Simplot Australia:
Building trust in order to maximise change adoption of a new intelligent technology to support their overall purpose of “Contributing to feeding the world.”
The Opportunity

The introduction of a new intelligent Trade Promotions Planning system impacted every area of the business and required building trust and a significant shift in mindset and behaviours in key areas of the business.

Simplot Australia is part of the global Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) J.R.Simplot Company and as with all food manufacturers, it was under increasing pressures to reduce costs, increase revenue and productivity.

The introduction of a new Trade Promotions Planning System (TPP) utilising intelligent technologies was expected to extend the capabilities of the team by providing the ability to more quickly and easily build promotional programs and quickly model scenarios and optimise profitability for both Simplot and their customers.  

As part of our ecosystem we were working with ClearGoal (FMCG Specialist consultants for forecasting, retail strategy and technology implementation partner) and Bunch (Communication and Events Agency). Blueshift was the intelligent technology solution being introduced.

A change of this scale, complexity and duration required upfront deep analysis of the people impacts and careful strategic planning to ensure the right people were engaged at the right time with the right information.  People across the organisation needed to understand how to work with the intelligent technology and to feel supported to see the value of the technology to augment their work. Building trust early was instrumental to the overall success of the transformation required.


We were engaged to provide the analysis of the change complexity within the Simplot context and to build a strategic people change approach to ensure the technology was truly embedded into the future ways of working.  Whilst creating the people change strategy and roadmap, we wanted to ensure that there was confidence in Simplot SME group to lead their teams through the change for the duration of the project. We undertook the following steps;

  • Build trust early. A key pillar of the Change Strategy was to build trust early. Creating clarity and transparency of the how, what and when of data in TPP was a critical step in building trust. Data across the organistaion was held in separate systems, on spreadsheets by individuals. Some people in specific customer facing roles had the ability to make ‘adjustments’. We quickly determined that loss of autonomy and lack of trust in the new system were significant challenges to overcome. Through inclusive design principles and practices we focused on building trust in the TPP solution at every opportunity as well as specifically creating opportunities for control and autonomy by the users. Practical examples of how we built trust included;
  • Supported the SME’s change champions to be trusted sources of information and for them to build trust through their language and actions.
  • Empowered the SME’s to build their own decision making groups within their teams.
    Create shared language about the data (key terms and any changes to previous terms regarding data)
    Mapped the flow of data between previous systems (where data was captured and how is was used) and the new intelligent system. We could show that multiple systems would be aggregated and how the data would be used and represented in the new system
    Created interactive demonstrations for people to try for themselves
    Recommended a dedicated room for sharing information and acting as a central location for ‘Sandbox’ environment where people could experiment whenever they wanted.

By creating two way engagement channels we took a customer centred approach to listening and understanding the pain points of current ways of working as well as the hopes and concerns with any change to existing ways of working. We then created regular and consistent ways to share information transparently, engage deeply and help people see how they could be successful in the future state of using TPP in their day to day work. 


Discovery to create a people change strategy. Through the Discover stage, interviews with 40 key stakeholders were conducted. Along with materials review, these conversations highlighted opportunities, challenges and enablers for the effective implementation of TPP. The insights from these conversations contributed to the development of the strategy and the recommended approach.

  • Upskilling SME’s for change leadership. In parallel to the Discovery stage, we immediately commenced working with the SME cohort who each represented a department impacted by the implementation of the TPP. The role of the SME was to not only provide the technical expertise from their area, but to also be a champion of the change and support that change to be adopted within their department. Whilst not part of the original engagement we knew the SME’s needed to be set up for success in order to lead themselves and others through this significant change successfully. As well as interactive learning workshops covering the foundations of change (the science of change in our brains, the theory of change in organisations, how to identify resistance and support people to change their behaviours etc) we also provided practical tools and support for each SME.

They had 2x 60 day plans for leading themselves and leading others through the TPP change. One key early action for the SME’s. was to build their Data Literacy.

  • Tackled the key challenges thoughtfully. One of the key stakeholder groups impacted significantly by the introduction of the TPP was the sales team. Their way of working was very much based on relationships with typically long-standing customers. We therefore took a relational approach to engaging this team and supporting them specifically with materials and language to support them maintain their key relationships with customers. 

We worked hand in glove with Bunch for the beautifully designed materials for both the SME’s as well as internal communications across Simplot to ensure that TPP was something that people were curious about and understood more broadly. 

For both the people change engagement and communication approaches we connected each fortnight with the Organisational Change Lead of Simplot Global to ensure there was organisational alignment and support for the project after our engagement concluded.

Our involvement with the Simplot TPP project covered the first 5mths of the project with the project completed over a 14mth timeframe.

“Its been really well received and the engagement has grown immensely from Leisa’s work”  Abby, SME

The Impact

The People Change Strategy was endorsed by both the sponsors (Brett Armstrong, Head of Customer Experience and Melinda Wienand, Head of Revenue Management) and adopted in it’s entirety. The sponsors also had a clear roadmap for their role in leading others through the change as well as for change governance.

The SME’s built their confidence to lead themselves and their teams through the change knowing that building trust and creating transparency about the data. The SME’s also each embarked on building their data literacy in order to be able to speak with authority when it came to the data used in TPP.   

As an added bonus, via the work completed we completed for this project, the Organisational Change Team in Simplot’s global head Office acquired an gold standard Enterprise Change Playbook with tools and templates.   

What they said about working with us

“I just wanted to say thanks again for all your help! The TPP team has continued to use your guidance and templates and my own team has as well! Cheers!”

Michelle, Organizational Change Management Lead

(Simplot Global) at J.R. Simplot



“The SME’s now have a playbook. What Leisa has handed over is a playbook which means we have a really nice way for the SME’s to engage in the business.

Leis has don’t this fantastic work-this. Is how we get to do the roll out now that the SME’s have been educated on change. All this work will continue to pass off for us as we go through the change. We have a more empowered team, we have a nice guidebook about how we get to the end and the SME’s are all empowered and aligned.” Alasdair ClearGoal, TPP Implementation Partner.

Shopping Basket