Sarah talks with Berit Hallgren, Program Director at Tetra Pak, about lessons learned in her 30+ year career with the company on what it takes to achieve the strategic alignment, prioritization, and change management that contribute to a successful service transformation. This conversation is from the Stockholm Live Tour event.
Sarah Nicastro: Let’s go ahead and get started. So, I’m going to welcome next Berit Hallgren from Tetra Pak. Berit, come on up. Hi. Thank you for being here.
Berit Hallgren: Thank you for having me here.
Sarah Nicastro: Okay. All right. So, what we’re going to do is take another look at service transformation, and so have another perspective on what it takes to achieve success. So, Berit, you have now the advantage of having heard some of the other speakers. So, you can build off, of some of the points that have been made, so that’ll be great. So, go ahead and tell folks a bit about yourself, your role, and what service means to Tetra Pak.
Berit Hallgren: Yeah. Thank you, Sarah. So, hi everyone. I’m Berit Hallgren and I play many roles in life as all of you do and I think I’ve got the toughest part after lunch because that’s the part when people tend to fall asleep, right?
Sarah Nicastro: No sleeping allowed. I will be monitoring. I’m going to be calling you out, so just stay awake.
Berit Hallgren: First of all, I’m happily married. I have three grown up kids, so that’s one of the roles in life I play and then I’m also part of Tetra Pak. So, I’m employed by Tetra Pak since actually 30 years back so it’s a long time. Always been based in Sweden and basically always been working internationally. Tetra Pak is an international company, doesn’t mean that you work internationally, but I’ve always done and mainly within the service business.
So, I have approximately 10 years in administration. So, I’m not an engineer, maybe that’s something good for Tetra Pak as well but we don’t only have engineers. And then approximately 10 years in project management and five years in line management. So, I’m part of our service business and right now I’m driving a major transformation within services. So, we are transforming our way of working basically going digital.
So, it’s a bit of digital transformation. That digital transformation has actually started some backwards, 2014, ’15 with small steps. Thinking about what Dan said earlier this morning and now we started the real transformation in 2020, basically when we set our new strategy. So, I’m leading that initiative which actually consists of seven different projects. Where field service management is one of them.
Sarah Nicastro: And you just took a new role not long ago, right?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah.
Sarah Nicastro: So, leading the team that is overseeing the operational excellence of the transformation, am I understanding that correctly?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah, absolutely. So, we are in a matrix organization when it comes to driving this transformation. So, we have clear business owners for the areas that we want to transform. So, I’m responsible for delivering the transformation business case basically because, of course, if the company invests, they want some payback and some return as well.
And also responsible for securing that we deliver the solutions in the end, but I’m working closely with my peers who are the business owners. So, they decide the what in the end and then together we deliver the transformation. So, I’m responsible for the business case and they are responsible for the what, and together we make sure the transformation happens.
Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So, can you describe the current transformation project at a high level? So, what are the primary objectives and where are you at in the process? So, you said a new strategy was set in 2020.
Berit Hallgren: So, new strategy was set in 2020 in the whole of the company. When we set a new strategy, we normally work with partners. So, together with the partners, they find the opportunity in services. We can really do things differently moving forward and we have been… As many of you guys as well, service was a call center, many years back and we started our service becoming a business around 2000. So, we’ve been on that road for 20 years, approximately. So, through the strategy work the high-level opportunity was defined. And at the same time, that was a VP in services assigned to actually own this transformation. And I was assigned to drive the transformation.
So, the first thing we did, we did an analysis. So, I actually brought together a team with finance, HR, market experience, service experience, and project management experience. I had myself. So, we did an analysis of a little bit of more detailed analysis to understand what are really the areas that we need to transform and how do we make that happen?
So, basically the objective, we came out through that analysis. We decided that we can, and we will enable more growth of the service business. We need to lower down the cost to serve our customers. And then we need to simplify and improve both the customer experience, but also the employee experience. And I think the employee experience is a really important part here, the others as well, of course, because our field service guys and women, not so many, but a few, they are actually the voice at our customer sites. So, they are the ambassador so it’s really important to have them on the journey.
So, with these four objectives, we also identified, we have four levers basically. So, we are working in the remote services area and connecting our equipment so that’s one lever. The second lever is field service management. So, how can we automate that as much as possible? And then we have the competence development of our customers and our people, and finally the future workforce, how does it look like and the employee experiences as well.
