B4P’s 2013 trans-Tasman benchmarking research looked at Sales and Marketing strategy and resources shared between Australia and New Zealand. Many resources were in Australia, and New Zealand was wholly dependent upon them in some of the companies in the sample. These companies had some very unhappy Kiwis, in cases where New Zealand managers could not even get their emails or calls answered from the Australian managers responsible for “A/NZ”.
What’s going wrong?
A lot, actually. The restructures or projects that put trans-Tasman models in place were often done using levels of expertise that were not experienced in change management initiatives, or who had no particular methodology. Most emphasis was put on structure and who in Oz that could potentially do the work that was currently done in New Zealand. But very little emphasis was put on understanding the work and processes that were carried out in New Zealand that was about to be done in Oz.
Enough of what went wrong…
So what does good look like?
Good looks like eight processes that are new ways of working which allow companies to leverage and share resources harmoniously in an Area model (in this case, across Oz and NZ). These include:
- Two-country better situation audit phases in planning.
- Purpose-driven face-to-face communication to build habits of communication and an inter-company network. (Not just regular trips or telecons and definitely not emails with “this is what we’re doing in Oz – see attached.”)
- Attention to knowledge sharing, so that any market’s knowledge can be found in any other market and usage mandated for planning.
- Redesigned processes in which sign-offs and stage-gates exist (such as new product development, advertising approval, merchandising material development, promotional design). This is needed so that the processes are not re-run in one company, and then sent to another, thus doubling the length of time…in an industry which is supposed to be quick to market).
Why is this important?
The savings from being able to leverage knowledge are significant, and when done well, performance continues to improve in both markets, while costs reduce. The idea of leveraging synergies in investment, activity development, and sharing knowledge and resources across a bigger pond, is very sexy. If it can be combined with steady growth in both markets, this is one of the most exciting ideas FMCG has had for a long time.