Case Study
Foto showing person at machine tool

North Star for the global organization

Successfully lean indirect areas with ROI-EFESO's Zero-Based Approach

Champions do not rest on their laurels, but always keep an eye on the next stage goal. A technology group, whose approximately 20,000 employees at more than 16 locations worldwide already generate sales of more than two billion euros, is also heading in the direction of such a "North Star". Its starting points: an operations strategy and the initiatives derived from it, which should be implemented at every location in order to make it even more efficient. In addition to the OPEX topics, the company, together with ROI-EFESO, realigned the organization of all manufacturing sites according to the "zero-based organisation" approach.


A technology group is developing its more than 16 locations around the world. The starting points are an operations strategy and the initiatives derived from it. Their implementation should make each site even more efficient.


ROI-EFESO approach

Realignment of the organization of all production sites according to the "Zero-Based Organization" approach. To this end, the company used ROI-EFESO to identify the gaps between the status quo and the future ideal of a "Zero-Based North Star".


Lessons learned

Transparency is the key to the overall success of the initiative: Who really does what? In addition, a common goal is important for all locations, which is to be achieved with individual roadmaps.


ROI-EFESO success model

Development of a standardized, scalable and more efficient organization in the project phases of the ROI-EFESO's own zero-based approach.


Anyone who manages highly heterogeneous production networks with different languages, work processes and (organizational) cultures is constantly on the lookout for standardization and potential for improvement: Why don't locations achieve their efficiency targets even though classical productivity is extremely high? Are there too many or too few indirect employees? How can the organization be optimally adapted to the processes? And how can the management control and steer this at more than ten locations without having to put itself in each organization anew each time?

The technology group was also confronted with precisely these challenges. For its "zero-based" project, it therefore pursued very concrete objectives: in the end, not only should the status quo of the organization be clearly mapped, but also the future, ideal setup for all locations be defined. Already on the way there, it became apparent that 41% of the potential could already be converted into coordinated measures and actual savings.


41 % of the zero-based potentials could already be converted into coordinated measures and actual savings.

ROI-EFESO Zero-Based Approach

Together with ROI-EFESO, the company identified the gaps between the status quo and the future ideal of the zero-based North Star. With the help of the ROI-EFESO's own zero-based approach, the project team was able to develop a standardized, scalable and more efficient organization step by step. Four project phases are particularly important on this path: the analysis of the activity structure on the basis of the ROI-EFESO activity catalogue, the determination of potential, the development of a blueprint of the organization including dimensioning as well as the approach to implementation (roadmap).

Analyze structures

How many capacities flow into direct activities today, how many into indirect activities? ROI-EFESO follows a strict definition: Only activities that are reflected in the production times (te and tr) are directly value-adding. All other activities are indirect, including logistics, quality assurance and maintenance. Transparency is the key to the overall success of the initiative: Who really does what? After all, department allocations say nothing about the actual activities. Is maintenance now responsible for machines and buildings or only for machines?

In the first project phase, the team concentrates primarily on the current activity and organizational structure. It allocates 100% of the working time of all employees to specific, predefined activities. ROI-EFESO also has a tried-and-tested catalogue of activities which, with around 100 activities, generally covers 95%. The rest is supplemented customer-specifically.

> The ROI-EFESO Catalogue includes 95% location activities as standard.

Determine potentials

The activity structure must now be interpreted correctly. Where are there signs of potential, where does the organization already appear lean? First of all, benchmarks are very helpful, to which the project team devotes itself in the next phase: in internal benchmarks, it compares the same activities across several plants and departments of the company. This is extended with an external perspective, i.e. with industry and function benchmarks that use empirical values and best practices from over 20 years of ROI-EFESO project experience. And: benchmarks must always take into account the nature of the business (e.g. mass production vs. individual orders).

20 years of project experience flow into ROI-EFESO's industry and function benchmarks.

It is not enough just to determine the potential, but you also have to be able to explain it to the employees via improvement levers in the process, organization or service portfolio - for example, the benchmark shows greater potential in order processing. At the same time, there are many interfaces in the process, duplicate tasks and poorly used IT systems are identified. According to ROI-EFESO experience, 80% of the cost reduction potentials refer to inefficient processes, about 20% can be tapped by pure organizational changes.

80% cost reduction potential lies in the improvement of processes, 20% in an organizational change.

80% of cost reduction potential lies in improving processes, 20% in organizational change.

Create Blueprint and dimension target organization

The following project sections focus on how these potentials can now be activated in practice. Here the project team "designs" the ideal organizational structure. To this end, it defines design guidelines (e.g. number of management levels and management ranges), determines the right level of central and decentralized functions and determines the optimal dimension of the organization. At the end, the Blueprint Organization is summarized in a standardized and scalable organizational structure.

Implementing the target organization

Once this objective has been clarified, the "how" follows the implementation. Depending on the location, for example, a works council must be involved or country-specific requirements must be observed - this makes individual transformation paths necessary. Thus the technology group also developed its own ROI-EFESO concept for the implementation of each location - with the path from the current state to a target image that comes very close to the "zero-base north star". With two years, the company calculated a realistic time frame from project start to roll-out in all locations. A decisive success factor in the implementation was working with the plant managers on site.

Two years is a realistic time frame for the global implementation of a zero-based organization.