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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

Case Study: Uponor Group

7 November 2018

At Oliver Wight, we believe in empowering people to change by giving them the tools, skills and knowledge they need to transform their organisations. Our customers include some of the best-known brands in the world from a range of industries and in 2004, one of the biggest names in plastic pipework manufacturing approached Oliver Wight for a solution to a multitude of problems.

Uponor Group has over sixty years’ experience in the industry, and boasts a portfolio which extends over thirty countries and across five continents, with 3,900 employees working to deliver plastic based piping systems for buildings and infrastructure. Uponor’s net annual sales exceeded €1.17 billion in 2017, with the company continuing to make significant investment in R&D to continue their trajectory to success.

However, in 2003, Uponor’s position was radically different; growth was stalling, competitors were hot on its heels and surplus inventories were burning a hole in Uponor’s pocket. Rapid acquisitions in the 1990s might have expanded their portfolio, but with no set foundations on which to formulate multi-organisational business plans, each newly acquired sector of Uponor was left to its own devices and operated as a unified entity in name only. Isolated ways of working were the norm, to the extent that its multiple inter-companies vying for the same clients, and overwriting or underwriting themselves as they unknowingly competed against each other for the same contracts.

Enter, Oliver Wight. Brought on board by a newly appointed Chief Executive Jan Lång, we worked with Uponor to introduce an improvement programme which aimed to consolidate the company from a decentralised group of companies, to a unified organisation operating under a single brand. It was a collaborative effort with world renowned IT providers, Oracle, who implemented a merged IT platform to drive data-sharing across the company.

And it worked. Over the last fourteen years, Uponor has undergone a radical transformation to become a world-class organisation, guided by Oliver Wight, but led by its own people. Elke Beckmann, Director of Integrated Business Management at Uponor Group credits Oliver Wight’s transformative philosophies in helping to reinvigorate the business, with a 50% reduction in inventories, 30% improvement in OTIF and most importantly, in establishing a collaborative way of working across all the subsidiaries of the business.

Uponor’s IBP programme was led by Oliver Wight consultant Birgit Breitschuh.

To read the full case-study, download it here.