14 september 2017
Breaking down organizational barriers and going for double-digit growth
Last Tuesday FINANCEbuilders and HRbuilders joined forces and hosted a breakfast session about the Growth Story of ALPRO. Paul Denayer, VP & CFO, and Marc De Boom, VP HR, demonstrated how HR and Finance go hand in hand when going for double-digit growth, proving that a company can be both people driven and performance driven.
Any business' goal is to grow and expand their services, to become better at what they do or to conquer new markets. Growth means change, which is often met with resistance from employees. What if there was a way to bring together everyone's interests? Alpro seems to have found the sweetspot: their employees grew together with the company, combined with multiple process improvements in Finance.
Happy to share our insights and key take-aways:
Alpro is the European pioneer and market leader in plant-based drinks and food products (margarines, desserts, plant-based alternatives on yoghurt and cream) based on soya, and other ingredients including almonds, hazelnuts, rice, oats and coconut. Alpro products are known under the brands Alpro® and Provamel®. With head office in Ghent, Belgium, Alpro currently has more than 1200 employees in Europe and has three production facilities in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Alpro markets its products in the whole of Europe, realised a turnover of 555 million EUR (IFRS) in 2016 and continues its strong growth.
Alpro’s ambition is to mainstream plant-based eating and create shared value by changing the way the world eats for the better and focusing on fundamental trends. They are present in 50+ countries and have 7 locations in Europe.
Strong financial performance…
With a 16% CAGR since 2012 their people driven and performance oriented strategy clearly pays off. ALPRO is driving the plant-based segment and has become market leader in Europe with a market share well above 60% in some countries.
For non-financials: CAGR = Compound Annual Growth Rate, measures the average growth rate over a variable period of time.
...goes hand in hand with strong investment in people and capacity…
Alpro created 480 new jobs over the last 4 years, invested more than 250M€ in Operations and wants to continue to grow going for double-digit growth using these 5 building blocks:
- Clear vision and excellence in execution
- Strong organization, frameworks and processes supported by technology
- Strong leadership
- Strong values
- Strong collaboration between departments
How does HR contribute to growth?
- central-local organization model that is locally scalable and change-friendly
- with leadership as key lever
- with innovation and customer as dual engines of growth
- with an engaged workforce prepared to go the extra mile
- and processes, which are also important but come last (structure follows strategy)
How does FINANCE contribute to growth?
Finance had to respond to 3 challenges:
- how to lead transition following acquisitions
- how to manage growth
- how to realize continuous improvement
Alpro evolved from a Belgian family business to a stock market listed company and had to keep attracting, training and retaining a talented team that remains resilient, coping with double-digit growth every year. They succeeded in growing by constantly increasing operational efficiency via continuous improvement, keeping in mind that every new stage requires a new leadership skills set and another kind of leader.
Alpro believes that leaders are made, not born.
It really is about the people: that’s why Alpro invests heavily in leadership programs, focusing on soft-skills. It was key to turbochange the finance team from number crunchers to valued business partners.
The future looks exciting
The only way to keep growing is by keeping focus and by constantly challenging the status quo. Companies can only thrive when working closely together and breaking down barriers, letting go of the silo mentality, because this type of mentality will only reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce morale, and will eventually contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.
About HRbuilders and FINANCEbuilders
FINANCEbuilders is a passionate, visionary Finance Interim Management company. They are committed to connecting great Finance people to the most challenging & fun assignments, whenever you need them!
HRbuilders – established in 2008 with HQ in Belgium – is active in HR Interim Management/ HR Consultancy assignments across Europe. Our niche as a matchmaker is 1. HR (only) 2. temporary assignments (only) and 3. freelancers (only). No headhunting, no other HR services, we focus on what we are great at! We offer our clients peace of mind where-ever they might need temporary HR support. On average our assignments are 1 year or longer.
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