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Title: A sustainable approach to financial turnaround of a mature business within the UK steel industry
Authors: Hill, Andrew Leslie
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: The UK steel industry is an example of a mature industry that has failed to cope with the harsh realities of changing market dynamics. Since nationalisation its response has been predicated upon cost and asset retrenchment. However, this alone has failed to address decline in sales and poor financial returns. Consequently, the UKs market share within home and global markets has been eroded and will continue as such unless it can address its ability to differentiate the product it offers. This thesis has considered the cause(s) of organisational failure and the development of an appropriate turnaround strategy. As an Action Researcher this has involved understanding how change introduced in the work place was accepted within the social context of that environment. Fieldwork undertaken within Corus Tubes Energy (CTE), considered by the Researcher to be representative of the UK steel industry, included both primary and secondary methods of data capture and analysis. For example, interviews, observation, narrative and content analysis, followed by periods of reflection as theories were constructed and tested. Investigative studies concluded that for CTE to compete effectively it had to differentiate itself as a high-tech, low-cost competitor by addressing internal issues and improving productivity by 52%. The turnaround strategy developed by the Researcher was premised on a mutually supportive operational and HRM strategy. Lean Manufacturing (LM) was adopted as a mechanism to reform workshop practices, address operational efficiency, reduce conversion cost, extend capability and thereby address competitive position. Whilst simultaneously, outdated HRM practices were reconstituted to support the introduction and the ability to sustain a radical transformation in operational and strategic practices. The ‘adopt and adapt’ approach employed has achieved this and resulted in a sustained turnaround moving a loss-making trajectory to profit-making. The turnaround has demonstrated the viability of the business and safe-guarded jobs. The unique contribution to theory has been the development of the Sustainability Framework and the use of LM as a concept to be used to facilitate turnaround. Supportive contributions include: the extension the NEPA model through the development of a process that supports strategic change at management level within the UK steel industry; and a closed loop methodology that engaged shop floor operators in continuous improvement.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:Newcastle University Business School

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