Better together - but how?

Steinbeis student explains reorganization across company locations

The relevance of change management, or the planning, management and control of change processes within an organization, has gained in significance over the past several years. Indeed, merger and acquisition transactions frequently necessitate business reorganization. Singulus Technologies, the market leader for optical disc production lines and provider of vacuum coating machines for the semiconductor field, expanded its business activities into the photovoltaic market with the acquisition of Stangl Semiconductor Equipment in 2007. Fabian Koock, graduate of Steinbeis University Berlin (SHB) and current consultant at Q_PERIOR, was managing the resulting alignment of business procedures across various locations with the objective of helping the company achieve group certification according to ISO standard 9001:2008 for quality management.

Two organizations, two business cultures, two process models, one goal: getting better together. This slogan was the basis of an initiative to bring both businesses to their common goal, but how? In addition to the complex demands for project organization, the major challenge lay in transforming the affected parties into participants in the change process, a fundamental task of change management. In fact, technical demands such as the creation of process models, implementation of ISO 900-relevant requirements, and the development of process management software took a backseat. The acceptance of project objectives within the company and its influence on the necessary level of involvement from employees proved far more crucial to the success of the change process.

Fabian Koock’s studies helped him find a strategy which prioritized the essential aspects: A strategy strongly driven by customers together with targeted measures in the area of project marketing should secure acceptance and customer involvement in the company.

To this end, Koock implemented four key measures during the project. After defining the various customer groups involved in the project, he was able to determine the relevance of each group for the project. He then focused on individual customer groups classified according to project phase.

Afterwards, customer demands were analyzed from the perspective of the project itself, and project objectives were prioritized based on customer group. The results of both analyses formed the basis for a call for action. Moreover, the customer demand analysis shed light on those objectives that were important for specific customer groups and, thus, which were to be especially suitable for the internal marketing of the project.

Using the call for action derived from the analysis, a project customer strategy was developed for each group. The results of the customer analysis also provided interesting insights into the opportunities and risks involved in implementation of individual strategies.

The phase-oriented prioritization of project customers defined the customer strategies that should be implemented at given stages of the project. For effective implementation of the individual strategies, Koock used an adjusted marketing mix made up of product, pricing, communications and distribution policies. It also offered appropriate training and specialized support for the individual customer groups.

This strategic project approach ensured that the needed level of acceptance among project customers was achieved. Affected parties were turned into participants, even decision-makers responsible for developing and driving the results. The project demonstrated that change management has to be more than just an aspect of project organization. The most important success factor for projects undergoing change is, by far, the effective mobilization of affected parties and winning their commitment. The study points to a high probability that change projects will fail without the right change management strategies in place.

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