Personnel Today's monthly series reveals how managers tackle business problems and enhance performance. This week, Morag Robertson, business excellence manager for the Logistics division of Sainsbury's Supermarkets talks culture change
The Logistics division of Sainsburys Supermarkets manages the flow of goods in the supply chain between about 4,000 suppliers at one end and the retail store outlets at the other. More than 25,000 product lines are involved and the division's 350 employees administer the movement of 13.5 million cases of goods every week, a figure that rises to 19 million during the Christmas rush.
From its formation in 1995 as a result of business process re-engineering, Logistics has paid a great deal of attention to cultural change. The division adopted the Sainsbury Group's corporate business strategy - the Web Strategy - that appeared in October 1996 with the aim of making Sainsbury's "The Customer's First Choice".
Says Logistics business planning manager Mark O'Hanlon: "The Web Strategy presented a compelling need for change. Clear accountabilities mapped out in the new vision meant job descriptions and performance measures had to reflect more cross-functional roles. But we also had to answer the natural reaction from employees of 'What's in this for me?'".
Gaining "hearts and minds" is never easy but guiding principles within the Web Strategy have helped, namely:
1. We can always do better.
2. We know how well we're doing.
3. We work together as a team.
4. We respect and appreciate each other.
5. We develop and enjoy ourselves.
6. We are equipped to succeed.
The division has also developed The Logistics Contract listing seven areas of work expectation.
All this demands well trained, highly motivated and customer-responsive employees. It also requires a deeper understanding of their perceptions of the company's management styles, reward and recognition methods. This is achieved through surveys, interviews and focus groups, along with the assessment of attitudes, behaviours and the effectiveness of existing processes and systems.
To measure progress, improvement projects hook up to the division's overall supply chain cost reduction and availability target. In addition, we have examined our behavioural styles through a cultural circumplex model developed by Human Synergistics, the New Zealand change management consultan