Business in the 21st century moves quickly. Integration teams do what it takes to deliver results for our clients.
WE WORK AT ALL LEVELS OF A COMPANY TO CREATE IMPLEMENTABLE RECOMMENDATIONS
OFFERING CLIENTS THE FULL PACKAGE
"OUR PROJECTS DON'T END AS A DECK OF POWERPOINT SLIDES - WE WORK WITH CLIENTS TO ENSURE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE IMPLEMENTED."
We don't just help clients to define a strategy. We work with them all the way through the process, until the strategy is implemented. It's the best way for us to help our clients achieve the results they need.
We start every strategy project with implementation in mind, and work to deliver recommendations that are pragmatic and realistic. We also have a dedicated implementation team who work with our clients after a new model is designed to guarantee that the recommendation delivers the promised results.
WE WORK WITH OUR CLIENTS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PROJECT LIFECYCLE
OUR CLIENTS LIVE IN DYNAMIC AND COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS. WE SUPPORT THEM TO UNDERSTAND AND PRIORITISE THEIR NEEDS.
Our clients operate in environments that change constantly. Inside this dynamic landscape, leaders must make choices that optimise their finite resources to chase often vast ambitions. We help client leaders slice through complexity and isolate signal from noise to identify and organise their strategic, tactical and operational priorities.
Client leaders that trust Integration invite our teams to high level discussions. We share our perspective, our inputs, and often we help bring a structured way of framing decisions that creates clarity around priorities.
After we have worked with a client to identify their priority issues, we will need to drill down into the detail to search for and identify the underlying root causes. A diagnosis draws together all possible internal and external causes of an issues and paints a clear and insightful picture of the current reality. By crossing data, finding patterns and digging deep into a problem we create a clear understanding of exactly what has to change.
Because a diagnosis is exploratory by nature, our teams spend a lot of time gathering all kinds of information. We’ll be out in the field understanding how the client organises their frontline, we’ll travel around their offices to meet and interview their teams, and we’ll gather their databases and hard numbers. The project team will also connect with our internal experts to better understand the problem and to learn from our previous projects, interview external experts in the field, and gather externally generated market data to improve clarity around the external environment. As the diagnosis continues, the bulk of the work shifts from gathering and organising information to analysing and evaluating. Teams will spend time looking for patterns, discussing ideas and talking through hypotheses, both internally and together with the client. The end result of the diagnosis is a clear map of the current situation and an insightful look into what needs to change.
The design phase follows the diagnosis. Armed with a clear understanding of what we need to adjust, our team sets about understanding different options and approaches, the key drivers that should influence the decision and the impacts of different scenarios. The end result of the design phase is that the client has a clear understanding of the new direction that they are taking, and that their whole team is aligned, united and pulling in the same direction.
Often this phase will begin with scenario building. The teams create different options or potential solutions, and then narrows this down to two or three hypotheses for what the best solution will end up being. Then, we work through the different scenarios by running analysis, forecasting results, and trying to understand risks, costs and benefits of each potential course of action. At the same time our team will spend time presenting, discussing and shaping emerging ideas with client teams and internal and external experts. This process helps us refine the recommendation into a robust and relevant solution, but it is also a critical part of generating change: by including client teams in the recommendation we already build the buy-in and engagement required to launch the new direction quickly and in full.
Once the client decides how they need to operate in the future, they need to identify the path that they will take to get there. In the implementation architecture (or implementation strategy) phase, we explore alternative options for implementation, analyse how each one would play out in reality and arrive at an optimal approach for implementation. We ask ourselves, for example, whether the new model should be launched in a big-bang approach, whether we should have phased or wave approach starting in priority areas, or whether we need to test the new model with controlled pilots. Each approach implies different timelines, investments and risk. Selecting the best approach is the skill that links strategy to real world results.
The main challenge is to find a way to balance the client’s ambition with the limitations of their resources. We spend time understanding and analysing costs of different approaches to create well-formed resource models. We then work with client leaders to understand which ones will fit the client’s situation best, and ultimately which path they will pursue.
It’s impossible to execute an implementation plan exactly as it was drawn up! With so many moving parts, new information flowing into the implementation team as the project progresses, and numerous other initiatives running in parallel, adjustments are bound to be required to steer the project to a successful conclusion. In this phase of the project, we work closely with client teams to follow the progress, identify roadblocks and make the changes needed to guarantee that the project delivers its results, despite the impacts of a dynamic environment.
