The client had decided to close a factory in Sweden and move production abroad. This decision had been broadly communicated but not the details. The managers had already left the company and nothing had yet been agreed with the unions. A plant manager was urgently needed to run the business up until closure, with no loss of quality or delivery shortfalls. At the same, it was necessary to ensure that production continued smoothly during the move itself, including creating an inventory buffer to cover the transition period. A proven and dynamic leader needed to take control.
From an extremely challenging startpoint, the Globalise manager began by building a solid basis for communication and made great efforts to get to know the staff and key personnel in other countries. He wanted to ensure that everyone was fully aware of the situation and of the need to work cooperatively together to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Smooth communication was the key. Problems were freely and respectfully discussed and additional information channels opened as necessary.
The Globalise manager succeeded in keeping the plant operating smoothly during the nine months of the project and even managed to increase capacity. This was necessary to build up stock levels to bridge the relocation gap. The controlled downsizing and closure were handled with dignity and confidence. Staff not only felt valued, appreciated and respected but even helped to prepare the site for handover to the new owners, which was not part of the original mandate. By the end of the project, the entire production operation had been successfully relocated and some of the current staff even managed to transfer their jobs to the new country – a situation that would have been unimaginable a few months previously.