When Mattioli Woods Met Buhler
Back in October, wealth management firm Mattioli Woods moved into their stunning new offices in the heart of Leicester city centre. As one of my longstanding clients, I am very proud of this company’s rapid success over the past several years. And then I had an idea… I decided to organise a cross-sector meet up between Mattioli Woods and another one of my clients, the Buhler Group, who are a global manufacturer of food processing machines. So, I arranged for a group of team leaders from the Buhler UK factory to go on a grand tour of the new Mattioli Woods offices. Interestingly, the two companies shared many similar challenges and work ethics.
Despite being in different sectors – finance and manufacturing - I could see definite synergies between these two businesses. And I was right - throughout their visit, the Buhler team raised several interesting points and they shared a similar ethos when it came to time, quality and productivity. I’ve shared some of the highlights from their visit below…
Global Market Leader: Buhler Group
Every day, billions of people use Bühler technologies and solutions to satisfy their basic needs for food, mobility, or communication.
Over 150 years old, Buhler is still owned by the direct descendants of the same Swiss family who founded the original company. With 45 factories across the globe, this market-leading machine manufacturing company makes most of the world’s food processing and milling machines for rice, pasta and grains. The company has a highly innovative R&D department with a special agenda to feed the world by 2050 in response to a rapidly growing population, which includes farming insects for human consumption.
I have been working with Buhler for the past three years, rolling out my RPO model across the business. As a result, the company has seen an increase in engagement, efficiencies and productivity (12%), which has led to a better use of resources, cultural changes, people management and leadership development.
Rise to Success: Mattioli Woods
A 21st century financial services business, built with expertise, integrity, and delivered with passion.
From a converted garage office to a large company looking after nearly £9 billion in client assets in less than three decades, Mattioli Woods has seen a meteoric rise to success. From a small business advising on pensions, this company now provides advice on investments, property and protection for a huge number of UK clients. Recently, the wealth management and employee benefits firm has moved into a brand-new, innovative office building on New Walk, Leicester.
I have been helping Mattioli Woods for nearly a decade, which includes coaching leaders and future leaders across the business, as well as acting as a sounding board for founder and CEO, Ian Mattioli.
Time vs. Quality vs. Productivity
As a finance firm, Mattioli Woods uses a time-costing system for charging. Therefore, they have a strong focus on effective and ethical time management, as well as ensuring that their employees provide high-quality advice for all their clients. Buhler’s productivity is also governed by time and output; the manufacturing process always has to be seamless and on point to avoid any knock-on effects along the production line. Whereas Mattioli Woods uses a time-costing, office management system to monitor productivity, Buhler is currently trialling a stop-start system to measure the exact time it takes for each machine to be produced. Similarly, both companies have standards and KPIs that relate to quality and productivity, which includes reporting mechanisms relating to performance management.
During their visit, Buhler relayed that it is much easier for them to set targets due to their ‘lean manufacturing’ processes: their aim is to produce the highest quality output in a set amount of time to avoid wastage and any delays. In comparison, the Mattioli Woods team discussed how it is much harder to set exact targets due to the nature of financial advice and individual client needs. Instead, they use regulatory standards, regular one-to-one discussions and team meetings to manage quality and performance.
Environment vs. People
On the tour, Mattioli Woods explained the reasons behind their inspiring new office design. Each floor has a set of cubicles designated for small, private team meetings, semi-soundproofed print areas, side benches to allow people to take a break from their desks, and business lounge-style areas for hot desking. One floor has a designated study area complete with finance books and journals. Due to their strict desk policy preventing any confidential documents being left out overnight, secure cabinets and lockers are available for employees’ use. At the top of the building is the softly lit Sky Lounge with stunning views across the city and a bar, which is used for events and larger meetings, and also connects to a mini auditorium-style space designed for team meetings. The Buhler team were very impressed with the people-orientated floor layout and the focus on creating an enhanced, practical working environment for human beings.
As with any business, managing people always tops the list when it comes to discussing workplace challenges. During their visit, Buhler described the differences between younger and older employees, and the different ways they try to encourage a better working culture. Both companies agreed that by changing the mindset of certain employees and recognising their individual qualities, you can achieve greater engagement and productivity. Older people have a vast amount of vital knowledge and experience, whereas younger employees can inject some fresh thinking into the business and are often quicker at learning new systems and processes.
Similarly, Mattioli Woods relayed their thoughts on the different views and expectations held by employees depending on their age and how they came into the business. Mattioli Woods has a successful apprenticeship, graduate and school leavers programme, all of which bring in an impressive number of new employees. Buhler has also benefited greatly from managing upwards from within the business.
Finance vs. Manufacturing
Overall, time and people management proved to be major discussion points for both groups on the day. Buhler has a ‘quality gateway’, which enables them to carry out cross-checks to minimise wastage. They have a greater ability to track and analyse how each individual performs on the factory floor due to lean manufacturing processes. Mattioli Woods, meanwhile, measures the quality of its staff through its interactions with clients, believing in long-term and trustworthy client-staff relationships that result in open and honest feedback. They also keep an eye on turnaround times on documents and transactions, aiming for short timescales.
The two companies agreed lean manufacturing techniques could be applied to the financial sector; however, manufacturing relies on machines run by people whereas the level of financial advice will vary from client to client and the way this is managed by the individual consultant.
Ultimately, both companies share an equal focus when it comes to performance management and people development. By enabling the two groups to draw parallels and compare their working practices, they discovered some interesting synergies, despite being in very different industry sectors. In my next article, I will share how the day went from the viewpoint of the team leaders, as they compared their approach to people management.