About Cablinc

Cablinc is a fictitious company facing very real and common challenges. It was put together specifically to be used as the foundation for talks at Social Now.

The company was created in 1983 to manufacture electrical supplies (cables, etc.). Since then it has opened a project-based line of business: design, auditing and maintenance of electrical installations in large buildings.

Its headquarter is in the UK. It has plants in the UK, Portugal and Slovakia.

Cablinc has 1200 employees: 800 are factory workers, distributed by the 3 plants.

Cablinc's Organisational Chart
Cablinc’s Organisational Chart

Cablinc’s challenges

The challenges Cablinc is facing are described in Anne McLear’s blog: House of Cables.

Internal Communication

A lot of communication happens in the cafeteria and rumours play an important part in Cablinc’s life. When Cablinc decided to open the factories in Portugal and Slovakia, communication was not done properly, staff assumed they would be closing the UK factory and morale dipped.

One day a machine broke in the UK factory. It was down for almost 2 days. Staff knew this failure was likely to happen but they did not know who to report it to.

Anne McLear is responsible for creating and managing a communication plan for the opening of the new factory in Turkey.

There are too many different platforms in the company and it’s increasingly more difficult to get people’s attention.

It is also hard to communicate with frontline workers and keep them engaged with the organisation.

Accessing Critical Knowledge

The Projects team, led my Phil McPlan, is underperforming because Cablinc has a very junior team of field engineers who, when on the field, have little chance to tap into the company’s pool of knowledge (and more senior colleagues).

Some junior engineers have created a sort of a community of practice who, informally, meet at the cafeteria to discuss tricky projects.

In preparation for the communication plan she has to put together for the factory opening in Turkey, Anne McLear wants to know what was done when opening in Portugal and Slovakia. However, there is no written material and it’s hard to pinpoint those involved at the time.

One day a machine broke in the UK factory. It was down for almost 2 days. The machine was then fixed by a retired Cablinc employee who was called in to help.

Factory workers knew this failure was likely to happen sooner than later. However, they did not know how to report it. Mark McGood, Head of Quality, feels this would not get Cablinc re-certified with ISO 9001:2015 now that access to knowledge is explicitly stated as a requirement.

There is a fire at a client’s building where Cablinc had performed a quality inspection. Jacqui McLaw anticipates a lawsuit and is keen to access all available knowledge and information about the client, the work done, the issues identified, etc.

House of Cables, by Anne McLear
  • Peter Change wants to crowdsource ideas for improvement as part of the company's digital transformation agenda
  • McGreasy emails 14 people seeking their inputs to the attached 42-page document
  • Too many channels are causing a lot of noise and having a negative impact on communication and collaboration
  • Jacqui McLaw is joining the meeting from home; all others are in the room. Things do not go well
  • Anne McLear realises that, for factory workers, it's not easy to keep in touch with what is happening in the company

Visit the House of Cables blog


Email-based collaboration at Cablinc

Co-creation of documents is done via email, including meeting notes.

Hybrid meetings are proving to be a challenge.

Staff does not think to use the team’s collaboration space and that leads to wasted time.

Onboarding / Training

Anne McLear joins Cablinc and is underwhelmed by the onboarding process.


Peter Change wants to engage the collective wisdom of the company in order to develop the company’s Digital Transformation strategy.