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Westinghouse Rail Systems

Ever increasing commercial pressures, international competition, demanding shareholders and more astute customers are forcing organisations across the globe to be focussed in every area of business in order to maintain competitive advantage.

Faced with these pressures, Westinghouse Rail Systems Ltd, a world leader in advanced signalling and integrated control systems, has recognised the need to introduce a more strategic and forward thinking approach to change management as well as the significance of ensuring that the right people, with the necessary experience are in place to keep their programmes on track. By using Executives Online, the fast track headhunting company, Westinghouse was able to engage and reach out to a far broader talent pool and find exactly the right candidate. Norrie Johnston, Executive Chairman of Executive Online explains how.

In 2008 Westinghouse began to aggressively implement its change programme following the development of a three-year strategic plan. The suite of business changes it has now introduced are designed to help the organisation deliver three main objectives: to increase its operational performance; to help expand its global footprint and to continue delivering innovative products and services to its customers.

As part of the process the organisation had to quickly source a Programme Manager to oversee the programme and take charge of the implementation. In order to maintain momentum and maximise the cost efficiencies highlighted within the programme, it was critical for that someone was brought on board quickly, who could hit the ground running. Whilst a number of existing employees were already carrying out separate continuous improvement roles within the business and would therefore be a valued member of the team, none of them possessed the mix of skill-sets and experience needed at a managerial level.

"Neal has provided a real focus to the programme and his contribution has helped Westinghouse secure £6 million of cost savings this year."

Although speed was of the essence, it was critical for Westinghouse to find exactly the right candidate for such a significant role. Using Executives Online allowed Westinghouse to engage and reach out to a far broader talent pool. It was not looking for an engineer or someone who had previous experience of the industry – the requirement was for a senior executive who had expertise in change and project management methodologies, and therefore had a track record of setting up and leading similar programmes.

Following submission of the brief, Executives Online proactively searched its global talent bank. Once an assessment of respondents, face-to-face interviews, reference checking and CV validation had taken place Executives Online was able to present a short list of high quality candidates within a matter of weeks. As a result, Neal J was identified after just two weeks and offered the position of interim Programme Manager. Since joining the organisation, Neal has provided a real focus to the programme and his contribution has helped Westinghouse secure £6 million of cost savings this year.

Interim Managers are now being used to add value throughout other parts of the business and Executives Online recently put forward a short list for the Head of Project Controls position within the Mainline Division. Consequently, Richard S’ experience and knowledge provided an exact match for the business and he is now playing an integral role in introducing best practice to a multi-disciplinary and multi-project office. Similarly, the company filled a vacant, senior position for a Regional Project Director on an interim basis, during 2007. Subsequently, this particular candidate has now transferred into a permanent position as Head of Mainline Business.

Norrie Johnston, Executive Chairman of Executives Online comments: "One of the single, most important attributes of our business is that we listen to our customers and work with them to establish a profile of the ideal candidate in terms of abilities, skills and experience. Once this candidate model has been established we can then quickly initiate our Fast-Track Search by utilising our candidate acquisition engine and web search tools. Harnessing the internet means that we can accelerate the search process and provide a short list of high quality candidates in a matter of days. Customers want top quality, speed, exactly the right candidate, and reasonable fees – web-enabled recruitment can help to deliver all of this. It’s for this very reason that Westinghouse continue to work with us for both interim and permanent executive placements."