Prinovis was launched in 2005, and the challenges of start-up included installing massive new gravure printing presses and ramping up production to deliver on customer requirements.
“Our focus at that time was very much on production and satisfying the customer’s needs,” explained HR director Vicci Tatton. “However, as organisations mature, they rely on good leadership to get them through each different phase of development.”
Between 2009 and 2010, changes were made to strengthen the senior leadership team including the appointment of a new operations director, and Vicci as HR director. “We then recognised that we needed to equip our people with the leadership skills and knowledge they needed to carry us forward.”
Vicci considered a range of leadership training options and providers before selecting a programme with EEF. Having come from the automotive sector she had worked closely with EEF over many years, and had already used its HR and Legal services at Prinovis. “I like the one-stop-shop approach of EEF and the fact they offer a number of support services that I can tap into,” she said. “They are great for benchmarking, not just against other print companies but across industry. And the diversity of their client-base most definitely enriches and strengthens their offering.”
Vicci worked closely with EEF training consultant Gill Hardy to develop a Leadership Effectiveness programme specifically tailored to Prinovis’s needs. Based on the Institute of Leadership & Management level 3 accreditation, the programme included content mandatory for certification, supplemented by elements required by Prinovis.
“The programme included things like problem solving, decision making, change management, and some good elements on leadership style and type indicators. These have helped the delegates understand more about themselves, how to manage conflict and how to work with trade unions. On top of that we also added a stream of health and safety training which included fire awareness, IOSH, environment, COSH training.”
It was a major investment during a time of global economic constraint. “But as we’ve put people in leadership positions,” she asserted, “we believe it’s important to support them along that journey.”
A cohort of 36 participants took part drawn from frontline managers across the business, and each attended a total of 18 days over a period of two years. The programme was delivered
to groups of 12 at a training facility in Liverpool. Although only 15 minutes from the plant, the remoteness reinforced Prinovis’s commitment to leadership development. “And it had the added benefit of ensuring that staff weren’t drawn back into their day job on site,” Vicci explained.
The training and development began in the summer of 2010 and concluded in the first quarter of 2012, however during that period the print industry faced a new set of challenges, Prinovis with it. “With the rise of digital media and other formats the printing market began to contract. Last year was incredibly tough for us,” Vicci said. “As a result we have had to make ourselves increasingly more cost competitive, expand our customer base and offer a wider range of new solutions.”
As part of this improvement initiative, the company embarked on restructuring in 2012. It proved to be a stern test of the effectiveness of the EEF training. Managers would be required to use their newly found skills and knowledge to manage change which not only affected their teams but in many cases had a direct impact on themselves.
Vicci is convinced that the staff matured during the programme. “They became more emotionally intelligent, therefore more effective as leaders. From this we have been able to identify and promote good leaders, and also identify people who are perhaps square pegs in round holes.”
Throughout the introduction of flexible working, efficiency improvements and health and safety improvement, managers have kept the workforce engaged. Prinovis has met its cost reduction targets, and the managers who undertook leadership training have had a significant impact on business performance improvement. “As a result, we are now much more agile and fit for purpose in terms of taking waste out of the business.”
Prinovis applies the same continuous improvement commitment to its leadership development programmes as it does to its wider commercial business practices. So much so that Vicci has been working closely with EEF to design a new Leadership Excellence development programme. The new programme provides 32.5 days of training over a two year period for groups of 12 managers. It is even broader than its predecessor. Still using the ILM level 3 accreditation framework as its foundation, the programme now includes the assignment of a mentor to each delegate - usually a senior manager from another area of the business – who can support, coach and advise. Other additions include modules on lean manufacturing, quality improvement, building engagement in the business and making employees feel valued.
Overall, as part of Prinovis’s comprehensive improvement process, supported by the leadership effectiveness programmes delivered in partnership with EEF, the company has benefitted and seen substantial improvements in their business performance.
- Significant cultural change assisted by the programme
- Number of grievances halved
- Accident frequency reduced
- Restructure and volume reduction managed with zero tribunals
- Customer satisfaction score increased further
- Productivity increased by between 4% and 13%
- Requirement for temporary labour in one department fell by 25%
- 50% reduction in significant customer concerns
About the company
Based in Liverpool, Prinovis is part of the Be Printers Division of Bertelsmann Group, one of the world’s largest media organisations. Prinovis was established in 2005 when it won the contract to print all News International’s supplements. After its massive gravure presses were installed the company began printing in 2006. Today, some 50% of its output is still for News International and the remaining 50% comprises magazines and material for retailers such as Argos, Asda, B&Q, as well as OK magazines. The company also offers digital solutions and direct mailing services to clients.