Get Your Product Stewardship the Right Resources After Divestment

Over time, it’s possible for companies to lose track of their real risks and needs when it comes to product stewardship. Sometimes this results in a program that’s improperly resourced. This is never more obvious than when there’s a major organizational change, particularly a divestment. “Divestments present companies with an opportunity to not just reshuffle responsibilities but to right-size themselves based on their new risks from a business standpoint,” says Sarah Medearis, partner at ERM.

To make the most of divestment, Medearis recommends a formal program review. One benefit of a program review is to illuminates where gaps exist. “You were part of the bigger organization and now you're part of a smaller organization. What did you depend on from the bigger organization that now you don't have access to as a separate entity,” says Medearis.

At Stewardship 2016, