FEL Group is a steel manufacturing business based in Penrose, Auckland. It manufactures a range of steel products ranging from street furniture such as park benches to most recently, a 30m bridge. Over the last 18 months the Directors have been receiving business coaching from Giles at GECA, to overcome challenges and unlock their business potential.
FEL Group is typical of many of the business clients who use GECA for business coaching and improvement.
- It is a family owned and operated business with current Directors, brothers Peter and Steve Medforth, starting out working in the business more than 30 years ago and then taking over from their father as owners in the early 1990s. Steve and Peter’s sons also work in the business.
- The Directors are hands on in the business, covering a number of key functions.
- Since 2000 the business has tripled in size, going from a small jobbing operation with 12 staff to one with three business divisions, 50+ staff, a range of diverse products and significant complexity.
- The manufacturing business sector in which FEL operates has become increasingly competitive with increased pricing and margin pressure arising from offshore suppliers and factory automation.
The starting point for the Directors and Giles working together was the annual complimentary client review. This high level review meeting looks at all aspects of the business and identifies key issues that are preventing the business owners from meeting their objectives.
During the meeting, issues were identified that are typical of many owner operator businesses. These included;
- Managing the complexity of the business was getting beyond the skills and experience of the owners
- There was no 12 month business plan or longer term strategic plan
- The owners were wearing too many hats and were struggling to achieve work-life balance
- The existing business structure was unfit for purpose
- Sales were growing but profits were not
- Lumpy cashflow was creating financial pressure
The first piece of work undertaken by the Directors to address these issues was a business planning workshop. The output from the session was a one page business plan for the next 12 months setting out the key goals with actions and a designated person assigned responsibility to complete them within a set time frame.
It was great to get clarity about the direction of the business and put in place a plan to achieve our goals.
Peter Medforth on his business planning session.
Quarterly Business Coaching
To help them achieve the goals set out in the plan, the Directors began quarterly coaching sessions. The benefits of this were immediate, with long standing issues being resolved and an improvement in results. Based on this, quarterly coaching was stepped up to monthly sessions to allow greater focus on achieving results.
As well, the coaching group was expanded to include the senior management team. Within six months, the business had two successive months of record results and was ahead of budget.
It’s the simple things that Giles made us focus on that have worked, documenting actions and making someone accountable for achieving these and the results speak for themselves
A key issue identified during the business planning session was a business structure that allowed the Directors to step back from the business and regain their work-life balance.
An organisation structure review was facilitated by Giles and the end result was a robust business structure with a newly created CEO role to lead the business allowing the owners to move into a governance role. Giles then worked with the Directors on the recruitment of the CEO, assisting with interviews and assessment of the candidates.
It was great to have Giles’s corporate experience to call on when creating a viable business structure and then he was able to assist us with the panel interviews for the new CEO, something we had limited experience with.
As a family business, the Directors wanted to maintain ownership of the business over the long term and looking forward, the next step is to put in place an effective governance structure to allow the Directors to govern the business and work successfully with the new CEO. To do this, Giles will mentor the Directors to grow their governance skills as they transition from management to governance.
FEL Group is a great example of how GECA can work with business owners to unlock their business potential and grow their business.
At GECA our most successful clients use our business coaching services – call us now on 0800 758 766 for a free consultation. Alternatively, you can find out more here