cultural due diligence 760x212 photo boeing 747 400 large 300x84 - Vector Group and British Airways

British Airways – Worldwide

Organizational Transformation

We enjoyed a long-term, ongoing relationship with British Airways dating back to 1984. In 1992-93 we implemented a series of strategic initiatives throughout the airline encompassing senior level executives, mid-level managers, front line supervisors as well as the rank-and-file. Intensive efforts launched in BA’s cargo division launched the creation of culture and values needed to support their business strategies focusing on quality and continuous improvement. These interventions included such programs as Managing Quality (for all managers through the executive team); Leading Continuous Improvement (front line supervisors); and Leading Continuous Improvement (upper level managers and senior team); and Achieving Quality (staff). The staff Achieving Quality programs generated over 2,000 continuous improvement suggestions.

Another airline-wide strategic initiative began in 1993-94. BA had been on their quality journey since 1981 and Managing Winners was a continuation in refining their quality efforts. BA’s top 4,500 managers attended the program over its 16 month run. The program was to achieve understanding of what quality really means in a service business; to introduce BA’s Quality Framework; and to engage managers in rethinking and re-prioritizing their practices toward service quality as a key British Airways’ business strategy.

One of these projects was working with the reorganization of BA WorldCargo, the Americas (Canada, US, Central and South America) and central Europe. Vector Group helped British Airways’ 5,000 person World Cargo freight division reverse a 10 year record of increasing costs and diminishing profits. It was languishing in spiraling costs and failing in its global strategy to deliver cargo as promised to its customers. We led an organizational analysis determining driving causes, conceptualized and implemented a multi-faceted series of interventions geared to improve delivery as promised, increasing profits and driving down costs. We drove for results from the shop floor to the executive suite gaining the full commitment of organizational members and improved cargo delivery over 200% across the global system.

Outcomes included full, current understanding of The Americas situation across the board; articulation of an initial mission statement, strategic goals and values; description of short- and long-term visions for the Americas; alternative organizational structures in order to achieve revenue targets and strategic goals.

Concurrently, we helped redesign critical processes (re-engineering) within Cargo operations at the Heathrow Airport hub using a number of process mapping tools. The top management team realized they were no longer able was unable to map out the entire process of moving a box from Detroit through Heathrow (London) and on to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Vector Group assessment team successfully mapped  the process along with the accompanying paperwork trail and international documentation requirements – highlighting a number of road blocks and  constriction points that resulted in too many late deliveries of cargo. This led to the creation of staff-level “tiger teams” or ad hoc task teams that dealt with the operational challenges Vector Group uncovered.

Successful implementation of many change initiatives took place with the help of these rank-and- file task teams. As a part of this process the Managing Director realized that he and his team needed to better understand the impact the Executives were having on the work throughout the world wide organization.   We developed a new proprietary process called Management Mirror to do an in-depth assessment of the Cargo executive team and its impact individually and collectively on the organization. In addition we  conducted intensive on-site, real-time coaching for Hub Managers at Heathrow operations on a 24/7 basis throughout the transition period.

In 1997 we began a major change effort for British Airways Sales Division on a world-wide basis that realigned culture and infrastructure with a new corporate strategy. We successfully completed the transformation in 1999.