We set out to build a team of consultants who combine ‘top tier analytical skills and toolbox’ with first-hand experience of achieving impact in a line organization
Klas with a background from McKinsey&Co and private equity, explains “I had seen at first hand that PE portfolio companies, and their owners, frequently had a need for external support and competence to drive change – be it structural, organizational, sales force or cost – much more than strategy support. Traditional management consultants were too expensive, but also ill-prepared to support a line organization in implementing the change needed to unleash the inherent value of an organization. What we did several times during my time in PE, we hired ex-consultants, trained them in the world of line management and gave them the task of driving change in their organization. This can be effective but takes time, and I felt that there must be a better way to support that process.”
Gustaf, with long experience of driving operational improvement and change in leading businesses such as SEB, Nestlé and Sandvik, explains his starting point: “I had been in many projects involving ‘top tier’ management consultants and had witnessed the benefits of a consulting mindset and analytical capabilities to designing and initiating a change project. But I had also seen the declining value of such teams when it came to implementation, as they lacked business experience and the toolkit to engage and influence line management, leading to organizations struggling to roll out implementation programs and failing to realize expected impact. It was clear to me that a different skill set was needed to support this phase.” Through a chance meeting, the two realized they shared the same view of what was needed – a change partner with both the ‘analytical skills and toolbox’ of a top tier consultant, but with the first-hand experience of achieving change in a line organization. And they realized that personality and high EQ – the ability and enjoyment of working together with people over time – was a critical factor in successful change projects. Thus, Klas and Gustaf embarked on the task of handpicking a first-rate founding team who combined the experience and analytical ‘smarts’ from a top tier consulting firm with experience from executing change in line businesses. In the process of meeting and interviewing hundreds of current and ex-management consultants, they realized there was an equally strong value proposition for ex-consultants in joining the OPX team.
Gustaf explains “Many of the consultants we met loved the high impact nature of the work they did but were disillusioned by two things; The unsustainable lifestyle aspect – that 80 hours per week in a ‘pressure cooker’ and ‘up or out’ environment was the norm -, and that the mix of the work was too focused on the upfront excel and PowerPoint deliverables, rarely getting the chance to follow the implementation phase and see the impact realized. For many who had worked a couple of years in large organizations, the proposition of OPX Partners was even stronger – the ability to make real change happen in the line, while working in a high paced environment with like-minded people, and – what is a core OPX Partners value – a long term sustainable lifestyle”.
Moving forward to today…
Since inception in 2010, OPX Partners has established a strong reputation as the go-to partner for companies to rapidly and effectively design and implement challenging operational changes that drive a direct impact on the bottom-line. Along that journey, the team has expanded and ways of working have been refined and systemized together with some of the most demanding clients in the Nordics – the value-focused private equity industry.
The result is our unique OPX Partners Support Model:
- Analytical and problem solving ‘depth’ driven by consulting experience and deep functional competence across core business areas (both commercial and operations) to ensure that we rapidly understand the problem and design the right solution
- Unwavering focus on bottom-line value creation and feasibility above all else – our years of line experience and of working closely with PE owners means we are uniquely able to recommend solutions that maximize the likelihood of success
- Our partnership approach to execution - we don’t just advise, we partner with our clients throughout the implementation phase to deliver results, and our ‘thin’ team structure is designed to support this with ‘top heavy’, experienced teams of high EQ individuals who can work effectively with line organizations
We apply this OPX Partners Support Model across all parts of our consulting support to clients. We ensure our support model is spread throughout our own organization through training (our OPX Partners Academy), apprenticeship and culture to ensure that all our consultants share the same values and approach.
This has allowed us to grow our organization while keeping our unique value proposition and approach to clients and has allowed us to not only serve most Nordic Private Equity companies, we have also branched out to work with a broad set of leading non-PE held Nordic businesses. But as Klas and Gustaf say “while we are proud of the team we have built and the work we have done to date, we won’t be satisfied until we have fulfilled our vision of creating a unique pan-Nordic consulting firm that really is “the future of consulting” offering a valuable tool for companies to thrive, and thereby add value to the whole of our society long-term”.