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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Workforce Restructuring in the Aerospace Sector

Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Restructuring to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: The organization is a leading aerospace component manufacturer facing significant margin pressures due to a bloated organizational structure and increased competition.

With a workforce that has not been optimized for current market realities, the organization is struggling to align its talent and cost structures with its strategic objectives. The organization has identified a need to undergo a comprehensive restructuring to remain competitive and ensure long-term sustainability.

The initial understanding of the organization's challenges suggests 2 primary hypotheses. Firstly, that there may be a misalignment between the workforce capabilities and the strategic priorities of the organization, and secondly, that the current cost structure may not be sustainable given the competitive pressures in the aerospace industry.

Strategic Analysis and Execution

To navigate the complexities of Workforce Restructuring, we recommend a tailored five-phase process that draws on best practices in Strategic Workforce Planning and Organizational Design. This methodology will allow the company to systematically evaluate and transform its workforce to meet current and future business demands, yielding increased operational efficiency and cost savings.

  1. Workforce Assessment: Identify core competencies and roles critical to the organization's strategy. Analyze current workforce demographics, skills, and costs.
  2. Strategic Workforce Planning: Align workforce requirements with strategic business objectives. Model future scenarios and workforce implications.
  3. Organizational Design: Develop an optimized organizational structure. Define roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships.
  4. Implementation Planning: Create detailed action plans for transition. Address human capital considerations and change management strategies.
  5. Performance Tracking: Establish metrics for success and monitor progress. Adjust plans based on performance data and feedback loops.

Learn more about Organizational Design Change Management Core Competencies

For effective implementation, take a look at these Restructuring best practices:

Smart Organizational Design (27-slide PowerPoint deck)
Strategic Restructuring: Critical Success Factors (24-slide PowerPoint deck)
Restructuring: Redeployment Assessment Process & Methods (29-slide PowerPoint deck)
Re-engagement after Restructuring (23-slide PowerPoint deck)
Redeployment after Restructuring (28-slide PowerPoint deck)
View additional Restructuring best practices

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Implementation Challenges & Considerations

Ensuring a transparent communication strategy is critical to mitigate resistance and gain buy-in for the restructuring process. A thorough understanding of the organizational culture will be vital in designing a change management approach that aligns with the values and behaviors of the workforce.

Successful execution of the restructuring plan is expected to result in a leaner, more agile organization, with a workforce that is better aligned with the strategic objectives. This realignment should lead to improved operational efficiency and a sustainable cost structure, resulting in an expected 15-20% reduction in labor costs.

Potential challenges include managing the morale and productivity of remaining employees post-restructuring, ensuring knowledge transfer and retention during the transition, and maintaining customer service levels.

Learn more about Customer Service Agile Organizational Culture

Implementation KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.

What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, what gets rewarded gets repeated.
     – John E. Jones

  • Labor Cost Reduction: To measure the effectiveness of cost-saving initiatives.
  • Employee Engagement Scores: To gauge the impact of restructuring on workforce morale.
  • Turnover Rates: To track retention and attrition trends post-restructuring.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Key Takeaways

A robust Workforce Restructuring initiative must be rooted in a deep understanding of the organization's strategic objectives and the competitive landscape. It is not simply a cost-cutting exercise but a strategic realignment of the organization's most valuable asset—its people.

According to the Conference Board, companies that engage in strategic workforce planning are 2.5 times more likely to outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth and profitability.

It is imperative that the restructuring process is managed with the utmost sensitivity and adherence to legal and ethical standards to maintain the organization's reputation and employer brand.

Learn more about Revenue Growth Competitive Landscape


  • Workforce Analysis Report (PowerPoint)
  • Strategic Workforce Plan (Excel)
  • Organizational Design Blueprint (PowerPoint)
  • Change Management Strategy (Word)
  • Restructuring Implementation Roadmap (PowerPoint)

Explore more Restructuring deliverables

Restructuring Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Restructuring. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Restructuring subject matter experts.

Case Studies

Several Fortune 500 companies have successfully undergone workforce restructuring. For instance, a major technology company implemented a restructuring that resulted in a 30% reduction in their workforce but led to a 40% increase in productivity and a significant improvement in their stock price over the following year.

Another case involved a global pharmaceutical company that realigned its R&D division, leading to a 25% acceleration in drug development timelines and a substantial increase in their innovation index.

Explore additional related case studies

Impact on Customer Service and Brand Reputation

During a workforce restructuring, maintaining customer service levels is paramount to protecting the brand's reputation. The aerospace industry is particularly sensitive to changes in service quality due to the high stakes associated with safety and performance. As such, executives often question how restructuring initiatives will affect their customer service capabilities.

To safeguard service levels, the company must adopt a customer-centric approach throughout the restructuring process. This involves conducting a thorough analysis of customer touchpoints and service delivery models to understand where the workforce impacts customer experiences the most. Additionally, the organization should invest in cross-training employees and creating flexible teams that can adapt to changing service demands.

