Tapping a “Hidden Reserve” Leads to Dramatic Results
Schaffer began by working with senior executives to identify target markets to test new ways of working. We agreed that the US and Uruguay were ideal targets for “Rapid Results Initiatives” – 100-day sprints designed to achieve performance breakthroughs and develop new capabilities.
A small, cross-functional team in the US elected to focus on building their snack business in the Mid-West and California. After establishing an aggressive growth goal, they partnered with a sister company and independent operators to reduce the sales cycle from weeks to days. The team engaged regional managers to map and prioritize target clients. Then, they developed tailored marketing and sales strategies to drive customer acquisition. The results of their efforts were outstanding: the rate of client acquisition doubled in 10 weeks, which translated to 2,700 new customers (6% of their customer base).
In Uruguay, the general manager faced a daunting turnaround challenge after years of unprofitability. With Schaffer’s help, he empowered his management team to challenge all conventions and generate profits over a three-month period. Managers immediately pulled together three teams comprised of top talent from across the country.
One team reduced the high rate of product returns in supermarkets from 36% to 15%. The team collaborated with store managers to better understand product demand and adjusted shipping orders accordingly. They also subcontracted with distributors to expand their reach with smaller supermarkets.
Another team slashed costs by $125,000 in their second largest business by rescheduling production, partnering with more cost effective suppliers, and reorganizing.
A third team reduced shipping costs by $50,000 and avoided investment of a $500,000 new centralized distribution center through consolidating products from three existing plants into a single shipping order. They reconfigured existing picking areas in three plants and collaborated with customers to redesign shipping routes.
Prompted by this success, the Uruguayan teams implemented similar changes with the largest supermarket chain in the country and several other key distributors… all in 100 days. Collectively, the three teams generated $1.5 million EBITDA in the year following their Rapid Results experiences.
The impact of these initiatives led the CEO to ask all nine business units to apply Rapid Results to tackle their own challenges.