CASE STUDY

THE BAYER STRATEGIC MEETINGS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME (SMMP)
Case Study

READ HOW BAYER CONDUCTED A STUDY ON THE OPTIMAL MEETINGS MANAGEMENT OPERATING MODEL AND UNDERWENT A COMPREHENSIVE GLOBAL REVIEW OF THEIR PROGRAMME TO DETERMINE THE STRATEGIC PRIORITIES FOR THEIR BUSINESS.

The mission

Founded in 1863, Bayer is one of the world’s largest multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences companies. Areas of business include pharmaceuticals, consumer healthcare products, agricultural chemicals, seeds and biotechnology products.

The Bayer meetings and event management team consists of 180 FTEs globally. In 2019, total reported meeting spend was €460M+ across 70+ countries.

With the impact of COVID-19 having a dramatic effect on the demand and delivery of meetings and events, Bayer chose to examine whether their operational model was set up for success. At the same time, they wanted to scrutinise every aspect of their programme at a local, regional, and global level to establish a clear list of priorities and set the strategic direction for the immediate future.

"We were dealing with a highly sensitive project under demanding timescales. The evaluation of the volume of information and data, balanced with sector context was, without doubt, one of the most significant contributions that the FESTIVE ROAD team brought to this project. The combination of true consulting rigour, coupled with industry expertise is a fine art!"

Christof Slonina
Global Category Lead, Congress and Events

STRUCTURING FOR SUCCESS AND SETTING THE STRATEGIC DIRECTION FOR THE GLOBAL MEETINGS AND EVENTS PROGRAMME

INDEPENDENT, OBJECTIVE, WITH AN EXPERT PERSPECTIVE

The Issue: Bayer identified a high-profile company opportunity to holistically review their meetings & events programme core operating model to determine what activities and to what degree should be managed in house or delegated to their suppliers in a volatile environment – a balance was needed that fits to Bayer’s needs regarding capabilities, flexibility and cost. The team recognised that they’d benefit from market sector experts who were profoundly knowledgeable and connected to support them through the assessment, to guide them to the right outcome.

The Solution: FESTIVE ROAD responded to a call for support by the Bayer team highlighting our ability to provide a neutral and informed position, deep sector knowledge, highly networked individuals and a truly flexible and accommodating approach that would allow Bayer to flex their requirements as the project developed.

The Result: FESTIVE ROAD’s independence, industry expertise and proven consulting skills meant that we were able to efficiently facilitate the objectives of the project whilst maintaining a neutral position. We provided the perfect balance of support and guidance to allow Bayer to initiate their operational review, knowing that they were receiving ‘state of the art’ input and would be able to operate in a comfortable ‘challenger’ environment. The Bayer project team operate to the highest professional standards and being confident that they had someone to validate the contribution from all parties was important to them.

TAKING A SOLUTIONS LED APPROACH

The Issue: The overall project kicked off in November 2020. Needless to say, the world was in the midst of the COVID pandemic and the demand and format for meetings and events had been entirely transformed. As an exceptionally high performing team, Bayer were questioning whether their operational model was set up for future success. They were aware that they had several challenges and pain points to address, whilst also determined not to focus on pre-conceived ideas about what the outcome might be. It was imperative that the exercise was completed with an open mindset to allow Bayer to achieve the best possible results for their business.

The Solution: Enter the Request for Solution (RFS)! An RFS was created by FESTIVE ROAD and issued to the Bayer suppliers. Rather than a plethora of questions traditionally associated with an RFP, the RFS asks open questions of suppliers to propose and discuss what recommendations they’d make and how they’d solve for and resource the meetings and event management requirements of Bayer, and the potential change impact. It was an invitation to be innovative and present ideas to co-create a better meetings management programme.

The Result: A huge quantity of open information was received and processed! FESTIVE ROAD’s skill was to evaluate the responses, decipher the sales vs. reality of the content, and really focus on the fact based, value adding, relevant, innovative, and contextual data. An iterative process resulted in the presentation of a simplified, digestible format of options that the Bayer team were able to share with their management board to seek approval for an agreed operating model. The result was a true collaboration of ideas to create a better outcome for all partners.

