“The organisation is better equipped for the future”
After implementing structural changes within Arla’s Nordic operations, the company also needed to improve cooperation between Sweden and Denmark. Standardising business processes and removing former rivalries has meant that the countries are now able to work towards the same goal.
Arla’s current Nordic operations are the result of a merger between Danish MD Foods and Swedish Arla, as well as the acquisition of Finland’s second largest dairy: Ingmans. The structural change has led to several outcomes, including various economies of scale that provide Arla with improved opportunities for future growth. But huge operational changes like these require support.
This is why an extensive integration project has been underway for a few years now, focusing on the overall and long-term goal of creating an integrated approach for the whole of the Nordic region.
“This has been, and remains a major challenge for Arla Foods. Furthermore, the structural change has taken place in the midst of a difficult global financial crisis. But we have succeeded in achieving our goals for the project, thanks to the specific expertise contributed by Magnificent within change management and major changes of direction,” says Torben Spaabaek at Arla in Denmark.
In April 2008, Magnificent began the work of assisting Arla with overcoming a number of obstacles. One of the tasks involved standardising business processes, i.e. creating an integrated approach for managing the Swedish business.
Joachim Burevik, Project Manager at Magnificent, explains that the focus was on knowledge transfer and understanding how the businesses operated in Denmark and Sweden.
“We based the project on the platform that existed in Denmark and initially this led to certain difficulties. Basically we had to help overcome the opposition that existed in Sweden towards changing the business processes and the supporting systems. But now everyone is working towards the same goals.”
“Harmonising the approach has transformed Arla into an organisation that’s better equipped for the future. There is also closer integration and a better understanding of the businesses between Denmark and Sweden,” says Torben Spaabaek.
Other specific benefits as a result of the project include a standardised and modern system environment on the IT side, the business system SAP, which reduces the need for specific individuals and suppliers.
This means, for one, that support can be provided from low cost countries.
Joachim Burevik emphasises that it is a matter of working with all the stakeholders involved on a continual basis and minimising the risks that commonly arise in this type of change management project – all with the aim of securing the chief objective.
“The integration work that follows in the wake of major structural changes and mergers, as in the case of Arla, are complex in nature. Particularly when it’s happening in an international project setting involving a number of different stakeholders. And that’s exactly where we can step in and offer guidance and support.”