Shaping Green Flag's business transformation strategy
- To identify and plan the changes required to Green Flag’s business to position it to meet its five-year growth target of 50%.
- A ‘Shape’ consultancy engagement led by CSC to clarify Green Flag’s purpose and strategic direction, and define its target operating model for a comprehensive transformation programme.
- Rapid development of a compelling business operating model, associated transformation roadmap and business case.
- Foundation laid for business development and marketing activities leading to significant growth in Green Flag’s customer base in the first year.
Making the right decision from the start
Breakdown assistance provider Green Flag decided on a three-pronged approach to achieving its growth target: to win more partnership business for its services, to increase its marketing effectiveness, and to implement a fleet management system for better visibility of its recovery provider network.
Before investing in a fleet management system, Green Flag wanted to be certain it would deliver the desired business outcome. The company decided to review the IT and solution requirements, and the changes that would be needed to its business operating model, with help from external consultants. It chose to work with CSC. “Although CSC was less familiar as a business strategist than some of the other consultancies that tendered, they made us feel confident in their abilities and comfortable about working with them,” says Wilson, whose Growth Portfolio includes Green Flag and several other Direct Line Group businesses.
This confidence proved well founded: CSC took Green Flag through an in-depth consultancy project that proved to be the foundation of a comprehensive transformation strategy for the business.
Exceeding expectations: Going back to basics
"CSC surprised us,” recalls Wilson. “They went beyond the brief and took us right back to basics in a way we hadn’t anticipated.” CSC proposed a ‘Shape’ consultancy engagement. The starting point was a visioning workshop during which CSC helped Green Flag assess and refine its values, goals and strategic direction and, most importantly, articulate the purpose for its business. That purpose needed to resonate with key stakeholder groups — including customers, employees, partners and shareholders — and differentiate Green Flag from the competition. This was a tough call in the saturated UK breakdown assistance market that’s dominated by two other highly visible players.
“Breakdown assistance providers typically focus on safety and security as the purpose of their services,” explains Wilson. “Working with CSC we took a different tack, and defined Green Flag’s purpose as enabling our customers to view a breakdown simply as an inconvenience, rather than something to be scared of.”
Building a higher profile and a more cohesive team
"Understanding the purpose of the Green Flag breakdown business was the single most powerful and transformational element of our engagement with CSC,” says Wilson. “We didn’t know it was a question that needed asking, but the answer has become the thread that runs through the entire business, informs our marketing, and connects us together.”
Connecting Green Flag’s people was a critical outcome of the engagement. Direct Line Group operates on a matrix model, and the individuals who support Green Flag’s business are spread across different functional areas throughout the Group. In the past, they struggled to feel like part of a cohesive team, but that’s completely changed now, as Wilson explains: “By defining and communicating our purpose, we built a much stronger identity for Green Flag, raised its profile within the group, and created clearer lines of accountability.”
Having agreed Green Flag’s purpose, the next phase of the consultancy engagement was to develop the business operating model. This included a balanced scorecard of key objectives, structural changes to simplify and differentiate Green Flag’s customer propositions, key capabilities to drive sustainable competitiveness, and the systems and culture required to enable the new operating model.
“Working with CSC was a breath of fresh air,” recalls Mike Bowman, Director of Green Flag. “All too often consultants will repeat what organisationally you already know, but our work with CSC showcased how Green Flag could transform its business in a pragmatic but smart fashion. And although the transformation plan centred on systems change, the wide-ranging proposals successfully identified other areas as diverse as culture and service delivery.”
CSC also recommended introducing four new roles into the Green Flag management team — heads of customer journey, partnership, product development and transformation — to re-align accountability and drive competitiveness. “These new roles help provide greater focus for and more control over the Green Flag business,” reports Wilson. “Throughout the engagement, the CSC team combined practical experience and strategic thinking with complete commitment to the business transformation project and impressive stakeholder engagement,” says Wilson. “We always felt they cared about our business and had Green Flag’s interests at heart.”
On track to achieve growth
As well as making the recommended management appointments, which have contributed to growth in its partnership business and distribution channels, Green Flag has run a marketing campaign aimed at winning new customers. The theme — ‘Green Flag helps its customers complete their journey and reach their destination, no matter what’ — was inspired by its re-defined business purpose.
Wilson and Bowman report that not only has Green Flag grown its customer base significantly over a 12-month period, its brand metrics in areas like credibility, service quality and recognition have also improved markedly. “The business operating model and purpose work delivered by CSC have been a major contributor to our improved results,” confirms Wilson. Bowman agrees , saying: “Looking back after the first 12 months, the core areas of focus were spot on.”
With these solid foundations in place, and plans to implement a fleet management system in the near future, Green Flag looks to be on the right trajectory to meet its five-year growth target.