We’ve all experienced the expansion and contraction of businesses. Maybe you’ve even laughed when you saw a memo saying that HR was being decentralized…again. That’s a big change for sure, but what if the change is even bigger? Major change requires buy-in from leadership and a serious study of what it means to the organization at all levels.
One of our clients, Food Lifeline of Seattle, Washington, began an enormous shift over the past few years that required raising capital, acquiring debt for the first time, and taking their collaboration with other social service agencies to a whole new level.
Foundational Change Shakes Things Up
Food Lifeline is a community food bank that provides 90,000 meals to Washington state residents each day. They, along with 200 other community food banks across the U.S. are part of the Feeding America network where the mission of feeding the hungry has been replaced with the goal of ending hunger in America. The shift isn’t merely a matter of semantics, but instead it is a fundamental shift in their outlook and operations.
Food Lifeline’s previous efforts to feed the hungry people in their community and the surrounding area was focused on day-to-day operations. They worked diligently to collect donated food and food that would have gone to waste to get it out to local food pantries and community centers where it was distributed immediately.
Looking at the Bigger Picture
If your entire product line were to be changed tomorrow, you would go through every process your company does, every asset you own or lease, and every metric you evaluate just to start to get your head around things. And that’s all before looking at the future directive. Food Lifeline and the other members of Feeding America are doing a complete overhaul of their operational programs and gearing up for an intensive strike against hunger.
When you begin with a daily focus on getting food in and out, keeping your head down and plowing forward is the name of the game. If you expect to stop hunger, your head better be held high to guide your team and your company toward being in it for the long haul.
New Vision Brings New Challenges
Now expecting to double their daily processing capacity over the next few years, Food Lifeline, its Board of Directors, and management team, have shifted their thinking from the near-term logistic and volunteer management concerns to performing multi-year strategic planning.
Fortunately, Food Lifeline was up for the challenge and they’ve done marvelously in securing land and building new facilities to support their growth initiative. Really honing in and looking at how the addition or loss of grants with various program lengths, the timing of adding staff, and planning for equipment and facility maintenance required that they shift to a multi-year budgeting process.
Ready Yourself for the Future
It’s great to learn from the experience of others so we’ve written a Food Lifeline case study that provides additional insight into how they’ve been handling their enormous strategic shift. While your business may be entirely different, the essentials of financial management apply to any situation and their use of what-if scenario planning might trigger some thoughts that apply to your own work.
One more item I’d like to mention is that September is Hunger Action Month. It’s particularly timely this year with so many people being impacted by our record-setting hurricane season. If you’ve got the time or ability to assist Food Lifeline and other food banks in keeping their shelves stocked, I know they’d appreciate it.
Businesses of every description rely on the Budget Maestro™ family of software solutions by Centage Corporation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.