In 1995, Kraft was created through the reorganization and merger of J. L. Kraft, Oscar
Meyer, and C. W. Post into one operating company. For the reorganization the Operations
Division chose to use the High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) change management tool
because they believed it was the best way to include all of the necessary elements that would
contribute to the vision of undisputed leadership. They also liked the HPWS tool because of
its strict structure and because it was a good platform to create and communicate a consistent
management philosophy. HPWS allowed them to monitor all of their plants, new and old, for
efficiency and effectiveness of the reorganization.
Strengths of the Change Intervention
Kraft Foods, Inc. approached their change initiative by researching and testing before
implementing. The High Performance Work Systems (HPWS) was first implemented into three
start-up plants. The HPWS method was successful and adopted by the new plants. HPWS helps
determine factors such as total inventory, cost of production, and measurement of productivity.
Once the HPWS method proved to be successful it was then implemented into the
existing plants to help gain control of costs, waste, and productivity. Kraft was able to provide
quality examples to the existing plants of how this method improved productivity and profits.
Employees were able to embrace the change plan easier when they could actually see the
possible improvements. Kraft had a bonus because the employees were able to see the method
working in similar situations, which helped build trust and acceptance in the change plan.
This method also empowered the employees giving them an opportunity to increase their
skill levels and an opportunity to respond to change. Employees were given chances to create
extraordinary value by responding to changing business needs. Motivated employees took
advantage of these changes to leap coworkers who may have had seniority. The expectations and
outcomes of the HPWS process were clearly defined. Divisions knew the expectations and the
potential financial savings for Kraft.
An employee who understands the business, can lead groups, and facilitate meetings was
chosen as the champion to help implement the HPWS method in each plant. By selecting a
current employee Kraft was able to create instant credibility among employees and save crucial
time it would have taken a new hire to gain trust and respect. The HPWS Manager and Area
Organization Performance Managers (OPM) collaborated on a tool kit for the champions. The
tool kit was designed from the experiences the OPMs had over the previous 10-15 years. The
information was synthesized and made available over the company intranet for the champions to
use in each phase of the HPWS process. The champions were required to complete a certification
process that assured they understood the tools and that the tools would be...