How does Dätwyler’s competence centre increase agility in a long-established company?

How does Dätwyler’s competence centre increase agility in a long-established company?

It is particularly interesting to see agile transformations take place in companies with a long tradition. In a previous blog post, we reported on an agile transformation at one such company, the Dutch banking group ING. In March, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung published an article on Dätwyler, describing its quest for agility.

Dätwyler is a company with a long history, spanning over 100 years. Plans for an agile transformation – faster channels of communication, shorter decision paths, more self-determination and more individual responsibility – can be made quickly, but it’s the implementation that is crucial. In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung article, Dätwyler CEO Dirk Lambrecht talks about studies which show that agile companies outperform companies with an inflexible organisational structure, achieving around five times better sales growth and margins.

New competence centre for an agile work culture

He noted that, in the past, the company was too slow to respond to market trends. This had an impact on the financials: after a significant decline in 2015, sales stagnated. It was for this reason that, a year ago, the Urn-based conglomerate launched its project to build a competence centre in Manchester, as a new addition to its existing sites. The aim was to promote an agile work culture, thanks to the physical proximity of employees. If employees can communicate with one another more quickly and directly, i.e. without lengthy email chains, business problems will be addressed more quickly and will therefore be solved more efficiently. The competence centre in Manchester also stands out visually from the company’s other locations. The centre is known as the Enterprise Hub and is an open-plan office with a games area, a pool table and a communal kitchen.

Increase in turnover thanks to a change in company culture

Now, one year on, Dätwyler conducts all of its online marketing from Manchester and designs individual web pages here. The effect that the transformation will have on Dätwyler’s business figures remains to be seen. However, in August 2017, the company was already reporting an increase in turnover and was confident of maintaining this growth in the second half of the financial year.

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