Recent Placements

A membership organisation with over a million members needed a Financial Controller to help with the transition from a monolithic finance department to a service-based finance department. Z/Yen's financial controller provided eight months of assistance to the finance director. His work included coaching the finance director through the changes, leading outsourcing projects, redrafting procedures, redesigning the regional management information systems and retraining the finance team. Due to his efforts, the transition was made in eight months rather than the original plan of eighteen, and the department was delivering a much better service with fewer staff.

For this large, international technology corporation Z/Yen provided a Commercial Director responsible for sales and marketing to a large commercial sector. The products and services were complex, the corporation large and bureaucratic. Clients found that dealing with one sector of the corporation did not mean they were supported by other sectors. Our Expert created a pan-corporate project management unit to focus on solving client problems while integrating sectoral delivery. Sales to the commercial sector rocketed by 400% over 18 months.

A large business services organisation needed a Sales and Marketing Director at a time of tremendous change. Z/Yen's Expert needed to build a sales and marketing team in a short space of time in order to increase sales rapidly. Our Expert set out the sales and marketing strategy, supplemented by market research. While building up the sales infrastructure of marketing materials, website, contact management and bid documentation, he also set about hiring a team of 15 business development managers and their support staff. Annual sales were raised in one year by 50%. Using his hard-won, competitive bid experiences, our Expert then moved on to identifying key acquisitions and helped to consolidate the business service firm's competitive position.

A major logistics company was failing to deliver and needed an interim Logistics Director. Over 800 vehicles and 2,000 staff had become used to an informal management system which meant that the company was failing to meet key performance indicators for major accounts. Z/Yen's operations expert quickly came to terms with leading his team. His first major programme was a quality management programme throughout the company. This was followed by closer integration with the sales department to ensure major account promises would be kept. After 18 months, performance was so markedly improved that the firm was valued at three times what it had been earlier, and sold successfully to new investors. Z/Yen stayed on for a further three months to ensure a smooth transition.

One charity needed a part-time Treasurer to ensure that they were financially aware and under control. Z/Yen was able to provide a financially qualified MBA who sought part-time work in order to build up her expertise. She was able to work a few days per month and attend board meetings so that the Trustees were comfortable with the financial position of the charity. One of her major achievements was implementing a budgeting system at the charity which they continue to use several years later. As Z/Yen provides a standard discount to the voluntary sector and as the Z/Yen expert was clearly learning from the assignment, the rates were very competitive. The charity was able to have an extremely well-qualified, hands-on financial person for just the amount of time they needed.

A Z/Yen client was installing a major CRM system - 1,500 users, millions of records, new architecture, new business processes. Z/Yen believed it was in the client's best interest to temporarily strengthen their project management for such a large project or the software would be supplied but not meet the business need. Unfortunately, the client's management team was already stretched. Z/Yen provided a Senior IT Project Manager who took over the two-year project. She led a large team of staff, contractors and suppliers through an enormous systems design, development and roll-out, bringing in specific Z/Yen specialists in contracting, networks, software and change management as needed. The project was delivered on-time and on-budget. Subsequently, the CRM system has been declared the "core" system of the organisation and is being rolled out to a further 2,400 staff.

An IT department of 30 people was inherited by an Administrative Director with no knowledge of IT. Having reviewed the situation, Z/Yen concluded that an IT Manager could manage the department without having to recruit a specialist IT director. However, the department needed to be brought under management quickly. Z/Yen's IT Manager was running the department within days, stabilising the team and then laying out a longer-term strategy while the client began their recruitment process. Repeated difficulties hiring the right IT manager in a tough market meant that it took over a year to find a permanent person. During that period, Z/Yen's IT manager was able to increase user satisfaction by 20%, reduce the budget by 15% and reduce the headcount to 22 while improving all key performance measures. Upon arrival, the new IT Manager was able to focus on new initiatives rather than fire-fighting.

