Geo-Intelligence: a renewed growth with sustainable improvement dynamics… and mobilized teams to perform the transformation
At the end of 2012, the situation of Geo-Intelligence, Airbus Defence & Space Program Line, European leader on geospatial information market, is worrying: market shares are stagnating, the American competition is particularly aggressive and the overall financial position is worsening.
The Geo-Intelligence Executive Committee is strengthened by the arrival of Bernhard Brenner, Chief Executive Officer, and Philippe Pham, Chief Operating Officer. The objective is to set a new growing path in 18 months. At the beginning of 2014, positive results are there: sales have increased by 10%, employees have recovered faith in future and a new dynamics has been set up. How can we explain this turnaround in only one year?
In January 2013, GEO management starts “GEOPLUS”, a transformation plan which covers the four main countries (France, Germany, England and United States). It is the third plan in four years, thus social climate is stretched and it is essential to react quickly. What are the key success factors?
Since the beginning, GEOPLUS is set up as an organized and paced plan. Philippe Pham gives the responsibility of this project to Hélène Lemonnier, who has been working within Geo-Intelligence for more than 10 years: she knows about the business and the teams. “Objectives were very ambitious: we aimed at a significant increase of turnover and a decrease of 15% of costs. We had to quickly start the process: we involved teams, with the support of a robust consultants’ team from Mews Partners (ex Vinci Consulting). During the first quarter, we confirmed the preliminary diagnosis, structured the project plan and the governance, and launched several urgent actions particularly on purchases and on inefficient processes” highlighted Hélène Lemonnier. All in all, twenty four work groups have been launched on three topics:”business boost”, “operational excellence” and “cost reduction”. Leaders come from middle management and the action plans can start.
“Lean” initiatives are set up, as process flow analysis, problem solving workshops and visual management. At the beginning, critical activities in terms of business and with a significant impact on teams are targeted: sales and bids process, order intake & customer support. Quickly, the approach has been spread to all domains, such as project management and images deliveries, and has allowed to review working ways and adapt organization accordingly. “Paced by collective brainstorming sessions, these initiatives, inspired of Lean principles, foster everyone to give improvement ideas, and are an opportunity to deliver short terms results, for example reduction of time spent in meetings or acceleration of decision making process” noticed Cyril Soulié-Lafferayrie, Senior Manager at Mews Partners.
A knock-on effect is created: action plans leaders rely on multidisciplinary teams in order to highlight issues and identify solutions. An “idea box” has been set up and allows them to confirm action plans consistency with respect to teams’ expectations. More than 130 people are involved in brainstorming groups and their work are shared with management and peers.
A specific attention is made on change management, since the beginning of the project: the top management is personally involved in regular communication actions and through informal exchanges such as breakfasts with teams. “Change management is an integral part of transformation plan and is a way to initiate, through a structured and creative approach, a new climate of trust and boost motivation among teams” highlighted Sabine Dehais, Senior Manager at Mews Partners. Teams give regularly their feedback to management on implemented actions (interactive sessions, information flyers, awards …) and adjustments are done if necessary. “Unlike classical plans, each improvement, each success is shared with the people, showing that a major part of solutions are in the hands of each one” emphasizes Hélène Lemonnier. GEOPLUS objectives became all employees’ objectives.
Today, the Lean programme has been rewarded within Airbus DS by an award of excellence, levers for cost reduction are activated, and collaborative working ways are rooted in everyday life. Continuous improvement dynamics is sustainably installed and is a major asset for Geo-Intelligence development on its high growth competitive market.
Hélène Lemonnier (Geo-Intelligence) and Sabine Dehais (Mews Partners)