HEALTH: Growth Strategy Gains Momentum at Kimberly-Clark
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Having identified potential for significant growth in South Africa from a penetration and consumption perspective, Kimberly-Clark South Africa (K-CSA) devised a five-year expansion strategy to stretch its brands, expand its territory and pursue possible acquisitions.
When K-CSA’s management team considered the best way to implement the plan, it realised the company was not optimally structured for growth, particularly when it came to its commercial operations.
K-CSA managing director, Garth Towell, says with its five-year growth vision clearly articulated, K-CSA needed to identify ways of bringing it to life. “Our customer operations were centralised in Johannesburg, which was not necessarily the most optimal model going forward.
“After researching successful Kimberly-Clark models in countries with similar geographies to ours, we found Kimberly-Clark Latin America’s model most appropriate. We modified the Latin American example to suit our operation in South Africa and established geographical business units (GBAs) around the country,” says Towell.
He says instead of sales managers, the GBAs will be headed up by three new “mini country managers”, who will lead multifunctional teams with common objectives (sales, marketing, finance, supply chain, human resources). “These people will think “business” and not just “sales”. In addition, decision making will move closer to the field with people being empowered to make business decisions within a given framework.”
The idea is to build a sustainable competitive advantage by moving to a more front line organisation, allowing a closer customer/shopper/consumer relationship, faster execution, solution-oriented multifunctional teams, with unique local cultural awareness.
“This fits with Kimberly-Clark International’s aim to be “much more local than its global competitors and much more global than its local competitors,” says Towell.
To support the changes to its structure, K-CSA appointed Joanne Siney-Gould as its commercial director, with full commercial responsibility for the South African business, in particular leading GBA implementation and providing day-to-day work direction for the newly appointed GBA leaders. “Essentially, her role will be to drive base business and the execution of the brand and business strategies,” says Towell.
In addition, someone was needed to lead the territorial expansion part of K-CSA’s five-year plan. In this respect, Dion de Graaff was appointed to drive the initiative with specific focus on the establishment and management of commercial operations in East and West Africa.
Previously financial director of K-CSA and leader of the 2015 planning committee, de Graaff’s strategic and operational expertise is regarded as imperative to unlocking the immense potential north of South Africa’s borders.
De Graaff’s appointment meant the position of financial director needed to be filled. Lizet Norval, who had been seconded to the role for nine months while de Graaff was leading the growth plan development, was officially appointed as financial director this year.
This team will be supported by the three new GBA leaders, Joanne Clarke (GBA leader: North – located in Gauteng), Mandy van Niekerk (GBA leader: East – located in Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Chris Hall (acting GBA leader: West – located in Western Cape).
Towell says what is significant about the new appointments is that they are all appointments from within the organisation. “This bears testimony to our talent management drive, which is aimed at unleashing the power and maximum potential of our employees,” he says.
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