Designing for Scalability

This large government contractor engaged OPX to imagine and implement an operational and physical environment designed to manage unknowable growth and design for scalability. Within a highly competitive government contracting industry, OPX worked to increase collaboration with an eye towards innovation while inspiring, supporting and retaining a new generation of leadership.
business Model Transformation

The Opportunity.

The government contracting industry is an integral (but very competitive) industry in the Washington DC area.  While the industry is primarily focused on helping government agencies, it has made significant and valuable contributions to commercial innovation.

In order to stay competitive, these large contractors find themselves competing for the same pool of highly-educated, technology-focused employees.  Attracting and retaining these employees is an on-going challenge, one with significant financial and cultural ramifications.

business Model Transformation

The Process.

Through our Integrated Operational Environment analysis, we found our client’s employees to be highly collaborative (81% said collaboration was important or extremely important), and pre-disposed to work remotely (70% stated they would trade space in the office to work remotely more often).  We also did a customer and employee location analysis which led to the finding that there was a competing desire to be near customers AND employees! Our client was also contending with rapid growth,making flexibility an important consideration.


Armed with these important findings we developed a highly-focused, data-driven, decision support lens – tied to their strategy - to help our client evaluate scenarios for structuring their area offices.

We developed three broad categories of scenarios;

Traditional HQ Building / Campus

This scenario put all of our client’s regional functions and employees in one building or location.This scored low on both scalability and attraction and retention, but scored high on collaboration.  In this scenario the company had to choose between being close to their employees or customers.

Hub & Spoke

A small HQ with corporate functions, surrounded by a series of distributed offices.  This scenario scored extremely high on scalability and on attraction and retention of talent. It also has the potential to be near both employees and customers.  This scenario scored lower than the HQ scenario on collaboration, but an increasing, industry-wide focus on and development of collaboration tools mitigated the low score.


This scenario imagines a small HQ function with a ‘constellation’ of smaller (even pop-up and co-working spaces) offices circling the HQ – responding to customer needs and location, shifting employee base and demographics.

This scenario scored high on scalability, and on attraction and retention, and like the hub and spoke, also has the potential to be near both employees and customers.  

This scheme was also potentially the most cost-effective.  Our client would only build these facilities as they were needed – reducing the large initial capital expenditure of a HQ building.

The Impact.

The result of our engagement gave our client a valuable decision support tool that was focused on their strategy and helped them imagine and select the scenarios that best suited their overall goals: scalability, customer focus,and retaining the best and brightest employees.

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