Imagine better for your business—every day.
Imagine seeing your business continue to grow, despite the pandemic.
That’s exactly what Australian building materials manufacturer Laticrete has achieved—with the help of strategic planning from SRJ Walker Wayland.
General Manager Emma Tschannen steers Australian operations for Laticrete Australia—with a strong annual turnover. After working with SRJ since October 2018, Emma describes a very high growth in sales, and an upsurge in profitability.
Proactive strategic planning and regular business coaching from SRJ Walker Wayland helped Emma and Laticrete tighten up operations and create new opportunities—even during challenging times.
Out of a business rut.
Emma had been wearing three hats at Laticrete—across administration, finance and sales. “We were a very small team doing multiple tasks ”, she says. “We didn’t have time to plan for growth—but we knew we needed to innovate if we wanted to continually achieve strong future growth.”
Not always as easy as it sounds.
After a few years of handling Laticrete’s audits and tax, Michael Noon and Dianne Brown from SRJ Walker Wayland saw Laticrete as the perfect fit for a Queensland grant program for business planning—and helped Emma secure $20,000 in matched funding.
“We were hesitant to match $20k as it wasn’t in our budget, and planning has no immediate return on investment”, says Emma. “But running a business-day-to-day, you’re in the thick of it. We needed outside expertise to point out what we couldn’t see—including new opportunities”.
Imagining better planning.
Once successful with the grant, SRJ’s Michael and Di worked with Emma and her team to develop a new strategic plan. “SRJ helped us identify three key areas to impact our success—people, process, and profitability,” says Emma.
Using business diagnostic tools for a growth-and-profit solution—the team developed a powerful one-pager. “This was new to us. In the past, we tended to have stretch goals for sales and profitability— we were putting numbers out there without enough analysis,” she says.
“With Michael and Di’s help we analysed those goals, segmented and dissected our markets and products. We worked out which ones have better profit margins for the future.”
Emma says the process has transformed how she and her management team work. They now live-and-breathe strategic planning, goal setting, and accountability.
“Di and Michael support us with monthly and quarterly check-ins—like business coaches. We have clear actions and timeframes, and assign responsibilities for tasks. They help keep managers on track to success. Simple, but works a treat.
“If you don’t achieve the goal assigned to you, it feels like you’re letting down the whole team,” says Emma.
SRJ’s Di Brown swears by coaching to help businesses grow—by mobilising the thinking and knowledge within the existing team. “It’s part of what we do”, says Di, “and it clears the way for clients to do what they do best”.
Proactive by default.
At Laticrete, Emma and her team embraced the culture of strategic planning, and took cues from SRJ’s Michael and Di on bringing the whole team into more regular strategic work. Every quarter, senior team members identified new products—as well as reworking existing products for better performance.
It quickly bore fruit—within 18 months Laticrete posted a bumper year, with growth in sales, and strong improvement in profitability.
But the innovation went further, and Laticrete Australia developed a new product line for the Australian market called LATICRETE SUPERCAP that set the scene for an innovative expansion of operations.
Innovating to grow.
With SUPERCAP, Laticrete sourced a self-levelling flooring product and crossed it with Australian-first technology using trucks as portable manufacturing plant—which then pumped up the product to buildings up to 60 storeys high.
The innovation means trucks no longer have to load up and return to base to refill heralding huge savings and a massive market edge. It’s now about to be used at the 1 Sydney Harbour development site.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing—so the confidence of robust planning was key. The project involved sourcing from Laticrete International and adapting for the local market—with lots of complexity. SRJ’s help took a lot of guesswork out of the picture.
“We relied on SRJ to help us out with the three-way forecast to see if we would have the cashflow, and it turned out feasible”, says Emma.
Planning to grow.
For Emma Tschannen and Laticrete, the right mix of strategic planning and performance coaching didn’t just improve their existing business performance—it helped them tap internal resources to find a whole new approach.
The approach has paid dividends—with growing margins and growing volume—all while facing down the COVID crisis and pioneering a new, multilateral product.
Success has meant expansion—Laticrete are now using strategic planning to decide where to build a new ‘super-plant’.
“Our success has a lot to do with SRJ’s assistance on keeping us on our path”, says Emma, “keeping us focused on our plan—and how we’re going to achieve it”.
For a confidential conversation with an SRJ Walker Wayland partner, contact us today.