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  • First Line Leaders Training Needed to Succeed

    Global Chemical Company Gives First Line Leaders Training Needed to Succeed

    A large, global chemical company was committed to upgrading the skill sets and competencies of their first line supervisors. Across the company they were beginning to roll out a competency based model for evaluating and rewarding these managers. One manufacturing site was committed to giving their supervisors every possible advantage to be able to succeed in this new, and for some, threatening, model for performance. Many of the first line leaders were new to management roles and needed to develop their leadership skills to effectively deal with the day-to-day challenges they faced. In addition, the plant was a union environment, which further complicated any change initiatives they attempted to roll out.

    The group of first line leaders took an honest look at historical incidents and decisions they had made about what was, and was not possible at the plant. They took responsibility for areas where they were not holding themselves or others to account. Each leader created a project in their area of accountability with the intent of developing their leadership while producing extraordinary results for the business.

    Individually, and as a group, the leaders stopped arguing for what couldn’t be done and started to go to work on areas that they could impact and influence. The projects – which were in the area of safety, SOP standardization, implementing self-generating teams, site improvement, and security – produced demonstrable results for the plant and allowed the leaders to develop lasting skills and competencies. An unexpected byproduct of the initiative was that the leaders began supporting each other’s projects and starting operating as a team.

  • Pharmaceutical Company Redesigns Processes

    Pharmaceutical Company Redesigns Processes to Support Rapid Growth Initiative

    The CEO of a mid-size pharmaceutical company had publicly announced that the company planned to double in size within four years. With recent acquisitions, the Medical & Scientific Affairs department had grown considerably. Many of the current processes were out of date, others were a collection of processes from the legacy companies and employees indicated a lack of awareness of the process for several key department functions. Leadership recognized that they could not simply “scale up” the existing processes (even the ones that were working) to meet future demands. Similar projects in other departments had taken nearly a year to accomplish. The client needed to complete this project, without full-time dedicated resources, in three months.

    The team determined which processes were working and which were not, where things got bogged down, and where there were redundancies. They mapped sixteen “as-is” processes that the department owned. This included who owned each step of the process and clearly identifying the output of the process. Then they did in-depth analysis of each of the processes, including identifying which steps were value added and which were not. In the end, the group mapped out eleven redesigned processes and then identified where efficiencies could be built into the processes.

    The group put together a detailed business plan and analysis, which was presented to the CEO. It recommended an implementation plan that had all eleven redesigned processes rolled out over the next three years. In record time, the team redesigned processes leading to over $750,000 in cost savings for just the redesign process.

  • Biotech Creates a Global Brand for Key Products

    Biotech Creates a Global Brand for Key Products

    The Global Brand Strategy group was comprised of international representatives from South Africa, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. The group was charged with creating, rolling out and supporting global brand plans for several key products in multiple regions around the world. No one in the regions reported to the Global Brand Strategy group, the regions would mostly ignore the plans and do what they felt would work in their specific market. As the company grew from one product, to having many products, it became more important for them to have a strong international brand for its key products. In addition, the company had recently gone through a merger and was concerned with the consistency of their brand messaging.

    The team created a strategy and enrollment campaign for engaging the regions. Rather than creating the brand plans in isolation and then “laying it on” the regions, they began to partner with the regions to create and maximize the adoption of the global brand plans. The team became a consultative member of decision making forums and strove to have earlier involvement of developing molecules into brands.

    The team was soon seen as a collaborative partner by the regions, being included in the brand plan creation process from the outset. This led to a much broader adoption of the brand across the globe, supporting the company’s intention to have a consistent message with its customers.

  • High Growth Biotech Creates a Strategic Vision

    A New Department in a High Growth Biotech Creates a Strategic Vision

    The Biostatistics and Medical Writing department in a high growth biotech company was viewed as little more than a support function. They saw themselves as providing little added value and mostly thought from a functional, siloed perspective. The leadership of the department was tactical in its thinking and planning. Little attention was given to building an organization that was poised to meet the future needs of a fast-growing company.

    By having the group create and organize themselves around a strategic vision they were able to begin to think from the whole of the department. This allowed them to see new possibilities, opportunities and pathways to provide value to the rest of the company beyond their accountabilities.

    The team took on short term strategic projects to both develop their leadership capabilities, as well as organize the department around the new strategic direction. They expanded their reach and demonstrated the unique value that they provided to the rest of the company.

  • Breakthrough Thinking Enables Supply Chain to Generate Revenue and Meet High In-Stock Demand without Increasing Warehouse Space

    Breakthrough Thinking Enables Supply Chain to Generate Revenue and Meet High In-Stock Demand without Increasing Warehouse Space

    The supply chain organization at a large auto part company was challenged by two key initiatives: 1) to keep operating expenses flat compared to the previous year and 2) to increase store in-stock levels to 96%. The expectation was for these two seemingly opposing objectives to be achieved while simultaneously implementing best practices throughout the organization’s eight distribution centers.

    Bringing breakthrough thinking to the organization’s employees enabled them to formulate an idea to not only keep operating expenses flat – but also to have the supply chain actually produce revenue by providing their supply chain services to other companies. They succeeded at implementing their breakthrough idea, with a $5 million contract with another auto part company. Furthermore, the organization successfully responded to its rapidly growing business demand for higher in-stock levels with no increase in warehouse space.

