatest potential for successful  market entry and aggressive growth
  • The potential acquisition candidates in the chosen markets were analyzed

 

Results
  • The presumptions behind the company’s growth strategy were challenged, with the result that:
    • A new “blue ocean” strategy was defined
    • A totally new business idea was developed
    • Acquisition targets were identified and prioritized
    • Acquisition criteria were defined to help in future M&A projects
  • A clear roadmap was defined with alternatives for implementing the growth strategy

Engineering, Manufacturing & Assembly

Customer

Global supplier of lifting equipment for the logistics industry

 

Objective 

To improve production efficiency and overall plant performance

 

Challenges 

The organization had poor knowledge of process balancing

The necessary tools were missing

Non-existent decision-making for discontinuation of product lines; no knowledge available on how to plan and execute

 

Our approach 
  • Developing tools and working procedures to minimize problems of balancing capacity
  • Initiating customer/sales growth programs to secure increased sales
  • Creating tools to measure the lead time for components
  • Overseeing the product range and making solutions based on product simplicity and profitability

 

Results
  • Output increase and shorter lead times
  • Improved capacity utilization and reduced average cost per unit sold
  • More sophisticated production and inventory planning tools to balance lead time variation and manage working capital

Environmental & Facility Management

Customer

A leading environmental management and property and plant support services company in Finland and the Baltic countries

 

Objective

To centralize the process of selecting subcontractors and to develop operating procedures for the utilization of subcontractors in all divisions in order to improve efficiency and profitability

 

Challenges 
  • Many local service centers with diverse ways of working
  • Growth had occurred through the acquisition of many small service companies that had not been integrated
  • No unified approach concerning the selection, utilization and pricing of subcontractors
  • Overlapping of subcontractors in all areas
  • No performance measurement and follow-up of subcontractors
  • Difficulties in evaluating subcontractors due to different pricing models and service agreements

 

Our approach
  • A unified approach was developed  concerning the selection and management of subcontractors for all business lines.
  • Tools for pricing and selecting subcontractors were developed.
  • Relevant KPIs were defined to monitor the quality and performance efficiency of subcontractors.
  • A detailed subcontractor management manual was developed.
  • Several workshops were conducted to introduce the new approach and tools to key individuals.

 

Results
  • The number of subcontractors was reduced.
  • Better offers were received from subcontractors due to  volume consolidation.
  • A significant saving in administration time was achieved due to the fewer subcontractors.
  • Profit was improved due to better cost follow-up.
  • Subcontractor agreements and procedures were standardized.

Financial Services & Insurance

Customer

A provider of various risk management and insurance services for enterprises and private households, as well as flexible client financing solutions.

 

Objective

Facilitation of a change management program for the implementation of a new technology related to processing non-life insurance and compensation

 

Challenges
  • An important strategic investment for a group with high expectations
  • Requirement for old technology to be run initially in parallel with the new system for back-up purposes
  • Greater sophistication of new technology compared with the old
  • Employee perception that the new technology would require more work and that the incentive system did not take this into account
  • Employees preference for the old system as opposed to the new system

 

 

Our approach
  • Synergy conducted several workshops with the management team – both individually and as a group – to create alignment.
  • Synergy conducted several  workshops with the employees to define the obstacles to change.
  • Synergy created a roadmap for the change program, including goals and milestones.
  • Management roles and responsibilities were clarified in line with the change program roadmap.
  • Regular follow-up workshops with a defined agenda were organized to get feedback from the organization and management concerning implementation.

 

Results
  • Positive feedback was received from the organization regarding both the participation of management and the fast response with regard to corrective actions.
  • Utilization of the new system progressed according to the roadmap developed .
  • The ramp-down of the old system progressed successfully and according to plan.

Food & Beverages

Customer

A leading player in the beverages industry, with operations in all Nordic and Baltic countries

 

 

Objective

To conduct a post-merger integration program for two merging companies to ensure successful integration and realization of the expected synergies

 

 

Challenges
  • Endangering of day-to-day business due to limited resources and time
  • Overloading of key individuals involved in various projects in the integration program
  • Coordination of all ongoing projects within defined work streams to avoid overlapping
  • Validation of expected synergies
  • Convincing the organization of the importance of planning in advance
  • Too little attention paid to internal conflicts
  • Failure to clarify roles and responsibilities, and too little transparency
  • Creation of a climate of change, cultural awareness and tolerance
  • Matching three diverse cultures

 

 

Our approach 
  • An integration master plan was developed to manage the big picture
  • Project managers were assisted and challenged to develop detailed project plans to ensure that all critical aspects would be taken into account within a realistic timetable
  • An integration office was set up, managed and coordinated, and all projects were documented according to established project management processes and tools
  • All synergetic areas were assessed with the aid of business cases
  • The progress and costs of ongoing activities were monitored and barriers to progress were identified on a weekly basis
  • The motivation of project managers was upheld by providing them with all the support, tools and resources they needed to ensure successful project implementation
  • Potential conflicts were identified in advance and dealt with in the right forum

