COVID’s effects are undeniable for Flowtherm; it forced them to reassess how they approached business, culture and process, and they aren’t looking back.
The silver lining for what was a catastrophic climate shift for some businesses shined bright for Flowthem, who used the opportunity to transform into a customer-first, flexible, agile, and responsive collaborator.
“We were in a situation where the old model stopped working for us- and started working against us.” Says Flowtherm CEO Lee Knight. “We were being stifled by partnerships, which, although looked good on paper, didn’t allow us to provide the customer with what they actually needed.”
The solution was Flowtherm’s ‘Options and Solutions’, a bold strategy focusing on innovation and customer satisfaction, not just productivity and efficiency. Flowtherm’s mission and purpose are to provide customers with a tailored choice of process equipment and services.
This agile strategy shift not only transformed how Flowtherm operated but also the internal culture of the business itself.
“Our management focus shifted; it became more about empowering employees so they could give customers the solutions they actually needed.” Says Knight.
This change empowered employees to assist customers on a 360-degree basis, working as consultants, problem solvers and service providers, not just a fit-for-purpose sales arm.
The principles of digital-age management are the opposite of those of the industrial era. “We’ve created a fun and natural way for humans to work, allowing humans to be human. The production line no longer dictates our internal culture,” says Knight. “We aren’t soldiers of capitalism and slaves to the stakeholder; we adapt to the work, not the process.”
Knight believes another catalyst for change was Covid-19. “It forced our senior managers to be more agile and responsive and to gain a better understanding of the needs of our employees. We needed to make decisions quickly, without going through the traditional approvals process, with all senior leaders sat in one room.”
The long-term effects of Covid-19 on the Flowtherms workplace is an environment where teams work together in an open, transparent way—that’s provided improved communication and collaboration between employees, which in turn will lead to higher productivity, increased customer satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
Modern digital-age management is about leadership, not control. It’s about empowering employees and providing them with a voice in decision-making. Knight believes the critical tenants to Flowtherm’s strategy success hinge on principles of trust, empowerment, collaboration and transparency at all levels.
For companies in the manufacturing industry to stay competitive in this fast-paced world, they need to adopt new methods of production to provide their customers with the products they want faster than ever before. Business and staff management’s hierarchical, post-industrial, bureaucratic styles are no longer feasible in this new world order. Future forward manufacturing strategies are being run as flat structures with no hierarchy or bureaucracy.
Flowtherm’s, ‘Options and Solutions’ strategy provides customers with fluid problem-solving solutions. Knight said, “Our customers told us their problems, and we listened. It’s something we’re really proud of.”