It can be very difficult to describe what actually goes on in an implementation project due to the varied nature of the challenges. In a nutshell, we do what it takes to keep the project on track. That could be centralising a command-and-control project structure, it could be supporting specific initiatives to stay on track or overcome barriers, or it could be supporting the client to run pilots and adjust approaches.
DYNAMIC TEAMS FOR DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENTS
“OUR CLIENTS ARE UNIQUE AND WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO WORK IN A WAY THAT ADDRESSES THEIR SPECIFIC NEEDS. NO TWO PROJECTS ARE THE SAME..”
By applying a bespoke structure to each project we design solutions that are tailored to the specific environment, and built with the client, rather than imposing pre-set frameworks.
We start each project by using our experience and expertise to structure the different phases, workstreams and deliverables that the project will deliver. As the project progresses we maintain intimate and frequent contact with the client team to absorb and incorporate new information into the project as quickly as possible. It’s an approach that requires agility, flexibility, and a drive to adapt to whatever we discover once we start exploring a new problem. It’s an approach that allows us to consistently deliver recommendations that are directly relevant to the client’s unique challenge.
The average length of our projects is about 10 weeks, or 2.5 months. But that’s not the whole story!
Some of our projects can be as short as three weeks. Others can take six months, or in rare cases even over a year. How long a project is depends on the type of project we are engaged in, and the challenges our client faces.
As a general rule, if the project is focused on defining strategy it is likely to be shorter than those focused on bringing about results or implementing changes. Generally, projects last between six weeks and three months from start to finish.
CLICK BELOW TO EXPLORE EXAMPLES OF THE PROJECTS WE HAVE COMPLETED
ROUTE TO MARKET STRATEGY
Marketing & Sales
Driven by innovative marketing and unique product attributes, the energy drinks market seemed to grow out of nowhere. When market growth began to slow, we supported one of the leading energy drink manufacturers to rethink the way they approached customers to drive a new phase of growth.
We took a deep dive into the energy drinks market to understand the dynamics at play in shaping the way the market operated. We knew thatthe market was undergoing a structural change – it was shedding its skin as a market whose shoppers were characterised as early adopters to become a mature market dominated by majority type consumers. At the same time, new competitors were flooding into the market, further catalysing the speed of change. We needed to understand what impacts these changes were creating for our client’s whole customer ecosystem (from distributors, to retailers, to consumers). So, we set about analysing internal and external data, visiting and studying the way different channel players were behaving, and taking a closer look at how competitors were achieving success.
After 3 months of study, discussion and analysis, we came to the realisation that we needed to find a more effective way for our client to engage customers; with all the new competition, and a shift of core consumers towards substitutes, our client’s voice wasn’t being heard above all of the noise in the marketplace. Shoppers weren’t finding our client’s product in the right places in the store – their competitors were there instead – and many retailers were increasingly indifferent about which energy drinks they chose to place on their shelves. We helped our client focus on profitable segments, and engage distribution and retail partners to ensure that the messages were passed and understood all the way through the value chain. Our client set up specialised teams to engage with key retailers and work in more of a partnership approach. They also began engaging a new type of partner for sales and distribution, ones that could guarantee dedicated focus on our client’s products and objectives. We also helped them identify new consumption occasions and locations to identify pockets of potential new shoppers in non-traditional places like electronics stores, large military bases and college campuses, etc. The result was a go-to-market ecosystem capable of creating a clear differentiation between our client’s products and those of their competitors. With a more engaged RTM and a more collaborative customer strategy, our client’s products soon began to reclaim the valuable positions in retail outlets – they were back in the shopper hotspots.
Finance & Management
As part of a global growth strategy our client, a leading vertically integrated food processing company, was looking to expand in markets of high potential where their existing footprint was undersized. Their internal M&A team identified priority targets in the first market and asked for our support to understand the size of the synergies and benefits that could be gained through M&A, to value a shortlist of target companies, and to identify the optimal direction in which to move.
We started by mapping the local value chains to understand the target companies in the broader ecosystem. It turned out that the market was unusually complex with an extraordinary number of vertical and horizontal integrations, and an uncommonly large number of partnerships and commercial agreements between different players. Armed with an understanding of the local market, we were able to immediately eliminate potential targets from the analysis to ensure the acquisition wouldn’t stimulate an aggressive market or competitive response. After we narrowed down the options to just a couple of players, we set about x-raying the organisations to understand how they worked and how they would fit with the existing client organisation. With the results of the x-ray in hand we were able to select the most promising candidate and dive deeper to quantify exactly what value we could create by joining the two companies together in different scenarios. We worked with our client’s leadership team and entered preliminary discussions with the target company to understand the viability of any M&A activity before drilling down into the financials to quantify the size and scope of the synergies and to place a value on the potential NEWCO. We drew up structures and phased approaches to understand the investment and time that would be required to integrate the two companies and begin generating synergies that hit the top and bottom lines.
