Taylor Woodrow logoWilson Connolly and Taylor Woodrow: Corporate merger

Taylor Woodrow now forms part of VINCI Construction UK Limited and has an annual turnover exceeding £1 billion.

The challenge

The challenge was to integrate the Wilson Connolly business within the Taylor Woodrow house-building division as rapidly as possible to maximise the synergy benefits resulting from the merger of the two businesses. The resulting company was to become the fourth largest UK house builder.

Merger synergies fell into three main categories:

  • Removal of duplicated overheads including the central and regional management organisations, buildings and IT.
  • Economies of scale and best price selection for supplies and services.
  • Adoption of best practice processes across the new organisation to enhance revenues.

These synergies were to be realised whilst avoiding any loss of business momentum against the existing business plans of the two separate businesses, e.g. through unplanned staff attrition or loss of management focus.

The solution

The project was managed in two distinct phases.

  • The first phase was aimed at the production of detailed proposals and implementation plans which could be reviewed and approved by the board whilst the merger was still under negotiation. This phase included the definition of the merged HQ and regional organisation structure, revised regional boundaries, office selection, ERP system selection, review of the major supply contracts and core business process definition.
  • The second phase, post merger confirmation, was the implementation of these integration plans.

In both cases, our consultants were asked to programme manage the various project teams and introduce project disciplines which would have application for other projects beyond the merger.

The key implementation workstreams included:

  • Organisation: The structure of the new organisation was announced as soon as once the merger was confirmed. Implementation of the HQ organisation was achieved within several weeks whilst the regional organisation was phased alongside the ERP system and office migration programme.
  • Regional boundaries were redrawn to rebalance the combined business around a model of 1000 unit pa sales regions. This, with the new regional organisation structure, defined the size of the regional offices required and resulted in a programme of office refits, new office selection, and office closures across the regions.
  • ERP migration: The system selected for the merged business was the Taylor Woodrow legacy system, Mentor Enterprise, made up of a mix of package and bespoke modules. Data from the 10 Wilson Connolly regions was migrated in a region-by-region rollout over a 3-month period. The primary legacy system was SAP, however other packages were used in 3 of the 10 regions. All system users in the new regional organisation were trained during rollout to encourage consistency of operation and accelerate integration of staff from the 2 previous organisations.
  • Revised processes and procedures were rolled out to staff in the regions through a cascade of briefings, starting with senior management. The changes focused on standardisation of working practices around best practices deriving from the 2 donor organisations and external sources. Examples include simplification of the product portfolio, standardisation of optional extras and changed investment appraisal procedures.
  • Major supply agreements were renegotiated and the best value analysis extended across the remaining product or service supplies. Monitoring mechanisms were implemented to ensure deployment of the revised agreement set.

Planning Phase:

Our consultants created a formal programme office to both control the development of the implementation plans by workstream, and to provide project management expertise to the workstreams. A programme leadership group was established and small project teams deployed to develop the detailed implementation proposals and plans. A structured project management approach was implemented including standardised document templates to be used for speed and consistency across the programme.  A key consulting objective for this phase was to transfer knowledge and build the capability of the in-house project management team to enable handover of programme management for the implementation phase.

Implementation Phase:

Our consultants took on the project management of the ERP migration workstream, the largest and most complex piece of the programme, and maintained an advisory role in the programme office. We designed and implemented a very detailed cascade of briefings and readiness checks to regional management to ensure a quick-fire rollout could be achieved. To supplement this, a central support team was created using functional experts across the organisation to assist in each region as the rollout occurred. Our role also included the design and management of the system training plan, delivering a range of classes to over 2000 staff using mobile training facilities nationwide.

The outcome

The results significantly exceeded the £25 million annualised synergy benefits and were achieved ahead of schedule, within 6 months of the merger agreement.

The knowledge transfer achieved through the programme has significantly enhanced the in-house capabilities for future projects. In the ERP migration, Taylor Woodrow was able to leverage our consultant’s extensive experience of similar projects to accelerate the timetable whilst managing the risks at an acceptable level. We were also able to provide a valuable independent challenge to business practices generally, and to resolve project conflicts.

A programme office infrastructure was established with clearly documented processes to be adopted and standard document templates for key deliverables. These were based around the Prince2 standards. The success of this project has encouraged internal staff to take up formal project management training and the disciples learned from the project are now being applied across 90 other projects across the organisation.