Sea-Air is a family run business started by husband and wife team Brett and Michele Seager in 1990. Over the past 28 years it has grown considerably and now also employs their son and son-in-law and a total team of 20 long-term staff.
Nine Pillars was introduced to Sea-Air by the Australian Industry Group (AI Group) as part of the NSW Government Entrepreneurs Program. The business review that was conducted as part of the program identified a need for Sea-Air to work with an experienced Business Coach to develop the management and leadership skills of the team, improve business processes and assist in the financial management and expansion strategy of the business.
We met with the senior team 1-on-1 to get their input and we conducted a financial review of the business to fully understand what makes the business tick, what the main levers were to improve business performance and the best options for sustainable and profitable growth. We quickly identified that the business needed to attract and work with better customers, improve team productivity and improve job management processes.
We conducted a whole-of-team survey to get engagement with the team and to involve them in the business improvement journey. Following on from this we held a team meeting to share the results of the survey. This led to agreement among the team that pay rates and year-end bonuses should be based on performance and should not necessarily be equal or based on length of service. We also documented the team roles and expectations and this led to much greater ownership, accountability and performance by the factory and site teams.
Another major focus was to make the jobs run more profitably. This was done by reducing the amount of work done for poorly organised customers and putting in place a customer relationship plan to secure work from higher-quality customers who had higher-quality and more profitable work. In addition to this, we improved the job management process and started to allocate and track team hours against jobs to improve the way the jobs were managed. This led to better profitability across all jobs.
Brett also became more confident in managing the performance of the staff and raising performance issues. All of these changes happened in the first 6 months of our engagement and we continue to work with Sea-Air on a succession strategy to allow for the business to be handed down to the new generation.
What they said
“Anil has been fantastic. I had a business coach in the past but we achieved more in the first 4-6 months with Anil than we did in 2 years with the previous coach. He has been able to build rapport across the team and we are in a good position for the next generation to start managing the business.”