Business Process Standardization: Let’s Stop Reinventing the Wheel Everytime

Highradius

Speakers

Sari Stagg

Business Process Manager,
Danone

Transcript

[0:00] Sari Stagg:

So I work with Danone, North America. I’ve been with them for a little over 15 years now, and while we go through, I’ll talk a little bit about the landscape of our company, and then what we’ve done to instigate and to create processes and to try to standardize throughout our journey. So we’ll talk about, you know, some common misconceptions, you know, get some ideas from you guys of how you deal with your frustrations. You know, how Danone or I will call it, Danone because that’s the US version, and I work for Danone for so long, and now we’re actually considered part of Danone where FPS, share business services. So if I slip up, don’t hold it against me. And then I’ll go through just kind of a guide that I used when we were integrating different companies. So what are some of the things I mean, this is some of the stuff that you know, I’ve thought about but what are some of the things when you guys think about creating processes and trying to standardize what are the big things that you’re like? I don’t know what you think of while thinking of how do I go about doing this? What are some of the things that come to your mind? too complex? We don’t have enough resources.

[1:37] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, that makes. Yes. Overcomplicating it. That’s always something. Yeah, that’s a key one. So yeah, there, there’s a lot of them. Yep. Getting their buy-in. I mean, you can create a beautiful process. Beautiful workflows. But if your people are not on board, it’s gonna fail.

[2:21] Audience:

How far we come, one person to the next and this will never work. And it was just like, it is just like things she just needed to. Yeah.

[2:48] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, I mean, it’s a hard thing because people think automation, they think, you know, robotics they think oh, no more job or being replaced. So that’s something I’ll go through with that. That means that’s part of change management, not necessarily processes, but it goes along with it. So our landscape, so Danone his own globally by what’s called Group Danone, and they’re located in France. And back in 2014, they said, what we’re going to do is we’re gonna make North America its own unit within our world before they had Canada and the US separate. So when they did that, they said, Oh, we’ve got Danone, we’ve got our waters business. So Stonyfield at the time, we had, and Canada and they all are doing the same thing. So it’s redundant. And some of the other things like accounting, all these so that’s when they like, you know, let’s do shared business services. And so that’s when it was born. That was around 2014. That’s right when we went live with HighRadius. So it was a good time to say, Hey, we’re going live with this and we’re going to start bringing in these different companies. So Danone is what we became as an FPS, no longer Danone, so if I say Danone sorry. And then we took on the very first one obviously was dunning because that’s what we were doing at the time. And then we took on waters. And then we took on Stonyfield, we integrated them. Then we integrated Canada. Then we sold off Stonyfield, and then we bought white wave just recently, and that was about a year ago that we integrated our white wave business which is like yourself, horizon international dairy delights or the creamer. We integrated them about a year ago into our systems. And then happy family and the Trisha are ones that are in the roadmap, but they’re not slated yet to come into the FPS organization, but they will eventually.

[4:53] Sari Stagg:

So when we looked at like, why did we need a standardize for us it was, you know, so the business rules more of policy, we need to standardize our policy because for us, if we had all these different companies with all different policies, and as trying to help enforce those, it was very unsustainable. So for us, one of the big things was, you know, they talked about they said, we need to come up with, you know, here are the policies and groups to known. The nice thing about it is they said, hey, these are our standards across all the business units across the entire world. And so that’s what we adopted. Master Data consistency, it’s not just your master data, its technology, you know, having some of our accounts, when we first went live with supporting them. Some of them were still in, you know, different trade management tools. And it was very hard because they will have totally different processes. So one of our big things was we got to get everyone on the same technology. Because it’s going to, you know, help us with the process. And also make sure our data is similar because if it’s not, it just makes so much more work when you’re trying to report out to businesses or if you know, you’re talking to someone, and you’re used to, let’s just say, the US world, and you are talking to someone because they asked you a question about Canada, you could give them bad information because they’re not the same so and we wanted people to be able to; hey, if you want to do Canada, then you can come over and do the US and get some exposure without having to do a lot of retraining or have them understand all this different information.

[6:43] Sari Stagg:

And then, of course, having all this stuff, it helps us with being prepared and agile when we do bring in these other businesses, like an example with Stonyfield. So by the time Stonyfield, actually, now let’s not do Stonyfield let’s take Canada. So by the time Canada came along, we had implemented waters and Stonyfield. And so when Canada came in, their implementation time was very short because we already knew the system, all we had to do is work with HighRadius to just make sure we have the agent setup that, you know the bank because we had to use the HSBC Canada bank, make sure the feeds were coming in. And that was pretty much it. I mean, they were on the same SAP instance. So that helped with that, and we just had to do some other integration. So it helped us with being able to streamline when we bring other companies in. But one of our big caveats to this is they need to be on our SAP instance. Because if they’re not, then we’d have to work to build new interfaces just for this. So it just makes a couple more complicated things that we don’t want to have to deal with.