 

Results
  • All projects were implemented within the expected timeframe
  • The amount of overlapping and uncoordinated work was minimized
  • The expected synergies were exceeded
  • The ERP system was successfully implemented in ten months, at the same time as 18 other cross-functional and international projects
  • There were minimal interruptions to existing business and operations

Graphic & Printing

Customer

One of the biggest packaging printing companies in Scandinavia

 

Objective

To reduce the downtime of the printing department drastically, and to reduce overall product unit costs

 

Challenges
  • Mix of underperforming old and new equipment
  • High cost pressures due to the price of raw materials (ink, paper, wages, etc.) and the employment contracts of the graphical industry
  • Hierarchical organizational model
  • Strong union presence in the factory

 

Our approach 
  • A comprehensive assessment of the operation was conducted.
  • The cost structure was analyzed in detail.
  • The setup times and changeovers in the production lines were analyzed.
  • The machine utilization was assessed.
  • The production planning system was analyzed.
  • The organizational structure and incentive system were evaluated.
  • New operating procedures were developed and introduced to the organization and the union.
  • A detailed implementation roadmap was developed.

 

Results
  • The increase in throughput varied between 15 and 30 per cent, depending on the product mix, and was worth up to EUR 600,000 per year at the EBIT level.
  • Runtime losses and disruptions were reduced.
  • The new intensive system was based on set time and run time.
  • The new production reporting system allowed for a quick decision-making process.
  • The new operational excellence approach had a positive impact on profitability.

Healthcare

Customer

A public utility service provider in the municipal health care sector

 

Objective
  • To base the pricing of services on costs
  • To define the service concept, specific costs and cost structure, to define customer-specific profitability and to be able to compare the profitability of current contracts
  • To define pricing policies for different levels of service
  • To acquire the means to influence and negotiate with customers and municipal decision-makers
  • To develop a long-term plan and roadmap on changing the pricing and winning the acceptance of customers when raising the prices of underpriced services

 

 

Challenges
  • The overall implementation challenge – changing the pricing policies of a public sector service provider – made the project unique. Therefore it required out-of-the-box thinking and an ability to create innovative new solutions
  • The precise challenges were the following:
    • The existing prices of services were based on historical price levels and trends, rather than on actual costs
    • There was a feeling  that many of the annual contracts were unprofitable, but the lack of objective data made it impossible to make changes
    • The existing financial system did not support customer-specific profitability calculation
    • The cost structure and calculation policies had to be rebuilt from scratch
  • Since it was a public utility, the pricing policy had to be designed so as not to produce profit or loss.
  • Any major changes in the pricing policy and level had to be accepted by municipal decision-makers

 

 

Our approach
  • The cost structure was defined and clarified together with customers to ensure that the policies developed would be based on a full understanding of the facts and would stand the test of time
  • The development work was done systematically, while leaving room for innovative thinking
  • A roadmap using different scenarios was made for pricing. The scenarios helped in defining the right time frame and right pricing tools to correct the prices of under-priced services

 

Results 
  • The key result was that the service provider was able to immediately raise the prices of underpriced services and utilize new pricing instruments in the next annual contract negotiations. The service provider continued to successfully implement the roadmap the following year.
  • Other results included the following:
    • A fact-based cost structure was developed
    • New ways of calculating costs per service concept and customer were developed
    • New innovative pricing instruments, allowing fairer charging of customers based on the level and utilization of services, were developed
  • Alternative scenarios and step-by-step roadmaps (3-year plans) on how to increase the prices of  underpriced services were defined
  • The rationale behind all choices was defined  as an aid in negotiations

Media & Publishing

Customer

A leading publishing media and literature company for professionals in Finland

 

Objective

To conduct a post-merger integration program for an acquisition in Sweden, and to ensure successful integration and the realization of the expected synergies

 

Challenges
  • Different corporate and industry cultures
  • Thin organizations with limited resources and time
  • Overloading of key individuals involved, due to the nature of the day-day business
  • Validation of expected synergies
  • Creation of cross-border projects to capture synergies
  • Matching of business models for same customer segments
  • Failure to clarify roles and responsibilities, and too little transparency

 

Our approach
  • An integration office was set up, managed and coordinated, and all projects were documented according to established project management processes and tools.
  • All synergetic areas were assessed with the aid of business cases.
  • Project managers were assisted in developing detailed project plans to ensure that all critical aspects would be taken into account within a realistic timetable.
  • The progress and costs of ongoing activities were monitored and barriers to progress were identified on a weekly basis.
  • Potential conflicts were identified in advance and dealt with in the right forum.
  • An integration master plan was developed to manage the big picture.

