Managing change and maintaining production output.

Part of Rockwood Specialties, a leading manufacturer of chemicals, AlphaGary makes custom compounds for the wire and cable, automotive, medical and consumer markets worldwide.

The company asked Collinson Grant to help it acquire a complementary wire and cable business.  We did the HR due diligence and assessed the costs, opportunities and risks of integration.  We advised on the obligations of TUPE and helped to draft the sale and purchase agreement.

We worked with AlphaGary’s managers to draw up a plan for the transition.  When the business was transferred, we provided an interim site manager for manufacturing.  The managerial, commercial and operational teams were integrated over 12 months.

It was then decided that the business should be restructured and two plants closed.  We drafted announcements and led consultation with the trade unions.

To move manufacturing was a big job.  Long lead times for new equipment and lots of engineering work meant that the plants that were to close had to maintain production for 12 months, while about 100 people had to be made redundant.  So we helped to work out and agree on the tactics for phasing the changes.  One way was to pay retention bonuses.  We handled the terminations, gave on-site support, maintained discipline and dealt with employee relations.  Only two people resigned.

Production was successfully moved to a single site.  We continued to work with AlphaGary as it expanded.

This assignment showed some key principles for managing change:

  • Assess the risks and arrange to deal with them.
  • Allow time to deal with legal or technical problems, and for people to train for new jobs and adjust to change.
  • Communicate regularly and well.
  • Be honest about the changes and what they mean for people.
  • Set relevant measures of performance for the new or acquired business.
  • Give everyone a stake in the programme, not least those who are to leave.

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