The talks to Tom Akright, Director of Performance Excellence – Nestle Purina Petcare Company (NPPC) Blue Print Deployment, Customer Profitability, Balance Scorecards and Continuous Improvement. Akright discusses how NPPC stresses business values company-wide, recognizing that business performance is tied to employee actions. Customer satisfaction, feedback,  — and complaints — all play a critical role in better planning for a corporation’s future and profitability, says Akrigh

Can you share an example of how BPM has significantly changed your (organization or client)?

The key for our company has been creating the business culture of United, Aligned and focused. All 7,000 employees know how they deliver and contribute to the overall company results and how each of their respective actions connects to the company measurements. This includes operations to support overhead groups.

What is your assessment of the role and impact of corporate Governance Standards like Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, in driving business performance management?

The intent is to police companies, which do not have in place the audit practices and infrastructure to maintain financial integrity. It has little impact on our company because these practices are embedded in the way we conduct business. I can imagine it having significant impact on smaller companies who do not have the resources to support the compliance practices or are engaged in false business practices. Obtaining personal objective alignment to the company plan helps bring visibility to individual actions. In our organization we share across the broader work force the company plan. In fact we post it to the intra-net web site. Companies that feel compelled to not create a plan in anticipation of giving away confidential information may be setting themselves up for false measurement systems and rewards that are self-serving.    

What specific issues does your vertical market face in business performance management initiatives?

We conduct business in a mature market with strong competitors. Staying on top of the consumers changing needs and perceptions of the company remain our continuing challenge. We pride ourselves on assessment of our customers and then delivering execution. If companies DO NOT start with their consumers and customers desires in driving performance, they will not see the market share loss about to happen. It will be too late. We have in place the practice of formal assessment first and aligned execution toward that assessment. Customer and consumer satisfaction are our passion that drives our future. We have scored a collective number 1 position verses our competitors with our customers the last 3 years and continues to help us maintain the number 1 market share position. This is cascaded throughout our total company including support groups.

What specific issues does your vertical market face in business performance management initiatives?

I think the most compelling change will be the way companies approach the whole planning process. The BPM will move toward a process that utilizes a continuous future review. Most business planning practices tend to be historical and trending. The real value lies in the discussions concerning the future making greater use of leading indicators of success like customer satisfaction indexes and consumer complaintsinsights. We have proven that being number on the satisfaction index translates to sales growth and profit. Developing planning capabilities to deliver the customer/consumer desires will be critical in delivering coordinated/aligned and focused individual objects/actions.

What would you like to learn from an organization such as the BPM Forum?

How do other companies tie into rewards and compensation related to delivering annual plan performance? How much time and resources do other companies commit to BPM and what type of leadership/organization structure they have in place to achieve ownership and accountability on plan execution.

Tom Akright has been with NPPC for 14 Years in various corporate roles and most recently as the Director of Performance Excellence, NPPC Blue Print Deployment, Customer Profitability, Balance Scorecards and Continuous Improvement. He graduated with bachelors of science in both Business Administration and Ocean Engineering. Tom lives in St. Louis, Missouri with his wife Megan, and three children, Joshua 23, Lauren 5 , Trevor 2.