Client Situation

Our client is a large, highly successful provider of complex control systems for safety critical environments and had enjoyed a period of sustained growth. This growth, however, had stretched our client’s current operating model to its limit. They were beginning to fall behind on deliveries, causing customer dissatisfaction and were operating outside their governance process with an unknown level of risk in the business

As a direct result, our client was continually reacting to customer issues, with neither the time nor the capability to address the root causes and recover the situation. Our client is a world-leader in the technical aspects of their products, but an over-emphasis on this discipline had caused other aspects of the business to fall behind

Urgent action was required to avoid business threatening consequences.  Our client engaged us to stabilise, then recover the business and finally ensure they were self-sufficient within an 18 month period


We fielded a highly experienced team with deep expertise in portfolio and programme delivery, the industrial sector that our client operated in and large scale transformation delivery. This unique combination, coupled with our proven programme delivery methodology meant that we were able to generate results immediately

We began by addressing the root cause of the issues. Our client’s growth had led to a gap between the contracts under way and the available resources to carry out the work. This resource gap was unquantified and the resulting business risks unknown. We rebaselined the entire portfolio against customer contracted dates to highlight resource shortfalls.  The rebaselining also revealed that a number of projects were not under robust contractual terms giving rise to an unacceptable risk profile in the business

To stabilise the business we rebalanced the whole portfolio

  • Replanned projects with realistic deliveries
  • Identified the most critical resource gaps and implemented short term solutions
  • Ensured all work was under contract and renegotiated contracts where possible
  • Prioritised key technical issues causing issues on multiple projects
  • De-coupled entangled technical and programme issues

Having achieved stability we began the recovery process

  • Quantified capability gaps in engineering, supply chain, programme management and programme controls and set in place a variety of mechanisms to close them
  • Defined a new operating model, appropriate to the larger business, with an appropriate balance between rigour, agility and speed
  • Defined a more interactive role for our client’s customers in the delivery process. Changes they could make to their own processes would enable them to be part of our client’s solution
  • Engaged our client’s 1000+ staff in the fundamental changes through a wide employee engagement programme

With recovery well under way after a twelve month period, we transitioned our client to self-sufficiency through a joint plan and gradual handover of responsibilities. We remained actively engaged in an “at elbow” support role until our client was able to take complete control – the entire cycle from stability to full ownership taking 18 months


Measured in both increased milestones achieved and risks avoided, our client’s benefits ran into hundreds of millions of pounds. They were able to regain the confidence of their customer base and move on to the next stage of growth. Finally our client demonstrated that they could take full ownership of the changes by implementing a continuous improvement programme to further develop the solution we implemented


A combination of deep expertise, rigorous analytics and proven methodology enabled us to quickly define a solution to our client’s business threatening situation. Relentless implementation over an extended period stabilised and recovered the situation before we finally transitioned to a self-sufficient client

“The results delivered by Aczel were essential to putting our business back on a stable footing. We now have satisfied customers and are moving forward with growth plans that would have been unthinkable at the start of this activity”

Client CEO

Your contact

Richard Aczel


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