Sarah Nicastro: So, based on everything we’ve talked about already today, the fact that you’re owning this transformation, I mean, that’s a pretty tall task to sign up for.
Berit Hallgren: Yes, it is.
Sarah Nicastro: And what makes you excited about the role you can play in Tetra Pak’s transformation journey?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah. What makes me excited is that we have a clear vision where we want to go, but we need to do that in a step wise journey. And thinking about the customer, always putting the customer first and putting the employees first as well. That’s really what excites me and what we can bring to our customers and to our employees and also to the company with this whole transformation and the new opportunities it actually brings for the future.
So, I was reflecting quite a lot this morning when Dan was talking about the digital transformation versus the innovation. And I think as many others, we also went wrong little bit in 10 years back. So, it was all about HoloLens and all this cool stuff, the cool technology, but what will you do with the cool technology, if the backend isn’t working and all the other things are not in place.
And that’s exactly what happened with us as well. So, now it’s really, I mean, the transformation we’re doing now is really to put the backend in place and getting the foundation in place for the future and then we can build on that. And that’s really, what’s what excites me to be part of this journey because we’ve been on it for many years already and trying bits and pieces, here and there, and now it really happens so that really excites me.
Sarah Nicastro: Did anyone else notice how firmly Berit said, “We can, and we will increase service revenue.” And I love that very firm commitment and that comes from having conviction in that opportunity. So, the question I’m wondering is, we talked a lot this morning about one of the barriers to transformation… I know I’m going off script. See, Berit, that’s I do it.
Berit Hallgren: No, that’s fine.
Sarah Nicastro: But one of the barriers being resistance to change. Okay. Now, you, yourself have been a part of Tetra Pak for 30 years. So, what do you think the key is for someone with that amount of tenure who was literally with the business in a different phase of its existence, how do you stay open to what the opportunity is today and into the future?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah, really good question. Sarah. I’ve been reflecting because sometimes when I tell people I’ve been with the company for 25 years, for 30 years, and I say, “Okay, why am I still here?” And I think it’s really about, for me, I’m changing job every third year, approximately and Tetra Pak is a big employer in Lund, Sweden. So, I have the possibility to really going from one area to another, which also develops people in the end. So, I’m curious as a person and I need change. I mean, that’s my mindset, that’s what I eat and breathe, basically. I need regular change because I get super bored otherwise and I think that is… So, the biggest challenge I think for us is really… Or what you need is really the right mindset.
So, you need to find the right team from the beginning who can really help starting off the transformation because there will always be the detractors and there will always be the front runners and you need the front runners in the beginning, but then you need to attack the middle. All the middle mass, that Dan and many others talked about as well earlier today. Because if the middle mass isn’t with you, it doesn’t happen. So, mindset is one part and I think capability is the other part. And I have some capabilities, but I don’t have them all right.
So, how do we also bring the outside in perspective? And that was important when we did the analysis too, that the benchmark piece is really important and the outside in perspective. So, how do we make sure that we bring the right capabilities that we need who can help us on the transformation? And I think the third one is time because it takes time to drive the transformation. So, at the same time, you need to show what are the benefits and the values with what you’re doing, but you also need to deliver some early results. So, the company really believes in, “Okay, this can happen, and this will happen.” Because if you don’t have some proof in the pudding, why should we do a huge investment as Tetra Pack is doing right now in this big transformation.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. No, I think that’s really good, and I always think it’s a testament of a really good employer when you have people who have been able to evolve many roles in the same company. Because a lot of times people like you who need change and they want to challenge themselves, they end up doing that elsewhere.
So, it’s three years with one company. Okay. So, when you can do that all within one organization, I mean, that typically is an indication of a good business to be a part of. So, we talked this morning a lot about the need to eliminate silos, create better alignment towards the objective to create more collaboration and how we work.
So, in a lot of ways, the team that you’ve built and the function you’re serving now is to really make sure that alignment happens with this service transformation journey. So, what are some of the ways you’re doing that?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah. I should also say that in actually we have right now ongoing a big, huge reorganization in the company. So, my manager, who is the VP owning the program, she realized that, and I realized as well, we are too few people. We need better business owners and all of that. And then came the company reorganization, so that helped. Otherwise we would have had to do something else, but with that reorganization, she had the opportunity to really put together a great team who can really lead this whole transformation.
