3) The Professional Service Firm Model at a Plant

The Big Problem

An aerospace manufacturing plant was significantly under-performing. Against all the metrics of its parent company, the plant was the company’s worst-performing business. Although there was a management training program in place, the management team lacked a clear vision for the operation, and they couldn’t inspire or motivate workers, or evoke a sense of ownership in the performance of the business.

The Big Solution

Although the General Manager had reservations about style and was skeptical about consultants in general, he brought in Company based on performance improvements that XBF had realized in another part of the parent company.

The goal was to create inspirational leadership, in part by holding up a mirror to the senior managers. We used our Professional Service Firm (PSF) Model, an intervention that enables organizations to become more mobile, responsive, competitive, and customer-oriented—to perform only “work worth paying for.” It helps people to think and operate not as part of a cost center but as entrepreneurial service providers focused on the success of their “clients.” We put first- and middle-line managers through leadership workshops tied to key projects, facilitated sessions to help the managers agree on a way forward, and provided follow-up coaching.

The Big Results

The intervention catapulted the plant from the parent company’s worst-performing one to its showcase. Lead times on discs, a key indicator of overall performance, dropped from 90 days to 26 days, freeing up millions of dollars with no additional investment in equipment. The General Manager, now a Director, attributes the gains almost entirely to an increase in focus, common purpose, motivation, and morale created by the TPC work. He emphasized an approach that was collaborative but objective. “TPC always works in partnership with you. But they don’t let you off the hook or pull any punches. ... I couldn’t have achieved the level of personal as well as business success without the work with TPC. It really works and has transformed the business performance. I feel passionately about the difference this has made.”

Subsequently, the General Manager used Company to set up a new showcase manufacturing facility and, he says, has seen the same positive impact as a result of the work.

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