Customer driven strategic thinking and planning
Target markets and customers
Teams, kaizen, communication and training
The GSM Group supplies metal and plastic components mainly to the automotive and electronics industries worldwide, and has ca.200 employees on 3 sites in the UK:
GSM Graphic Arts in Thirsk
GSM Valtech Industries in Wetherby
GSM Primographic in Brecon
Thirsk produces labels and front panels for the electronics and other industries, Brecon produces large volume metal labels and Wetherby produces sheet metal kits for the electronics industry. The owner manager, Barry Dodd, is quoted as saying, “We are engineers who print”. The company started in 1976 at the Thirsk site and has grown from its roots by a series of well-planned acquisitions and a strategy of continuous improvement in all aspects of its business.
• Strategic Thinking
Barry, the three site general managers and two project managers form the strategy team. Barry says, “There is a time in a company’s development when vital decisions have to be made, and if you don’t make these decisions, things start to drift away, and thereafter it doesn’t matter what decisions you make, you’ve lost”. He believes having clear goals and objectives is paramount. The GSM Group’s mission statement is:
GSM Group is committed to supplying metal & plastic components to all industries, realistically priced, with zero defects, delivered when required and produced proﬁtability.
Our customers come ﬁrst. GSM will always be helpful, friendly, responsive and pleasant to deal with.
Using the latest manufacturing techniques and quality systems, GSM will maintain its leading position in UK industry.
Our team is dedicated to becoming the number one manufacturer in Europe by being more innovative, more cost effective and consistently more reliable than any of our competitors.
By caring for all its team members, protecting the environment and being active in the community, GSM will be regarded as a good neighbour and a ﬁne place to work.
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GSM holds regular strategy reviews, recently spending a whole day discussing how they saw the automotive industry in two years time. Strategic initiatives are then taken forward by setting up a project team containing three to ﬁve people, usually including Barry. Progress on these initiatives is fed into the general managers’ meeting, held every two months.
• Target Markets and Customers
The strategy at GSM has focused on 2 growth industries that it wishes to be in - electronics and automotive. It has plotted where it wants to be in both of these, and how it intends to get there:
In automotive, GSM targeted Ford, already having contacts with General Motors and Nissan.
In electronics, GSM intended to be a “one-stop shop” in badging, labelling, fascias, chassis, etc. offering a bespoke service to the industry, with customers such as Zero 88, Advance International Group and Wayne-Kerr Electronics.
The strategy is customer-driven, concentrating on what the customer wants now, and what they are going to want in ﬁve years time. To ﬁnd out their future requirements, GSM is close to its customer, with its designers talking to the customers’ designers.
In the automotive industry, the key is for a supplier to be involved at the design stage of the car platform. Barry went to Detroit to ask Ford what their needs were from suppliers for the next ten years, listened carefully to their response, then got all management team together to devise their strategic objectives. One of these was that GSM needed an international liaison with a reputable raw material supplier, and 3M was chosen. The strategic plan involved raising GSM’s proﬁle in the eyes of 3M, and this was...