Business Restructuring: Implement Technology & Sales Strategy

Industry: Automotive-Trucking
Function: Executive Management
Location: Domestic US

In 2005, American La France – one of the oldest and best-known manufacturers of large custom trucks (trash, ambulance, and fire) was sold by its parent Freightliner to Patriarch Partners. As part of the transition from Freightliner, ALF attempted to implement a complex enterprise-resource-planning system to help track orders, configure vehicles, and manage inventory, in addition to financial management.

However, by 2007 the implementation was failing. An MMG associate served in a triage CTO role to complete the implementation work as part of the senior management team to get the stalled and failing ERP system implementation back on track.  He also drove key results in system performance and data integrity, including:

  • Creating a web -based customer vehicle configuration and order management system
  • Managing design engineering operations and systems
  • Introducing Product Lifecycle Management, and driving down the product lifecycle
  • Reducing active items managed in inventory from 90% to 25%
  • Reducing transactional requirements in work-in-process by more than 50%
  • Establishing an accurate manufacturing bill of materials

He created and led the Sales Operations function for ALF (as the interim Vice President), providing a single face to the customer for cradle-to-grave product support – from order management/ configuration through delivery, invoicing and operational services support, to vehicle retirement and replacement.

While this implementation was underway, the company experienced a series of CFO and CEO transitions; and ALF declared bankruptcy at end of 2008. During this time, the MMG associate oversaw the creation and management of required financial procedures and records. During bankruptcy, he reported directly to the Chief Restructuring Officer and Creditor Committee representatives; the key work included:

  • Successfully negotiating payment plans with key vendors through the bankruptcy period,
  • Executing discovery, document retention, and matter research for concurrent litigation, and
  • Acting as an executive coach for senior managers to improve recognition of and response to organizational behaviors under stress.

These activities laid the groundwork for ALF to successfully emerge from bankruptcy by mid 2008.