Experience across industries

Oxford Consulting Group has assisted software companies, electronics manufacturers, and telecommunications companies grow revenues, gain control of operations, and develop and execute business strategies. Some example projects include:

A large and profitable software firm had added to its executive ranks to accelerate revenue growth; however, an ineffective business strategy combined with poor execution hindered growth and frustrated the executive team and shareholders. OCG worked with the shareholders to establish the scope and goals of a new business strategy, and lead the executive through a series of sessions to define the strategy and delineate the steps necessary to achieve the goals. The revised strategy proved effective in the firm entering a new market and realizing a $7.5M increase in revenue from this market in the first 12 months. The overal impact of the strategy was surpassing the stated goals and setting the firm on a path to record growth. An OCG partner remains on the board of advisors for this firm.

This Canadian software startup grew to over 95 developers in just under 4 years. Rapid growth and founder inexperience lead to escalating development costs, and declining customer satisfaction due to poor software quality. An OCG partner served as CTO to implement professional software development processes, institute appropriate quality assurance processes, and structure the department to align with business priorities. After 9 months as CTO, development velocity increased 25%, development costs declined 15%, and product defect indicators declined by 40%. The OCG partner remains as a regular adviser to the president and new CTO.

This large data communications manufacturer faced a sparse R&D pipeline due to mismanagement and an executive out of touch with its customer base. After three years of declining revenues OCG was engaged to identify the root cause of the problem and create a plan to turnaround the organization. After replacing two executives, OCG guided the re-establishment of the R&D pipeline through partnerships and white-labeling, created detailed tactical plans, implemented a balanced scorecard system for managers and above in the organization, and facilitated executive meetings. After 14 months revenues returned to prior levels, profit and margins reached record levels, and the executive team operated as a cohesive unit.

A successful second generation electronics manufacturer suffered from excessive inventory and WIP costs, and was increasingly uncompetitive in a market with rapidly reducing margins. OCG optimized the manufacturing process including outsourcing of selected modules, a 20% reduction of inventory SKU’s, and a 20% reduction in WIP. OCG implemented a simple Kanban inventory management process and improved executive visibility into the manufacturing process through software automation. OCG was subsequently engaged to assist with integrating two acquired businesses.

Oxford Consulting Group has assisted automotive OEM’s, tier 1 and 2 suppliers, online sales organizations, and leasing companies on a variety of important projects including:

A North American tier 2 automotive supplier was now managed by the second generation of the founding family, with the intent to grow the business. OCG worked with the President and executive team to develop a business strategy to help the manufacturer grow in the face of increasing competitiveness and consolidation in its industry. The company grew from $27M to $315M in revenue over 20 years and is now recognized as a world leader in its field.

This supplier of engine components tripled revenue over five years, but net margin had turned negative and was trending downward.  Oxford Consulting Group was engaged to examine the cost structure of the organization and assemble a plan to return the company to profitability.  OCG designed and implemented a plan to restore profitability and within 2.5 years the company enjoyed record net margin.

A North American luxury vehicle OEM was launching in-vehicle telephony services which required integration between in-vehicle telephony technology, telematics systems, and an existing call center (computer systems and PBX). OCG was engaged to integrate the three technologies, providing the call center with relevant vehicle and customer information upon call setup, bridging disparate communication technologies, and creating a seamless experience for the customer. OCG delivered all services on-time and on-budget, exceeding customer expectations for solution capabilities and service level.

A North American OEM was launching a new vehicle at the North American Auto Show and required kiosks to present the vehicle specifications, multimedia, and configuration options to show visitors. An OCG Partner lead the project and created a highly interactive and polished kiosk for the OEM with minimal lead time. The kiosk launched on-time and was heralded as a success by the brand group and the agency of record for the OEM. The kiosk was subsequently expanded in functionality to offer in-dealership information for walk-ups.

One of North America’s largest automotive OEM’s was launching a new line of vehicles with a large number of RPO codes (and configuration complexity) which exceeded the capabilities of their legacy ordering system. An OCG partner lead the project to provide a comprehensive vehicle configuration, pricing, and ordering system for the OEM. A complete web and PC ordering system was developed and deployed to dealerships across North America, and a call center was established to support dealers in the operation of the system. The system was heralded as a success by the OEM’s Chief Technology Officer and Division President, and the software was delivered on-quality, on-budget, and on time for vehicle line launch.

Oxford Consulting Group has assisted industrial distributors, manufacturers, and their suppliers on a variety of important projects including:

The owner of a regional industrial distributor was in declining health and wished to sell the business he had nurtured and grown over 30 years. OCG developed an 18 month plan to prepare the business for sale, including numerous business optimizations and organizational changes. The OCG partner served as acting President during much of this period, allowing the owner to step away from the business and focus on personal needs. The OCG partner lead the sales process including identifying potential buyers, assisting buyers through valuation, negotiating sales terms, and finally assisting the owner through the transition of ownership.

