Case Studies

Lean Management in Sales at Multinational

process communities
Søren Pommer
By on 21/03/2012

When customers start demanding solutions and services rather than mass-produced products, then this requires new organisational competencies and processes. See how a Process Community™ can support the implementation of new processes in a manufacturing company.

A manufacturer that sees an increase in demand from complex, project-driven solutions and service has to change its ways of working for most of its customer-facing processes.

This example is based on a real-life scenario of a multinational manufacturing with a business challenge that a Process Community™ can help to resolve.


A European manufacturing company with more than 20.000 employees that service in excess of 50 national markets has seen a gradual change in demand from most industries it serves. Ten years ago the company sold standardised technology products via distributors in all markets. During the last decade, demand has shifted towards more complex solutions for e.g. factories and processing plants. This required the introduction of a range of new overall business processes:

  • Service and Consultancy
  • Project Management
  • Direct Sales
  • International Project Sales

As a consequence of this, the company set up a number of Business Excellence teams in their global HQ. Each Business Excellence team was given the assignment of introducing new processes and raise the local competence level.

The challenge was significant since local employees had been selling and servicing distributors for decades. Now they had to change and be capable of servicing customers directly and in more complex settings. They had to change from selling and servicing products to selling and servicing solutions.


The Business Excellence teams had developed new business processes, roles & responsibilities, work guides, implemented a new CRM system and produced numerous leaflets and instructions. Following this local sales and support personnel had been trained and supported to adopt the new business processes.

After three years of work, there was only a limited amount of adoption for the new business processes. It was unclear to the Business Excellence teams what the primary reasons were. Was it…

  • Lack of competence at local levels?
  • An unwillingness to take orders from people far from the market?
  • Flaws in the tools and business processes?
  • Lack of understanding about what to do?

Having tried many options it was unclear how to break the gridlock and encourage the transition to progress.


This scenario can be supported by deploying a Process Community™. It can do this by complementing the existing effort in the following ways:

  • By allowing informal communities-of-practice to develop across countries. This would allow salespeople to share war stories and successes and learn from the new ways of working.
  • By connecting the business processes and its supporting tools and information. Today it is stored in multiple locations and physical books. This makes it hard to use on a practical level.
  • By making a strong and detailed feedback loop from countries to HQ. If Business Excellence teams act on feedback in a more targeted manner they can regain respect from countries.
  • By involving experts and practitioners in countries in process improvement. If lower level processes are left to the people working with them, then the involvement will create a stronger sense of ownership.

If you are in a similar situation then why not contact us for an informal talk about problems and solutions?

We offer a short, focused 30-hour consulting engagement on assessing your situation and providing actionable recommendations for increasing your initiative’s effect on people’s behaviours. See more here.

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