voorne partners logo 250x27

Implementing the changes needed to keep ahead of competition in today’s markets is a challenge for any business. So when a specialty chemicals company decided to implement a Single Business Entity for one of their European businesses as well as introducing a new global process and a new IT model, they called on Voorne Partners for help.

The company produces a specialty chemical whose applications range from communications through the automotive industry, aeronautics and space flight to heavy-duty corrosion protection; from sports like ski-ing, tennis and sailing to the electrical industry and from wind energy to civil engineering.

Their aim was greater harmonization and standardization of business processes and more efficient use of IT to manage and control the various businesses and reduce costs.

The Great Change

One of the company’s plants, which had been producing this specialty chemical since 1959, is located in Germany. Previously it had been a stand-alone organization, controlling its own business processes and IT support tools. Customers had one single service entry point. When the specialty chemicals company took it over they needed to make it part of a pan-European organization with standardized processes, multi-sourcing and multi-service customer entry points.

That was not the only change underway at the time. When Voorne Partners arrived on the scene, the company had begun rolling out its global IT model and was in the later stages of a reorganization. So the German plant was involved in a major transformation. The people there needed – and wanted – to know exactly what was going on, why it was happening and what was expected of them.

Voorne Partners was charged with using its experience and expertise to manage the change process, ensuring that employees at the German site were fully on board.

The Approach

A number of changes had been made in that plant in recent years so the first step was to gain a clear picture of the existing business processes, roles and responsibilities. With a limited time frame, Voorne Partners was able to speed up this phase by employing its industry process reference model.

This model consists of more than 1200 predefined business processes current in the industry. More than 90% of the German plant’s processes were the same as in the reference model so it was possible to concentrate on the 10% that were different.

This was done in sessions with functional line management and management team members. They not only documented As-Is processes and responsibilities but also brought employees’ reactions and reservations into the picture – a key factor in managing change successfully.

The next step was to identify the To-Be situation and document the changes in detail. These covered a variety of areas: changes to processes, changes within divisions, changes in organizations, IT tools and volumes.

The same group of German employees was then involved in documenting all the changes. Now they knew exactly what processes and responsibilities would stay the same, and understood what changes would be implemented and how. They were players in the change process.

The result

The third and concluding step was communication, in a two-stage approach. First, an open-air meeting for all the site’s senior and middle management. Each member of the functional management team presented the relevant changes to the other participants. This was followed by time for discussion, after which everyone accepted that management would speak with one voice to employees about the need for the changes and what they involved – an essential for successful implementation.

In the second stage of the communication program, Voorne Partners helped to create a communication pack for employees. Each member of the management team held a meeting with his/her own department and set out precisely what would remain unchanged, what would change and why.

Because Voorne had ensured that the German organization was fully involved in the change management process, managers were convinced about the need for change and were equipped to communicate it credibly to their people.

“Voorne Partners helped us in a critical stage of the project. Their commitment and knowledge in this area is outstanding". Site Manager of a German specialty chemicals company.