At Broad College of Business Rebecca Smith (MBA ’04), VP of Global Procurement at Amway, was the most recent and final speaker of the year for the Pung Executive Speaker Series. During her time with Amway, Smith caught on quickly to the speed of change that occurs in business. “All of you are going to be a part of change initiatives, you have been in your past jobs and you will continue to be in the future,” said Smith.
Amway, a company that employs over 16,000 people, does business in over 100 countries and produces over 450 unique products. It continues to make daily strides in order to keep up with the speed of change in today’s world of business.
In her position, Smith has contributed to paving this path towards change, including their newly implemented workshops, risk-burndown chart and ITM Next framework. Smith explained the ITM Next concept and broke down all of its different components. She mentioned its 20 product and profile workshops, seven project champions, over 300 visual management huddles, four co-location workspaces and its two super teams.
“These are really speed generating techniques that teams can apply on demand, but we started to experiment with these on certain teams. With these we’ve had a pretty significant amount of success in terms of speed improvement on our projects,” said Smith.
Smith also touched on the importance of prioritization and queuing in business. Amway’s current state of active projects is around 130. In order to queue and prioritize projects, Amway’s future active project load will be split into chunks of 50.
By changing to this new way of working, Smith said that Amway has, “seen a dramatic speed increase, created shared focus and alleviated resource constraints.”
In summarizing her ideas to keep up with the speed of change in business today, Smith left the Broad College MBA students with five insights that she has learned over the years;
- relationships matter,
- emotional intelligence – the currency of business and leadership,
- be present,
- get comfortable and
- align values.