So, that was part of her, putting the organization in place and selling the idea, both to top management so that she got the resources she needed and also to the people she employed in the end. So, how do we then work together? Well, I would say we are doing mainly three different things. One thing is that we are working on two levels in the organization when it comes to the stakeholder management, the communication, and getting people on board. So, my manager, she works on her level and upwards in the organization and then, me and the business owners, we work on our level and downwards in the organization. So that’s how we manage the stakeholder management.
Sarah Nicastro: But you and her need to stay aligned…
Berit Hallgren: All the time.
Sarah Nicastro: Lock step on what is the message up, what is the message down, right?
Berit Hallgren: Exactly, and we do. The second thing we do, we decided quite early on that we want to work in an agile way. And the company is doing that already in different areas, bits and pieces, here and there. Succeeding better in some areas than in others, but we decided quite early on, we want to do it in an agile way, because if we do it in the traditional way. We will develop and then, X years later we will deploy, and we believe we are deploying the right thing. No, we are not.
So, we decided early on agile and that we are using this scrum methodology. And then we have implemented that in the projects step by step. So, not taking everything in a big chunk, but bits and pieces being rigid on the principles of agile and making sure at the same time that we learn by doing basically.
Sarah Nicastro: So, rigid on the principles, flexible on the approach.
Berit Hallgren: Exactly. And then when we do that, we also explain to the people who work in the project that, what is an MVP? What does it look like? So, what is the assets? Where do we want to be? And this is what we are going with right now. And making sure that people really understand the concept of agile, understand the concept of MVP.
So, we create the right expectations with the end users when we are coming. And I think the beauty of the agile is that we involve the end users from the beginning. So, since we are rigid on the principles, the end users are part of the development. Some of the development project it’s projects itself or themselves, but also through the sprint reviews. So, they have an early say early on and they will bring perspectives that we haven’t thought about, but in my market, it works like this.
Okay. Maybe this is something we need to investigate to understand. If there is something we need to adjust on the journey, which means when we come to the market, they’re already prepared to some extent, and then we make sure to handhold them and we don’t let them go until the project is finished, basically. And then we are evolving over time. So, working on two levels, stakeholder management, working agile, and then at the same time, there are more transformations ongoing in the company.
So, we stay close to one other big initiative, which is sales and marketing transformation. So, we work very closely to make sure that we have the same message to the market in the end, because the market is the sales companies, and they are working across there. So, they don’t care about who is capital equipment, who is services, and who is what’s really. So, those are really the three top things we are doing to make sure that we will succeed in the end.
Sarah Nicastro: What are the primary ways that you, as a team interact with the various stakeholders in the business? So, what are the forms of communication? What is the frequency for the transformation team, the excellence team to communicate with everyone?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah. From the project levels, we do the sprint reviews, that’s the primary communication channel and that’s happening every third, fourth week. So, it depends on project so that’s how we stay close with them. Then from the program perspective, we are doing demos on a regular basis, retrospectives, and planning, and that we do on quarterly basis. So that’s when we invite the more senior stakeholders to take part of the planning.
And you need some form governance, even if it’s agile. So, you need to understand, are things going in the right direction. So, we are doing monthly steering team meetings, basically on the program level, if there is a need. If there is no need, then we skip it basically. And then my manager, she reports in her management team on the monthly basis, how things are going. I’m doing the same in our management team on a monthly basis and then we do what else is needed, when we feel that.
Clear communication plans in all the projects, of course, as well. So, change and communications work closely together. So, we have a change manager for the program. And I think that is something, it’s fluffy for many, what does it really mean? But if you don’t take that seriously, the whole change part, there is a huge risk for failure. So, so I said from the beginning, we need to change manager in the program. Otherwise, we will fail because there’s so many things to keep together so that we do as well.
Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think that’s really smart. I think that if anyone follows my content, I’ve written and have said many times that change management is a topic that I have issue with, because it is always the number one reason the projects fail, but it continually is deprioritized, de-emphasized, budget cut, et cetera. So, it’s widely recognized as important. Yet, often not given the time, energy, and investment that it deserves. So, I think that’s really smart. Rafael was saying this morning, some of the real emotional reactions to this type of thing and at the end of the day, I think, if not the most important, one of the most important aspects of getting out of that hard middle to something toward your vision.