  • Regulatory Affairs Department Increases Efficiency

    Regulatory Affairs Department Increases Efficiency by Altering Perceptions

    A leading medical device company was executing a high growth strategy and wanted to increase their products from less than a dozen to 40-50 within five years. In order to achieve that growth, the Regulatory and Clinical Affairs Department had to be really efficient in order to get their products to market quickly, while maintaining stellar relationships with the FDA. Historically, the department was viewed as a hindrance to getting products out quickly. The leadership team of the department committed to seeing how they could be doing things differently such that Regulatory Affairs would be seen in a positive light by other departments — recognized as a full partner in the company.

    The leadership team got feedback from other departments and listened to what people from the other departments had to say to them. Other functions had perceived them as scolding, instead of educating, and as too conservative and controlling. They started to see how they were part of the problem. They then created what they wanted to be known for and the kind of organization they were committed to building for the future. They designed and implemented a cross-functional training program for intra and inter-departmental use to provide everyone with a familiarity of people’s roles within the department and educate people outside the department about regulatory challenges so that they would understand the process. They looked at areas for improvement in efficiency and how to build a reputation within the company as value adders.

    Not only did they alter Regulatory Affairs reputation inside the company, they also increased job satisfaction within the department. They went from being unhappy to being effective, fun, and happy — increasing the number of NDA submissions and their acceptance rates all while dealing with a record number of new products in the pipeline.

  • Moving to Collaborative Team Players

    Moving from Individual Actors to Collaborative Team Players

    The R&D department of a major medical device company was a group that, because of previous management styles, were encouraged to compete against one another. Scientists were out to create patents for themselves, so they would shoot each other’s ideas down. In the prevailing context they had been trying to produce a new product for eight years with no success. People could not see that while they were individually talented, their behaviors were preventing them from getting the product to market. New leadership came in and committed to changing that mentality, as well as significantly elevating performance.

    In working with Insigniam, the department took on the challenge of bringing a revolutionary product to market while committing to taking on each other’s success. Previously, there had never been a commitment to team alignment; it was always about individual achievements. The team members saw that they were never going to be able to come up with the best idea as individual performers. They saw that their real measure for success was getting the product to market rapidly – not being the star researcher.

    From this new perspective the team came up with nine ideas and narrowed it down to two products, and finally aligned on one product to go into development. While that product did not pass clinical trials, the learning that came out of it led to two other products that were launched and became huge commercial successes.

  • Creating Growth in a Mature Market

    Creating Growth in a Mature Market

    A leader in the auto parts retail business was challenged by a rapidly changing industry with a great deal of competition. After dominating the space for many years with a reputation for excellent customer service, the company found themselves under new pressures and their stock was not growing. The competition had newer stores with better locations. The whole quality movement of the car industry changed their auto parts industry. Longer car warranties and improved car quality meant there were less repairs and therefore less need for parts.

    A newly recruited CEO formed a new executive coalition, dubbed the “40-headed CEO”, with the intention of breaking down historical silos and turf issues. They created a strategy for the entire business that shifted them from a parts mentality – which had blinded them from seeing new opportunities like soft parts, car phones, etc. – to a vehicle solution business. They got themselves out of the brick and mortar mentality. The new opportunities lead to a complete overhaul of their business.

    The company grew exponentially under the new leadership and strategic direction. At one point they were the fastest growing stock in the S&P500. New stores opened at a record pace, while same store sales enjoyed renewed success. The company once again claimed its place as the leader in the auto parts retail business.

  • R&D Commits to Breakthrough Future

    A Major Global Generic Pharmaceutical Company’s R&D Department Commits to a Breakthrough Future

    The U.S. R&D group was in constant competition with their global counterparts overseas. Due to economic and other factors, they were rarely given the high-profile, high-profit projects to work on. Communication between the U.S. and corporate was strained and there was no clear strategy for how they would position themselves for the future.

    The U.S. R&D leadership created a long-term strategy that positioned themselves to be the premier development site for the company worldwide. They committed to a breakthrough business model that would allow them to be ultra-competitive with their global counterparts and actually set a new benchmark for the industry. They engaged all the members of the R&D organization in the initiative and created a three year implementation plan.

    The group is in their second year executing their new strategy that allows them to distribute projects evenly throughout the year. This initiative produced a higher submission rate of projects in the first year and vaulted the U.S. group to a position of prominence within the company. They accomplished their objective of being seen as an equal partner with their overseas counterparts and are positioned to be competitive for the future.

  • Pharmaceutical Company Creates

    Family-owned Generic Pharmaceutical Company Creates the Next Era for Their Business

    A mid-sized, family owned pharmaceutical company had been stuck in a range of productivity and performance that did not allow for realization of their full poten-tial. Research and Development was seen as a key leverage area for the future viability of the company. The commitment was to increase the number of submissions per year to the FDA and develop a competency to bring multiple, complex projects through the development process simultaneously.

    They had a multi-cultural work force, that made communication difficult. The leadership of the department was very junior and as such were weak in holding themselves and others accountable. As a result, timelines slipped, deadlines were routinely missed, and departments blamed each other for the lack of effectiveness. Overall, the group lacked strategy, leadership, and accountability.

    The R&D leadership team created a 5-year strategy that included multiple, simultaneous launch of products. An enrollment team was created to cascade the strategy down throughout the organization and give each person an opportunity to see their part in fulfilling the strategy. Working sessions were conducted allowing each member of the department to gain the skills and competencies necessary to meet the objectives of the strategy.

    NDA submissions to the FDA increased from 8 to 12 in the first twelve months of the initiative. Two years later, the group has maintained that level of performance, while taking on more complex, challenging projects and bringing them through development in parallel.