Strategy Execution at Shipping Services Corporation
In the shipping industry, time is certainly money, and when a vessel is in port, all of its facilities have to be carefully managed and planned to a high degree. This Shipping Services company had grown significantly but with the changes in global demand for their services, they needed to reassess their business strategy and quickly restructure their operating models to meet this changed reality. We were tasked with reviewing their strategy and helping to translate this into a manageable and impactful process improvement agenda. This put them on a path to achieve their ambitious plans with good support from the board and shareholders.
Operating in many ports around the world, our client is a global leader in the management of commercial and technical vessels. This Shipping Services company has offices in over 70 countries in ports worldwide providing or managing time critical support to vessels from many shipping companies. Fulfilling an extensive range of services for these vessels, they also run outsourced supply chain projects. It’s crucial that they run a quality and consistent service for all of the companies involved.
“BPM-D® worked with ISS to pragmatically enhance our strategic execution plan. For each of a focused set of business and project initiatives, we jointly defined clear delivery milestones and performance metrics that will enable the organisation to further sharpen our focus on execution excellence – enhancing our customer proposition and meeting the growth expectations of our
shareholders. The BPM-D® team demonstrated diligence in integrating with our team and enabling a successful outcome.”
Capt. Claus Hyldager – Chief Executive Officer
Challenge & Opportunity
Our client had been through a period of significant growth, with the majority through acquisition. Having developed new offices in ports around the world, they had also experienced new client activity. Changes to global demand for major commodities (e.g. Fracking that changed the global movement of oil and gas) left them having service in the wrong locations.
Additionally, there were several places around the world where our client had perhaps three employees positioned in an office, however it had not generated the volume of business that warranted that level of staffing. Consequently, our client had found that they had generated more of an infrastructure than the revenue required; they were expecting subsequent business growth, but that growth hadn’t been realised.
Our client needed to do something to resolve this, and we put forward a strategy as so to how they were going to achieve it. They had a number of activities underway to drive the business improvement. We were brought in by the board effectively to validate the strategy from a perspective of what it might produce. More importantly, our responsibility was to confirm whether or not all the actions had a reasonable chance of success. Ultimately, we were required to determine what the projected future would look like in terms of their performance.
As our core activity, we thoroughly reviewed our client’s business strategy; translating it into the impact on the operational parts of their business that it touched – this done by identifying the highest impact processes that needed to be addressed to impact the value drivers in the business strategy. We then assessed broadly the maturity of capability in place around these, and by so doing clearly knowing where the High Impact and Low Maturity processes (HILMs) were, using this to determine where there were improvement actions that were required. This would also give our client the ability to move forward both from a sales perspective in terms of revenue, but also in terms of improving the operational performance of some of the key underlying processes.
We then created plans for the initiatives to be thoroughly understood. We assessed the list of initiatives they had in terms of whether or not they matched the gaps that existed in their business; the operational processes and whether or not they were addressing the most important areas of their business that would generate the desired results. We looked at what they had in place, what they needed to start, stop, or continue in order ensure that sure they were focusing on the most impactful, priority actions to improve performance. We also assessed the initiatives thoroughly so that we were able to understand what the resourcing and investment requirements were. Change only happens when you put the proper effort and investment behind the most critical initiatives . . . and stop doing lower priority actions that divert the same.
Our next responsibility was to make sure the initiatives were executed. We gave feedback on what actions our client needed to be taking to drive the success of the new initiatives. In order to make them most effective, we prioritised the initiatives into a phased implementation plan matched to the business case.
This was done by creating scenarios that analysed the results that would be expected if they were achieved various levels of results and what the impact would be if they didn’t achieve them. Using a performance management approach, we were able to determine how to monitor the progress of each of the initiative milestones and their KPIs.
These scenarios were reviewed by the board, and with it we provided them with essential feedback of what needed to be achieved. We worked closely with the chief executive, CEO, CIO and three main business leads; developing an excellent rapport and helping them to bridge the gap with all of the positive activities that they were undertaking. Through our discussions, we focused on the expectations of the board. Ultimately, we were able to act as an objective party; bridging the gap between management, its intention and what the board was doing, plus also making sure that we were supporting the expectations that the board was putting forward. Consequently, we ensured that our client was allocating the appropriate investment required to meet their needs.
We were soon able to realise a noticeably clear business direction. This meant that both the management and board and were able to close the gap and start talking to each other. In effect, we put in place a social contract, which they could then monitor going into the future for better ongoing communication.
We identified the most significant areas that were going to drive the contribution; helping our client to understand the appropriate level of resourcing and investment considerably more successfully.
Additionally, we helped the organisation to make significant progress around delivering the highest priority interventions that were required into the future, and consequently they were on track therefore, to deliver substantial business growth.
Initially, there was a change of management in the role of chief executive. The previous chief executive hadn’t approved the recommended investment and resourcing required which resulted in progress not being achieved as fast as the board would have liked. However, the incoming chief executive subsequently followed our recommendations and moved the plans forward.
In short, we were able to help our client significantly, in terms of understanding how they moved from an innovative idea to a real tangible execution strategy with clear resourcing and clear investment requirements, so they were able to translate their broad strategy into a pragmatic execution plan.