Sara Lee and the Retrenchment

After the completion of the retrenchment period for Sara Lee, they turned the page and put all energy and attention into increasing the sales, market shares and profitability of its remaining business.  The two top goals that Sara Lee had set for the immediate time period after the retrenchment where increase top of the line sales by 2-4 percent annually in order to reach $14 billion by 2010.  The second objective was to achieve an operating profit margin of 12 percent by 2010. 

These objectives set forth by Sara Lee where to be accomplished by the implementation of three competitive capabilities in all of their remaining businesses.  With the use of competitive pricing, innovative new products and brand-building, the executive team felt these strategies would be essential in delivering the goal set forth. 

Some of the major operational changes that were put into place after the retrenchment included lean manufacturing, centralized purchasing in order to better achieve economies of scope, and the implementation of a common corporate-wide information systems platform.  This would allow Sara Lee to stay up-to-date on all data and critical information passed through the company.  Although progress was being made on the satisfying consumer needs front, little progress was being made on the operational side for Sara Lee.  In 2008 Project Accelerate was launched to help the company get to achieving is operating profit goal.  It would provide process outsourcing, operating segment restructuring and other operational changes.  By 2010 Project Accelerate had generated $180 million in revenue with the end goal of reaching $350 to $400 million by end of 2012.

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