Operational effectiveness development

Review of the organisation structure in a specialist pharmaceuticals business in which speed of delivery following notice of requirement is critical.

A specialist pharmaceuticals supplier had experienced growth since start-up. The company was distinguished by superb service to its customers. Critical to providing that service was product sourcing and prompt buying.

A target-oriented business, sales had grown fast. The promotion of four managers to the Board had radically affected the Company. That aside, the original operating structure survived despite increased numbers of employees. A new IT system was about to be introduced.

Concern that the functionally separate sourcing and supply activities were inadequate for the business caused Sterling’s being asked to advise on how to make improvements.

A rapid, comprehensive review of the structure, activities, systems, facilities, responsibilities, roles, skills, relationships, premises and accommodation provided understanding of the business. This review comprised confidential discussions, process mapping, sampling work and transaction volumes, analysis of cost and activity data, communication monitoring, assessing the new IT system, observing work in different departments, reviewing forecasts, and estimating future transaction patterns.

Input from customers and suppliers worldwide gave invaluable insights into their requirements and expectations, changes they would value, and critical factors for the company’s future development.

We concluded that the operating processes were inconsistent with a sales-driven business, strategic sourcing issues were neglected, objectives were obscured, skills and needs were misaligned, and that business process, rather than functional, management was essential.

Specific, explicit recommendations concerned business objectives, adopting process management, changed management responsibilities, redefined jobs, segregated strategic and transactional work, reduced transactional activity, redeployment and relocation of staff, skills upgrading, performance indicators, and management information.

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Sterling Management Consultants based in Worcester West Midlands