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Managing concurrent M&A with business transformation activities

BY CSA STAFF

By Will Ruiz, [email protected]

Companies use mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to expand global reach, enter new markets and focus on their core brands. In some cases, they also make acquisitions to optimize their supply chain operations and routes to market. Whatever motive or scale, it’s always done with the assumption that significant synergies can be gained by combining the entities in question.

M&A activities have long been part of consumer packaged goods (CPG) company playbooks. Many major CPG companies have grown to their current size through acquisitions; However, there are some differences with today’s M&A activities. After years of running multiple disparate brands and business units, many are proactively trying to integrate new acquisitions while consolidating current holdings as part of internal business transformation programs. This parallel set of activities significantly drives up the complexity of delivering business value to the corporation.

The business process consolidation and optimization that are part of M&A and transformation programs typically require that IT organizations play a key role in enabling the planned-for business value and forecasted synergies. Therefore, it’s important to involve technology leaders in business transformation and M&A activities as early as possible. In the case of an acquisition, for example, this would be from the time a potential candidate has been identified until the time post-merger integration activities have been completed.

By participating early in the process, technology staff can help create an accurate, prioritized roadmap of projects for both concurrent sets of strategic initiatives.

In many cases, merging entities have different providers that use different business and technology processes. In order to be successful, they must also sort through the consolidation of business process consulting and technology service providers. Merged companies need to carefully orchestrate their strategic service providers into a collaborative eco-system that is capable of delivering both synergy and business value commitments.

Companies faced with this challenge should consider adopting an enterprise program management framework to help guide them through combined M&A and business transformation programs. An enterprise program office can provide the standardized methodologies, best practices, tools and techniques needed to support complex program and project management. In addition, enterprises should incorporate a multi-vendor governance capability into the framework in order to enable them to seamlessly integrate the work effort of multiple service providers and internal organizations.

Companies that need help in establishing a multi-vendor governance framework can leverage a strategic service provider – or prime contractor – to help create, staff and manage the environment. The prime contractor will ensure there is alignment and integration of business, technology and outsourcing strategies; deliver communications transparency across all parties; as well as help manage risk. Using a prime contractor does not mean a company gives up control – they still decide what to outsource, who the suppliers are and what the vendor contract strategies will be.

In multi-vendor environments, all vendors must be prepared to handle new levels of complexity. Clear delineation of roles and responsibilities is critical, as is ensuring common languages, processes, standards and tools are used. It is also important to foster open, honest business relationships between vendors.

While there is no “standard” approach to successfully managing concurrent M&A and business transformation activities, a successful multi-vendor framework should:

  • Support the analysis of the overall demand on resources (subject matter experts, as well as service providers) required to support multiple related and concurrent programs;
  • Help manage and integrate the efforts of multiple vendors and internal organizations;
  • Enable the analysis of who will be the recipients of new processes, policies, procedures and systems to determine if the organization can digest all of the proposed changes; and
  • Ensure that enterprise governance and organizational change management are seen as essential to the success of the M&A and business transformation programs and staff them accordingly.

When combined with the requisite executive sponsorship, all of these elements will enhance an organization’s ability to deliver value to its business units and shareholders alike.

Will Ruiz is managing director for the consumer industries consulting and solutioning practice at HP Enterprise Services (http://h10134.www1.hp.com/industries/cir/). He has more than 20 years of experience in the areas of business process innovation, new product development, technology strategy and manufacturing operations. Ruiz can be reached at [email protected].

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Meijer kicks off eighth Simply Give campaign

BY CSA STAFF

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is continuing its pantry donation program by kicking off a springtime campaign.

The Midwest retailer is once again teaming up with its customers and team members in implementing its Simply Give program to help restock the shelves of nearly 200 local food pantries in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

This marks Meijer’s eighth Simply Give effort, which began on March 20 and will continue through May 14.

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Walmart shows commitment to seniors with Meals On Wheels donation

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The Walmart Foundation has donated $5 million to Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) to help fight senior hunger in communities across the nation. Through the grant, MOWAA will boost the efforts of Senior Nutrition Programs (SNPs), organizations that provide critical services to more than six million seniors in the U.S. currently facing the threat of hunger.

"We know that seniors are among those hardest hit by hunger in this country. Many are home-bound, and rely on neighbors and community volunteer programs like Meals On Wheels to help put food on the table," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. "Through this $5 million grant, we hope to bring additional attention to senior hunger and help ensure our parents, grandparents and friends who have added so much to our lives have access to healthy and nutritious food."

Part of Walmart’s $2 billion commitment to support hunger relief efforts through 2015, MOWAA will use the funding in several ways, including:

  • Funding "Walmart Foundation-MOWAA Building the Future Grants" to help more than 100 local Meals On Wheels programs purchase stoves, refrigerators, trucks and other equipment needed in the fight to end senior hunger in local communities;

  • Forming the Walmart Institute for Senior Nutrition Education, a new training initiative consisting of Senior Nutrition Certificate program training sessions and online resources for senior nutrition professionals and the general public;

  • Creating the MOWAA State-Affiliate Training Wheels Program to help organize additional MOWAA affiliated State Associations across the U.S.

"At Meals On Wheels, our goal is to deliver meals so that no senior goes hungry," said Enid Borden, president and CEO of Meals On Wheels Association of America. "We are thankful to Walmart and appreciate their assistance as a long-standing partner in our efforts to reduce and ultimately end senior hunger in the U.S. With this grant and their continued support, we will be able to make a difference for the thousands of seniors in America who are going to bed hungry right now."

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