I think that is something that keeps people stuck here, because if it’s not done well, a lot of the other things you’ve done right, don’t matter nearly as much so I think that’s really good. You also mentioned the tie in with sales and marketing, which I find really interesting and think is very important and we probably don’t have time to really dive into this, but I have done some content on how are we selling modern service and are we doing it justice, and are we speaking the language of the customer and are we taking sort of our internal journey and articulating it externally in a way that resonates and things like that. So, I think it’s very interesting.
You mentioned that you’re responsible for the ultimate return on investment of the transformation. And so, one of the questions that has come up at a lot of the events prior to this one is advice for business case for transformation. So, that’s one part of my question is, do you have any advice for that? The second part is you mentioned, this middle phase. So, you sort of, Tetra Pak started this journey a while, figured out what it was going to look like, and then, 2020, it clarified. Now we’re here before we get to here. And so, when you’re in that middle phase and things, it requires patience, there’s some costs, there’s some hiccups. So, what are the ways you are finding to communicate successes, even amid some of the non-successes or some of the slowness toward the ultimate success?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah, good question. So, if I start with the business case one, we decided early on that we need to do the business case on program level, because all these four levers, they are intertwined in the end. So, it will be extremely difficult to say what benefits come exactly from where, from there or here or there, it doesn’t really work. So, we were clear on that to the company already from the beginning that don’t come and ask us to follow up on the details because that will just be non-valid-added work because someone wants to see it so that we were clear on from the beginning. Then of course, we do a business case for each of the projects because you need to justify the transformation, but all those business cases needs to add up to the full one in the end and then we follow up on the full one.
And, when we do the business case, there are certain hard numbers like productivity gains that we will get but we are talking about them as more as avoided cost. Because the business will grow, which means service is a people business. So, the number of people needs to grow as well. But not maybe in the same ratio as it has been doing before. So, we talk about it as cost avoidance, and we also talk about it as how can we utilize our technicians better. So, there is a benefit there as well, but we are also talking about lost sales.
So, if we don’t do this transformation, how much of the growth opportunity will not happen because we are not modern any longer. And that’s what we are not counting in the business case as such, but we openly talk about it. So, it’s clear for the company, this will not happen if we don’t do this. So, that’s some advice from the business case perspective. And then your second question was-
Sarah Nicastro: While you’re in process and things are… Yes.
Berit Hallgren: And how do we communicate? Yeah, exactly. So, we started early on, we did some trials, many projects here and there, and then it was decided, and here is the end goal. So right now, if I take a practical example, we were supposed to go live with FSM Solution this Monday, but we didn’t. And even if we were in a troublesome state a couple of weeks ago. We were supposed to do a user acceptance test with our end users. We decided to go to Panama to start the user acceptance test and do it as much as we could. And in there was some really good wow moments for the people.
So, the commitment is there from the market. And that is what we are communicating now. So, we are communicating transparently, why are we not going live? What is the problem? How are we addressing that? How are we re-planning? But even we decided to do this, get these wow moments, and people are really committed, but now when we go live, we can’t fail. So, it has to happen the second time otherwise we lose the trust. And I think this is the beauty of the agile way of working.
Then we are doing some other things when it comes to automation of our processes. So, we have some good success stories there with our customers as well, that we are communicating. So, being transparent, I think everyone here does policing and you all know what red, green, and yellow means. So, we are open with that. The program is currently yellow and has been for half a year, but we are open about that. This is our challenges, and this is what it is and if we need senior management support. Then this is what we say, “We need your support to remove these and these roadblocks.”
So, transparency was mentioned earlier today as well, and I think that’s key. You don’t hide, you don’t try to imagine something that is not going to happen, but there are some successes along practical things that you can really communicate about as well and show to the company.
Sarah Nicastro: I think transparency is an underutilized art. Okay. So, does anyone have questions for Berit before I drawn on. You’re my favorite delegate, by the way. Not that I have favorites, but if I did, you would be it.
Audience: It’s really inspiring, and the story relates a lot with my journey also and what we have done at Electrolux. But I have a question you mentioned about being very strict on change management and having a change manager. And then you also said about agile principles, but being flexible on the approach.
So, having a program and such a big transformation program where you have almost 200 or 250 or more than these people, or even in a project there are 50 plus people or something, then how do you make everyone work on agile principles? Because not everyone is super knowledgeable or super trained in that way of working. So, do you have some agile coach, or do you keep on doing every weekly, some trainings or coaching, and analysis, so how do you manage that?