“Having an independent yet challenging perspective on this project was paramount for us. The speed and structure of the support was exceptional; results driven and delivered on time. The change management impacts were rigorous and carried consideration for potential personal consequence too, and that human touch was special. ‘I will be your critical friend’ was a term that was shared by the FESTIVE ROAD team from the outset. They were just that!”

Henning Heckmann
Head of Event & Disclosure Management

ASSESSING THE MATURITY AND STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES OF THE MEETINGS AND EVENTS PROGRAMME

The Issue: Once the future operating model process was completed, the focus turned to every region across the globe to assess the maturity of their strategic meetings management programme. The objective was to develop a clear understanding of the state of their programmes today and identify priorities and opportunities to standardise policy and processes to drive strategic transformation. The Bayer team strive for outstanding results in every aspect of their business and this activity would allow them to focus on targeted action that will deliver transformation.

The Solution: Using the FESTIVE ROAD Managed Meetings Model (MMM), the team developed a strategic meetings model assessment that queried every industry aspect of a meetings programme. This was completed by local, regional, and global functions, which provided extraordinary insights from different perspectives. The same assessment was sent to suppliers to get their point of view, highlighting strengths and opportunities through multiple lenses and across multiple disciplines. Being able to compare regions and suppliers against the same criteria was insightful and set the scene for development.

The Result: Every aspect was scored and weighted. The analysis tool provided an immediate visualisation of Bayer’s performance against each element of the MMM as well as overlaying the supplier view and the global vs. local view. The tool highlighted any disconnect between respondents which in some cases was a simple fix and improvement, and in others a more fundamental issue to be addressed and resolved. Four major areas of focus were identified for the global meetings lead to prioritise, which will form the roadmap for the direction of the strategic meetings management programme for the next 3 – 5 years.

Christof’s
perspective...

“We don’t know what we don’t know! But it was immediately clear to me that the FESTIVE ROAD team were the oracles in this space. And they had established relationships with the key suppliers too. FESTIVE ROAD were a completely trusted resource who guided us through the process of reviewing our operational model and the maturity of our meetings and events programme. They reassuringly held our hands throughout the entire project.”

CREATING REGIONAL HARMONISATION AS A PROOF OF CONCEPT

The Issue: Each of the key global regions currently operate with varying appointed suppliers, coupled with differing market and business requirements and set-ups. However, some regions already have an element of commonality in their supplier base that provides an opportunity to ‘road-test’ a lead agency operating model to leverage the capabilities of suppliers spanning whole regions and to further advance strategic partnerships.

The Solution: LATAM and APAC were identified as ideal regions to start with and use the depth of data analysis that had been gathered as part of the MMM assessment process to quickly identify areas of disconnect to focus on. The availability of such data clarity has immediately highlighted very specific activities that can be addressed to create harmony and efficiency across the M&E programme.

The Result: Both regions are currently in the process of implementing positive change at local and regional level. Once implemented, these regions can act as proof of concept for wider adoption of the programme improvement to deliver a truly strategic meetings and management programme within Bayer.

Henning’s
perspective...

“This exceptional, collaborative piece of work has paved the way for Bayer to greatly advance our global strategic meetings management programme. We’re in possession of data at all levels and through multiples stakeholder lenses that means we are aware of our improvement needs and can set our strategic priorities for the next 3 – 5 years. The FESTIVE ROAD team did an extraordinary job keeping us all motivated and engaged throughout the process.”

Mission success

With an open mind, the guidance of industry expertise and an ambitious goal, Bayer achieved clarity on their operating model and received a comprehensive assessment across their business and their suppliers at local, regional, and global level which has provided a depth of insight that is unique in the industry.

Their management team is in possession of rich and robust data that will help Bayer develop their roadmap and deliverables for the coming years, pointing to some clear areas of improvement and development that will allow them to excel in their strategic meetings management programme.

To speak to Christof and Henning about their experience with FESTIVE ROAD and the support Bayer received to review their operating model and create a strategic meetings management programme, or to talk to one of the FESTIVE ROAD team, contact hello@festive-road.com or visit www.festive-road.com.