We discovered that the scenario that created the most value was a joint venture, with various options for further M&A consolidation at a later date. With the business case made and the NEWCO valued, our client’s M&A team was able to move ahead and negotiate the transaction, enabling our client to gain the capabilities and market position they required in one of their key markets.
Our client, a global pharmaceutical and consumer goods company, recognised that their network of distribution centres and the way that they transported products from the factory to those centres was inefficient, and costly. However, the task of defining the optimum set-up requires considering a huge amount of factors and obstacles, from the cost of moving, to tax benefits, to regional differences. Integration carried out a five months project to do just this!
Logistics networks of this scale can be difficult to analyse because of their complexity. With so many internal and external factors to consider we decided to split the project into a series of phases: inside each phase we isolated and analysed a different set of variables, only drawing all variables together into one solution during the last phase of the project. By taking a deep dive into our client’s existing setup and crossing this with a perspective on ecosystem found in the local market we were able to identify the major drivers of an efficient logistics network for our client. After creating clarity about the key success factors, we were able to drill down into detailed models to optimise all variables in line with our driver guidelines. We started designing the new logistics network with a simple model. We created a baseline scenario to understand what issues would come to the surface if customer demand continued to increase without any changes being made in the logistics network. With a clear view of the emerging pressure points, we adjusted the baseline scenario and began adding increasingly sophisticated layers of analysis (e.g. investments, business restrictions, new networks and capabilities, etc.) to end-up with a fully optimised logistics model, capable of supporting our client’s new phase of sales growth. Before the client could implement the new network, we stress tested our model to find the main areas of risk. After fine tuning the model to lessen key risks, we worked with our client to understand how different implementation scenarios (e.g. phased approach, big bang launch, etc.) would affect the success of the new logistics network. With a clear picture of what the new logistics network should look like and a clear idea of how to make it a reality, our client set about making the changes.
The new logistics network will produce $35M of savings in 2018, compared to the baseline scenario. Secondary benefits include a reduction in overall transit times and an increase in geographic coverage through the relocation of some key distribution centres.
Our client, a leading mining and manufacturing company, had just signed a deal to acquire the Asian business unit of one of their main global competitors. Our client knew that the deal would help support two strategic goals; they would increase their access to raw materials and they would enhance their global distribution footprint by getting closer to customers in Asia. They asked for our support to help them understand what they needed to do bring these capabilities to bear in the market and to identify ways that they could capture opportunities sooner. In short, they wanted help to take over the new Asia business unit and integrate it with their existing global organisation.
Our client was working on short timelines; they would take control of the new company within a month. Working with our client we created a takeover team (mixture of Integration team and client personnel), and worked with senior client leaders to grant the team authority to act, to take decisions and to manage the takeover. We were now “in it together” with our client, in the field in China helping take over the new business. Integration’s first role was to support the mapping of takeover risks. We assessed the existing organisation to identify everything that our client needed to take control of as part of the takeover. We also helped the client team to get setup and working efficiently to begin planning exactly how to take control of each area.
Next, we shifted our attention to understand how the new business would plug into our client’s existing global organisation. We analysed their processes, structures, capabilities and systems to understand what needed to be changed to integrate the new organisation into the existing one. From defining the size, structure and responsibilities of the teams required to run the new operation in Asia to defining what systems changes would be required, we helped build integration plans for all areas of the business that would bring the new capabilities online and delivering benefits as soon as possible.
Finally, we helped our client mobilise their global sales and production teams to build sales pipelines ahead of the takeover. We connected and engaged leaders from all areas on all continents to understand what they needed to do to support the takeover. In particular, we highlighted the importance of ensuring the plant was operating at high volumes to be cost efficient and the risk of creating inventory of finished goods that cannot be sold immediately, which is hugely expensive in the heavy industries. In doing so we helped otherwise distant and disconnected decision makers understand the importance of building a sales pipeline to avoid crippling costs due to low volume production or large scale inventory costs.
Our client was able to take full control of the new business on closing day and have their new production facilities online and running above breakeven capacity within the first week of the takeover. They knew exactly what to do for the first 100 days, and were able to fully connect the business unit to their global organisation within 3 months, including resizing and reshaping the teams in Asia.
If you have any questions about our open positions or recruiting events, please contact Signe Zarina in our London office by calling +44 (0) 207 290 4770 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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