Sarah Nicastro: That’s a really good question.
Berit Hallgren: Good question.
Sarah Nicastro: I was thinking you’re almost teaching agile as you’re doing the project, right?
Berit Hallgren: Yes, we are. We have an agile coach, an external one because we didn’t have that capability in the company. But this guy has been working with Tetra Pak for many years in other agile transformations. So, he knows the company. He knows many people in there so that helps a lot. So, and he’s really guiding us step by step. So, we, early on created learning journeys so people could take them. And last year, second part of last year, we talked a lot about agile in the program and now three of the projects are really up running. So, he’s coaching them a little bit, but we are managing quite good by ourselves and in the program as well.
Now we have some new projects coming up that will start because everything is not starting at the same time. So, then he will be there to support those projects. And I think in learning for us is that… This was with IFS specifically that we are changing now. We were working agile, the business team, the Tetra Pak IT Team, but not IFS. And there has been clashes, of course, which doesn’t help anyone. So, now with phase two with IFS, we will go fully agile together and that will help. While in the other projects, we have been doing it agile all the way through.
So, that’s how external coaching again, to help us on the journey because otherwise we wouldn’t succeed. Change management, we actually hired an HR person in Tetra Pak who has a lot of change management experience who has been driving change management projects or change management within projects as well. So, she has the capability, she has the methods, she knows what to do and then she helps the projects to apply the methods. They are super annoyed in the project from time to time because, “Oh, why do we need to do this? And why do we need to do that?” But suddenly they realize, and they understand and comps and change management are working hand in hand because that’s also a critical success. So, you need to have dedicated comps people with you on the journey who can help you.
Sarah Nicastro: And those points of annoyance are where if you were relying on those leaders alone to handle the change management, it would just get pushed aside.
Berit Hallgren: It wouldn’t happen. So, I’m not driving any of the projects, our people doing that, but I’m very much engaged in all the projects. So, for sometimes I need to be step in and be the facilitator because the change management person have her perspective. The project team has their perspective, and they talk by each other. So, then I’m stepping in to say, “Guys, this is what you wanted.” She is like, “Okay, fine.” So that’s, how I’m also actively working with the project.
Sarah Nicastro: There’s a podcast I did a while back with a gentleman named Dan McClure and it was talking about incremental improvement versus innovation. But one of the things that came up in our conversation is the increased need for, there’s a term he used for it, choreographers is what he referred to it as. People that are more orchestrating what needs to happen. And this is something that last week in Frankfurt, almost everyone that spoke, it came up that there was either an individual or a function within the business that now serves the role of not execution but orchestration.
And so, I think when we think about the silos that exist and how do we break out of that, these type of roles like you have now that are able to be a bit more objective, bring different viewpoints and opinions and strategies together and sort out, “Okay. I understand what everyone needs, how everyone feels. How are we going to work as a team toward what is the decided outcome?” I think it’s super, super important so really interesting. Okay, Berit, last question for you. Based on your experience, either in this project or throughout your career, what’s the best piece of advice you could offer our audience today?
Berit Hallgren: Yeah. If I would say a number of things, I would say five things to always think about and bring with you, be clear on why you are doing this. What are the problems you want to solve? Because if that is not clear, how can you communicate to your audiences? And then, what are the areas you want to transform in the end? It needs to also be very clear for people, so they understand we are not going everywhere. We are going in these specific areas.
The outside in perspective, I think is super important as well. That I also would also really advise, because if I think about Tetra Pak, we haven’t maybe in the past been so much outside in perspective because it’s been a successful company and you tend to focus more on yourself than on the customers and the outside in the end.
So, bringing that and also showing to the organization, “This is where we want to go. This is where we are.” That becomes really, really powerful. And then, I mean, “What’s in it for me?” You need to be able to explain that for the customer, for the employees, and for the company as well, because it’s not the same message to all of these people. And finally, I will say, have courage because it takes… That’s probably one of my stronger skills. I’m persistent, “So, okay. Didn’t go this way. Let’s try the other way.” Because you need that when you drive a big transformation. You have to be persistent because it will take time. There will be challenges, but it will happen if you have decided it will happen, it will happen, but you need to be persistent.
Sarah Nicastro: I love it. Thank you so much.
Berit Hallgren: Thank you, guys.