Insight Blog

Supply Chain Transformation

by Lake Shore Associates

June 19, 2024 | Case Study, Project, Program, Portfolio Management

The Challenge

A leading food manufacturing company launched a three-year transformation to improve operating profit and margin by reengineering their supply chain network. The program was comprised of four major initiatives: 1) Portfolio Rationalization, 2) Network Optimization, 3) Plant Continuous Improvement, and 4) SAP Manufacturing Implementation. LSA was asked to support each of these initiatives, prioritize projects within each, and interface with business leaders to achieve overall results.

On their own, each initiative was highly complex. But trying to implement all four simultaneously required extreme project management to pinpoint dependencies, optimize the resources required, and thread a cohesive change management approach across all of the initiatives.


The Solution

To assess the status of the overall program, LSA first conducted a risk and readiness assessment and a stakeholder analysis for each initiative. LSA ran a series of interviews with Division Presidents and their leadership teams to identify stakeholder sponsors for each initiative. LSA worked closely with the sponsors to drive decision making, resolve issues, and make resourcing decisions.

The risk and readiness assessment exposed a heavy concentration around poor communication and competing initiatives. LSA implemented several tools to mitigate the risks.

To improve communication, LSA facilitated “Preparing for Change” sessions at the plant locations with both leadership and hourly employees. The objective of these sessions was to explain the “why” behind the transformation, as well as educate the staff on how to identify and overcome resistance to increase adoption and thus accelerate towards results. For example, due to the history of acquisitions over the years, the plant employees felt “a flavor of the month” associated with the transformation. Some thought if they could ignore the necessary changes, they might eventually go away. Being onsite at the plant locations significantly enhanced the plant employees’ willingness to see the vision and get engaged in the transformation.

To address competing initiatives, LSA developed a portfolio prioritization framework. Leveraging our stakeholder sponsor network, we met weekly to discuss cost/benefit for each competing initiative, resource constraints, and timelines to green light what to work and more importantly – what not to work on. On a monthly basis, the leadership team reviewed savings to date and upcoming milestones to ensure alignment. This operational cadence kept everyone informed of progress.

The three-year transformation exceeded the savings target and came in well under the board approved expenses.