When Mars made a major acquisition of a global confectionery company, the early supporters of ERM at Mars played a key role in the adoption of ERM at the acquired company. Jim, one of our original facilitators, took on a high-level role within the acquired business' U.S. operations. At his urging, the U.S. GM agreed to have an ERM workshop for the 2009 Operating Plan in early 2009. This workshop was well received within the acquired business.
The GM of European Sugar, during our current state assessment workshop in 2003, had been a key supporter of ERM in various senior roles within Mars. When he became a senior manager within the acquired company's European operations, he introduced ERM in this region. Here again the process was well received.
Lee, the S&F Staff Officer for Mars in Asia, who had observed the first workshop in China and overseen the process in the region thereafter, discussed ERM with Michael, the acquired company's CFO of Asia. Michael was so intrigued by the process that he had us conduct a 2010 Operating Plan workshop for his largest unit in the region. Following our first workshop, Michael advised us that he had found the process robust, and complementary to their other activities. As such he asked us to conduct additional workshops for the other major markets in his region.
Within two years, we were conducting annual operating plan workshops at business units representing the same high percentage of the acquired company's global sales that we achieved at Mars.
In 2010, Mars received the Corporate Executive Board's "Force of Ideas Award" for ERM. It was the first recipient in this category. The award was based on the view that Mars had successfully embedded ERM into its business model and that other companies had adopted its process.
The key factors in the success of ERM at Mars include:
• We ensured we aligned the program with the approved principles.
• We focused on achieving our operational and strategic objectives. We did not address compliance. We left that to the associates responsible for compliance, and assisted them in using our tools as appropriate.
• We focused on evolution and not revolution. As a result, the program had a continuous improvement process.
• Flexibility and not rigidity contributed to the program's results. By assisting units in developing the workshops and updating processes that best met their needs, the program had a demand for services as opposed to a push. Furthermore, many of the evolutions of the program directly resulted from unit requests.
• The process proved to be a good identifier of talent and an opportunity for associate development for the business.
• The ERM team never overpromised what it could deliver. Instead, we set realistic objectives on our rollout and obtained senior management support throughout.
• The ERM team engaged and conducted periodic surveys of the business units, the Mars management team, and the Mars board's advisers.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Larry Warner is President of Warner Risk Group, which provides ERM and risk management consulting services. He has almost 30 years of experience in designing and building risk management programs in asset conservation, safety, insurance, and enterprise risk.
Prior to establishing Warner Risk Group in 2012, Larry served as Staff Officer of Risk Management for Mars, Incorporated (including Wrigley), based in McLean, Virginia. At Mars, Larry had global responsibility for developing and coordinating Mars' enterprise risk management activities, directing Mars' global asset conservation program, managing Mars' global property and casualty insurance programs and claims, coordinating the auditing of Mars' safety programs, and overseeing the placement of its global benefit insurance programs. The Corporate Executive Board awarded Mars its 2010 Force of Ideas Award for Risk Management for its embedding ERM into performance management.
Before joining Mars in 1989, Larry was Assistant Risk Manager at Texas Instruments. He has a BS in geography and an MBA in risk management and corporate finance, both from the University of Georgia. He is a frequent speaker at national risk conferences and contributor for such organizations as the American Strategic Management Institute, the Conference Board, the Corporate Executive Board, and the Risk and Insurance Management Society.