 

Results
  • All projects were implemented within the expected timeframe.
  • The amount of overlapping and uncoordinated work was minimized.
  • The expected synergies were exceeded.
  • Cross-border products were defined and launched.
  • The sales processes for certain products and services were standardized.
  • There were minimal interruptions to existing business and operations.

Metallurgy & Steel

Customer

A European, multi-site, medium-sized metal processing company

 

Objective 

To make the company profitable within one year

To increase the profit margin from -2.5 % to 10 % within three years

 

Challenges 
  • Creating a plan for rightsizing and profitability at a time when volumes were increasing
  • Ensuring that delivery accuracy was not compromised
  • Motivating the organization

 

Our approach 

Strategy work was divided into three phases:

  • Two workshops were held in order to formulate a profitability strategy
  • The implications of the strategy for each business process (marketing, production, sales, etc.) were determined and incorporated in three-year implementation programs
  • Strategic implementation was monitored monthly by the management team with the aid of an IT tool

 

Production rightsizing and efficiency improvement were conducted in three phases:

  • In the analysis phase, all relevant production data was analyzed, blue and white collar factory personnel were interviewed and ideas were gathered from production workers
  • All development ideas were number crunched and detail designed by Synergy to define how certain processes should work in the future and how they should affect efficiency. Production procedures were developed at the machine level.
  • In the implementation phase, the development program was monitored and tracked by Synergy

 

Results 
  • The goals were reached within the first year of the project
  • The company was turned around and made profitable
  • Savings of around EUR 1 million per year were achieved in the first year, thanks to increased production efficiency resulting from:
  • Analysis of processes employing more than one worker and reassignment of excess capacity
  • Reduction of setup times in key machines
  • Removal of bottlenecks in the volume production line
  • Increase in machine speeds
  • A new production organization was put in place

Paper & Packaging

Customer

A globally leading supplier of specialty, high-performance paper

 

Objective

To assess and redesign the global product development process

To improve the idea generation process

To shorten the time-to-market of new products developed

 

Challenges
  • Aligning resources according to the new targets set
  • Finding relevant areas to develop further
  • Getting the organization to work according to the new rules and guidelines
  • Aligning a corporate tool to the customer’s needs
  • Finding dedicated internal process/project managers for the hand-over

 

Our approach
  • Current setup and process was analyzed and assessed to find development areas
  • Workgroups were set to document and create process descriptions
  • New processes and tools were piloted and tested
  • Process owners were supported in the implementation phase through active participation and steering team work

 

Results 
  • New documented processes and tools were in place and in use
  • A greater number of new ideas were generated
  • A new decision forum was set up to rank the best ideas for further development
  • The process could be run faster due to less waiting, more parallel work and less overlap

Retail

Customer

One of the biggest discounting retail chains in Finland

 

Objective

To develop a new category management concept and organization

 

Challenges 
  • Very old-fashioned organization with limited flexibility
  • Decision-making in the hands of only a few people
  • Non-existent product and category strategy (the cheapest price defined shelf space)
  • No support for daily business from IT and reporting systems
  • Ill-defined roles and responsibilities of product managers
  • Non-structured assortment selection process
  • Any product could be added to, or deleted from, the assortment at any time

 

Our approach
  • The purchasing department and its processes were comprehensively assessed.
  • The business idea of the chain was evaluated from the category management perspective.
  • The assortment selection process interfaces between various functions were redesigned.
  • A new purchasing process and organization was designed.
  • The roles and responsibilities of all the people involved were defined.

 

Results
  • The new category management concept improved the negotiations and pricing discussions held with suppliers.
  • Shop waste was reduced, due to better follow-up of product sales.
  • Product managers spent more time on relevant issues.
  • The assortment selection process was faster.
  • The clarified roles and responsibilities improved internal cooperation and communications.

Service

Customer

A major Scandinavian technical services company

 

Objective

To develop a new business model to improve billability

 

Challenges
  • Management’s lack of time for involvement in the project
  • IT tools project was behind schedule
  • Insufficient coordination between business units and service lines
  • Difficulty of aligning several on-going projects under the same theme
  • Difficulty of involving dedicated project team members in the implementation work
  • Difficulty of reforming an old work culture quickly

 

Our approach
  • All functions were analyzed, and individual capacities and levels of billability were identified
  • Reasons for under-utilization of resources and insufficient billability were identified
  • New tools and templates were created, and assistance was provided in applying them
  • New processes were documented and new procedures were implemented together with the customer
  • Management was supported and challenged to act swiftly and decisively in problem areas

 

Results 
  • A new business model was implemented
  • The billability levels of employees were raised
  • The company has higher profitability
  • A new resource management tool was implemented and utilized
  • A new organizational structure was established to support a leaner work model