An international consumer packaged goods corporation has experienced rapid growth through increases in organic sales and business acquisitions. While the business has been highly successful, the accelerated growth highlighted operational challenges. Some of the issues included departments working in silos, regular process “workarounds” and exceptions that were resulting in mistakes and late customer deliveries. Customers were assessing fines and not offering the company additional opportunities due to a decrease in confidence.
As the customer delivery issues increased, employees’ satisfaction was also falling. Previous attempts at addressing these frustrations were made, but the results were too limited in scope, and confined to individual departments to result in any wholesale improvements.
A Farwell Senior Advisor organized an autonomous team of company leaders, representing all areas of the business. This team worked through a facilitated effort to discover the areas of conflict, identify root causes and develop a set of recommendations for rapid business growth.
The company leaders on the team were handpicked by the executive leadership team for their significant functional knowledge, decision-making capabilities and strong interpersonal skills. The first task of this team was to formalize the goals, scope, direction and plan.
The team’s next major task was documenting the existing processes for taking products to market: from idea generation through design, development, testing, manufacturing, warehousing, shipping and customer feedback. Through a series of facilitated sessions led by Farwell Sr. Advisor, the team involved subject matter experts (SME’s) and created a series of detailed process maps documenting the interactions across all functional areas. These highlighted many of the cross-functional obstacles and inherent frustrations. In many cases, this was the first time that cross-functional processes were analyzed.
At the end of this phase the Farwell Senior Advisor brought in a Farwell change management expert to develop company roadshows that depicted the team’s results. The team leaders presented to small groups throughout the company.
As business interactions and related issues were documented, further analysis efforts were facilitated by the Farwell Sr. Advisor. With the full team, there were iterative investigations and discussions to establish the actual root causes. The facilitator related what he had seen at other businesses and challenged the team’s views to separate symptoms from root causes. At the end of this phase, the root causes were fully documented and supported using objective data such as operational metrics.
Utilizing the root causes, the Farwell Senior Advisor worked with the team to develop a set of recommendations to address these issues. Subject matter experts representing all functions of the business were regularly consulted to gather additional details and, in some cases, consider other potential solutions. The recommendations were encompassing and spanned across department goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities, and IT systems and process changes.
Finally, recommendations were expanded into action steps across the short term (0-3 months), medium term (6-12 months), and long term (12+ months). Many of the short and medium term action steps build on each other to realize a holistic vision while still gaining improvement within the organization as quickly as possible. Formal documentation was created at the end of this phase.
The Farwell Senior Advisor worked with the team to present the results to the executive leadership team and gain approval to implement the recommendations. This process took a series of formal meetings along with informal one-on-one interactions to achieve executive approval.
The Farwell Senior Advisor and a Farwell change management expert developed an approach and steps enabling the company to implement the recommendations on their own. The Farwell team is still engaged and checks in with the team at regular intervals for review and advice.
Even prior to formal recommendations, this cross-functional team began to realize they could make small, simple operational changes that were immediately impactful. Farwell looks forward to documenting other positive results as the company continues to implement the recommendations.