“This allowed us to take targeted action, albeit late in the day, to prevent a disaster due to the lack of business commitment at all levels.” - Mal Barnes, Komatsu



The Client's Challenge

Komatsu was undertaking a major organizational transformation. Key functions were being centralized, new processes and controls were being introduced and new pricing structures were being implemented. Nearly every role in the organization was being impacted.

However, the project was being led and driven by the CIO in conjunction with an IT systems implementer. The latter was particularly concerned about the organization’s capability to undertake and absorb the level of change envisaged.

TOP was used to assess the organization’s change readiness and capability to absorb the planned level of change


All areas of Komatsu (except Maintenance areas) including

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Finance
  • Purchasing.

Each area was assessed individually to identify any differences between the different sections.


A web-based multi-choice questionnaire was designed to ascertain

  • the level of understanding of the project, its objectives and the proposed level of change

  • the perceived impacts of the changes on the business as a whole and them as individuals

  • the level of keyboard and other key skills existing or missing ‘in the field’

  • the types of training delivery and support approaches preferred.

The Results

  • The project team itself had differing views as to the intended/likely impact of the project on the business — indicating a lack of understanding of the business aspects of the project

  • Several key managers were found to not have a good understanding of the project and its objectives and did not, therefore, appreciate the level of change involved

  • The senior management team was found to be ‘sitting on the fence’ rather than supporting the project, diminishing the staff’s commitment to the project ‘s success

  • The project, as a whole, was seen to be disempowering with consequential concerns about its impact on each person’s future role

  • Overall, the business was taking a ‘wait and see’ approach, not sure if the project would succeed and be beneficial

  • However, concerns over lack of keyboard skills to handle the new computer-based processes were found to be groundless.

The Payoff

The focus of the project shifted from being an “IT/Systems” project to being a “Business Change” project.

Focus on the change management aspects of the project was dramatically increased to get the message out about what the project would really deliver and the level of support that was to be provided.

Senior and key managers were mentored so that they could get their staff ready for the proposed changes.

The training and support programs were improved and redesigned to fit the training preferences of the staff.

The changes/system were subsequently successfully introduced with minimal business disruption and resistance.


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Topics: Project Success, Change Management, Distribution, Komatsu