In 2018, Celemi Global is launching a knowledge sharing project with the goal of offering a common platform and start a conversation with industry experts on the ongoing trends, starting with profitable growth, the holy grail of every organization. The importance of profitable growth is even greater in today’s international scene, where competition is getting fiercer as emerging-market companies go global and technology enables firms to expand into new fields quicker than ever before.

Growth can certainly look very different within each organization. While at first glance the term might only be associated with profits, the approach to a sustained healthy growth is a process that develops organically and covers all aspect of a company. In a rapidly changing business environment such as the current one, management teams are increasingly focused on choosing the most effective strategy to ensure the company is thriving; people teams are preoccupied with providing their colleagues with the best tools to increase productivity and financial teams feel the pressure of being the only ones managing cash flows and P&Ls, in what sometimes feels like a lonely position.

Considering the issue from a general management perspective, Xavier Tardy, head of finance at Airbus Military Aircraft, in 2016 focused the company’s attention to increasing the weight of cash as a key performance indicator and launched a strategy change towards a real cash culture. The strategy alone was surely a big step in the right direction, but the real challenge was to enable all the employees to understand and implement this change. “We have discovered that everybody understands what cash is, but when it comes to the real drivers – working capital, accounts receivable, inventories and the like – people don’t share the same understanding.” Through a Celemi designed learning journey, within just one year over 3000 Airbus employees in 4 countries reached a level of strategic understanding about how improvements in cash will impact the future of the entire company.

When balancing company growth and people’s development, it is especially interesting to see how organizations rely on their sales team but sometimes fail to include all employees in the decision process, regardless of their position. To gain a competitive edge and stay profitable, ABB Power Technologies (a division of the ABB Group) decided to train its manufacturing workforce to think like management. The manufacturing facility in Alamo, Tennessee was able to reach double-digit productivity gains every year for the previous 5 years, but ABB Alamo recognized that neither the programs nor the healthy numbers would be sustainable without the support of a knowledgeable, business savvy workforce. This has led directly to what ABB Alamo describes as a “sense of employee and manager pride that seems unparalleled in manufacturing today.”

Shifting towards a more finance-oriented point of view, one of the global fashion retail giants has recently made the shift from wholesale to retail business model. Their internal finance team found that they could not afford to drive the change alone, as different departments were unsure of their role in the new process and the company wanted to avoid internal clashes impacting the bottom line. The Learning & Development Manager therefore reached out to Celemi to build opportunities for employees to better understand how their daily actions reflect on costs and margins through Celemi’s Apples & Oranges™ business simulation. Thanks to this initiative the employees and therefore the company improved their internal communication and quickly made the most of the newly adopted retail business model.

What links all these companies’ endeavors is the determination to engage their workforce around a common challenge, going above and beyond to improve awareness and increase knowledge to operate as one in obtaining profitable growth.

To continuously better understand what are the challenges and opportunities in times of transformation, during this project we want to reach out to all like-minded professionals. We would like to hear the different challenge you face and invite you into our community for interesting events in your area!