A large client was failing to deliver financial, IT, marketing and change management projects. Projects were very late, substantially over budget and not satisfying their target users. Following a review, Z/Yen recommended the formation of a formal Project Support Office (PSO) headed by a Programme Manager. In discussion with the client, Z/Yen also recommended the use of interim skills to get the PSO up and running. Z/Yen's first Programme Manager worked over six months to set out the PSO's policies, procedures, methodology, reporting, staffing and training. He drew on his extensive formal project management and business process development skills, e.g. PRINCE. As the post was new, Z/Yen convinced the client that he should be followed by a hardened Programme Manager before seeking a full-time person. Z/Yen's second Programme Manager succeeded in transforming the client's culture from operationally-based to project-based over the following 12 months. With a successful PSO running well, and a much better idea of the personality requirements, the client was able to specify the requirement for a full-time person more accurately and show candidates the appeal of the position.

A client with a distributed structure, 12 regions, 1,400 branches, was considering the implementation of a new telephone system and associated telecommunications. Z/Yen was able to provide a Telecommunications Manager who worked with the client over 18 months to specify, select, negotiate and manage the installation of an entirely new telephone and telecommunications infrastructure, working to the Communications Director. Z/Yen's expert brought in specific training specialists to help staff understand both the new system, but also use this opportunity to provide customer service refresher courses. He also helped our client rationalise contracts with telco's, personal digital assistant suppliers and maintenance organisations. Finally, having renewed the infrastructure, he worked with the client and other Z/Yen technology experts to set out a new strategy for mobile and home working using the latest wireless and security technologies.

A construction company with two owner/directors sought to prepare itself for sale. Z/Yen provided a Non-executive Director who worked with the two owners as a coach. The non-executive director functioned as a sounding board for general management issues, but brought particular expertise in raising finance and marketing. He worked to get the management team to be more systematic about their sales and marketing processes as an important precursor to proving to investors that income was well-managed. He also structured their board meetings and finance so that investors could have a record of the company's development. He introduced them to a variety of professional contacts which expanded their understanding of construction and facilities management, as well as the pro's and con's of trade sale, MBO and exchange listings. The firm is now poised for sale.

A Z/Yen client had a disorganised and demoralised human resources (HR) department. Staff in the HR department were unsure of their roles and responsibilities. Staff who needed HR services complained of problems with benefits, difficulties in hiring staff, poor advice on consultation and repeated mistakes on payroll and expenses. Z/Yen introduced a part-time Human Resources Advisor who worked with the department to put some basic systems and procedures in place. The HR Advisor used the idea of having the team build a "business management system" manual together in order to start them down the road of being more organised. The part-time advice enabled the team to pull together and sped up the results gained from hiring a new departmental manager six months later.

Z/Yen conducted a research project with a software company for an innovative piece of software with applications in a number of sectors as diverse as R&D, financial markets and consumer electronics. The research project led to a technology commercialisation strategy focused on medical imaging. However, the software seemed to be always 95% complete, and had been so for over 18 months. Z/Yen provided a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who worked with the company over nine months. The CTO needed a broad range of skills in mathematics, software development, operating systems, statistics, imaging, security and the general software industry. In nine months he succeeded in delivering a working product which was loaded directly for end-users via CD-ROM in a Windows environment. He also delivered a working medical imagery system, a "technology demonstrator", which went immediately into successful medical trials.

Our client had outsourced a large call-centre operation handling millions of calls. Following a value-for-money review by Z/Yen, a number of changes were recommended. One major change was to renegotiate the contract with the supplier. Z/Yen provided a Contract Negotiator who worked with the client and the supplier to establish an improved, more professional working relationship. Our expert provided a contract template, model service level agreements, an initial key performance measures reporting package and service quality questionnaires. In a tricky environment, he succeeded in getting the relationship onto a more professional footing without disturbing some of the successful, if accidental, best practices which had evolved.

A large consumer goods company needed a Turnaround Specialist to join a new management team as Marketing Director. The company had large debts, negative cashflow and was loosing money rapidly. Our Expert developed and successfully implemented a strategy for reducing stock levels by 50% (£12m) within one year. A new marketing strategy was developed and approved. This involved market segmentation, the development of new products for profitable sectors, the launch of a new brand and the restructuring of all sales and marketing activities. The business plan, developed from the marketing strategy, showed that a return to positive cashflow and profitability was possible. The strategy was approved by the company's banks and implemented. The company was able to pay back over 50% of its debts within one year and long term financing was secured.