Food Manufacturer Client Story

Preparing an International Food Manufacturer to Navigate COVID-19

Weeks From Start to Completion
Annual Revenue

Enter Centric: A Solution for Consistency and Delivery

The client’s leaders partnered with Centric Chicago, in part because we were already working with them to enact strategic program management within their enterprise program management office (EPMO). They recognized how vital program and project management would be when responding to the pandemic.

Because we only had a little over a month to create a plan, we needed to complete an assessment of the problem within three days alongside their leaders before diving into our solution: a consistent global framework they could use in every region of the world.

Why one framework instead of a decentralized solution? Because it would provide some consistency, scalability and learning between each group while everyone was under a time crunch. The pandemic was already making its way across Europe when we started working together, so we knew North America and South America weren’t far behind and would have a similar experience.

We had to approach creating the framework by looking at each region and working from there. Here are a few of the scenarios we had to work through:

  1. Can every employee work from home? If so, what does our client need to execute?
  2. What sub-processes are critical for continuing core business operations, and what sub-processes could operate with reduced staff for a short time? Of the critical sub-processes, how many employees (or contractors) are key to that process’s success?
  3. What happens if one of those key persons must be offline for three or four weeks with almost no notice? Are there backups in place that can the company can onboard quickly?
  4. What happens if an entire team goes offline? Do we have third-party contractors or a similar group in another region that can act as a backup?

Once we answered these questions, we were able to work with the client to create a consistent framework they could use in every region, including:

  • templates to help them get organized,
  • due dates and deliverables for each step within the framework, and
  • working sessions to help answer any questions around the framework itself.

We built the framework to accommodate three phases: initiation, crisis management and return to the office. Based on each stage and region’s needs, the client could choose paths for executing, whether a particular department is operating at 100 percent, 80 percent, and so on.

The Results: A Custom Guide for Navigating the Pandemic

Following the framework’s creation, the client has been able to respond to region-specific issues more efficiently. For example — because the global framework allowed room for learning — the client knew to plan for internet outages or spotty service in rural areas, making the transition to remote work a lot faster as they followed the framework from city to city.

We were also able to help them coordinate processes during the crisis management part of the framework. For example, they quickly learned that sales skyrocket as a country starts to shut down. As a result, by the time the pandemic reached South and North America, they could follow the framework’s processes and prioritize getting products out the door faster as needed.

No one was expecting a pandemic of this caliber. Because we worked together with our client to solve challenging problems and create a framework, they can ensure their teams are safe even while their customers get what they need.

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