Manchester-based chemicals SME is a leading provider of brand protection solutions and compliance products for the international petroleum industry. The Executive Board appointed us in 2017 to create a new business strategy and embed roadmapping within the organisation.
“The workshops were a fantastic way to get alignment, understand the value in the business and crystallise our thinking. We were able to link technology and market drivers together to create new product ideas, identify areas for continuous improvement, and ultimately we came away better equipped to make changes in the business going forward.”
A newly appointed executive team, including the CEO, Technical Director and Financial Director, identified a need to grow and seize opportunities they could see in the business.
However, they were also faced with a number of challenges including:
- Shrinking regulation and compliance market which accounted for a significant proportion of their revenues
- A lack of innovation and new product development, which meant they hadn’t launched a new product for a few years
- A lack of clarity and confidence in prioritising decisions and future plans
To achieve the growth they wanted, they identified a need for a more robust strategy creation process moving forward.
Technical and Commercial Director saw alignment with the challenges they needed to address. A series of workshops was facilitated including business strategy creation, with stakeholders from across the business at their Head Office.
The company now has a more robust business strategy creation and review process which is aligned with project, business and budgetary planning cycles. Ongoing use of roadmapping also helps the business link technical capabilities with market demands.
Following the process, the business has invested heavily in the areas identified in the workshops which have had far-reaching effects across the business. This includes investment in increasing their commercial position and customer intimacy. Following this investment, notable impacts include:
Reallocating £1.4 million worth of R+D investment
The new business strategy informed the decision to reallocate £1.4m of investment into other key areas of the business that were identified as having the potential to increase growth. Key areas include job creation, technology development projects, and a focus on building strategic relationships with other companies with complementary strengths.
Target to improve operational efficiency by 20%
To help them increase their commercial presence, John Hogg needed to improve operational efficiency. To do this, the business has already invested in new equipment and new jobs, including a Process Chemist and Engineer. This has enabled them to deliver a better-quality product and dramatically improve efficiency in the main plant which have already led to significant savings.
Adoption of a market-led approach
The process has helped the company to improve their understanding of the market needs and to adapt to a more market-led strategy for technology development and commercial opportunities. Business Development team expanded and have a better understanding of their core product market groups so that, right from the innovation stage, the customer is placed at the heart of all decision-making processes.
Subsequently, they have won new business in both regulatory compliance and fuel brand protection areas. They have a global presence and launched their first new product in a few years, projected to bring in £1.5m revenue in the first year after launch.
Impact on culture and new approach to innovation
One of the biggest impacts for the company has been the change in approach when strategising for the future. The business strategy is now built through debate and consensus, involving ideas from across the business, which in turn has had an impact on culture.
To facilitate this, the new strategy review process involves open forum meetings and drop-in sessions encouraging employees at all levels to challenge and contribute their ideas to the process. As well as a ‘strategy corner’ (pictured, left) where anyone in the organisation can view the synthesised landscape at any time and get involved in the debate.
Investment in new products and facilities
Roadmapping has helped the company have a better understanding of their current situation, where they want to get to and, most importantly, how to get there. Having more confidence in each of these areas when it comes to decision making, coupled with their new focus on innovation, has led to planned investments in key facilities. These include new state-of-the-art laboratories, plant upgrades and collaborative workspaces.
- Adoption of a more consultative approach to strategy generation
- Investment in operational efficiency in cash cow areas of the business which have led to significant savings
- Reallocation of £1.4 million worth of R+D investment to focus on other key growth areas
Call to Action
Considering renewing or refreshing your business strategy or roadmap for innovation? Please contact me to discuss how a high-impact project could be delivered.