Wilbur-Ellis Feed, a division of Wilbur-Ellis Company, is backed by more than 85 years of experience in consistently locating sources of supply and delivering high-quality products worldwide. In late 2005, the division made plans to reorganize. However, during the process, issues surfaced, and it became clear that this new direction, if it was to be successful, needed a strong focus, a solid business plan, and a system for accountability.
According to Ron Salter, Wilbur-Ellis Feed’s vice president, the division was changing rapidly due to consolidation. The old, proven structure didn’t fit into today’s world. Yet, change – the only good solution – was going to be tough. A strong division culture of individual branch performance versus a focused division approach made change difficult. People were a bit stuck in their ways, and to drive Wilbur-Ellis Feed toward a future of success, the “ways of old” had to be modified. How to manage that change effectively was the big question.
Salter learned about MAP’s three-day workshop through Wilbur-Ellis Company, and after attending this event, he returned to Wilbur-Ellis Feed with fresh impressions about how to take the division to the next level and successfully drive the impending change. One of MAP’s top Senior Consultants was hired to help. With MAP’s support the division’s management team established a five-year plan, blueprints for how to get there, and measurements for accountability. MAP’s business coach assisted Wilbur-Ellis Feed in implementing a new structure for operations and management, which enabled greater business vision, as well as a sharper focus among employees. Salter also discovered a need to improve upon his own leadership skills. He had to learn how to be an accountability manager and doing this wasn’t – and still isn’t – ever easy. Setting company and employee goals that could be tracked and measured took real work. But the short-term pain has been worth the long-term gain, and that’s why he stands firmly behind the changes he instituted with the consultant’s coaching.
Working closely with MAP’s resources and coaching, the division has learned that they must remain focused on implementing and managing accountability and change on a daily basis. It’s primarily this dedication to closely monitoring what is expected that has led the Wilbur-Ellis Feed team to reach its new goals. Using MAP’s system for accountability, sales have increased, leading to greater bottom line profitability. While company employee retention rates have always been solid at Wilbur-Ellis Feed, the company has refocused on the need for a sound recruiting plan and increased communication with our employees was needed.
While Salter points out that improving company operating efficiencies is next on the Wilbur-Ellis Feed task list, he’s thrilled with the degree of focus that now exists, thanks to MAP’s help. Through its customized consultation services, and integrated staff development, MAP helped Wilbur-Ellis Feed build vision, a disciplined methodology for performance management, and a solid five-year planning process. New directions for established companies are never easy, but Wilbur-Ellis Feed has quickly evolved into and is now a prototype for successful change management.