A plan for the management team to succeed

This award-winning company provides critical infrastructure to the UK Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defense as well as a number of aid organisations globally.

It is a very specialist business, with a number of bespoke facilities from which it manufactures its product, designs new equipment and recycles/stores product for future reconfiguration or deployment.

The business, however, is part of a diversified group and this limits its ability to obtain funding or time from senior executives within the parent group. Whilst this freedom can be beneficial, it does limit the potential for the business and can cause frustration amongst the senior management.

We were called in at a critical time for the parent group, which meant that our client had been asked to carry out a full review of their business and propose a revised structure as well as new 3–5 year business plan. At this point they were at risk of either ‘over-promising’ or putting forward an ‘underwhelming’ future plan.

Our work consisted of a number of quick ‘heads up’ reviews on their business and what skills they had, which then led to research on their market and complementary sectors and enabled us to set out a ‘base case’ plan and identify growth opportunities into adjacent industries.

As part of this we also produced a summary outline of how the business should streamline its operations, so that it could undertake the necessary investment in people and systems without impacting their bottom line.

The team are now a key part of a new group within the same parent organisation, and with considerably more exposure to and time from the senior leadership of the holding company, they are focused on delivering a three-year plan with the resources and support now available.

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Clear direction for business and reduced expenditure

We were appointed as a result of our client, the CEO of this start-up company, having been recommended to speak to us and through having several informal meetings.

We offered the CEO initial advice and guidance on the basis of a future appointment, should he secure funding and agree a business plan with his seed funders.

Our initial support enabled our client to reconsider his initial sales plan and his proposed structure for the business, which would have a seen a ‘grab for growth’ against a high cost base and a low level of focus on the differentiators his business had to offer against established competitors.

He set about updating his business plan, which he reviewed with us. The updated plan was then submitted to his seed funders, who accepted it, and was also used to raise further funding from the bank.

This enabled us to undertake a more thorough set of workshops and reviews with our client and his wider team. The confidence and understanding of the business we gained from this allowed us to then ‘soft test’ the wider market for potential investors (who could take a more hands-on management role), partners and contract opportunities.

The business has attracted the required funding and now has a wider management team with a stronger commercial background, which complements the military experience of the forming team. This combination offers a compelling proposition in the market and key contracts have been secured as a result, with a strong pipeline of future tenders identified and being progressed.

With progress made against an agreed plan, further investors are interested in the business and the management team are now in a strong position to negotiate favourable terms to take their company to the next stage in its development.

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A partnering agreement to target growth in austere environments

Our client is a successful group that enables governments in fragile states to put in place internationally recognised good practice and establish robust systems to enable reconstruction. Their clients also include international aid organisations.

Solving international issues often requires different groups to come together and in this instance we identified the benefits of two groups collaborating; we facilitated meetings and workshops so that the groups could explore options and agree actions.

Our role helped identify key issues, ensure smooth programme management of the process and enabled each party to quickly identify common ground.

Working with two very different organisations (one European, the other American), we helped deliver a number of workshops where we acted as Programme Manager, with our success primarily dependent upon the groups concluding an agreement to partner.

This allowed us to take an independent brokerage position between the groups, as we did not have an agenda that was biased towards one particular organisation; in this context we were mainly success-driven.

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Tender submitted on time and access to framework contract

As a result of working with our client on a number of projects, we were asked to provide initial advice on their commercial approach to bidding for services in a new sector.

The initial advice led to us working closely with the operations team to assess the key commercial issues and agree the best strategy to address these, thereby producing a best value priced proposition in order to access an international framework contract base.

Our pragmatic approach to modelling the main price inputs, and understanding the operational issues and contract terms, enabled a fast turnaround of a complex bid.

By focusing on the competitive/commercial issues we helped our client’s operations team to focus on their technical response and to clearly understand the parameters they had to work within.

This allowed us as a team to identify key operational risks, pricing/specification inconsistencies in the ITT documents issued and to address these at the earliest stage, both through clarification questions and solution development.

Our client is now on recognised on a framework contract in a new target sector, despite having to compete with a number of established incumbent suppliers who have a track record and low cost base.

We continue to work with this client on a number of projects.

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Identification of over £500m of benefits

As part of a business acquisition, we undertook a review of the property assets and worked closely with the client acquisition team to assess both cost-saving initiatives and development gain.

Our client was buying a business that had a number of production sites in a range of locations (edge of town to rural). These sites were in varying conditions of upkeep and also needed to be able to meet modern manufacturing standards.

By working closely with the operations and the estates team, we were able to quickly identify which properties could be surplus, where best value could be achieved and also how surplus funds could be reinvested in a transformation programme.

We also assessed the wider market and were able, once we had outline options, to meet with local planners and development groups. This allowed us to identify local authority grants and also how our plans could release other benefits for local stakeholders in each of the sites we had prioritised.

Through our plan we were able to not only identify a significant surplus from disposing of non-core property, but by working closely with our client’s operational team, we also enabled re-investment in certain properties to create ‘best in class’ manufacturing sites.

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Submission of tender documents

Our client was undertaking a major M&A as well as bidding for a long-term service supply contract, with a total value of over £1bn.

At a key stage in the project a number of personnel wanted to leave, there was conflict in the team and senior leadership had lost faith in the direction the bid, and in particular the strategy the Bid Director was applying.

As a result of other work we have completed for our client, we were asked to take on the bid leadership and manage a team of technical experts who we seconded into the project to fill key gaps in knowledge and specialist aspects of the operations involved.

This ranged from expert input on environmental risks through to local development valuations, specialist MRO parts supply and IT integration. In terms of the tender production, we also provided bid leadership, bid writing, graphics and technical authoring.

We also convinced those who had considered leaving to remain, and were able to bring back key specialists who had left, but had been key to the bid.

In the very tight window of time that remained, we undertook a full analysis of the chance of success and aligned resources accordingly, and developed a clear theme for the solution.

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