Lantmännen UnibakeA new concept for the retail baking market
With 35 bakeries in 21 countries, Lantmännen Unibake is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of high-quality bakery products to both professional customers (B2B) and consumers (B2C). They aim to make bread a profitable business for their customers and serve their consumer needs through high-quality products and superior solutions. Lantmännen Group has a strong commitment to long-term responsibility from field to fork, striving for sustainability and high food safety standards.
The project revolved around commercial concept development. A customer had tasked Lantmännen Unibake with developing a whole range of bread and pastries as part of a new in-store concept. The main purpose was to create a new business model that added value for the involved parties by:
Combined, the two objectives should result in Lantmännen Unibake becoming its customers’ preferred supplier within this specific type of concept.
Before the project launch, commercial projects of this type had an average lead time of 12-14 months – a number that Lantmännen Unibake wanted to challenge by using Half Double. They pursued a 50% reduction in lead time and consequently had to work faster and more efficiently, as well as analyse and change some of their production and logistical distribution network, which called for behavioural changes.
In the Half Double methodology, local translation of the three core components – Impact, Flow and Leadership – is essential. This is carried out using nine methods.
The focus in Half Double is to create a flow of impact throughout the entire project’s lifecycle. Lantmännen Unibake tailored impact to fit their project through the following methods:
The impact case was designed according to the overall purposes of the project. Lantmännen Unibake chose two sales KPIs (customer stores) and tested them to be able to swiftly react to early indicators of the market (consumers’) reaction to the concept.
The approach allowed the project team to ramp up successful products and include more and more stores as the project progressed, while constantly having real-time testing. This also allowed the new products to enter daily operations much earlier in the project’s lifetime than usual.
The impact solution design introduced careful selection of a few stores to test the concept and consumer behaviour. Here,Lantmännen Unibake worked closely with customers to generate early insights on their needs which were then used to define and prototype different solutions. Products and concepts were tested, and the process allowed for constant indicators and market data gathering alongside prototyping in collaboration with customers.
At two meetings, Lantmännen Unibake used pulse checks to evaluate the four purposes of the goal hierarchy on a scale from 1-5:
The mini-pulse checks gave insights into customers’ pains and how to solve them. But dynamics between different customer stakeholders made it difficult to continue the checks. The generic team pulse checks generated insights for the core project team, allowing the project leader to alter the co-location design when it did not accommodate the team’s preferences.
Half Double has a clear focus on intensity and frequent interaction in project work. Lantmännen Unibake tailored flow to fit their project through the following methods:
To reduce time to impact, the cross-functional team was co-located approx. 50% of the week in a common project room, allowing the entire project team to sit together.
In the project room and during all customer meetings, all plans were kept visual at all times along with the objective overview, impact case, risk matrix and stakeholder analysis.
Lantmännen Unibake had a fixed rhythm in key events with four-week sprints. Two days every week began with a 15-minute stand-up meeting around the sprint plan. Also, a one-hour weekly session defining the following week’s activities. Every other week, the customer would meet with the project team in the “war room” for a solution feedback meeting with the internal reference group and the steering committee. And every fourth Thursday afternoon, the subsequent sprint was planned with the project team.
Half Double Leadership embraces uncertainty by facilitating a collaborative journey towards a common goal. Lantmännen Unibake tailored leadership to fit their project through the following methods:
The project owner and steering committee were onboarded at a workshop introducing them to the Half Double methodology and aligning expectations, including being a part of biweekly solution feedback reviews with the customer. The project owner chose a very active role in the project which was a key factor in reducing the lead time of the product development process.
On a weekly basis, the project leader was coached by and sparred with Implement on project progress and different methods on how to motivate each team member. Using insights from the pulse checks, the project leader was able to assess, evaluate and tweak the methodology to fit the organisation.
It turned out that project management maturity was relatively low between the project team members. Adapting to the situation and putting people before systems, the project leader had to act not only as project leader, but also as an on-the-job-trainer within project management for the project team. This was a challenging position for the project leader which created a heavy workload and a troublesome team process. It was overcome by close proximity with the project owner who took over the project at a later stage in the process.
The success of Half Double is dependent on an organisation’s project maturity. In this instance the project got off to a good start – especially how the early and open involvement with customers proved positive in terms of the energy levels in the team and between the team and the customer. However, project management maturity was low, and the organisation had a fairly functional view about things.
Having had some issues with the project speed, a key learning is that the project needs allocation of all the skills required to develop and recommend solutions. Having the right physical conditions for the co-located project room also proved important, as the Lantmännen Unibake project suffered from less fortunate conditions – and, as such, co-location became a meeting room with team members only working there during meetings. A key learning is that a project needs co-located workplaces plus some associated meeting visualisation space.
After the go-live of the new product, time to impact (time-to-market) had been reduced from 14 months to five months. This is a total reduction of 65%, which is a significant achievement.
Implement Consulting Group