UPC is ours & so are its challenges. The organisation that we have
worked for years in under a threat. The critical need is to develop a long-term
business strategy in order to gain the investors’ confidence and gradually
strengthen our financial position. We are facing an imminent threat of losing
our independence. The stocks continue to decline. We will be targeted for
acquisition unless we reduce costs and become more efficient.
And if that happens, the consequences will be far worse to recover. So,
it is imperative that we get aligned to the outlined strategy, right size our
organisation and then agree on the actions to be taken across business units to
become more efficient. Our CEO, Mr. Charles Rampart has committed himself to
fight this crisis and shown us the way beneficial to both UPC & our
long-term career prospects. He takes over this responsibility at a time when
most of us would avoid it, this itself shows Rampart’s character.
As the SVP & GM – Connectors division, I have decided to support
Charles and I recommend we move forward with this approach because I believe
this is the right thing to do. Not only we need to change our way of working
but also behaviorally. Had it been our proprietary business, situations would
demand us to change and change for good.
Now if the direction is right-sizing and efficiency improvement, we have
to select our bets to stay focused. The motto should encompass the following
& non value-added activities
We all work in teams and as managers feel all our team members are
required for us to deliver desired business results. But right-sizing can be
achieved if we think of employees respectfully yet keeping business interest
imperative. Each team & manager should conduct a critical performance
assessment of each team member to classify them as:
Star performers – to
be given additional responsibilities
Voluntary exits – HR
to encourage but no replacement
Bottom quartile –
exit basis Performance management
mismatch – recruit placement agencies for possible transition
Once employee segmentation is complete, every Manager will have a fair
count of possible warriors to fight the battle. For UPC to improve its financial
situation, we need speed and quick decision making. In a growing organisation,
we end up creation org structure that is relevant to support business growth
but as we create hierarchy, we also invite bureaucracy. This leads to slowness
in decision making and meetings consume large portion of productive time.
Therefore, each manager should relook at their team structure and critically
redesign the same. Word of caution, “Focus on right structure first and fit the
people later”. Few metrics that would reflect the output is “Improvement in
Turn-around Time”, “Higher Manager to Employee ratio” and “Lesser signing
authority for a decision”.
Eliminate duplication and non-value add activities
With the right team size & the way they are organized, next step is
to ensure we perform the activities which are aligned to the business strategy.
What our team does, we as Managers believe it should be done. During the
course of operations to support the organisation, each team takes over tasks
which at times don’t add value to the business results but are more for
reporting, tracking, customization as per hierarchy needs etc. How often do we
see employees preparing dashboards in different formats for various managers
but the same data points i.e. metrics? This is clearly has no value . At the
same time, we often have different teams performing similar activities to
measure their respective functional performance.
I recommend every manager reviews all the activities currently managed
within the team & clearly outline the activities which don’t add value to
business. Simple rule “Will any business outcome be impacted if my team stops
doing this activity from today”?
Elimination of duplicate & non-value add activities will enhance the
operational bandwidth of each employee thereby ensuring that more work can be
done with lesser staff. Business heads of the 5 UPC divisions should also can
then look at a possible merged entity for higher synergy without impacting
results. At the end, this is a win-win because we get more efficiency and
employee’s morale will rise when they start learning and performing new
We as UPC’s senior management also know the other challenge internally
i.e. “Culture of dependency”. We may have become Inside-out w.r.t execution but
with each individual performing the task important to business, team will
challenge us more to do the right thing and if this becomes consistent, then
the culture across the organisation will change to “Challenger Mindset”.
As UPC, we need to invest in technology for sustained growth. Investors
not only evaluate current business results but the outlook for future. And what
will make us future ready is Technology. Humans should be used for activities
that require judgement but routine/mundane activities can be performed by
With the first 3 steps taken effectively, we can clearly invest our
margins in automation. Each manager finally should identify the tasks which are
transactional in nature & do not require any manual intervention. But the
management rule of “Prioritization basis Impact” should not be ignored. We will
invest tech resources as per the project impact.
As automation starts maturing within the organisation, team starts
feeling that their intellect can be better utilized for analysis, competitive
benchmarking, decision making etc. which again will add to their morale.
Towards the end, I realize that this approach would be emotionally tough
as there is people impact involved and at the same time, it would take us
couple of months to really see the results but if we don’t make a start now,
competition will take such steep lead that would be difficult for UPC to catch
My evaluation of the recommendation indicates that 11% manpower could be
reduced but as stated, the approach has to be respectful, constructive, morale
boosting, business oriented and organizational cause preceding any team or
I am with our CEO – Charles Rampart to rebuild the future of UPC, and I
must admit that building a performing organisation from a challenging
competition position is a lifetime memory I want to experience and retain. Let’s
just ensure we execute the strategy well and each of us just performs the role
assigned to us in this exciting journey.
Good Luck !