A parts manufacturer serving the automotive aftermarket was facing challenges in focusing the business on new markets and new opportunities. The long-established management team operated in their comfort zone resulting in acceptable revenue and margins but no growth. OCG worked with the organization to connect the business strategy to tactics at the management level, and defined measures and metrics to assess progress throughout the year. OCG created balanced scorecards for all employees above plant level and established the processes to measure and correct performance on a regular basis, including tying performance to compensation. The project was deemed a success by the President as growth accelerated within 6 months of establishing the balanced scorecard system. OCG remains as an adviser to the organization on executive performance.

A large industrial distributor had suffered from stagnating growth and declining margins for 4 years, and wished to improve profitability and revenue to ensure long-term success of the family business. OCG worked with the owners and management team to identify opportunities within the limitations of their distribution agreements, vertical integration opportunities, and blue sky opportunities made possible by the core competencies of the organization. OCG developed a strategy which balanced the risk profile of the owners with the goals sought, and assisted the organization in implementing the strategy. After 20 months revenue had increased 15% and profitability had increased 4%, and the owners were satisfied that the incurred business risk did not exceed their comfort threshold.

A successful international hard goods manufacturer invested millions of dollars in a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system but the owners grew increasingly concerned as project milestones were missed. When the project was 8 months late, functionality was not as promised/expected, and integrator billings were 40% over budget, OCG was engaged to bring the project under control. OCG compared requested functionality to that delivered, documented unmet needs, assessed business impact, projected time and costs remaining, and replanned the project. OCG managed the remainder of the project including negotiating substantial additional work from the integrator without cost to the client, redesigning business processes to compensate for functionality which could not be delivered, and completing the project to the satisfaction of the owners.

OCG has assisted commercial print, label print, folding carton, packaging, and display companies develop and execute business strategies, automate business processes, and build new revenue streams. Some of the important projects OCG has undertaken include:

A large commercial printer with a presence across Central and Eastern Canada was facing declining margins and required assistance in developing a business strategy to turn around this trend. OCG lead the organization through a strategic planning process and introduced best practices from within and outside the industry, rethinking all aspects of the service offering from pricing to delivery. OCG assisted the organization in implementing major process changes and oversaw the execution of major tactics over a period of 18 months. The changes turned around the declining margins and also increased revenue from existing customers by over 20%.

One of Canada’s most successful packaging and display companies sought to accelerate growth and preserve margins in the face of considerable change in the industry. OCG lead the organization through a comprehensive strategic planning process, defined tactics at the executive level, and supported the executive team throughout the year through one-on-one coaching. By facilitating regular executive sessions OCG kept the organization focused on critical tactics and ensured accountability for all tactics. OCG repeated this process for 4 years helping the organization achieve record revenues and earn industry and national recognition.

A successful regional folding carton company had achieved international recognition as a progressive and innovative organization, and undertook a large Enterprise Resource Planning software integration project the prior year to help it maintain its base of large and prominent accounts. The software integration had gone poorly and the organization found itself unable to manufacture the right product, ship product to the right customers, and even invoice correctly for those shipments. OCG assisted the organization by introducing manual workarounds to system inadequacies, managed a corrective action project to adjust major software deficiencies, brought the software and integration vendors back to the table to correct their failures, and negotiated terms of the corrective action including no additional vendor charges to the client.

A regional packaging business serving some of Canada’s largest retailers and consumer packaged goods companies recognized an opportunity to grow market share through embracing sustainability. OCG lead the business through a sustainability planning exercise and developed a comprehensive plan to reduce water and energy consumption as well as reduce waste. By incorporating sustainability messaging into external communications, OCG assisted the business in being recognized as an environmental leader in the industry. The project improved not only the business’ environmental footprint but also its top and bottom lines as it garnered new opportunities from existing and new clients.

OCG has assisted federal, provincial, state, and municipal governments develop business plans, improve operations, technology-enable services, and do more with less. Some of the important projects OCG has lead include:

The government of a large Canadian city wished to ensure it was delivering optimal value to its citizens by conducting a review of its municipal operations and making recommendations in areas that required improvement to efficiently and effectively deliver the services required by the community in a manner consistent with Council’s objectives. The review involved a series of facilitated analysis and assessment sessions with Council and the senior management team, interviews with selected community stakeholders, and introduction of best practices and benchmarks from comparable municipalities. The resulting Management Plan was accepted by Council and OCG was engaged to assist with implementation.

Multiple levels of government, regional health providers, and a national safety organization needed to advance a program regarding road safety while finding common ground to ensure alignment with each of their organization’s mandates. OCG worked with each of the organizations in advance to identify common goals, fit with new and existing programs, and desired outcomes which would create a mutual win. OCG subsequently facilitated a conference for representatives from the various organizations which lead to an agreement on mandate, goals for a 36 month period, and defined subgroups to realize each of the goals. OCG was subsequently engaged to work with each of the subgroups to ensure the program realized its goals and funding continued. The program was successful and at 30 months all prescribed goals had been achieved.

