– The essential point has been to combine similar functions and to build stronger internal professional communities. Where we used to have smaller groups of contract managers, planners, purchasers and so on, spread across different business units, they are now gathered in one department covering all of the functions. In order to achieve the goal of larger, stronger and more efficient units, Raufoss has now consolidated its operations into two main pillars – Operations and R&D, each headed by their own Vice President. – Is this one of the most significant reorganizations at Raufoss? – My impression is that this represents one of the biggest changes in recent years and it has affected the daily lives of a lot of people. An added factor here is the fact that Raufoss has seen significant growth over the last decades, and after shaking things up through this reorganization, many employees have both new functions and new reporting lines, with both employees and managers having never worked together in the past.
As leader of the contract office, Tafjord’s primary mission was to guide her unit through this process. The staff in her department were among the first who pulled out of their old units, and into the new structure and asked to change both processes and mindsets.
– We had to work in parallel, both to define our new team, and to adapt into the new organization. It has been a demanding and challenging process with a lot of moving parts. As a leader, it has been important for me to keep focused on the goal, and to facilitate a smooth as possible transition period for the employees. As a department that is deeply involved in many of the core processes, the overall organization at Raufoss remains highly dependent on our success.
Tafjord says that the move towards a new organization was also driven by factors outside Nammo. The company operates in a business where expectations from customers and stakeholders have been steadily rising for years. In parallel, the regulatory regimes have become even more demanding. A lot more is required to keep the wheels turning today, compared to even just a few years ago.
– These changes have increasingly affected our business, and we ended up at a point where we needed to act. We had to adapt the way we operate to remain competitive and to be in front when conditions change. With the new structure, I believe we can cultivate groups that are more robust and where knowledge and expertise is emphasized. We are also hoping to see new forms of synergies as this kind of structure more naturally facilitates sharing of knowledge and experience across different units.
– Our main goal overall is to build a stronger organization for the future. Some of the projects we run last for decades. That means we have to build structures that can handle challenging tasks and dynamic surroundings, both technically and administratively. While Tafjord has been an enthusiastic supporter of the changes, she is also conscious of the challenges they represent. In her view, a major reorganization such as the one seen at Raufoss is more about changing how people work and communicate than writing new org-charts and lines of control.
– I actually see large changes in an organization as challenging and a threat in themselves, if not managed properly. Human beings, as a species, generally seem to prefer the world as it is. For most of us, it takes a certain degree of persuasion to accept that change is needed and to complete what is required from every one of us for the change to happen. This is especially true in cases where you already have some parts, units or structures that are functioning well. You then risk that change only happens on paper, but nothing happens in reality. I believe this is a danger in any change process. To be successful, we need the employees to see, understand and accept the need for change. To achieve that, I believe information and communication are important keywords. There is always room for improvement when it comes to information and communication in an organization, including Nammo.
– What would you say about your status right now?
– Reorganization processes take time! When you finally have all the boxes well placed in the new organizational chart, the real work begins. You will not be successful by just moving boxes. A reorganization is so much more than that! You always need to put a lot of effort into working with infrastructure, people and cultures. I think that the effort needed to successfully merge different workplace cultures and to build new ones are often underestimated. Although, I do believe we are on the right track and well on our way to define the new steady state of the organization.