mmc AG supported Vanderbilt International in the transformation from an integrated part of a global cooperation into a standalone medium-sized company – after the acquisition of the security business from the Siemens AG.
Interview with Joe Grillo, CEO of Vanderbilt International and CEO of ACRE, a global investor in security business
Mr. Grillo, what kind of issues did you address with the consulting project with mmc AG?
In 2015, we acquired the security business from Siemens AG, a large conglomerate. So its processes and organization were shaped for the needs of a large global corporation. But we had to transform the company to a standalone medium-sized business and find the suitable organization forms and the right size for the company and its resources. During the project, we focused on sales and sales supporting tasks including service – but also took a look into all other functions.
Why did you engage mmc AG for the project?
Basically we had good prior experience with them from a former project in the IT sector – so we had already some personal contacts. The team mmc presented for this more strategic task was convincing. Also they are located close to our headquarter in Wiesbaden.
What was their specific approach?
mmc was talking to a very wide range of people in our organization all over Europe. They succeeded in getting people to open up and talk frankly. Additionally they made a few but very focused analyzes and provided the right methodology.
What were the major recommendations?
At the end it was all about market focus reflected in new organization and streamlined processes. We had to strengthen our pre-sales activities and reduce unnecessary after-sales activities. Also we found some good people in the organization, some mediocre ones and some low performers and took the necessary actions.
How did you implement the recommendations?
mmc supported our Senior Management Team (called ExCom) with the right information to prepare decisions – and we made quick decisions and implemented them consequently. They also helped us convince local management in our major sales locations all over Europe by conducting intensive workshops with them to prepare a smooth implementation of all changes. On specific issues like Supply Chain Management, they developed better solutions together with responsible managers.
What are the results so far?
Already in 2016 but especially in 2017 we achieved a significantly lower cost structure and realized profit – at the same time with better service levels to our customers. We completely rebuilt several functions, hired some very good managers and reshaped the organization.
What was special about mmc from your point of view?
They showed up with the right size of the team, a small number of seniors who succeeded in building a close relationship to our decision makers – I would call it „customer intimacy“. The approach was personalized to fit our needs – no „standard formula out of a book.“ As all of the mmc team were experienced and senior partner-level people they gave us a lot of surprising ideas and inputs to open ourselves to.
Thank you, Mr. Grillo, for your account on working with mmc and the thorough observations on your most recent project. I wish you and Vanderbilt International all the best for the future.