A Siloed Leadership Fix: Transforming Operational Capability

The Managing Director said “I know we have a significant operational problem. I just don’t know what it is. Can you help us?”

Problem

The Managing Director said “I know we have a significant operational problem. I just don’t know what it is. Can you help us?”

Our client, a global industrial products business, supplies retail, commercial, and industrial markets. The Australian business generates approximately $500 million annually in revenue and faced significant operational challenges evident in poor customer service levels, low stockturn and high operational costs.

During our discovery phase we identified and prioritised adverse drivers of performance including:

  • Senior leadership demonstrating significant misalignment, operating in silos.

  • Operator capability gaps leading to significant errors and waste.

  • Role clarity was lacking, causing misalignment in accountabilities.

  • Poor management rhythms were characterised by a focus on lag indicators with little attention to critical lead indicators.

  • A recent ERP system change had been poorly implemented, resulting in staff turnover and lack of competence.

  • Low competencies in continuous improvement leading to low-value outcomes from initiatives.

  • Poor master data management hampering cash generation.

Solutions

A Stoke Consulting multidisciplinary team working with the client’s management team developed a robust program to address these issues:

Opportunities Exploited:

a. Supply Chain Optimisation:

  • Targeted processes, systems, standard operating procedures, and frontline training focused on warehouse and fleet management;
  • Established a management rhythm to clarify and document roles; associated metrics, and establish effective schedules and practices.

b. Safety Culture Framework:

  • Addressed significant WH&S compliance gaps by establishing and executing a formal risk and remediation program.

c. Order-to-Cash Process:

  • Completed end-to-end process mapping and interface problem identification;
  • Created a master data framework and associated activities to improve interdepartmental buy-in.

d. Leadership Development:

  • Instilled basic management techniques and behaviours for improved effectiveness.

e. Senior Management Coaching:

  • Provided focused executive coaching for the Managing Director and Operations Manager.

f. Close Engagement with Executive Management:

  • Formed staged project teams to execute solutions to known gaps in performance.

g. Change Framework:

  • Developed a framework focusing on optimum leadership competencies combined with pragmatic program facilitation.

Outcomes

Our direct involvement in the improvement initiative was completed within 12 months, yielding significant improvements:

  • Operating costs were reduced by $1.8 million annually in the first year.

  • DIFOT service levels improved from 58% to 88%.

  • A framework for efficient logistics and order management continuous improvement was defined.

  • Frontline work included defining roles, standardising procedures, developing metrics dashboards, and training at all levels to ensure sustainable changes.

  • Customer service, quality, cost, and delivery KPIs showed stepwise improvement.

  • Coaching of key senior leaders led to improved efficiency and effectiveness in line and functional leadership.

  • Growth in safety systems, organisational effectiveness, and frontline capability lifted operational dynamics and healed long-standing inter-department communication gaps.

Stoke Consulting provided a framework and mechanisms to enable sustained and ongoing growth in organisational capability.

At Stoke Consulting, we thrive on turning ambitions into outcomes. Our comprehensive approach and dedicated team have helped businesses like yours overcome significant operational hurdles and achieve remarkable results.

Are you facing complex operational issues and seeking a partner to help you navigate them? Let’s work together to transform your business. Contact Stoke Consulting today and discover how we can drive your organisation towards sustainable improvement and excellence.

 

 

Stoke Consulting