In a large corporation, problems almost never exist in isolation. This makes it vital to look at the business as a system in which all manner of issues impact upon one another right across the organisation. It also means that addressing a single problem rarely succeeds in boosting operational performance. The root causes might exist far from where the symptoms emerge, so the business will gain little or no lasting benefit until these are identified and addressed.
At Vector, therefore, we carry out an in-depth diagnosis of the entire business before we start to work with a new client. Lasting up to six weeks, this review embraces the entire entity to provide a clean and clear snapshot of exactly where the business is now, including the inter-relationships of all its processes from input to results. This is the only truly effective way for us to gather the accurate evidence we require before we can deliver the tangible improvements that every client expects.
Mergers and acquisitions
All too often, the business consequences of a merger or acquisition are far from what was intended. Devised and planned to enhance the combined value of two or more organisations through effective synergies and economies of scale, too many deals prove instead to be net destroyers of value. At Vector, we believe that there is a simple reason for this: that too much emphasis is often placed on doing the deal itself, and insufficient weight is given to making it work for all parties.
This is why our approach, post-merger, is to concentrate wholeheartedly on realising the benefits that were originally targeted. We do this by addressing the complex issues that can stand in the way of true synergy, including those affecting organisational culture, brand integration, interpersonal relationships, the customer interface, supply chain management and many other complex and testing challenges.
Obtaining and sustaining competitive advantage
All the work we do with large corporate organisations has a sound basis in commercial reality. The primary aim of our work is to help our clients perform better than their competition across all the parameters that are important to them, such as efficiency, productivity, quality and profitability. It is because we are business people first and foremost who fully understand the overriding need to develop and implement practical solutions that work for specific clients in specific marketplaces.
This means successfully aligning every element of the organisation to add value and deliver or exceed the outcomes targeted. This is a practical, outcome-oriented approach that time and again has seen our clients successfully outperform the markets in which they operate.
Understanding the readiness for change
It is very important that a programme of complex change be implemented at the right pace for the specific organisation involved. Too much caution can be just as damaging as too much speed. An overly intensive programme runs the risk of alienating people and possibly shattering valuable corporate assets such as positive relationships, trust and mutual respect. One that is delivered too slowly might lose the interest and commitment of many of those involved.
Before a programme begins, therefore, we work closely with our clients to help decide the appropriate pace and direction of change. This involves assessing accurately not just the actual physical capacity of an organisation to change, but also a number of less tangible, cultural qualities. These can include the reputation and strength of its leaders, which determine how rapidly and how far people will be willing to follow their lead.
Creating and implementing a detailed plan
We are proud to have built our global business on the strength of our ability to deliver everything that implementing a strategic plan requires. Our teams work alongside client personnel, from the boardroom to the most junior members of staff, to deliver the plan and simultaneously transfer our experience and knowledge. Our aim is to build internal capability in our clients’ organisations, adding value far beyond our initial engagement.
It is because we have time and again proven our ability to do so that over 90% of our business comes from referrals – a testimony we are extremely proud of and that continues to drive our growth. We believe that such commendations say more about us, with more credibility, than we could ever say for ourselves.
Skills and knowledge transfer
In our view, no programme of change is complete or satisfactory unless it leaves a lasting legacy of improvement. The most effective way of ensuring this is always to leave our clients’ people with the skills and knowledge they will need to ensure that the performance enhancements we engineer together are sustainable for the long term.
For this reason, building internal capacity through working closely and communicating effectively with each client’s employees at every level of the organisation is a key element of our work – one with potentially the most important impact over the lifetime of the business.
Optimising the supply chain
There has been an accelerating tendency in recent years for major companies to reduce their costs by moving to offshore supplier relationships, sometimes many thousands of miles away. But while this approach can reduce headline costs, it often also has an undesirable consequence in the shape of increased risk and reduced partnership innovation.
The Vector approach to supply-chain optimisation is based on a single clear objective: to drive out costs while simultaneously increasing innovation and reducing risk. To achieve this, we first gain a deep understanding of how every link in the chain delivers value and achieves client objectives. Only then can we develop a fully integrated, bespoke approach – blending optimal low cost and near-shore supplier relationships – that adds clear differentiating market value, reduces cost and mitigates risk.
Aligning people and processes
It is often difficult for large organisations to identify those activities that deliver little or no value. They might be internal processes that do nothing to streamline communications, drive efficiencies or increase quality. Or they might be product or service attributes for which no customer is prepared to pay a premium. Critically, the presence of such processes is an actual destroyer of value; the time and expense they needlessly consume deflect organisational resources from where they are properly needed. For this reason, identifying and stripping them out saves organisations substantial sums. At Vector, we are experts in helping companies redeploy their resources to focus on those processes and activities that add most value, contributing significantly to the bottom line at little or no additional cost.
Putting the customer at the heart of the proposition
The ability for employees at every level of an organisation to consider everything in terms of customer impact and benefit is an extremely valuable cultural asset that greatly improved client satisfaction and loyalty. Conversely, viewing matters in a primarily operational context, where meeting a standard specification is the sole measure of success, can be highly destructive to customer relationships.
At Vector, we are very experienced in enabling every member of a complex and often disparate workforce to understand how everything they do impacts on the customer, whether positively or negatively. This is an immensely powerful tool for cultural change, focusing the organisation’s entire being on delivering the customer value that ensures competitive advantage.