[7:58] Sari Stagg:

So we kind of talked about this at the beginning. You know, who here has actually standardized or whether it’s big-scale small scale? Who standardized processes in their organization? And what were your biggest challenges?

[8:17] Audience:

One of our thoughts? m&m situation? So it was an industrial fertilizer company, CPG company, and the processes. You couldn’t have these you guys are very different, right? They like 16 products and 500 customers, we’ve got 17,000 products and you know, all the box retailers, right. So one customer covers even more so it was more than the over barons of the character like why do you think you’re special? I know we’re different teams very different. They don’t even know what deductions are European companies don’t know what deductions are. Yeah, right. I mean, how much okay, what you invoice Right. So getting through those hurdles of why we needed something different, you know, not that we’re, you know, we’re being high maintenance, and that’s good for business, I would say exactly you know, we had success with these business units and they are very unique and special.[Not clearly audible]

[9:19] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, exactly. And that’s, yeah, we met that challenge as well. So for us, you know, kind of what you were talking about, we had to, you know, first of all, line everybody that, okay, we’re all aligned to the same, you know, process, but we also had to say, Okay, what are your individual requirements? And are they special enough to warrant a special process for you? You know, an example was Canada, our Canada business when we brought them on, one of the things that they said was, Oh, your team needs to handle all the POD validation and creation for claims regarding shortage and damage. And one of the things within, you know, the alignment was they gave us a menu of services that says, as a shared Business Services, this is what we offer. So, you know, we were able to take that and go back to Canada and say, okay, that’s not in our, you know, our actual overview or the way that we’re structured. And that’s not, you know, our menu of services. So we are not going to be able to do that you will have to find a different solution. And you know, because we said, Hey, everybody else is going through their supply chain for this. It doesn’t come through us we will validate to a certain extent, but then we need you guys to pull certain things and you know, all the stuff that they have to do. So that was a challenge because they really pushed hard on that we still have a struggle with getting the information we need when customers don’t want to pay us and they require a POD and we have to go to them. So it’s still kind of a struggle. But, you know, that’s one of the instances where we had to go back to him and say, it’s not in our, it has to be senior department.

[11:11] Sari Stagg:

And then something that they were saying, Hey, we really need this. Again, with Canada, they were saying, oh, here’s this report. So the team that was transitioning, went over this huge report, oh, we download this. We do this. We pivot here. And they showed it to us. And the whole time we’re looking at you like, why do you do this? And I don’t know, we’ve always done it. And so we, we got the report, and we kind of looked at each other and we said, we’re not going to do it. We will not send this out. And let’s see if it; because we sent an email out previously saying, you know, who uses this? Nobody responded. So we said we’re just going to stop and nobody said anything. So it’s, you know, again, the questioning of you think that this is a special request for you, but why is there a different thing that we’re already doing that can help satisfy that requirement? If it is great, let’s use that if there’s not, is there something we could tweak with that? So it serves your dual purpose? I’ll try to help streamline things as much as possible. You know, big things, you know, again, identifying, you know, what is it that has value? And once you get that value, then you can figure out, how do we deliver that to you. We also made sure that within each process that we said, okay, here’s the value we know each process will deliver, who should own that, who should be responsible to make sure that the process is followed? And that if it’s not working, that they raise it up for us to try to reevaluate? And we made sure that we have that defined because it helped. When something broke, it wasn’t like what’s broken? Well, it’s broken. I don’t know who can fix it and nothing gets done.

[13:03] Audience:

Is it a functional operational setup, or someone separate supporting that?

[13:08] Sari Stagg:

Usually, it’s functional so like on our production team like when it comes to actual production resolution, it’s actually that team that’s leading it that is the one that’s making sure that the process being followed and everything.

[13:27] Audience:

People in the process owner and this is back to you know that functional silos anytime we hit a process where it crosses functional areas, they like you know, you’re not the boss of me, you know, so we’re getting a lot of theory like tips on more steps in the process of anything that worked and maybe that’s why she has like, how to find that right process owner when to go outside of the single function.

