Tefen Task Force - Making it Happen

Tefen Task Force - Making it Happen

By Saverio Russo, Director, Tefen Italy and
Nicolò Gobbi, Consultant, Tefen Italy

This article presents the new Tefen Task Force (TTF) model and addresses recent trends and prospected evolution of the consulting industry. Recent global trends, economic changes and new company needs mean that consultants are under pressure to become more flexible and offer a wider range of solutions. Since clients are becoming increasingly reluctant to invest in expensive consultancy services purely for recommendations, new ways of providing them with authentic and greater value are being proposed and tested. In this context, Tefen has developed a comprehensive and innovative, value-driven package for companies needing a service portfolio which incorporates everything from strategy definition to delivery: the Tefen Task Force (TTF).

Today‘s organizations are forced to adapt to a continuously increasing speed of change within the competitive environment, embracing flexible, fast and effective implementation as the key drivers for success, as demonstrated in various
start-up or turnaround cases.

As a result, embedding these fundamental ingredients in the organizational culture is becoming a priority for all corporations. Innovation and startup culture has given rise to business practices which favor structured trial and error (prototypes, minimum viable products). Rigidity is no longer affordable. As an industry leader recently stated, “the idea is not to endlessly aim for a good shot at the final target, but to keep on shooting and adjusting fire at a target within an inherently dynamic bigger picture with less clearly defined boundaries.”

While this type of rapid approach is undoubtedly necessary, companies must still maintain a structured approach and a clear vision, paired with constantly renewed innovation. This creates a huge challenge to find the right balance between flat, decentralized and responsive structures and an effective management team, able to be receptive, make hard decisions and direct the organization towards future challenges. Therefore, in order to win in global markets, corporate structures need to be results-focused, quick to adapt and lean. The consultancy business has been changing to reflect these needs.

As mentioned, companies are now taking a closer look at how they spend money and traditional consulting is often seen to lack enough value. Companies are quick to cut services which do not provide immediate, tangible results. Consultants therefore need to move beyond mere research to increase their focus on the  implementation phase, with a hands-on approach. This approach gives consultants greater involvement in the business and paves the way for variable compensations and real commitment on results.

So far, the burden of implementation has been mainly centered around supervising a client‘s team in a joint steering committee / program management or in performing selected tasks, coaching and change management activities. However, it is becoming more common for consultancy firms to directly manage parts of a client‘s business over a short timeframe. In a world in which risk sharing is becoming a mantra and foreseeable value creation a must, participating in clients’ results and risks seems to be the only option. In short, the client - consultancy relationship is evolving from a service supplier and consumer type to a partnership in common win-win goals.

Tefen‘s new service portfolio provides all-around solutions for businesses requiring a combination of strategic advice and managerial support in implementing change.
While this model is not completely new in the extended economic environment, it brings substantial innovation to the consultancy industry. Funds and private equity firms often place experienced professionals at C-level positions in target companies to ensure relevant support. However, while this typical arrangement is represented
by individual figures operating at executive level, the TTF model introduces a full
team of highly qualified and motivated professionals, with a balanced mix of senior and junior resources temporarily assuming direct management of a specific company division on behalf of the client in order to reach critical business goals.

While we therefore see that private equity funds can influence decision making at the top of the organization, Tefen is able to provide strategy guidance and test its rationale at lower levels of the pyramid, pursuing the implementation of successful strategies, interacting with client companies at multiple levels, and iterating with the innovative process.

Tefen also shares responsibility for the results. Not only we are willing to be an active party in the implementation process, we also encourage compensation packages specifically designed to allow performance-based bonuses. Tefen is exclusively responsible for coordinating and executing tasks, allocating and committing resources and establishing a clear path for implementation, both on a decisional and an operational level.

There are many ways in which Tefen can assume management at the client company, ranging from working together towards a common goal to having complete autonomy on implementation. Usually, the specific type of commitment and client/industry determine the type of involvement. However, the most significant difference between Tefen and other consultancy companies is that TTF is not just about “advising”, but also about “doing”. Nothing could be farther away from the traditional business model of consulting firms. The Tefen Task Force is a team that works symbiotically to achieve tangible and measurable results with clear scope, timeline and responsibilities. Offering a structure that is engineered to facilitate very short setup times is a pillar of the Tefen strategy. Ultimately, TTF is a temporary organization that provides very strong presence within the client’s environment. It brings collaborative thinking, methodology, competency and an entrepreneurial mindset, while finding solutions to clients’ problems. The Task Force is characterized by a weighted balance between senior staff and junior resources, so that the experience of veterans can successfully merge with the energy and fresh mindset of young adults, to provide a sophisticated mix of rigorously analytical and experience-based approaches. Although major involvement of the team in a client’s business means higher responsibilities, it also produces higher commitment and enhanced performance.

So far, the TTF has proved to be highly successful. It supports companies with often temporary but enough critical business needs, undertaking growth initiatives such as market expansion, new product launches, and new business unit creations.
It also helps companies fighting for survival, requiring urgent cost-cutting intervention or significant restructuring through drastic business turnarounds. Early-stage companies, in need of specific competences and professional resources, have also benefited greatly from the services of the Tefen Task Force. Internal lack of capabilities, multi-priorities and a shortage of highly professional resources are forcing more and more potential clients to look for key assets outside their organizational boundaries.

