Case study: Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon

20 Mar 2019


Throughout our 50-year history as business transformation specialists, we’ve worked tens of dozens of companies from across a spectrum of sectors, including chemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing, helping to elevate performance, motivate cultural change and enable sustainable success. In December 2018, one of our customers – Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon, a leading hydroelectric turbine and engine cooling pump manufacturer – was awarded Class A in Planning & Control, with the company closing the year with increased projected profits of 550 percent and a forecast of a 24 percent increase in sales in 2019.

Gilkes’ balanced books, a recognised reputation as a global go-to hydroelectric turbine and cooling pump specialist, and expansion into new territories was evidence of its burgeoning success. However, it also served to quietly shield decades of detrimental operational processes, inherited business practices and crucially, a company divided deeply in two. Just two years ago, Gilkes’ 160-year legacy was fractured by operational discord, with the separation of its two divisions – hydroelectric and engine cooling pumps – hampering any opportunities for tangible growth.

Enter, Oliver Wight. Brought on board by Andy Poole – Gilkes’ CEO – we worked with Gilkes to design and implement an improvement programme aiming to bring together the two disjointed divisions, as well as streamlining processes and enabling the creation of forecasts to faciltate new growth. Over two years, Gilkes embarked on its transformation journey – guided by an Oliver Wight consultant but led by its own people, Gilkes implemented Planning & Control across the organisation.

However, Gilkes’ journey to transformation wasn’t without roadblocks. Initially, a lack of absolute authority meant that Poole was met with a wall of resistance from the hydro division, as the Planning & Control programme was viewed as a ‘pumps initiative’. Additionally, once everyone was finally on board and implementation gained traction, it was swiftly stopped in its tracks by confusion surrounding IBP review meetings. Through collaboration and some out-the-box-thinking, the leadership team developed a solution which gave them the guidance and direction they need to continue with the process.

Now, having achieved Class A in Planning & Control, Gilkes is looking to Class A in Integrated Business Planning as the next step, as well as continuing to plan for its future. It plans to strengthen its position as a leading manufacturer of hydroelectric turbines and pumps through innovation and exploration of opportunities, particularly in the hydroelectric turbine sector.

Gilkes’ IBP programme was led by Oliver Wight Associate, Dawn Howarth.

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