Building (on-the-fly) a multi-level leadership group to handle major production expansion
Our client and their challenge
This valued client is a leading supplier of key components to the automotive industry, with major facilities on three continents. It is a dynamic, high-growth company offering differentiated technology plus supply chain innovation.
In light of their success in managing the 35% market share they enjoyed with a global automotive manufacturer, they recently competed for – and were awarded – 100% of the business volume for the critical components they manufacture. This tripling of the production volume required the addition of two complete production shifts, calling for the employment of literally thousands of workers and hundreds of coordinators and managers. This client’s facilities are in a more rural area, where attracting and retaining skilled technical workers is a challenge, let alone experienced leaders for high-tech production facilities.
Many skilled workers were promoted to coordinators, and several front-line supervisors were appointed as shift and line managers. Essentially none of these professionals had ever received any sort of leadership training. The vast majority had no leadership role models and had never envisioned themselves in any sort of leadership role.
And nothing but excellence would be accepted by their customer, the producer of high-volume vehicles for North America.
Our design and delivery
gustavkäser was chosen as the training partner for several reasons. First, we had already worked on smaller-scale projects with this firm in two countries, so we understood their business. Second, gustavkäser’s trainers were, themselves, engineers with substantial manufacturing experience. Third, a number of high-level managers in the firm had already participated in gustavkäser training courses and were therefore familiar with the programme and knew how it would be delivered, how it had helped them and how practical it was for the real world.
In order to address the needs of new supervisors all the way up to new executives, gustavkäser worked to tailor the training content, programming, goals and methods to the different groups. Furthermore, in delivery, it was crucial to be able to communicate and interact effectively with many different levels of experience and education.
The experience and the greatest reward
Converting dozens and dozens of newly-minted coordinators into a strong-performing leadership team was an enormous challenge. But it was a fantastic experience. Some 80% of the people embarking on new leadership roles had never imagined themselves doing so.
But they attended every session. They completed the necessary preparation for each class. They participated and shared their views. They even made speeches and practised their roles in the exercises. They gave their full attention and effort to the training, which was in addition to the extremely demanding production goals set for them. They found abilities inside themselves that they never imagined to exist.
Although it was, as always, gratifying and exciting to watch the more experienced coordinators grow into far more professional and capable managers and executives, the greatest reward was witnessing dozens of new supervisors make the choice to challenge themselves, to reach for a level of achievement that had not been pursued by anyone among their family or friends, and to believe that they could teach others and help them to grow. They worked hard, took their new career choice seriously, gave their very best and ultimately succeeded.
Our results and their impact
Our client is now in their 3rd year of successful partnership with their customer. The expansion has been a success, and they’ve supported record-breaking sales of their customer’s vehicles. Production goals have been met, and overtime has been brought within budget.
Retention is up over 14%. Absenteeism has been reduced by 8% and the overall plant quality index has risen by 7.2%.
The success of this expansion has in fact sparked more new contracts, more expansion, and more investment. The company has more new projects than at any previous time in their history.