Every business would love to be future-proof, but often the day-to-day challenges of running an organization are so great that they can seem like an insurmountable task. Potential issues that are on every organization’s mind right now are: rising inflation, Russian sanctions, supply chain issues and rising customer expectations.
By failing to address these challenges, organizations run the risk of falling short of expectations and, in the worst case scenario, not having the ability to compete in the marketplace.
It’s a common conundrum, and one that Gene Leonard, managing director of Limerick-based management consultancy LBSPartners, says will only grow more pressing as companies brace for further external ‘shocks’ to follow in the wake of Covid, rising inflation and globalisation.
For 20 years now, LBSPartners has been at the forefront of delivering smart and sustainable business solutions to a wide range of clients in Ireland, UK and USA.
The prestigious business consultancy firm’s 30-person team offers leadership and operational excellence training, specializing in the areas of digitalization, business excellence, sustainability and strategic direction.
“There are more shocks to come,” Leonard said. “Organizations are going to have to become very nimble and almost able to see potential issues that they might face. They need to be flexible enough to be able to deal with all the different challenges that are going to come up and the question is how do you get an entire organization comfortable with that amount of change, while still operating in a very predictable way? every day they’re delivering a great product or service on time, all the time?
“It’s really about aligning the thinking across the organization, but also being flexible enough to respond to those kinds of shocks – that’s what we spend our time focusing on.”
LBSPartners works closely with its clients to help them transform into the streamlined and efficient operation they aspire to, guiding them in developing skills and techniques to become more efficient, productive and profitable to meet the proposition. of value they offer to their customers. It also works with Enterprise Ireland and IDA to help them support their work and achieve optimal results in the businesses they support.
And, with extensive experience in a wide range of industries – including engineering, pharmaceutical, medical devices, food, IT and contact centers – LBS experts are not only well placed to identify the most important problems faced by customers, but also how best to solve them.
Leonard said: “What I see, and what I see more and more these days, is people working harder and harder, but they’re not as organized as they should be. to be. They’re getting busier and yet they feel like they’re accomplishing less and less, and it doesn’t have to be that way. As an organization, we try to help in various aspects to make it easier for them to achieve their goals. »
Sometimes that means working closely with leadership teams to enable them to better articulate their vision for the organization and coordinate their resources more precisely to achieve it. In other cases, it might be necessary to carry out a more extensive transformation, examining how best to integrate new technologies to make the company more effective and efficient.
“We often work with clients on learning and developing around operational excellence and leadership within their organization, helping them become a high performing team,” he said.
He compared the role of LBS to that of a head coach, working on many aspects of an organization to help them maximize their potential and, just like with a sports team, this is always done with the awareness that each team, even each individual player, will require their own bespoke solution.
The business advisory firm is currently working with several major clients in the life science, medical device, pharmaceutical and biopharma industries, where the demands of the past few years have created different strains and constraints to manage.
“New technology has brought new possibilities in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical division, but to achieve this, pharmaceutical companies need to bring their drugs to market much more efficiently,” Leonard said.
“They have very sophisticated and highly regulated supply chains, so coordinating this type of process – while being able to meet their regulations and their regulatory environment – has to be done in a very safe way all the time.”
Within the software and computing industry, a common problem faced by LBS is enabling those who write the software to also address the challenges presented by other aspects of the business, such as coordinating the customer support, marketing, etc. This often means working with large multinational clients who work in multiple markets around the world. “It’s a very complicated business to coordinate all of this activity and that’s where they come to us for help,” Leonard said.
Other clients include energy trading platforms and writers of complex web systems. “A lot of times their mindset is ‘how to write the software,'” he said. “We’re the ones who can help with all that coordination that they don’t really have time to think about – because we think about it every day.”
Recruitment is one area that can transform an organization’s productivity, but there is a common pitfall that many employers fall into. “A lot of people still think recruiting is about getting the right technical skills, but for us it’s more important to have people with the right attitude, curiosity and the innate ability to work as a team,” Leonard said. .
“If people come in with the right attitude and fit into the organization, you can teach them almost anything. You want them to come in with a technical skill, but most organizations forget that part and almost recruit by experience on a resume.They are more interested in where people have worked and what they could have accomplished than what they are capable of.
With over two decades of experience, LBS is adept at helping organizations recruit or transition existing talent into leadership roles. The company works intensively with management on how to coordinate and delegate effectively, how to set up good processes and how to make these processes visible.
“If we can make all the work of an organization visible, then it’s much easier for leaders to step in, delegate, and coach effectively,” Leonard said.
Business consulting operates in an interesting space between common issues repeatedly encountered across industries over time and new, developing challenges like the pivot to hybrid working and many of the issues facing supply chains. world.
As the world of work moves increasingly online, mastering digitalization has become a critical area of concern for many companies.
“Technology is coming into organizations at a breakneck pace and many companies are buying this technology, but not fully understanding how to truly embed it into the workings of their processes,” Leonard said. “We can help people integrate all the different solutions they have into an integrated platform that fits the business and takes full advantage of the technology.”
Leonard created LBS with his colleague, former financial controller, Mike Cunningham, who sadly passed away several years ago, after the duo worked with a series of successful American multinationals. “We loved helping organizations improve their processes, so we set up a consultancy to see if we could bring that kind of thinking that we had learned,” he said.
Twenty years later, he is equally passionate about how LBS can help businesses reach their potential.
“I love seeing a team of people start unlocking potential they didn’t know they had. When they understand themselves better or have seen a way to work more efficiently and understand how to provide a better customer experience. It’s great and I’m very happy that we can contribute to help them achieve this goal.