Cultural change brings continuous improvement to research and development

Change of culture brings continuous improvement to research and development at giant shipyard. New markets and increased competition increased demands on R&D. Mantec helped to develop and implement changes that gave lasting results.


The company produces the world’s largest container vessels, employs 3,500 people and has a turnover of EUR 600 million. The company is a part of a corporate group that in total employs 110,000 people in 125 countries.

The company had for a number of years produced vessels exclusively for its parent company, but was about to commence producing vessels for other ship owners. Further, due to hard competition and depressed cargo prices, it was imperative to become competitive with vessels produced in the East, and the company turned to Mantec for help.


During the initial analysis, a large number of people at various organisational levels were interviewed. Process mappings were executed, analysis of the management system was performed and the client’s view on management was documented.

The findings concluded need for the following activities related to Research and Development (R&D):

  • Establishment of a new R&D organisation with focus on:
  • process (defining and implementing new processes);
  • new project-driven development methods;
  • R&D follow-up based on well-defined milestones.
  • Major changes to the existing R&D department:
  • establishment of process owners and process development;
  • establishment of a new information system;
  • establishment of a new computer-aided design system;
  • establishment of specific hand over procedures, when customers specify a ship.
  • KPIs for the whole R&D area.

The solutions were developed in close cooperation with the management team (including the R&D manager) and the people and culture manager of the yard.


Headline benefits to the client have been:

  • implementation of a management system that continuously supplies information on R&D performance;
  • reduction in numbers of warehouse staff;
  • a higher degree of customer orientation throughout the whole organisation;
  • project teams more skilled and motivated;
  • new efficient and business-focused R&D organisation;
  • clear strategic direction for the future (ability to handle and work with other customers and other ship classes);
  • concrete action plans in place and well-defined tools for the changes needed; and
  • establishment of a continuous improvement culture in the R&D area, where there always are new improvement projects in place.

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