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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

FC Company Integrated Business Planning (IBP) journey – Part 6

3 October 2019


By Liam Harrington and Anne Marie Kilkenny, Associates at Oliver Wight

In the last two blogs we talked about the FC Company designing their ‘to be’ Integrated Business Planning process through a series of design workshops.  Now they are working on developing and implementing that design.  This is where the rubber meets the road and people become very concerned about resource. Now that people are through the workshops, they are realising this is going to fundamentally change how their organisation works.  Some are doubting if the Exec will really change their ways of working and live the values of the process. Some people are a bit down because they are realising that this is going to be a bigger task than they thought. So now we need to go back to the Exec for conversations about the level of change needed and what they can do to support their people in making this happen. 

There has also been a joint realisation through the course of the workshop that levels of maturity in some key areas are lower than initially believed, even in the diagnostic. Up against the expectations of excellence that we positioned, many people had a ‘moment’ and verbalised it as ‘Wow - we’re nowhere near that’.  ‘Every time you explain another part of the process, I feel excited about what we could deliver, but scared because the scale of our challenge gets bigger’. It seems that in the one to one conversations in the diagnostic many people talked up what they were doing – not necessarily intentionally, it was what they felt on the day or they were thinking about one part of the portfolio or business, not the whole picture.  Plus the cross functional nature of the workshops has brought out some of the tensions between different parts of the business.  We even had some physical finger pointing on a couple of occasions. It’s clear that a long standing lack of effective communication across the functions has resulted in misconceptions and a lot of frustration.  A big benefit of the design teams working cross functionally is they are already starting to understand some of the challenges faced by colleagues in other functions or teams.  And they are also starting to see where they themselves are sometimes the cause of some of the issues.  We have had some tough but really good conversations to get to agreement on what the real issues are.  That means the opportunity to come up with truly effective and sustainable solutions is much greater.  The teams are excited about that prospect and getting into creating lasting solutions and better ways of working in their follow up sessions over the next few weeks.

People really struggle to let go of how things are today and imagine what the future will be. We had several examples of people working in the current S&OP process and how they struggle each month to pull any information from colleagues, let alone have time to do meaningful analysis and develop gap closing solutions. It’s hard for them to picture themselves working in this new way.

This phase is critically important.  So much positive energy was created in the workshops. The Leaders of the business have to be active in their support of the design teams: encouragement and reinforcement of the goals – why we are doing this; communication to the broader organisation is also key so they understand that people have a time commitment to this process and real prioritisation – people cannot do the job that has been asked if space and time is not created. 

 Read the story from the beginning here.

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