The Mech Touch Chapter 1077
1075 Sibilant Asset Managemen
The next day, Ves convened his confidants and invited a couple of other top executives such as Jake Altern, the chief operating officer, and the Primrose Mackarie, the chief financial officer.
All of them knew the company well. If Ves couldn't make them understand the principles he espoused, then no one could.
"Living Mechs. Partners for Life." Gavin rolled the phrase off his tongue. As a marketing specialist, Ves awaited his opinion most eagerly. "I like it. It possesses a good cadence. Hearing it conjures up the image that our mechs are enduring partners for our customers."
Not everyone agreed. Jake for example did not approve. "That's all well and good, but it still comes with the flaw that no one immediately has an idea what our mechs excel at. What does it mean that our mechs are partners for life?"
"It means that our mechs are companions rather than products." Ves espoused. "The LMC's products that can be relied upon to treat mech pilots well when they care for their mechs in return. From a technical standpoint, mechs that qualify as partners for life should be high quality products that are built to last and can endure the rigors of combat again and again even under moderate use. However, that is only the value that we bring from the surface."
"What else is there?"
"Our mechs are mechs with a heart. I'm sure you all heard from our customers that our mechs are slightly more comfortable and accommodating to mech pilots than the competition. This is my true area of expertise. My mechs are not just lifeless tools to be used and abused until they break. Treat them well, and they will grow with the mech pilot."
Some of the people present furrowed their brows or looked confused. Ves failed to convey his principles clear enough.
"I think Ves is referring to the high customer satisfaction of the mech pilots that use our mechs." Gavin added. "I've been studying the reports for a long time, and a lot of the feedback we've received from our customers express a very high satisfaction, particularly to picky mech pilots. While our main products are priced beyond the reach of most of our market, those that have been forking good money for our mechs almost never regretted their purchase. I believe our repeat business potential is very high. The only reason why we haven't noticed this on a wider scale is due to our limited mech catalog."
When oriented towards customer feedback, the motto seemed more meaningful. As they worked for the company for several years now, they all knew what their most loyal customers felt about the LMC's mechs.
We have a good reputation on that front, but it's not a sufficiently compelling reason to purchase our mechs over another." Calsie said, sobering everyone up. "Our repeat business is high but our market share remains miniscule. The biggest problem we face is that even if our mechs are well-liked, most mech purchases just want the most bang for their buck, and that means prioritizing performance over comfort. When these critical buyers hear our motto, they probably think it's a weak excuse to make our mechs sound more impressive than they really are. The Blackbeak suffers a lot from this problem."
The Crystal Lord at least incorporated the alien crystal technology as a defining gimmick. Sales of the Crystal Lord had long outpaced the sales of the more plainer and less distinguishing Blackbeak.
"I think our main weakness is that our mech catalog has not caught up with the growth of our company." Ves stated. "With only two current mech models on offer, our impact on the mech market is too little. I know my motto sounds a bit too abstract and wishy-washy, but the good feedback from the few thousand customers we have shows that it actually has a kernel of truth. As long as I resume publishing new designs, the motto will gain more strength."
He possessed the confidence to predict such an occurrence. Not only would he and his company gain more prominence once he advanced to Journeyman, but his ability to design mechs with a B-grade X-Factor meant that each of his newer products would never fail to impress those who caught sight of his mechs!
The most important consequence of his high X-Factor was that the mech pilots that used a Blackbeak or Crystal Lord always exhibited more of their potential. As long as their mentality aligned somewhat with the X-Factor of their mechs, the resulting combination always led to a small but substantial improvement in performance.
The more his mechs proliferated in the market, the more obvious this effect became! At that point, his motto would become a defining phrase that no other mech company could ever match as well as the LMC could under his leadership and direction!
Eventually, Ves decided to adopt the motto for his company. They all drew plans to include it in various documentation and even have it appear on their product pages and in the company halls.
"Coming up with a motto is just the first step." He said. "The LMC has done well so far, but the status quo won't last forever. I want to change the company from the ground up in order to prepare it for future growth."
"What do you want to focus on?" Calsie asked. "It sounds like you already have some goals in mind."
"You may have heard this, but I used to serve as a liaison to the former Kadar-Neyvis Group a few months ago. Although I haven't been there long enough to study all of their operations, what I've learned from my experience showed me that the LMC has a lot to go before they can match the KNG."
"Our company is already running fairly efficiently."
Ves nodded. "That is all to your credit. However, we need a clearer organizational structure in order to take future expansion into account. What if we set up a branch office in the Ylvain Protectorate or the Reinald Republic someday? What if we set up a new manufacturing complex in a different star sector a decade from now on? While it sounds somewhat premature to be thinking of expanding our footprint, it's better to make our preparations now when we are at our current scale."
