Unipart chief explains the struggle of cultural change

Posted on 3 Dec 2013

Changing the culture of an organisation is more complex than rocket science. That was the view of Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive when he addressed guests at the University of Birmingham on the 28th November.

John Neill, told attendees at The Birmingham Business School Advisory Board Guest Lecture: “I have learned just how hard it is to bring about culture change, but I have also witnessed time and again the power of The Unipart Way to engage people and deliver transformational performance in quality, cost and delivery while, at the same time, bringing about culture change and inspiring innovation.”

John Neill
John Neill, Unipart Chairman

In his presentation John Neill told the Unipart story, which started in the mid Seventies by building a foundation for success and then creating the conditions for a successful buy-out in 1987.

Over the years, Unipart pioneered a wide range of innovative ideas including using television and radio advertising to turn replacement car parts and accessories and the development of one of Britain’s first corporate universities.

John Neill also discussed the development of The Unipart Way which he described as ‘a philosophy of working that is underpinned by tools and techniques’.

The chairman explored the challenges facing the NHS and said: “The solution is not another series of top down initiatives. What is needed is a radical change in culture. That is not rocket science; it is actually harder than that. It is a culture that inspires all the stakeholders in the system to focus on the needs of the end user and to be passionate about getting better every day.”

After the presentation, Simon Collinson, Dean of Birmingham Business School, commented: “Based on Unipart’s thirty year cultural transformation journey, and the work the company has done introducing The Unipart Way into so many clients, I’m convinced that it has a unique set of experience and a body of knowledge that can be transformative for other companies”.

Unipart has developed one of the country’s largest consulting arms, Unipart Expert Practices, which is teaching the company’s proprietary approach to business improvement to clients in the public and private sectors.