Organisation Diagnosis Projects

Case Studies

Organisation Diagnosis Projects

E-Business in a UK Clearing Bank

The re-organisation of this national clearing bank into centres of excellence (e.g. call centres, service centres) had been intended to provide a nationwide service. An unexpected consequence was the fracturing of the integrated service previously received through the branch network. An in-depth analysis of the organisational structure of the bank, combined with process mapping enabled the creation of mechanisms to re-integrate the service to the customer.

Restructuring IS in a Pharmaceuticals Company

Applying the Viable System Model to the parent organisation showed misalignment of the IS department to the needs of the business, which led onto this exercise in analysis and redesign of the IS department. The department had been seen as over-centralised, remote and as providing a poor service to its internal customers.  Analysis had shown that an even more significant problem was about to hit the department since it was not structured to be able to effectively deliver the big cross-company program changes that were due to be introduced. The restructuring led to a closer identification between IS support teams and their customers, and to an improvement in their capacity to deliver company-wide programs effectively.

Recommending Structural Change in a University Department

This teaching school within a university had significant problems, with toxic relationships between the school management team and the rest of the staff, and extreme levels of stress.  Diagnosis using the Viable System Model found a near-absence of any organisational structure or management processes, making it virtually impossible for the staff to deliver, except through unsustainable individual and team heroics.  Recommendations to implement effective structures into the school gave the management team and the staff a clear programme to collaborate on, building bridges and co-developing a better place to work for all.

Settling the Centralise-Decentralise Debate in a Sales Function

An international materials supplier delivered on a national and local basis. Some contracts could be made to supply nationally and drawn off locally over the period of the contract; others were one-off. This mixture of local and global concerns for one function made the issue of centralisation and decentralisation extremely complex. The models developed through an organisational analysis improved the company’s understanding of the important issues. Providing strong integrating mechanisms allowed the company to centralise those aspects that required global consideration whilst leaving local service provision decentralised.

Structural Review in a Large NHS Teaching Hospital

Following a major restructuring, the largest division in this hospital was undergoing problems. These intractable problems were very ill defined, and apparently interlinked. Organisational diagnosis of the divisional structure of the hospital using the Viable System Model revealed how a set of systemic problems were disadvantaging this division at both an operational and a strategic level, giving rise to this set of problem symptoms. Using System Dynamics modelling showed the heavily interdependent nature of their most acute organisational problems. An integrated plan was developed to tackle a range of systemic problems in a structured and developmental way.

Restructuring to cope with Cuts

The information support services in a large pharmaceutical company faced cuts in funding together with changes in priorities from their internal customer base. The challenge for the leadership team was to maintain as many of their existing key services whilst extending to cover new priorities whilst cutting costs. Fractal developed a process that allowed the leadership team to assess organisation options to find the one that offered the greatest resilience to both the immediate changes being threatened and those likely in the medium term.

Restructuring for Privatisation

A publicly owned research organisation was threatened with major changes as it and its industry moved towards the private sector. Organisational analysis helped the organisation recognise the differences in structure that they needed to operate effectively as an independent business rather than in their traditional role as the intelligence unit for a large public sector body.

Organisation Design & Business Architecture Projects

Restructuring a Large IT Company

After years of consistent growth, this very successful IT company was facing a declining or flat market. There was no shortage of potential new products and services, but developing a set of new services that could replace the established range demanded completely different operating procedures, management focus, risk profiles and operating cycles across the development portfolio. We introduced the management team to the Viable System Model and worked with them to restructure the operational base and the management structure to anchor delivery of existing products and development of new ones into different divisions. The company reported significant increases in their ability to deliver their strategy.

Organisational Restructure in an Informatics Support Group

This pharmaceutical informatics department needed to change to be able to support changes in priorities from its internal clients. Over two days, Fractal took them through a rigorous decision process to formulate five organisational design options and choose between them against a set of decision criteria which we also developed. The team had been stuck for some time on the way forward, but using the design approach arrived at a strong agreement on their preferred option for organisational structure. They and also had the clarity necessary to convince their staff that this was the best option. Following this, we worked with them to further develop the design and the change process.