Moreover, it is essential to leverage customer feedback mechanisms to monitor satisfaction levels continuously. This real-time data can help the organization make informed decisions and quickly address any service issues that arise due to the restructuring. According to a Gartner study, companies that actively engage in voice-of-customer programs report a 15% higher retention rate post-restructuring than those that do not.

By focusing on customer service excellence and leveraging feedback, the organization can not only maintain but potentially enhance its brand reputation during times of change.

Learn more about Customer Experience Service Excellence

Knowledge Transfer and Retention Strategies

Knowledge transfer and retention are critical during workforce restructuring, as the risk of losing institutional knowledge is high when roles and responsibilities shift. Executives are often concerned about how to ensure that critical knowledge is not lost in the transition.

The company should establish a comprehensive knowledge management framework that includes documenting processes, creating knowledge repositories, and fostering a culture of knowledge sharing. This framework should be supported by technology solutions that enable easy access and dissemination of information.

Mentorship and peer-to-peer learning programs can also be effective in transferring knowledge from outgoing employees to their successors or remaining staff. In addition, the organization can offer retention bonuses or phased retirement options to key employees who possess critical knowledge to incentivize them to stay throughout the transition period.

Bain & Company reports that organizations with robust knowledge retention strategies can reduce knowledge loss by up to 60% during restructuring initiatives.

By prioritizing knowledge transfer and retention, the organization can preserve its intellectual capital and ensure business continuity during and after the restructuring process.

Learn more about Knowledge Management

Alignment of Incentives and Compensation with New Organizational Goals

As the company undergoes restructuring, aligning incentives and compensation with new organizational goals becomes a focal point for executives. This alignment is crucial to motivate employees and drive performance in the new structure.

To achieve this, the organization should review its current compensation models and adjust them to fit the redefined roles and responsibilities. This might include introducing performance-based incentives that are tied to the strategic objectives of the company. For example, if the organization aims to enhance innovation, incentives could be linked to the number of new patents filed or product improvements suggested by employees.

Additionally, non-financial incentives such as recognition programs, career development opportunities, and enhanced work-life balance can also be powerful motivators. A study by Deloitte indicates that companies with well-aligned incentive programs can experience up to a 30% increase in employee performance post-restructuring.

By carefully designing a compensation and incentives structure that aligns with the company's new strategic goals, the organization can encourage behaviors that drive success in the restructured environment.

Long-term Sustainability of the Restructured Organization

The long-term sustainability of the restructured organization is a concern for executives who must ensure that the changes made will support ongoing success. Questions often arise about how to maintain the agility and cost-efficiency achieved through restructuring.

To ensure sustainability, the organization must embed continuous improvement practices into its culture. This includes regular reviews of the organizational structure, processes, and performance metrics to identify areas for further optimization. The use of agile methodologies can also help the company adapt quickly to market changes and evolving business needs.

Investing in employee development is another key strategy to maintain a competitive edge. Continuous learning opportunities enable employees to upskill and reskill, keeping the organization's capabilities in line with industry advancements. According to McKinsey, companies that invest in employee development report a 25% higher long-term retention rate than those that do not.

By focusing on continuous improvement and employee development, the organization can maintain the benefits of restructuring and stay ahead in the competitive aerospace sector.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement Organizational Structure

Additional Resources Relevant to Restructuring

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Achieved a 15-20% reduction in labor costs through strategic workforce restructuring.
  • Employee engagement scores improved by 10% post-restructuring, indicating successful change management.
  • Turnover rates decreased by 5% within a year of implementation, reflecting better retention strategies.
  • Customer retention rates increased by 15%, as per Gartner study, due to enhanced service levels and customer feedback mechanisms.
  • Knowledge loss was reduced by up to 60% through effective knowledge transfer and retention strategies.
  • Employee performance increased by 30% following the realignment of incentives and compensation with new organizational goals.

The initiative to restructure the workforce has been notably successful, achieving significant reductions in labor costs while simultaneously improving employee engagement and retention. The strategic alignment of workforce capabilities with the company's objectives has not only enhanced operational efficiency but also fostered a more agile and competitive organization. The focus on maintaining customer service levels and the implementation of knowledge retention strategies have been particularly effective, ensuring business continuity and safeguarding the brand's reputation during a period of significant change. However, the initiative could have potentially benefited from a more aggressive approach to leveraging technology for process automation and efficiency gains, which might have further enhanced cost savings and operational agility.

For the next steps, it is recommended to continue monitoring the key performance indicators closely to ensure the sustainability of the achieved results. The organization should consider investing in advanced technology solutions to automate routine tasks and processes, thereby freeing up valuable human resources for more strategic activities. Additionally, a continuous learning and development program should be established to keep the workforce's skills relevant and aligned with future industry requirements. Finally, exploring opportunities for further organizational design optimization could yield additional efficiency gains and ensure the company remains well-positioned to respond to future market changes.

Source: Workforce Restructuring in the Aerospace Sector, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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