Rachael Stafford, Business Integration Manager at McCormick UK, shared her journey towards building a strong demand planning and forecasting team at the IBF’s first London Forecasting Meet-up. She scheduled lunch meetings with key people throughout the company.
The first meet-up in London, hosted by Accenture, was a great success according to Anish Jain, managing director of the IBF. “We had attendees from companies such as Nokia, Dell, AstraZeneca, McCormick, Rolls-Royce, Argos, Vodafone, and more. I was thrilled to hear how McCormick built a successful demand planning team and process.”
One of the key challenges at McCormick was dealing with the company’s silo mentality, as well as getting their internal customers and those who supply forecasting information to collaborate to achieve consensus. Stafford tried to break the barriers. “She went on to say that, when attempting to achieve a cultural change in this environment, the common question was: what’s in it for me?”, says Jain.
Stafford’s answer to that was: lunch. She meticulously scheduled lunch meetings with key people throughout the company. Jain: “These lunches allowed her to reiterate her point, which was that working together is better for both of us, as well as holistically for the company too. This enabled her to develop strong relationships in pursuit of one number of the truth as we say.”
“Of course, all forecasters are often pressured to take down or raise their forecasts at any given time”, says Jain. “But, having key relationships that are less combative allows Rachel and her team to manage the game play that others in the company may create in order to achieve an objective forecast.”