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Founded in 1750 and now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swire Group, Finlays has extensive tea and coffee interests in East Africa and Sri Lanka and is one of the UK’s most respected blenders and packagers of private label teas and coffees.

The company underwent a major operational restructure, closing a plant in Swindon and focusing all packaging and processing in Pontefract, South Yorkshire.

The restructure alone was not sufficient to deliver their overall strategy of being the leading Private Label supplier of Tea and Roast & Ground Coffee. An outdated Human Resource philosophy created barriers between management and hourly paid factory workers. Inconsistencies in conditions of work and reward created tensions and disputes and policies were divisive.

Joint problem-solving groups identified the barriers and with the support of our consultants the anomalies in organisational design and in the job grading, reward and pension structures which were the source of dissatisfaction were addressed. By creating a streamlined organisational design and removing unnecessary bureaucracy and layers of management, team working began to become the norm. A difficult Industrial Relations and Employee Relations climate began to thaw rapidly and was replaced by transparency and co-operation. Our approach was to identify the problems by talking to a wide cross section of people on the factory floor and engaging teams in changing the business. Staff members who were previously antagonistic became agents of change and creators of the new organisation.

Talent profiling identified high potential employees who have subsequently become leaders in the company and leaders in the industry.