Insight Blog

Change Management for a Product Lifecycle Management System

by Lake Shore Associates

May 23, 2020 | Case Study, Change Management

The Challenge

This global organization had made a commitment to creating new value for consumers while delivering safe, reliable and high-quality products. As they continued to build a reputation as the world’s fastest growing premium spirits company to ensure its long-term sustainability, they knew that they must earn the trust of their consumers and customers, and consistently align with their expectations. As a Supply Chain team, they were committed to delivering the highest levels of service to its customers. Accomplishing this required stronger end-to-end alignment with the R&D teams and the delivery of better and more agile service.

Toward that end, the company began a search for a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) System that would bring efficiencies and innovation to the R&D function of Corporate Marketing. The system would be designed to help the company horizontally integrate and make better use of data in the research, development, packaging, sales and marketing of new products. Executive sponsorship was strong and management consensus related to the vision for change was solid. The business case for change was strategically sound, as gained efficiencies and simplification would expand the return to 2 or 3x the investment.

While the system would be operated out of one core sub-function, the initiative was transformational in terms of the stakeholder reach, the impact on ancillary functions, the cultural shift required, and the transformational effect on the end-to- end product development process. There would be organizational alignments and behavioral change resulting from this initiative as work would have to get done differently.

The company was looking for a change management partner that could bring a programmatic approach to managing risk and engaging the collective leadership team around an initiative of considerable size and complexity. The company had a spotted history with change and a culture that worried about the constraints that process and structure could have on creativity and fresh ideas.


The Solution

LSA was selected as a change management partner that could provide local resources and bring a systematic approach to managing risk and engaging the collective leadership team and broader workforce around an initiative of such size and complexity.

The Strategy phase of the project identified key risks, mapped impacted stakeholders, and built out the business case for change. Within this stage the project team was formed and the program was launched. In addition, execution sponsorship was defined, and the parameters of the project were collectively discussed in the form of Design Workshops.

In the Plan phase, the team created a project journey map that visually captured all workstreams and milestones. Insights from the earlier assessment was leveraged to inform the change management plan and communication strategy. As part of the communication strategy, a communication campaign was launched that utilized a combination of modalities (e.g. video, plant flyers, website) to highlight a set of five themes instrumental to the success of the culture change. Identified leaders spoke on behalf of critical behavioral shifts related to “innovation” and “collaboration”.

In the Design phase, the collective team defined the operating structure that would utilize the system and the modifications that would be required to job roles most impacted by the system, as well as the tactical plan for communicating to and training all who were affected. Included in this work were an introductory course to the system, a job impact assessment that captured the implications of the system on functional roles, and an array of technical courses that were developed and delivered to help people transition to changing roles.