[13:56] Sari Stagg:

That is that’s a hard thing. Like with let’s just take OSD, over shortage damage. That’s one where Yes, we see the deductions come in. But then we’re sending it over to our inventory team to validate, do everything. And then they do their piece and send it back. Well, who’s the process owner with that? And so for us, we’re like, will ultimately, because there are deductions and because our company is defined anything, any shortage or any difference on a payment from a customer belongs in our trade management system, and we’re responsible for that. So it kind of falls on us for that specific case. Other ones, you know, one of the big roles that I play as I facilitate the process, and so I don’t actually have one team or another, so let’s just talk cash application and our collections team. They’re two separate teams, but a process can affect both of them. So when a customer pays us, and we don’t either apply it correctly, or we don’t have the right information for remits collectors are now calling on that we had a breakdown. So it’s like, well, who owns that? In that case? You know, that’s one that I had to come and say, Okay, well, let’s bring everyone together and then let’s try to identify and we ended up splitting it into two separate processes. It’s a process up to this point, and then that’s who owns it. And then from this point out, it’s somebody else’s. But that’s a unique situation. No, you can’t like with our sales team, you know, we have deductions, we assign them to cells within our HighRadius tool, and then they’re supposed to log in, and we couldn’t get them to do their piece. And so what we ended up doing was we went to the higher-ups within the sales org, and we got them to say, okay, this is going to be part of what they’re measured on. And so now we report out and they’re challenged a lot every month to say you guys have got to get this cleaned up, but we had to put some incentive in that area and get buy-in from a higher level.

[16:02] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, and unfortunately, you got to put some bite behind your bark. And, you know, for sales, that’s what their bonuses, their incentives. Some of the big things that, you know, when I was thinking about this that we really faced where the data, was not the same. So it was very hard for us to have a good snapshot of this is what it was like before. We integrated everything and this was like after so here’s how much better it became after this. And because of that if it didn’t make it very hard to show and quantify the positives of the integration. So that we really struggled with especially with the white wave business. It was just a function of the tool that they had, they couldn’t get to those lower levels of detail of, you know, the action codes and some of this other stuff that we can in the HighRadius tool, so it was hard to be able to see that. And switching customers to a new bank, you know, it was a miss, I think, on our company’s part, they gave the ownership of that to sales. I know it was the weirdest thing and we were, you know, so we took it upon ourselves to start calling them and everything but, you know, it kind of fell into this abyss of like, why did you guys do that? And it was, unfortunately, someone along with the company that made that decision. And we were, yeah, so that was a mess on our part. And then the other thing is terminology. So as an example, so my brother happens to work for a company that was acquired 10 years ago, and they have their company so acquired company and then the legacy company and the acquiring company. And they’re finally now getting to a point of integrating. And so my brother is in the legacy, but he is part of the team that’s trying to standardize processes. So they all get together, and they’re all talking and they’re like, Oh, yeah, we’re going to do this. And this is the terminology we use. Well, I think a couple of months have gone by, and they are in a kind of an overview committee meeting and they make comments about Yeah, this is what we’re doing and somebody from the acquiring companies like wait, why aren’t you taking our terminology? Why are you taking theirs? And it just derailed the whole project? So now they have to say okay, well, now you guys got to go decide what do you want? Do you want legacy terminology? Do you want this? do you want to make your own? It was something that seems so simple, but it’s really caused a lot of conflict in this project that they’re doing to try to standardize. So that was one of the things when we acquired you know, white wave, because we already had established you know, with HighRadius, you know pre-deduction is a pre-deduction, we’re not going to call it something different just because you did, is part of the system. So that was an easy call to make but some of these other terminologies, it took some getting used to saying okay, let’s find a common ground of where what we want to call things because you guys have used all these terms you know some people for years other people over here the dyno world have used it for years. So how do we bring those together? It seems like a simple thing but, at least for my brothers, it was funny how it just derailed it.

[19:34] Audience:

Divisions of our own easy into it we did HighRadius. If you ask the finance people what a company’s headquarters is, they will say it’s where the chat comes from. I have just happened to several project managers. Those are human sales and another project is what’s the headquarter and they go over the top note in the hierarchy, totally different thing. So I’m trying to get both teams to play you know, like for me two projects need to make sure they don’t bump into one another and they’re all talking about hyper.

