The Case

A medium-sized company was taken over by a group in the printing press industry. It specializes in the custom production of customized flexographic printing machines. Four prototypes from one series caused considerable problems during commissioning in 2014 and 2015. The resulting contractual penalties brought the company into an extreme economic imbalance. The company had to be reorganized and restructured in the post-merger phase. After completion of the restructuring, 4 CFO´s (including COO) were exchanged within only 15 months. Key employees were completely demotivated and threatened to resign. The CFO and COO positions were unfilled. The processes and communication between the departments within the company and with the parent company needed to be significantly improved. The forthcoming certification audit of DQS could not be passed and there was the danger that the certification of the entire group was not possible.

The Scope

With this in mind, we were looking for a hands-on executive with post-merger, change management and coaching experience who can move within the organisation of a group. You needed a manager with integration experience in all commercial processes and the ability to lead operations. Furthermore - since the purchased company is a small medium-sized company - a distinct medium-sized orientation should be given, i.e. the willingness to take care of small details, work out details with Excel, also to book once, if this is necessary to create the reporting itself, to validate figures, etc....

The Objectives

  • Management of the CFO department (controlling, finance, personnel and IT) as well as the COO department (purchasing, project management and assembly)
  • Development of a concept for the location, as the company's main model series are at the end of the product life cycle
  • Integration and adaptation of processes and structures in the purchased company to pass the certification audit of DQS
  • Motivation and retention of key employees  
  • Search and recruitment of an external CFO

Andreas Kersten

Interim Manager

Results and Outlook

Initially, the search for a CFO in permanent employment was initiated. He was hired at the beginning of the year and will take up his position in full on July 1, 2018, after the induction phase. Furthermore, due to a termination at the beginning of the mandate, the controlling position was vacant. Due to the short period of notice, this was initially filled on an interim basis. At the end of the year, this position will again be filled as a permanent employee and the interim controller will then withdraw.

The structures and processes of the new Group parent company had to be adapted to the new requirements of the Group, particularly in the financial area and purchasing. Afterwards all processes were audited by DQS and successfully certified according to DIN ISO. 

At the same time, a future concept (business plan with a planning horizon of 5 years) was developed with the committee of the entire management team. The concept was presented in December 2017 and approved and approved by the Group's Executive Board. On the basis of this concept, a new series of a printing press is being developed in cooperation with a renowned consulting firm according to the modular principle. The first prototype will be commissioned at a customer at the turn of the year 2019 / 2020.  This series then enters the growth phase and the two older series are faded out.

By proactively controlling the change management process, it was possible to motivate the key employees again. In addition, the presentation of a future plan has significantly improved motivation throughout the company. 

Despite the poor order situation, net income was slightly positive again for the first time in years. This is attributable to an optimized product portfolio and strict cost management.