Heura Tackles Change Management: A Start-Up’s 6 Tips for Successful Technology Implementation and Adoption
Heura® Foods was created in 2017 as a social mission-turned-business, focused on changing the current food system to one that fosters better health, nutrition, and sustainability. The company began experiencing impressive market growth and quickly recognized the need for a supply chain digital transformation, powered by ToolsGroup Service Optimizer 99+.
We sat down with Daniel Salrach Ruiz, Supply Chain Director, and Julia Antón Morrondo, Head of Supply Chain Planning, to talk a little about their experience with ToolsGroup and implementing Service Optimizer 99+ (SO99+). They had some real gems of advice, not just for growing companies, but for change management initiatives across enterprises and industries. We’re grateful to them for sharing their insights and excited to bring them to a wider audience!
Why Heura Enjoyed a Successful Change Management Project
Julia: After years of rapid growth, we recognized the importance for system restructuring with a strong focus on efficiencies. Understanding the challenges ahead, we proactively initiated this process well in advance of its actual implementation. And we can assure those efforts paid off.
Daniel: Julia and I have experienced implementations like this before. We already knew we had to have a change management structure, have structured reporting, and put in a lot of effort at the beginning of the project to make sure it was successful. Also, typically, one would have both a software company and a consulting firm, and both would complete implementation. But we didn’t have that at Heura, so it was important to focus on the people aspect of the project.
Heura’s 6 Tips For Efficient, Smooth Solution Adoption
1. Do Your Prep Work, Structure Your Plan, and Get Buy-In Early
Daniel: We started with a change management plan, identifying the key stakeholders and outlining how and what to communicate to whom. So at the moment of kickoff, everybody already had heard about the project and the benefits. All this with the full alignment of the C level. Our executives were committed to enabling our teams and giving them the support they needed throughout the process to make the project a success.
We had a super structured change management process with Julia identifying the stakeholders and developing an active communication strategy. Then, we consistently reported to teams and the steering committee. Then, we selected key users to be involved from the beginning. Then we trained our teams and made sure we collected feedback. We had the right people and the right approach to make the process easy.
2. Have a Dedicated Resource
Daniel: One key success factor was assigning a specific person with experience to lead the project. We actually hired someone to do this. Julia came to the team just before starting this process. Dedicating the right resources to this kind of project is one of the key success factors because if nobody is at least 50% dedicated to the project, you’re not going to make it. It’s the kind of project that needs internal coordination.
3. Clean Your Data
Daniel: From the very beginning, everyone was really aware of the difficulty of this kind of implementation and how clean we need to have our master data. That’s why, before even starting the solution selection process, we cleaned up all our master data. So when we began the data cleansing with ToolsGroup, the data was already in good shape. The work we had already put into it really eased the implementation process and we didn’t suffer any delay on this.
4. Open Up Avenues for Collaboration and Feedback
Daniel: All together, we had a great combination: an active key user (the demand planner), the project manager, and a strong, supportive IT resource. Combined with ToolsGroup support, these are the three secret ingredients to make the project a success.
Julia: Also, we put one person from sales on the core team as well. He wasn’t crunching all the data, but he was in the weekly meetings and helped us integrate the sales team into the process. This level of communication, involving everybody, helped make it a team effort, not just a demand planning and IT initiative.
5. Look for Unique Advantages and Knowledge-Sharing Opportunities
Julia: Daniel and I were coming from big companies with big teams and resources. Heura, being a smaller company, made us more involved in the smaller details. This works to our advantage because when an issue comes up, everyone knows the source and can work very closely together to pinpoint it and address it efficiently. I think one key takeaway from this experience is: don’t be afraid to go a little deeper. It’s very helpful to have that background knowledge and can really streamline problem-solving.
6. Foster an Enthusiastic Mindset and Listen to Your People
Julia: We have the advantage that most people in a startup are ready for change. Plus, we weren’t coming from an established system, so our team was very excited to implement a tool, even if it took time in the beginning. The feedback we got from our employees was that they really needed this.
Daniel: Listening to our employees and trusting them really made a difference. Let the team make the decisions. If they have the knowledge and they have the tools, you need to trust them. Delegate those decisions to them.