SWM International: Culture Transformation

What if you wanted to transform a company founded to serve what is today a rapidly declining and dying industry sector? What if you could see few options within your existing business to strike out and create a new future? What if you had the resources to make the wholesale shift? Could you do it?

This manufacturing and engineering sector leader saw their leading market position in a dying industry as an opportunity to use breakthrough innovation to find a path to future success. As a strategic imperative, making that shift has meant the acquisition of new skills — deploying a build, borrow and buy strategy — and applying them as rapidly as possible.

A large scale, multi-tier, multi-region approach was undertaken to foster and develop design thinking skills. All middle and senior management were given an immersive experience as a foundation for leading innovation across the enterprise. A partnership was formed to leverage that learning across the broadest possible cross-section of employees, supporting their efforts through ongoing education, knowledge management, and direct facilitation.

As the CEO noted,

“Looking longer term, we continue to execute on multiple strategic and operational initiatives intended to maximize the cash flow of our attractive [existing] franchise and drive top-line growth and margin expansion in applied materials. These actions support our long-term strategy to rebalance our overall revenue and profit mix and reposition our company as a more growth-oriented enterprise.”

Combined with the large-scale organization change, including the integration of external company acquisitions, additional program elements were generated to support a three-year focus on high potential employees in the enterprise focused on driving key strategic initiatives.

“Through this continuous innovation, we can also continuously reinvent and reposition ourselves. It is a new business culture for a new time.”