Reorganizing the family business
In anticipation of the developing situation at Shell Amsterdam/KSLA, I started a new maintenance company together with a couple of contractors of TBI-holding. It was all in vain, unfortunately, the deal went to another party. I took it as a sign on the wall to steer a new course with Smals B.V. Even though our contract was good for another two years and the family business' books showed the best results ever, I immediately started the restructuring of a technically oriented and customer service organization to a much more flexible, market driven company.

Business case: the restructuring of Smals B.V.

Foreseeing the loss of a major client in the nearby future, I had to prepare my company for this change. After more than thirty five years of doing business with Shell Amsterdam/KSLA and having fifteen of our people stationed permanently at their site, we need a new course.

In the spring of 1996, a scan of our organization was made. Based on the results we created a training program. First, we directed our attention to the management team of five, the forty other staff members followed later on. The assignment was clear: we need to leave traditional thinking behind and become a market and service oriented company.

Whatever we did, virtually no changes occurred. By the end of November, we organize an evaluation session with the entire management team in which we also present the strategy for the upcoming years. The feedback we get from the management team is rather disappointing and leaves me deeply frustrated.

In 1997, I decided to reorganize the company drastically. Three new divisions are created on the basis of product-market combinations. The role of the management team changes, some members of the team were replaced, and the staff is trained all over again. Regrettably, I had to fire three opponents, but by the end of that year we have a new and competent organization.

In 1998, the first of fifteen Shell technicians come back to our main office. The lump sum contract attracts new clients such as the University of Amsterdam, Stadhuis Muziektheater, several municipal departments of Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. This way Smals B.V. has a better distribution of revenues and is no longer depending on a few major clients.