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1. What was happening to the packaging industry at the time of the case?

How will these


changes impact Sonocos strategy?
Packaging Industry:
By the late 1990s, Globalization presented new competitive challenges and growth
opportunities.
Manufacturing firms were moving from United States to countries like India and
China, where labour was cheap, and many US firms were investing heavily overseas.
Domestic consumer markets were becoming increasingly segmented as products were
tailored to the preferences of distinct consumer groups, especially in food and
beverage industry.
In retail, packaging was widely viewed as more influential than advertising in wooing
and retaining consumers.
Consolidation was the order of the day and manufacturing firms were always on the
lookout for companies that offered them a combination of services, rather than relying
on multiple packaging suppliers One Stop Shop Concept.
Impact on Sonocos strategy:
In response to changing trends in Packaging Industry,
Sonocos strategy was becoming more attentive to the solution oriented needs of the
end consumer (understand B2C along with B2B).
Sonoco began pursuing a more coordinated marketing approach whereby a single
point of contact within the company would coordinate all the business needs of large
customers like Procter & Gamble and Nestle.
2. What are Sonocos current strengths in terms of its culture and people? What are the
companys major weaknesses?
Strengths:
Culture was family friendly, paternalistic, ethical, and collaborative and team oriented
Employee attrition rate was low overall 60% of the executive committee had been
with the company for more than 20 years i.e. Sonoco had a loyal workforce
McGregor Theory Y was implemented successfully through the organization
Weakness:

Highly decentralized and siloed HR function


Ineffective collaboration amongst larger departments
Complex staff structure
HR role was more tactical than strategic
No linkage between business goals and employee objectives
Inaccurate and biased Performance rating system
Tight-knit culture generated reluctance to hold underperformers accountable
Communication on overall direction was scant
Succession planning was pro forma
What were Cindy Hartleys objectives for changes at Sonoco?

Cindy Hartley aspired to propose two alternative organizational structures for HR that would
reduce the functions cost by 20% or $2.8m with the following three objectives:
To increase GMs accountability for talent management
To distribute HR talent and support more evenly across the companys divisions and
make HR systems and processes consistent
To optimize HRs ability to provide customized, strategic support to the GMs
businesses.