His argument took hold.
Primrose, their chief accountant, added in her own opinion. "If you are about to shakeup the LMC, then I would also suggest addressing our inconsistent licensing structure. Some of the licenses are registered in your personal name, which locks the company out of the royalties and fees that they earn."
"Fair point." Ves nodded. He wasn't unaware of the problem. His personal bank accounts were so flush with money that it was practically obscene. "Have the Accounting Department and the Legal Department arrange the necessary details. All licenses will be put under company ownership. This includes both real and virtual licenses, component designs and mech designs, and licenses that we own and licenses we've acquired from other entities."
This made things much simpler and put all the licenses that he and his company owned under a single name. Ves detached himself from personal ownership of all the licenses including the much-prized Trailblazer engine and the Veltrex armor system because he no longer obsessed over them. As a versatile mech designer, even if his company shuttered all of a sudden and Ves lost access to all of his licenses, he would still be able to pick himself up somehow by virtue of his ability.
Only regular Novices and Apprentices clung to licenses obsessively. They didn't possess the earning power to acquire new licenses at will, so they treasured every license they obtained.
They continued to talk about the transition and discussed what needed to change. Ves nonetheless reiterated the main priority of this initiative.
"Our goal here goes beyond changes in operations. What I truly want is to transform the LMC into a company our workers are proud to be a part of. They need to feel more belonging to our company and the have to believe in our mission. Each employee should understand our motto and conform their work to our values no matter if they are mech technicians, sales representatives or managers. Basically, I want to introduce a strong company culture and identity to the LMC."
In order to change the LMC to a form that Ves wanted to achieve, they needed to form an extensive and detailed plan to achieve the transformation. The LMC version 2.0 that they envisioned would not only be able to keep up with future growth without straining any of its existing processes, but it would also be made up of enthusiastic employees who all shared the same beliefs.
Now that Ves set his overall goals, his confidants and his managers could do take it from here. They already came up with useful suggestions.
For example, Jake and Primrose already talked about getting consultants on board to help them guide their company's transformation. The LMC wasn't the only mech company in the Bright Republic that wanted to reinvent itself. Obtaining value external expertise in an area which they held little experience in wouldn't hurt.
Calsie issued a warning, however. "If you want to rearrange large parts of the LMC, you will need the approval of the board as well."
"Oh that." Ves smiled when he heard that. "Don't worry about the board."
A few days after Ves announced his intentions to introduce strategic changes to the way they ran the company, Flashlight finally fulfilled its prior commitment. After several months of preparation, the TNC Holding Group no longer owned a twenty-four percent stake in the company!
Ves derived a lot of pleasure in informing the board of directors when they convened in the first meeting since he returned to the company.
"Your services won't be needed anymore." He said to the handful of directors appointed by TNC. "As of yesterday, the TNC Holding Group has formally transferred its shares to Sibilant Asset Management!"
The two directors representing the Ministry of Economic Development appeared blindsided by the news.
"You can't do this! The Ministry would never relinquish their stake on your company!"
"They can because they already did." Two new projections appeared in the semi-virtual boardroom. One of them boldly shooed the toadies from MinEcDev away. "As of now, the TNC Holding Group will no longer be involved in shaping the Living Mech Corporation's strategy."
Before the representatives of the TNC could bark back a reply, Ves pressed a command on his comm which forcefully cut their projection feeds off. Since they were no longer directors of the company, it was within his right to kick them out of the boardroom!
Ves addressed the other directors. Aside from his grandfather Benjamin and Marcella Bollinger, the other two directors were relatively independent if well-connected, which made them advisors more than decision makers.
While the TNC Holding Group still held sway, the independent directors strongly leaned on their side because they were stand-ins for the powerful Ministry of Economic Development.
This time, Sibilant Asset Management displaced the role of the TNC Holding Group. Officially, they represented the interests of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"We hope to have a fruitful cooperation with you all." A slick, middle-aged man said as he introduced himself to the board. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sees a lot of potential in the LMC as a means to extend our influence throughout the star sector. Where commerce flows, new connections are forged. Our main priority at the board is to make sure that the LMC will be able to expand its reach without forgetting its roots."
Everyone at the board was still shocked by the sudden change in ownership. Even his grandfather Benjamin seemed taken aback that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs butted into the business of the Ministry of Economic Development.
No one seemed to realize that Sibilant Asset Management did not actually represent the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but rather Flashlight!
Ves clapped his hands. "Now that we cleared out the trash, let us begin with the first item on the agenda. Our company is due for some extensive changes. We've developed some preliminary plans on what we want to change and we could benefit from your input."