Read the results we get for clients just like you.
Every client we work with is unique, and so are their challenges, the solutions we find and the results they achieve. As you read these client case studies, you may very well recognize some of the dilemmas you face in your own business.
Involving people cuts $120 million in costs
The Challenge: A newly-promoted Vice President was challenged to turn around a seriously underperforming plant. It was not only the oldest and largest, but also the company’s flagship plant.
The VP was not new to the work of Meridian Group. As a plant manager he had hired Meridian Group to help him build the most productive plant in the system, for which he was rewarded with a promotion to VP. Now the collaboration continued on this turnaround.
The Solution: With Meridian Group’s guidance the incoming plant manager focused on people to improve performance. Our processes got everyone on-board and committed, using their creativity and experience to cut costs and improve production processes efficiency.
The Results: In his words, “I committed to no long-term layoffs. I had a coherent master plan—reduce cost by one million dollars a month. We aimed at sixty million over five years. We easily achieved that. The actual savings were almost double our goal over the five years and we did all this while keeping people on-board. That meant a lot of retraining. On the way we had one million man-hours without a lost-time accident. “
Employee run initiatives save $100,000/year, increase productivity 40%.
The Challenge: This was a green-field plant where corporate wanted to test a new more participative management style. However the experienced managers and employees they imported from other plants brought with them the company’s existing autocratic culture.
The Solution: The client knew that involving employees would improve performance and hired Meridian Group to do that. We set up a process to help managers to be more open to the involvement of employees. As managers learned how to engage employees in more decisions, the first employee group identified a waste problem and analyzed and changed the process flow.
The Results: This saved $100,000 in material costs every year. The program expanded and other groups in this plant achieved similar results. Productivity increased 40% over 2 years. This plant won the corporate award for annual increased productivity 8 years out of ten. The other two years it took second place.
Injury costs slashed, productivity rises, Union grievance list evaporates.
The Challenge: At this client’s distribution center, lost-time injury costs claimed 25% of the division’s net profits. The union grievance list exceeded 100 items, with an average delay of over 3 months.
The Solution: Meridian Group set up a process to improve communications between leaders from the company and the union. As leaders developed more trust and openness they set the example for a new attitude and behavior by employees that changed the way everyone worked together.
The Results: Over a six-month period the grievance list disappeared and worker’s compensation costs dropped to well below industry norms. Two years later, the union signed a new contract six months ahead of the contract date, saving the company high strike-preparation costs. All this was accompanied by a significant increase in productivity.
New leadership improves cooperation and teamwork
The Challenge: In this 2,000 person plant, conflict between units, between levels and within departments was common, long-standing, and undermined performance. At another company plant Meridian Group had brought dramatic improvement to cooperation and performance. The manager invited us to tackle his people issues.
The Solution: Meridian Group worked with the plant leadership and some departments. One was the laboratory, where leaders and union employees were quarrelsome and aggressive. We established employee problem-solving groups where adversarial behavior became inappropriate.
The Results: A new kind of employee leadership emerged. The previous employee leaders had vehemently opposed every suggestion that promoted understanding and cooperation. The new leaders brought sweeping changes to attitudes, morale, and responsibility. The lab’s clients, the plant’s production units were impressed — quicker turnaround on tests results and a more proactive can-do attitude. The laboratory became a model of cooperation for other parts of the plant.
360° evaluations bring commitment and follow through.
The Challenge: In a corporate-wide survey, employees said that managers did not listen and did not encourage participation. In response, senior management asked lower level managers to get feedback on their performance from subordinates.
The Solution: With Meridian Group’s assistance, one manager turned this into an opportunity to initiate an upward appraisal process. He asked his team to evaluate him using the same categories that his superior had used to evaluate him. He also shared his own evaluation with his team. His team met by themselves to discuss his performance and realized that behavior is a two-way street — any changes in his behavior would require similar effort by the entire team. They agreed they each wanted to work with him. Then they invited their boss into the room.
The Results: The ensuing discussion was exciting and productive, resulting in high commitment and follow-through by both sides. The improved communications led to better decisions, fewer problems and noticeably improved department productivity.
Meridian Group makes “impossible” merger work.
The Challenge: The client, a regional 250-employee plant, acquired control of an adjoining similarly sized competitor’s plant. The culture of each plant was distinctly different—one was careful, participative and controlled, the other was a “hot-dog”, impulsive and autocratic.
The Solution: Meridian Group first helped merge the management teams and then build cooperation and understanding in the process integration team. From what first seemed to managers from both sides as an impossible combination—”We will never work together”—we helped them understand each other and successfully integrate teams at all levels in all functions.
The Results: The result was a timely, successful integration of the plants.
Restoring lost culture ensures ongoing rapid growth
The Challenge: After five years of 40% growth, employees were complaining that managers had lost connections with employees and the original relationship had faded.
The Solution: Meridian Group helped the management team design and execute a series of group discussions between them and their employees. These provided the basis for a long term relationships plan including a two-way performance evaluation program.
The Results: The process reestablished the lost openness, closeness and cohesion as the fast growth continued.
Our work improves your culture in the first 90 days
- Everyone is engaged with the success of the enterprise
- Problems are solved quickly by the people closest to them
- People experience being valued as human beings
- Enthusiasm and commitment are restored