Personnel engagement driving change – Case ABB Drives17.03.2023
When ABB Drives decided to reorganise its procurement processes, the company wanted a clear change plan and committed personnel. Verona Consulting helped the company achieve its goals.
A global leader in the frequency converter market, ABB Drives wanted to streamline the processes of its procurement unit to bring them closer to business in line with ABB’s strategy. The best way to reach this target was to develop procurement to focus more on the needs of business.
“Previously, our procurement team had to understand the needs of different functions from the perspective of multiple business units. Focusing our procurement processes on specific units allows the procurement team to deepen their knowledge of our business and products,”says the head of procurement, Supply Chain Manager Mika Valkama.
Personnel involved in process planning
Focusing the procurement unit on units may sound simple at first. In practice, this was a significant change that involved the establishment of new organisations and responsibilities, identification and planning of training, and determination of new processes and practices.
“In addition, many had to learn to work in an R&D cooperation model or manage cooperation with suppliers as a result of the assignment of new roles. This was a pretty massive project with an extremely tight schedule,”says Valkama.
The project was launched in late September 2022 and the new organisation became operative in January 2023. Verona was a natural choice for this project, as Verona consultants were already familiar with ABB through numerous other projects.
“As experts in change management, the Verona team had clear plans on how to push this change forward,” Valkama praises Verona.
First, the consultants helped ABB identify the project’s starting point, interviewed stakeholders and assisted in the preparation of a change plan. ABB personnel were invited to participate in workshops to discuss which aspects of the change were important to them and what should be prioritised. They also considered what kind of practices and processes should be developed at the next stage of the project.
The involvement of personnel in change planning is important because they know the processes and practices best. People also tend to be more accepting of changes when they are actively involved in the process, instead of having to adapt to a plan prepared by the management without consulting the personnel.
“The engagement of personnel is the key to creating a practical and functional operations model. And even if the first version of the change was not perfect, it still works as a great starting point for the project,”says Valkama.
Stronger personnel commitment
When the new procurement organisations started working in January, their foundations had already been laid. Organisation charts, new roles and responsibilities, supplier cooperation models and training plans had already been prepared. The new organisations were responsible for refining the final details of their processes, such as meeting practices.
Throughout the change project, ABB has been measuring its personnel’s commitment to the project and understanding of the reasons driving the change.
“The results have steadily improved. We have received plenty of positive feedback on the execution of the change. We have Verona to thank for that, because they helped us engage our personnel in the project,”says Valkama.
Keys to a successful change
- Clear situational picture. What is the aim of the change and what kinds of challenges does it involve?
- Comprehensive planning. Approach the impacts of the change from multiple perspectives. What must be done and in which order? Remember competence development.
- Personnel engagement. The personnel knows the practices and processes best. Their active involvement in the change reinforces commitment.
- Aim for constant improvement as part of daily work.
- Constant communication. Communicate with the personnel even when you have no news.
We believe that continuous learning culture and agile management enable measurable results and success in today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environments. We provide hands-on co-operational support in leading change programs and culture.