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H. J. Heinz Company: Feeding the desire for global collaborationEnquire now
Heinz savours BT Flexible Working Services, including BT Managed Broadband, for a more sustainable business model
Heinz's 32,500 people are worldwide yet like to work as one. Flexible working helps. But for Allan Jackson, a DIY approach to setting up UK home offices began to take too much time and money. That's when he called in BT.
With BT Flexible Working Services, everything's now done and managed for him. Employees have all they need to work from home and on the move, including broadband.
And Allan and his team are free to focus on the bigger picture. There's less travel and a better work life balance. No wonder colleagues elsewhere are keen to know more.
BT has removed the costs and risks of trying to manage the technology ourselves. In fact, in one particular team 17 per cent of the people resources have been freed to focus on tasks that add real value.”
- Allan Jackson, European Telecoms Manager, H. J. Heinz Company
US-based H. J. Heinz operates across five continents and employs around 32,500 people worldwide. It’s a market leader in over 50 countries through 150 powerful brands and has global sales in excess of US$10 billion. It’s also the largest food manufacturer in Europe, where the Heinz factory in Wigan employs over 1,200 people.
The Heinz philosophy seeks global co-ordination with local execution. For example, the company gets worldwide economies of scale through shared services in areas such as IS, HR, and Purchasing. However, each business unit is free to make marketing and product decisions based on local consumer tastes and business conditions.
Members of the Heinz UK headquarters senior management team have global and European roles alongside their UK responsibilities. They need to work with colleagues in the US and worldwide as they are increasingly called upon to participate in international project teams. Clearing barriers of time and location requires ubiquitous real time access to company systems together with effective collaborative technology.
Allan Jackson, European Telecoms Manager at Heinz, explains: “Our people are expected to work at home or on the move as circumstances dictate. For example, participating in late evening conference calls with US colleagues. Providing robust facilities that enable them to work more flexibly is the best way to minimise travel and preserve a reasonable work life balance.”
Initially Heinz chose to internally manage its flexible working technology. This resulted in multiple contacts for different services, complex appointment scheduling, and the need to configure and despatch terminal equipment such as routers. Allan Jackson says: “Moves and changes, faults, and provisioning were all channelled through our team. Not only was this very resource hungry, but also it became the primary bottleneck in supporting these critical services.”
In 2009, following a competitive tender, Heinz appointed BT as its global service provider under a seven-year contract. Heinz also decided to take advantage of BT Flexible Working Services, including corporate-strength BT Managed Broadband Services. Offering more flexibility than a standard service, BT Managed Broadband Services gives employees customised, real time access to enterprise applications and information from outside the company’s premises. It also reduces the time and potential risk involved in delivering such access.
BT provided Heinz with a dedicated project management team to ensure that users experienced a smooth transition to the new platform. Now orders for telephone lines, broadband services, and routers are placed through a customer-branded BT Flexible Working Services helpdesk. This enables quick and easy authorisation processes via the Heinz IS team prior to service provision, while providing order statistics and an audit trail. BT takes full responsibility for service delivery, including sourcing and pre-configuring the terminal equipment. Ongoing BT Managed Broadband Services support is provided through an end user help desk offering a single point of contact.
The initial BT Flexible Working Services deployment focused on people within the Heinz IS department, where more than 150 users were home-enabled using BT Managed Broadband Services. This number is set to increase rapidly as other departments, both within the UK and beyond, commit to the flexible working ethos.
The BT managed service has substantially reduced the burden on the Heinz IS team and BT has helped Heinz deal with cultural barriers too.
“Initially some managers were reluctant to authorise flexible working requests because of productivity fears,” reports Allan Jackson. “However, with BT guidance we were soon able to overcome common flexible working misconceptions.”
First among these was that managers felt if they couldn’t see members of their team, they couldn’t be sure they were actually working. Allan continues: “Management mindsets are now oriented towards measuring against output and objectives, rather than the enforcement of rigid attendance patterns.”
Although still in its relative infancy the success of flexible working is already evident on a number of fronts. There has been a 30 per cent reduction in office space needed by the IS team. Employees appreciate the added flexibility, with many reporting a positive effect on their work life balance. Others have noted reduced travel and ineffective time, leading to higher productivity as well as lower carbon emissions.
A service management package provides Heinz with relationship management, consolidated billing, quality of service reporting, and an escalation process to accelerate issue resolution. The commercial terms are attractive too, with no minimum period for individual connections. Meanwhile rapid provision lead times enable Heinz to quickly establish new connections or cancel unwanted services – ideal in supporting fixed duration projects or the use of short-term contractors.
At present the highest demand for flexible working is coming from UK-based Heinz employees but this, predicts Allan Jackson, is set to change: “The flexibility and work life balance benefits are clear to see,” he concludes. “Based on the success of the project here in the UK we can begin to address the needs of our people anywhere in the wider region.”
- BT Flexible Working Services
- BT Managed Broadband Services