The Edrington Group is the largest private drinks company in Scotland and employs over 2000 people globally. A major drinks producer and manufacturer with brands including Macallan, Famous Grouse, Brugal, Highland Park and The Glenrothes, it is involved in every aspect of supply chain management – from selecting the raw materials, to distilling, packaging and everything in between. All of which leads to a very complex selling structure with numerous partners and suppliers.
Big blue-chip food and drink companies use specially designed software to manage these very complex sales systems, called Enterprise Response Planning (ERP), and Edrington is no different. It used SAP, the leading technological provider, across its global network, but therein was their biggest challenge. How to align its operational processes when different versions of SAP were being used across different sites, around the globe? And how to integrate new businesses that had been brought into the Group that were using other SAP systems completely, or in some cases manual systems?
From 2014, The Edrington Group made a significant investment to streamline these systems and achieve global alignment to one operational infrastructure, and it needed an expert to help drive worldwide employee engagement, change management and communications and user compliance within this new global SAP project across the UK, Asia, Dominican Republic, Europe and US.
So Edrington approached Genoa Black directly and we were appointed to lead the Change Management and Communications for this new global SAP project, with the objective of supporting Edrington’s digital transformation strategy. An integral part of the internal project team, we closely supported the Programme Manager and key senior stakeholders and sponsors of the project across the international estate.
The biggest challenge was how to communicate this change to key stakeholders across different regions, different cultures and different functions and to get all staff on board with the operational changes. The level of staff engagement was not to be underestimated; impacting all staff, at all levels, and across the whole company.
A global internal engagement exercise ensued before full system roll-out could be achieved, communicated across cultures and languages. ‘Champions’ in specific operational disciplines were identified, who engaged with Board level executives through to employees at the grass roots of the business, carrying out research, delivering workshops, chairing meetings, feedback surveys and 1:1 meetings.
We worked collaboratively with the client on every aspect of the creation, development and ongoing delivery of a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy across all global regions. It had to align with the internal strategy and be supported by members of the Board, different Heads of each country and all the staff from distribution through to sales people.
Our strategy experts effectively helped manoeuvre a business with fragmented operations, to a streamlined operations system supported by all staff. Launched in the UK in 2015, the three-year project saw subsequent rollouts across international regions in line with diverse business and cultural dynamics and requirements.