Birds Eye Independence – exceptional change management recognised in IBC Award shortlist

The announcement last week of the UK Institute of Business Consulting Awards 2009 has seen global boutique consulting firm Square Peg International recognised for its work in keeping Birds Eye Iglo Group (BEIG) in business as it separated from Unilever last year. 

Square Peg, which took the lead-change consultant role in BEIG’s separation from erstwhile parent Unilever, is an IBC Awards 2009 finalist for both Practice of the Year (under 30 employees) and Best International Project – for its work with the European frozen food giant.

Failure was not an option

Commenting the scale of the separation project, BEIG Chief Information Officer, Tania Howarth said ‘This project was nothing short of the complete re-platforming of all business activity.  It was a high stakes project which simply could not be allowed to fail and managing that change was a hugely complex international undertaking.  The Square Peg International team were integral to our achieving separation from Unilever.’

Keeping the fish-fingers flowing

With the separation of Birds Eye Iglo Group (BEIG) from Unilever, the business had to re-platform all its activity from telephony to reporting, across eight European countries.  This was change at every level of the organisation, across all 8 countries (UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria and Germany).  It was much more than an IT project.  In practice it meant 1,800 users, 7 languages, 3 factories and interfaces with 100s of suppliers, customers and logistics providers!

Square Peg’s role

As change consultants, Square Peg’s brief was to ensure BEIG people were ‘ready willing and able successfully to switch to the new operating environment’ with minimum business disruption.  It was a fast and furious environment with hundreds of interdependencies.  Commenting on Square Peg’s role, Managing Director, Doug Ross said ‘In a project as critical as this, mutual respect and professional partnership make for a win-win relationship’.

Exceptional Change management

BEIG HRD & CIO Tania Howarth summarises the contribution that excellent change management made to Birds Eye’s success.  ‘Our people certainly were excellently engaged and very well prepared and we certainly did transition remarkably smoothly to the new operating platform.  Yet, the Practice provided significant value well above and beyond that brief.  Just one example of the huge value they added was in their managing the change process so as to instil our new corporate values of individual responsibility and entrepreneurship.  That is exceptional change management.’


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