This provincial ministry had leveraged IT extensively over many years, but the entrepreneurial approach to IT within the ministry resulted in a disjointed and difficult to manage IT infrastructure. OCG was engaged to build a comprehensive view of the current infrastructure, build awareness and consensus towards a common set of future standards, and chair a committee to move the ministry towards those standards. OCG subsequently developed a migration plan for the ministry and was retained to chair the migration committee. After 36 months the ministry had made substantial progress towards common platforms, established shared platform operating teams, reduced operating costs, and held all new IT projects to a set of common infrastructure standards.

A group of 34 senior decision makers from across Canada needed to derive business priorities and a business plan for a shared services organization. OCG lead the group through common activities and then worked with breakout teams during a 2 day offsite exercise. By introducing subject matter experts, leveraging real-time surveys, and facilitating challenging discussions, the group exceeded their workshop objectives and reached consensus on all critical issues. Within 90 days of the workshop the group delivered the first draft of a shared services business plan and was ready to present the plan for approval.

OCG has assisted law firms, management consulting firms, accounting firms, and engineering consulting firms improve operations, technology-enable services to their clients, and build new revenue streams. Some of the important projects OCG has led include:

One of North America’s largest management consulting firms was undertaking an operational review of a branch of a federal agency and required expertise with both the federal government and the nature of services offered by the branch. OCG was engaged to assist the consulting firm, leading the review of people, processes, and systems in one branch of the agency. An OCG Partner served as “Engagement Manager”, leading a team of sub-contractors and client (consulting firm) resources to form the service delivery team. The project was delivered on-time and on-quality, contributing to a highly successful and profitable project for the client. OCG was subsequently engaged by this management consulting firm for similar work and continues to be a business partner to this firm.

This engineering consulting firm had become one of the largest in the nation and was expanding abroad. Despite sales growth, the organization was struggling with a failing technology infrastructure, an ineffective IT Department, and consulting professionals hindered by a lack of effective technology. An OCG Partner served as CIO for the firm over a period of 8 months to develop an IT Strategy, adjust IT staff, select professional services automation and accounting systems, and establish formal processes to guide the IT Department to a level of performance and professionalism demanded by a successful consulting firm. The project was deemed a success by the President, setting the IT Department on a course to delivering great value for the firm.

A large and successful Canadian law firm recognized that competitors were realizing superior efficiency gains through automation and it needed to embrace technology to remain competitive. OCG was engaged to develop an IT Strategy for the firm and guide its implementation over the following 18 months. This project involved selecting and implementing practice support, document management, and accounting software, as well as managing training and leading change management for the firm. The project was heralded as a success by the managing partner, with lawyer and staff efficiency increasing noticeably over the 18 months.

A large consulting firm had selected a new financial package to replace an aging and inadequate system. Although the new software vendor and integrator were known brands, the project failed to meet major milestones and budget was tracking to exceed $1 million with less than 50% of the software operational. After missing numerous milestones the project was placed on hold and OCG was engaged to conduct a project review. OCG examined the software vendor and integrator performance compared to original project plans and budgets, and subsequently created a realistic timeline and budget for the project to complete. Identifying substantial under-performance on the part of the software vendor and integrator, OCG negotiated a financially beneficial unwind of the project contract, and assisted the client in the selection of a new software package and qualified integrator.

Oxford Consulting Group has assisted independent newspapers, newspaper chains, radio, and new media properties on a variety of important projects including:

One of the USA’s fastest (and only) growing newspaper chains was looking to integrate disparate IT systems, processes, and organizational units from newly acquired properties. OCG was engaged to develop an IT strategy for the chain which defined IT goals, organization structure, critical processes, shared systems, etc. and delineate the selection and deployment of systems over a 24 month period. OCG delivered the plan, earned financial approvals, and initiated implementation of the plan. OCG was subsequently engaged to recruit a full-time CIO for the chain and transition the execution of the plan to the new CIO.

In an industry undergoing rapid consolidation, one of the few remaining large independent newspaper properties chose to put itself on the market. OCG was engaged to assist with preparing aspects of the property for sale, including improving business processes, optimizing operating costs, and mitigating business risks. OCG assisted with the completion of the sale and was subsequently engaged by the acquiring organization to assist with integration of the new property with the rest of the chain. OCG continued to work with the management of the acquiring organization on a variety of related and unrelated projects.

A North American newspaper chain was dissatisfied with the value and features of off-the-shelf display and classified systems and decided to build their own. After years of slow progress and technical challenges, OCG was engaged to assist with bringing the project to fruition. OCG lead the redesign of the system, engaged qualified contractors to complete large outstanding pieces, managed the development phase to completion, planned and executed deployment of the system, and lead the change management exercise as the organization migrated a variety of interconnected business processes to the new system.

Knowledge transcends experience