Summing up all of the above, the Tefen Task Force helps stakeholders to develop critical business areas, efficiently achieve goals and accelerate processes through the joint effort of highly qualified professionals. Companies also profit from the integrated TTF solution because it provides compensation based on results, spreading many of the risks without being tied down by company politics, experience and skills.

However, organizations should understand that the TTF is a temporary solution aimed at lending companies speed, strength, and flexibility to enhance their performance. It is therefore critical that the phasing out of Tefen from the management of the company is supported by company staff. To counteract the uncertainty created by this change in leadership, the right people and processes must be put into place in advance.

Despite the risk profile involved, TTF can look back on multiple successful projects and many ongoing ones which have achieved significant performance boosts and benefits for the clients.
Some examples are shown below:

Business development & interim management at a leading Pharma distributerCost optimization at an international Pet-food producer

Product launch at an international medical devices companyPost M&A integration at a renewable energy producer

The wide variety of projects, approaches and results highlights the versatility and flexibility of the TTF as a tool to address client’s problems with an integrated solution.

In general, people involved are the main determinants of whether the project will succeed or fail.

Tefen Management Consulting therefore focuses closely on providing the best professionals in the industry. In order to retain a diverse and international team with a wide array of skills and resources, the TTF is globally positioned with offices throughout Europe, United States and Israel.

better explain what the TTF does, let us take a look at a recent project undertaken with a corporate medical client. This company is a leading inter-national specialist partner, providing clinical, commercial and logistical solutions to pharmaceutical
companies, pharmacists, GPs and secondary care professionals. It supplies comparator drugs for global clinical trials, unlicensed imported medicines to the UK market and specials to patients with specific drug intake needs.

As the market stagnated, the company’s shareholders expressed an interest in significantly expanding the business over a period of 3 to 5 years. There was the belief that the company had a substantial margin for value creation. While it was able to improve its financial appeal and market positioning, it needed help to figure out the path to be taken in order to reach such goals. As a result, Tefen was asked in early 2014 to redesign the business through the Blue Ocean Strategy methodology, an area in which Tefen has significant expertise.

The new business strategy focused on repositioning the company in a way that allowed for increased capabilities as a system integrator for selected partners rather than being merely a transactional entity.

integrated services

The first step was to set a new strategy and the natural evolution of this was to take responsibility and implement the strategy leveraging on the company’s own managerial expertise. Besides managing the implementation of the new strategy at
all levels, TTF took direct control and defined accountability on business development activities, substantially enhancing the connection between strategic inferences at the top and effective implementation at the bottom of the organization.

The company had encountered problems along all stages of the value chain, including the management of input and sourcing activities, internal processes and commercial policy. In detail, the client was reporting issues in all product lines/revenue streams, regarding both the offer side of the business – product and service improvement – and the demand side – commercial policy and company positioning. This meant a holistic approach was needed towards the business. Understanding how to improve the offering and make internal processes more efficient was a challenge.

Tefen operated on two levels. On one hand, it concentrated on short-term business development, with a revised commercial policy andr estructuring/ implementation of a new integrated approach toward current and potential customers. On the other hand, it set the ground for a brand new strategy, targeted at achieving long-term goals and realizing the expectations of shareholders.

High-level project plan

The TTF exercised direct management of business development activities, including, but not limited to, development of new product offerings, identification, profiling and commitment of customers. Tefen succeeded in rationalizing the product mix, creating an integrated offering framework, organizing product life cycles and targeting specific stakeholders. The TTF also directly developed relations with new potential customers, implementing activities ranging from cold-calls to one-to-one meetings.

Product life cycle

As previously mentioned, in parallel to business development activities, the TTF also took accountability for project management and implementation of the revised strategy. The main activities included optimization of processes, providing change management expertise to help the transition toward the new strategy, rebranding,
redesign of organizational structure, and implementation of performance measurement and control systems.

All in all, the client perceived the TTF impact as essential and early feedback from the market has been very promising. The strategy works and all the scheduled activities have been completed on time. Considering the bigger picture, this medical company has just started implementation of a five-year business plan. Tefen has successfully overseen the setup phase, and now, after the peak effort, has enabled the client to continue the set path alone and pursue the goals

The project achievements have been significant and range across all the activities undertaken. The company has been rebranded with a new name and logo, while all internal and external communication has been consistently updated. In other words, Tefen has radically changed the client‘s way of doing business. The client benefits from increased sourcing efficiency, with a new set of processes, partnerships and products launched. New exclusivity contracts were signed and relationship/distribution strategies developed accordingly. Furthermore, the company improved its commercial activity through an innovative reorganization of its sales activities. As an overall result, the strategic approach to pharma companies changed, to include a new business development program, a new product life cycle management offering, and new brand promotion strategies and commitments. The diagram below provides details of the TTF activity and achievements throughout the project duration.

recent outcomes

The TTF has proved to be a solution which is both innovative and aligned with the interests of the client. The consulting industry is changing rapidly, and Tefen has skilfully adapted, to provide a service with greater accountability and implementation powers for consultants, while also guaranteeing risks sharing and higher transparency to the client. So far, the model has worked well and clients have been extremely
satisfied with the results achieved. This shows that Tefen Management Consulting is quickly becoming a must-have partner for companies looking to profit from a comprehensive portfolio of expert value-added services in the current economic setting.


Saverio Russo

Director at Tefen Europe

Performance Improvement, Transformation and Change Management Expert

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