[20:06] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, and you start creating a process based on this misunderstanding, you know, and it’s one of those really bad, you know, romantic comedies where it’s a big misunderstanding the whole time. So, these are some of the things that we did to help, you know, eliminate some of the standardization headaches, if you will. And really it all goes down to common theme is an expectation, making sure that the businesses are so like, the Canadian business, the Evian business, they know this is what you can expect from us. You know, again, it goes back to that menu of services we were very clear on, this is what we will provide you and this is what we will do for you. And then also being able to then give that to our employees because you know, you need to engage them, you know, kind of goes back to if you do not engage your employees, the process is not going to work, you’re never going to get it enforced, you’re not going to get it to be followed. So one of the big things we did was we said, okay, we’re going to make all these little subgroups, and have some of the team actually helped create some of this process, you know, still maintaining the reason why we’re doing it, but have them involved. And then we also, there’s been a common theme in some of the other sessions I’ve been in is this continuous improvement. And that’s been a big thing with the Danone world too, is when we brought each of these companies, what are the good things you’re doing? What are the good things we’re doing and how do we bring them together? So we tried to do that, you know, looking at the trends of what they’ve been doing, how it’s worked for them, how can we integrate that you know, collaboration, not just with your teams, but even with your technology provider, you know, HighRadius has helped us solve some of our issues of the company needs this and we’re like, oh, that’s actually a really good thing we should also include for the other businesses, but how do we do it? So we’ve been able to work with them to figure out good ways to do it. Same with our inventory team. Okay, we got all together Is that okay? How can we make this work? We have to try to figure this out. So, you know, collaboration was a big thing. And then test, have somebody in there doing the process and seeing bullets spit the data out that you expect it to be spitting out? Because if not, then you’re going to go back to the drawing board.

[22:54] Sari Stagg:

Yeah, we did that with a couple like, you know, we’ve got, you know, maybe two customers and yeah, we did that, said, okay, let’s try it with this one and see what it does. Let’s try it with this one and see which one is more effective. Yeah. don’t happen all the time, but that’s what we tried. And then just some of the things that helped, you know, I think the big thing for me is, you know, the data, the value we could offer to the company, I think was a huge thing. And then also our employees’ engagement, you know, getting them on board. Those are two of our big things. These are the steps that I’ve taken, you know, every business will be a little bit different. You know, the big thing is we defined the priorities with the end in mind. So what is it that we ultimately want to get out of this? And we keep that in mind from the very beginning, because if we don’t, then we’ll lose sight of it. When you start getting into some of the details. Then you look at your assets and you just say okay, what do we do? What are the steps? Where’s your value-added? Where’s your waste? Kind of like the Six Sigma approach? And then you look at your, Hey, now, how do we take what we’re doing? Or maybe we don’t even have a process? So how do we take that and get to where we want to be. And that’s where you start looking at your two-week process, and experimenting and those kinds of things. Get a process owner, we like to get that sooner rather than later. So they can actually be involved in the creation process. So they’re invested in it. And then implement and when I say implement, its the testing, you know, making sure that what it spits out is what you need. And then using reporting, using the data, looking at it to say, okay, now that we’ve implemented it, what can we do better? Because there’s always something you can do better. We implemented a year ago with our white wave business, and now we’re like, okay, we stabilize all the crazy stuff. Now we’re getting into the cave now what can we do to make it better? How can we change our processes? So, that’s, I mean, that’s a journey for Danone, everyone’s going to be a little different. We all have unique challenges. Any questions?

[25:19] Audience:

Did you have a process modeling tool?

[25:25] Sari Stagg:

I use Visio I love flowcharts. But Visio is one big tool that we use. Yeah. And it’s interesting because I’ve done it where I’ve tried to take a process and map into Visi and it gets so complex. I’m like, wow, you just can visually see, I’m a very visual person. I can visually see, this is ridiculous. And so how do we take this back and simplify it. So sometimes that helps to be able to see those things. Okay, that’s all I got. Thank you, guys. If you got any other questions, feel free to ask.

[0:00] Sari Stagg: So I work with Danone, North America. I’ve been with them for a little over 15 years now, and while we go through, I’ll talk a little bit about the landscape of our company, and then what we’ve done to instigate and to create processes and to try to standardize throughout our journey. So we’ll talk about, you know, some common misconceptions, you know, get some ideas from you guys of how you deal with your frustrations. You know, how Danone or I will call it, Danone because that’s the US version, and I work for Danone for so long, and now we’re actually considered part of Danone where FPS, share business services. So if I slip up, don’t hold it against me. And then I’ll go through just kind of a guide that I used when we were integrating different companies. So what are some of the things I mean, this is some of the stuff that you know, I’ve thought about but what are some of the things when you guys think about creating processes and trying to standardize what are the big things that you’re like? I don’t know what you think of while…

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