reported in dollars and miles. Visibility throughout
technology systems is integral to guarantee that
reported information is accurate.
Acknowledge cultural differences. Understand
that migrating systems can be a cultural as well as
technical change for the staff. In addition to making
technology changes or upgrades, supply managers
must educate the staff to use the tool and find a
level of comfort with it. That may be the biggest
challenge of a systems migration, supply chain
While there’s a great deal of activity during an M&A,
day-to-day business must continue, which is why
business continuity and risk assessment is an
element of the execution phase. Yiadom says initial
steps to ensure continuity and risk assessment are
( 1) evaluating the newly combined supply base, ( 2)
assessing the status of all existing orders and POs
and ( 3) performing a thorough contractual review,
especially on contracts from the company being
THIRD STAGE IN M&A: POST-OP
The final step in an M&A is the post-op, Freeman
says, where each function evaluates its performance.
Throughout the integration, there will be “gut
checks” at all leadership levels, but the final
evaluation can be the most valuable.
He encourages supply management leaders and
their staffs to be honest — brutally honest. Among
the questions to ask:
• What worked and what didn’t?
• What opportunities were missed, especially early
in the process?
• Did we see opportunities that weren’t there? If
• What were the hidden gems?
• How did the team react and respond to
“Always keep in mind that in today’s M&A world,
there are hundreds of millions of dollars at risk if we
don’t perform well,” Freeman says. “Also, there is
so much to learn through this process. I can say
from experience that you may think this is your
last M&A, but likely it won’t be. Learn from it and
embrace it.” ISM
Mary Siegfried is a freelance writer based in Chandler, Arizona.
which 14 procurement-specific competencies were identified, with the goal
of training the entire department on those competencies. The competencies
were aligned with Institute for Supply Management®’s ISM Mastery Model®
and the Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) certification
body of knowledge.
In-person training was conducted in sessions around the globe. “The
training, for example, discussed what excellent negotiations look like,”
Listzwan explains. “The 14 competencies were introduced to the entire
team, raising the level of the team’s capabilities and making sure we all talk
the same language.”
Fedele says the training sessions coincided with category managers
identifying value capture and synergy opportunities after the business
integration. “At first, many said it was the worst time to be doing this
training, but in reality, it gave them an opportunity to learn new skills and
immediately put them into practice,” she says. “We’ve seen these new skills
result in incremental savings of (US)$1 million or more on multiple projects,
so it has been a significant value add to the business.”
Having an Open Mind
Yiadom says that during the execution phase, when changes can take
place quickly, the biggest pitfall for the acquiring company is thinking,
“This is how we do things, therefore this is how it will be done now.”
To avoid this, focus on the “understanding phase,” Yiadom says. “We want
to understand how the other company handles procedures and policies,
and help them understand our procedures and policies,” he explains.
Yiadom recalls when Pfizer acquired a company that had an excellent
ERP platform. Pfizer decided to implement the company’s platform and
approach to accessing data. “That only can happen when the organization
strives for the best,” he says. “That is the culture, and it encourages a spirit
Migrating Technology Systems
Another critical — and challenging — step in a business integration is
systems migration. As Fedele says, “It’s such a critical part of what we do
in our everyday lives. At the end of the day, it all comes down to systems.”
Among the key aspects to consider in migrating systems:
Plan ahead. During the observation phase, assess the technology
landscapes of both organizations, looking for similarities and differences.
As soon as possible, have a plan to bring the best of both procurement
systems onto a single platform. Understand that the migration can be
refined as time goes on, but migrating to a common platform should be an
Strive for visibility. Make sure all supply management data is visible and
understandable. This becomes particularly important in a multicountry
merger, where data previously reported in euros and meters must be