Page 2: Developing customer focus
In a rapidly developing market-place, it was important for British Steel to devise a strategy which matched the activities of the organisation to the environment in which it operated. This process is known as strategic fit. Shotton’s future depended on the ability to produce competitive and innovative products for the needs of domestic and international markets. This meant looking outwards at changing markets, business conditions and competition and then using this knowledge to develop the organisation to meet customer requirements.
Strategies operate at a variety of levels to involve everybody within an organisation. At the highest level, strategic decisions have helped British Steel to become one of the largest steelmakers in the world. Operational strategies follow on from the overarching strategic direction of the organisation. They are concerned with how the key parts of an organisation in terms of people, resources and processes, are pulled together to meet this overall mission.
Changing the culture of an organisation is a difficult and slow process. As the same raw materials and technologies were, and still are, available to all steelmakers, it was realised that the only way to differentiate British Steel from its competitors and give it real customer focus was through its employees. Systems, procedures and technology alone do not provide any guarantees, but quality people can. For the employees at Shotton this has involved:
- total quality performance
- self managing work teams