MACO's Path from Crisis to Industry Pioneer – And What You Can Learn from it

An Interview with Robert Andexer, Head of Business Unit DOOR

When Mayer & Co (MACO), one of the leading manufacturers of building hardware worldwide, engaged the strategy consultancy Edizon, the company was facing a crisis situation in the UK market. Together with Edizon (at this time called Strategyn iip), MACO managed not only to implement effective short term measures that improved their situation immediately, but also to build the foundation for long-term success and begin a transformation of self-perception – namely that of a metal processor to a system supplier for Smart Building Components. Almost 10 years after the initiative, we had a talk with Robert Andexer, Head of Business Unit DOOR, in which he reflects on MACO’s experience from his point of view. Finally, Robert shares his learning about what is important when you transform a critical situation into an opportunity by fundamentally widening your focus and gaining innovation leadership.

Robert, how would you describe your situation in 2010? Why was it a crisis?

“For five years, we brought no real innovations to the UK market and our product range “window fittings” stagnated at a high level. With a 38% market share, MACO was still the market leader, but with an extremely broad product range, we were like a slowly maneuverable ship increasingly threatened by smaller agile specialists. Even more critical was the situation in the “door locks” product range: here, we had lost our innovative edge completely – and even worse: basic technical requirements could no longer be adequately met. Dissatisfied customers and sales losses were the consequence. Formerly market and innovation leader, our company was on the verge of falling from the throne. So we defined a comprehensive strategy to avert the looming disaster – and Outcome-Driven Innovation® was at the heart of this strategy. “

How did you experience the Outcome-Driven Innovation® (ODI) process?

“When getting in touch with the ODI methodology for the first time in 2009, I knew straight away that this is what we needed for the UK business. After setting up the project and conducting interviews with manufactures of windows and doors, we realized that we had never done that in such detail and depth. I have to admit though; interviewing the target audience in line with the ODI principles is a key step in the process that we underestimated when doing it ourselves at first. We had to go back and repeat that with professional support from Edizon.

When Edizon presented the Job Map for our target audience, it was a real wow moment. Never before had we seen at a glance how the process ideally runs from the customer’s point of view. A most surprising and stunning moment was also when Edizon presented the results of the data analysis to us. Looking at the data from different angels and performing the right data cuts, led to a clear understanding of our situation in the market and deep insights into potential for reengineering and innovation.

Based on the results of the study, we were also able to define concept briefs for our innovation teams that resulted in a highly efficient ideation phase, creating over 100 concepts for better and more innovative products specially tailored to the needs of our customers in the UK market. By having Edizon not only consulting us in the front-end phase of the ODI project but also in the creation of concept briefs and in the ideation phase, we were able to perform a gapless process with tangible results within a period of just 6 months.

One of the later and more important findings from the project, for me personally, was the fact that an ODI study creates the fundamental basis for pioneering innovation in the shape of strategy and concept ideas for many years into the future.”

When you look back at the development, what are your takeaways? What can you recommend others in a crisis situation from your experiences?

Think Big. First of all, being in a crisis situation always means that you need to change something. From my point of view, this always has to be closely connected to a strategy process defining the basic orientation and guidelines for your business over the next 10 years. In our case, we decided to think big. We defined innovation leadership as the core of our strategy and by doing so, justifying an ODI project is not a difficult thing to do anymore. Over time, the methodology and mindset became an integral part of our organization leading to a big step towards real innovation leadership.

Focus on the one thing that has the biggest impact. Second, it needs clear focus, both time wise and especially on certain market or customer segments that have the biggest impact on your business. Time wise I can highly recommend running things in parallel. In order to ease the situation, focus on quick wins and try to realize them fast after finishing the ideation phase. Alongside that, create new products with a better fit and clear benefits for the target group with the highest potential.

In our case, the highest potential segment was the group of highly automated window and door manufactures with a high production output and a complex product range – the aim was optimization and cost reduction of existing products by means of value analysis alongside incremental innovation by adding a few extra features. In parallel, we worked on a real pioneering innovation concept. To sum up, focus first on the hand that feeds you in order to gain time and space for pioneering innovation.

Be prepared to transform yourself. In 2020 it will be 10 years since we processed the initial ODI project in the UK. In that period, we have turned our global door business from a metal processor to a system supplier for Smart Building Components. I’m very proud that, with the hard work of my team, in 2020 we will be launching a most innovative door system that has the potential to turn a whole industry upside down. This will be the final milestone in a long innovation story starting with an ODI study in the UK in 2010.”

We thank Robert Andexer for these valuable insights, and we are very curious about the door system MACO will launch next year. It makes us happy and proud that Edizon has been able to contribute to this long-term success story! If you are interested in learning more, download the Mayer & Co Case Study. Robert Andexer will also present on the 2nd JTBD Summit Europe, don’t miss it!

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