Restructuring Manufacturing in a Medium Sized Auto-Components Company

Operational failures were not only seriously affecting profitability, but also threatening the viability of this company. An analysis of work flows, the operating structure supporting them and decision-making, showed that chronic breakdown of production schedules was due to poor manufacturing structure. Fractal demonstrated the need for and advantages of cellular manufacturing to replace the organisational structure.

Streamlining Order Processing in a Medium Sized Auto-Components Company

This project integrated with the restructuring of manufacturing as the second phase of an organisational change project. Fractal analysed and redesigned order processing using the existing IT package to better effect. By disengaging the business process from the work process, we reduced the number of departments engaged in delivering a typical product order from six departments in nine locations to two departments, and the number of inter-departmental information transfers from sixteen to three.

Restructuring Operations in a Medium Sized Joinery Company

This Joinery manufacturer was faced with an opportunity for significant growth, but constrained by capacity issues. Fractal developed a new design for the organisational structure that significantly improved efficiency in terms of productivity, throughput time and use of space. This increased production by 40% within one week in one work area and the design process was repeated in a second workshop with similar results.

Organisational Agility Projects

Developing Organisational Agility in a Large Engineering Company

This international engineering company needed to develop its capability to address multiple challenges – an increase in demands on its core business coupled with a need to cut its prices and in parallel with that, a need to develop its offering overseas. A key factor on the project was developing an approach to enable the company to switch key resources quickly between strategic objectives to enable it address fluctuations in both domestic and overseas demands.

Developing Agility in a Large IT Company

Faced with unpredictability in rates of sales growth in their developing new markets, this IT company needed to significantly increase its agility so it could quickly redeploy resources from existing services into new services for developing markets to deal with exponential growth for its successful initiatives. Fractal helped the senior leadership team redesign their operating structure to allow the company to move resources to focus on new developments and support growth.

Developing Agility in a Mutual Financial Services Provider

This organisation was facing a series of strategic challenges: an opportunity to acquire a similar provider, uncertainty about its financial backers and an increase in regulation. Decision making by the board had become focused on operational issues and these strategic issues were being neglected. Redesigning the governance structure created more agility both in management and operations with teams delegated to address specific strategic and performance issues being brought together to provide a holistic picture for decision making.

Restructuring for Growth

This large engineering-based company had successfully developed new lines of business internationally, and needed to restructure its operations to handle substantially increased streams of demand.  Organisational analysis highlighted the critical importance of building the capability of operational teams to initiate, prioritise and carry through changes to operational processes.  This created the agility which the organisation required to be able to manage more complex and variable demand.

Performance Management Projects

Performance Management in a Public Sector Organisation

As part of a restructuring in response to a strategic risk, this public sector organisation needed to reassess its performance management structure. As is common in the public sector, government set some performance measures, but these were inadequate to ensure management that departments were operating effectively. In workshops with managers, it became clear that there were significant gaps in the performance management structure, which had led to confusion over roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities. Fractal worked with a management team to design a new performance structure and more appropriate measures.

Performance Management in an NGO

This NGO had never had an effective performance management structure. Its main activities were only measured at point of delivery which did not provide managers with timely information needed to prevent problems before they hit customers. Deadlines were regularly missed and managers had no usable information on either progress or quality. Fractal supported a dedicated team in designing a new approach to performance measurement, identifying performance thresholds, measures, decision points and reporting cycles.

Reviewing Performance Management in an Industrial Group

This group had undergone a restructuring to allow it to address more diverse markets. Fractal were asked to review of the performance management structure. This established that at two levels of the organisation, managers had no usable performance measures that would allow them to take decisions effectively. The holes in the Performance Management structure prevented effective governance, creating a strategic decision making vacuum and led to serious strategic mistakes being made.