Aviation business unit: Creating a business blueprint and implementing supplier management

Inmarsat’s Aviation Business Unit (ABU) was achieving success but the company recognised that to keep improving it needed some advice that could only come from an external perspective.  However, it was not clear who it should engage with or how it should manage that engagement.  Collinson Grant had already completed some complex projects in other parts of the company and had a long relationship with senior executives.  The trust engendered through this relationship allowed us to contribute to open debate and challenge that would make the, sometimes uncomfortable, changes that were necessary for the business to continue its success.

The executives were committed to meeting the challenges of a rapidly growing business and Collinson Grant brought additional capacity and expertise to the team.  Our job was to clarify and provide focus on what was needed to achieve the commitments in the business plan while getting a first-hand view of next steps.  This combination of operational and consultancy skills continues to be a unique value we can provide, and it is as valued today as it was when the business began.

Armed with operational knowledge and data, our consultant was able to make robust and informed recommendations that were supported by the Divisional President and the leadership team.  The work provided a blueprint for the business and:

  • established a programme brief
  • defined the scope of the programme and Aviation’s vision
  • developed, agreed and communicated a programme that included governance, structure, scope and documentation
  • established the benefits of the programme and put appropriate measures in place to track its success.

This work identified further requirements for support to establish a robust supplier management capability to gain improved commercial benefits from the existing suppliers.

When defining the capability improvement needed for supplier management, we started by assessing the maturity of the existing function.  We determined that it need new dedicated roles and responsibilities, a governance structure, processes and tools and methods.

This work identified contractual risks, which have been managed.  The effect of avoiding these risks has provided a return of greater than ten times the investment.  We also created a supplier management capability for the business, which until now had been absent.

We were able to demonstrate to the client the risks within the contracts that had been reviewed and put skilled people in to manage those risks, whilst building the capability for supplier management.  This will enable the business to realise the advantages the programme can provide and improve its contracting with suppliers in the future.

The activity was supported by appropriate project plans, progress meetings and updates.  This was a successful partnership that maintained the business as usual activities while supporting and managing the changes.

Phil Balaam, President Aviation Business Unit, said:

“Working with Collinson Grant has allowed us to successfully resolve some of the more complex and embedded problems in the aviation business unit.  We have had to make significant changes while professionalising and growing at pace.  The team provided valuable support, counsel and expertise to make this change.”



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