Kimberly-Clark’s Journey to GBS Excellence

June 1, 2021
Season 1, Episode 26

Penny Weller, The Hackett Group Senior Director, GBS Advisory, talks with Juan Gomes Hoyos, Senior Manager, GBS Global Operational Excellence Practices for Kimberly-Clark about Kimberly-Clark’s transformation journey in global business services. The company has created a culture of continuous improvement that enables its GBS operations to provide unique strategic value, drive cost savings, improve efficiency, and enable excellence in both traditional and non-traditional global business services areas.


Show Notes

The episode kicks off as Penny asks Juan about his lack of budget when entering his current role. Juan believes that scarcity is the mother of all sciences, and many times constraint can be a blessing. Upon his arrival, he was asked to build a new training program without a budget, forcing him to work deliberately. During that year, he recalls learning from the best, identifying those gold standards, piloting a yellow belt program, and applying his lessons learned towards the future. Without the initial constraint of a budget, he doesn’t think the same results would have been achieved.

Then, they discuss the use of continuous improvement (CI) in other non-traditional processes. Juan says Kimberly-Clark’s talented Global Operational Excellence Team has developed a strong reputation for results and are often called to support many company initiatives. He has found that the more they help these companies, the more they realize the potential of embracing the CI operations. Penny articulates the benefits of having leadership roles in continuous improvement, including elevating stakeholders to higher positions.

In Kimberly-Clark’s case, regional delivery center leaders are essential stakeholders who need to be convinced that building a culture of CI pays dividends when supported from the top. In order for this to happen, close, solid relationships need to be developed with them early on. Juan admits to his mistake of focusing too much on the building process rather than the communications, which is crucial to sustaining momentum.

The conversation then shifts to discussing one of the most important factors in GBS: measurement. Given the recent shifts of face to face vs. virtual environments, Penny asks where Juan has noticed the biggest changes. Projects had an abysmal completion rate and with that knowledge, focus shifted from training completion to obtaining tangible improvements. Currently, they aren’t measuring percent of efficiency or improvement from the impact of operational excellence. They choose to measure tangible dollar value in time savings and value creation instead.

Juan offers his top skills recommended for continuous improvement professionals. First, he mentions understanding process mining and process discovery tools. Next, data science and analytics. Finally, learn the tools that will enable you to conduct CI events and training virtually in an engaging way. Not every organization is at the same level of culture and maturity, therefore not every methodology will suit everyone. It’s important to identify maturity level and the gaps you want to address before moving forward in designing a training program. Juan articulates the purpose of training, which is to ultimately fulfill a business need.

Finally, Juan offers his advice and experience for socializing at Kimberly-Clark for peak awareness. First, you must be intentional in communicating every success story your team is part of. The company also offers monthly competitions among CI advocate networks, highlighting improvement capacity creation. Lastly, they make participation in CI initiatives a performance objective in employee reviews.