Situation

Our client is a world-leading manufacturer of medical textile products, such as compression textiles and stockings. The group is family owned with headquarters in Switzerland and have been in business for over 150 years.  They have production plants in Europe, USA and Asia. Other interims had been placed with the firm over time, as they were a returning client.

In 2015, the group acquired the market-leading Polish supplier and producer of medical textiles, that had been in business since 1990. By 2018, the situation in Poland had escalated, the results were negative, no clear strategic direction and measures, sales were decreasing rapidly and they were losing market share. Then staff started departing and overall, the employees were insecure.

The management group in Switzerland called for an experienced turnaround manager who could calm the situation and give the company and its employees a clear management framework and the basis for working profitably again.  Clearly, sales had to increase and market shares regained.  Also, there was an ongoing cash drain that had to be stopped immediately. 

Action

The headquarters team in Switzerland decided to hand over the tasks to an interim manager experienced in turnaround management. Top Fifty in Switzerland, with the support of Polish partner CTER SP in Warszawa, presented several candidates within a few days. The top management from Switzerland traveled to Poland for candidate meetings the week after. Three weeks after the customer request, the interim CEO was in place at the company.

The first order of business for the interim CEO was to stabilize the situation.  Everybody knew that a change in management style was required; from a very patriarchic leadership to a more collaborative management style.  The main focus was on sales, and the team developed a clear sales strategy and began to replace the salesforce. In addition, a change management team was required, because the existing management team was not able to do the required changes.

Results

The situational analysis was quickly completed and communication with headquarters became fluent and trustful.  As a result, the headquarters team was quickly in a position to decide options and define investment in the salesforce. This allowed a new sales strategy to be developed and implemented quickly. The following actions were taken:

  • Sales centralized, external office integrated
  • Performed assessment of sales force and department
  • New sales people recruited
  • Heavy training of salespeople

The new strategy had immediate results, increasing 5% compared with year to date. This allowed the Polish company to regain some of its lost market share. In the end the management team was completely changed. The team held “town hall” meetings with employees to show them a clear future for the company.

Overall, productivity improved and the scrap rate was reduced to an acceptable level.  Once the changes had taken place, the brain drain of people leaving stopped and the company stopped bleeding cash.

At the assignment’s end, to inside team provided the following feedback:

  • “Great to work here, but a lot to do”
  • “Thanks for the trustworthy collaboration with HQ”
  • “We feel now much more secure and comfortable”