For the purposes of this Trillian Insights entry, we’ve elected to omit the name of the enterprise and author in question. Ultimately, the value of the insights expressed in this short case study are premised on building sustainable and effective change management solutions, not on specifics regarding the company or its individuals.

However, it is worth mentioning that the company is a South Africa-based retail and consumer finance business. For reference sake, we’ll call them Company A. It’s also worth noting that Trillian itself did not undertake this work but rather, a Trillian Management Consulting Principal spearheaded the project in a previous role.

The Brief

Leadership at Company A realised it had to change its supply chain system. The company was not focused on its customers, resulting in long delivery times and delivery of incorrect or damaged orders.

The scale of the problem was huge – the company had 8 million active customers spread out across South Africa, 15 000 staff, R2bn in stock, and R13bn accounts receivable – with no capabilities to manage operations effectively. A purchased product, for example, would have up to 13 touchpoints through the supply chain before finally being delivered to the customer.

The Outcome

4 years later the company had implemented a world-class supply chain services system, with the most important shift being the staff’s commitment to customer centricity. All supply chain services had reached the target of 95% delivery on time and in full – meaning delivery of customers’ full orders, undamaged and within 48 hours (compared to as low as 20% previously). The system was technology-enabled (including SAP and barcoding), new equipment and processes were utilised (e.g. cages and racking), the business incorporated 13 new warehouses, and a new fleet of trucks. Planning had been supported by extensive analysis – including centre of gravity analyses and LSM mapping.

The Method

But how did Company A shift its culture? It implemented a full R350m change management programme over 4 years along with the full supply chain upgrade. The programme’s key success factors were:

  • Leadership vision, passion and commitment to change – Company A’s leadership realised the urgent need for change and worked with skilled people to develop a clear business plan for change. This was a critical starting point for driving change. The leadership communicated this need at a broad scale and with passion – one meeting involved 3,500 managers from across the country, for example.
  • Multiplication of buy-in to the need to change – The full staff complement of 15,000 people were reached through the multiplication of conversations around change. The change team travelled extensively throughout the company to have these conversations and build the awareness and desire for change. These conversations were aligned with participant’s culture – tapping into values that were specific to the individual, yet aligned to Company A’s vision.
  • Building excitement around change – The company, as an organisation, celebrated change and a shift to a positive, vibrant culture with large-scale celebrations and a powerful sense of community. Healthy competition motivated teams to compete with one another to achieve the highest proportion of deliveries made on time and in full.
  • Reinforcement of the desire to change – The drive to change was constantly communicated across the company through a broad range of channels – meetings, branding, videos, signage, newsletters and other communications. This communication used artefacts that held meaning for the company’s people, identified based on an understanding of the company’s origins and its journey forward.

In closing, to reiterate, the purpose of this article was not to delve into specificity around the project itself but rather, to give insight into our holistic approach to change management. Trillian Management Consulting specialises in, amongst other fields, change management. Our local, experiential insight differentiates us from our competitors and it is these unwritten credentials – this ability to empathise with the local market and a client’s unique objectives, which enables us to create bespoke change management solutions, thereby building meaningful and results-oriented change management programmes.