Strategy Development at Heidi Chocolats
Heidi Chocolats Suisse is one of the key players on the Romanian chocolate market with a strong positioning in the premium segment. In 2005 the company was part of Confiseur Laderach AG, a Swiss organization well known in its country for the premium pralines that it makes.
During 2005 Heidi decided that it needed to revise its approach towards the future of its business in Romania and the management of the company realized that the best way to accomplish this task is through a strategy development project. That was the moment when ROSS Consultants came in to provide support for the initiative.
The first step into the project was the undertaking of the “Strategy in Practice” training program. This was a three day workshop held at Moeciu that allowed participants to understand the most important concepts and methods used in the analysis and development of a business strategy and to apply them immediately to the context of their organization. For the Heidi management the Moeciu moment represented the first incursion into the subject of strategy and succeeded to contribute to the initial clarification of ideas and direction for what was to come.
As a strategy cannot be developed overnight the participants decided to launch a series of researches and detailed analyses into several areas that were identified as critical for the project. Sub-teams of two to four people were formed with the objective of gathering information, analyzing it, developing conclusions and formulating recommendations regarding the future course of action. The areas that were taken into consideration were as follows:
- who are the stakeholders of the business, what are their needs and what is the Heidi definition for business success?;
- what are the most important external factors and their impact on the way the organization does business? What are the company’s strengths and weaknesses and what are the possible opportunities and threats?;
- what are the characteristics of industry the company is acting in and what is the definition of the company’s business?;
- what are the sources for competitive advantage and what are the strategies and the options that can be undertaken by the company in the pursuit of that competitive advantage?;
- what are the resources and distinctive capabilities of the company in relation to industry key success factors and what are the gaps that need to be closed?;
- what is the structure of the organisation, what are the systems, the culture and the working climate and how well do all these constituencies support the company’s business.
After six months of intense work the teams delivered their reports. They were circulated among the project team members for revision and consistency check. Then the conclusions of these reports were presented during another three-day workshop held at Snagov in May 2006. After reviewing, discussing and debating the conclusions and recommendations presented by each report the team was able to define one strategic objective and 18 strategic directions to support the achievement of that objective. The Snagov moment closed the loop of initiating, developing and finalising the company strategy. The project team drafted a final strategy document and this was presented to the company shareholders that accepted it.
ROSS Consultants contributed in all steps of the strategy development effort: initial training, information gathering, information analysis, workshops, development of reports, liaison between teams and people, facilitation of project activities and support for project management. As a result of this positive contribution the representatives of the two companies decided to continue their collaboration, this time for the implementation of the strategy.