The Boy Who Transformed Gamesa
In Monterrey, Mexico, a cookie isn’t just a snack or a treat; for many families, and especially for kids, it is an important element of good daily nutrition. That’s how a young Mexican boy named Juanito came to be the boss of Gamesa-Quaker, Mexico’s leading biscuit maker. Juanito was sitting at the side of the road eating a cookie when Gamesa-Quaker´s chief executive, worried about his company’s stagnant performance, saw in the child the rallying point around which to harness the power of process. Gamesa-Quaker had too many bosses. Now there would be just one: Juanito, who represented all of Gamesa-Quaker´s consumers.
is a division of PepsiCo, and Mexico's largest manufacturer of cookies.
Focusing on getting better quality products to Juanito faster and cheaper drove the company to ask Hammer and Company to assist in creating an end-to-end process organization, flexible yet robust, that took the company’s growth rate to three times the industry average and doubled profits, all the while dramatically improving the quality of the product delivered to Juanito and Gamesa-Quaker´s millions of other consumers.
Gamesa-Quaker’s employees benefited, too. Rather than teaching employees a specific skill, the company focused its training on overall personal development, empowering employees to take on more and varied responsibilities. To communicate the message of change and to help the entire organization understand the power of process, Gamesa-Quaker’s CEO held town hall meetings, distributed newsletters, created a website, and produced videos to ensure that every one of its 12,000 employees knew what was happening. But at the center of these efforts was always Juanito--the one and only true boss of Gamesa-Quaker--the most important element of the company’s entire value chain.
As processes became an integral part of the company, a new culture emerged that reflected the core value of sustained growth through empowered employees, working in an environment of shared responsibility and trust. In this new, shared culture, there are fewer supervisors everyday. Instead, Gamesa-Quaker operates with self-directed teams.
The ratio of front-line workers to indirect personnel has gone from 12:1 to 55:1, even as volume increased 50 percent, labor costs fell 12 percent, and yields improved by 15 percent. And though all this, the quality of the product delivered to Juanito got better and better!
As these improvements took hold, once-disenchanted employees voted to move to an entirely variable pay structure. The result: increased productivity accompanied by a 160 percent increase in employee pay and increasing overall employee satisfaction. Gamesa-Quaker employees didn’t simply accept the changes, they embraced them! Gamesa-Quaker was recognized as one of Mexico’s Great Places to Work (Great Place to Work Institute México).
In January 2009, Ms. Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO, awarded Gamesa-Quaker the Performance with Purpose: Business of the Year Award as the outstanding business within all of PepsiCo worldwide. Today, other businesses throughout PepsiCo are looking to adopt the Gamesa-Quaker expertise and to replicate its stunning results in other geographies. And through it all, Juanito – now a young adult—remains a very satisfied consumer!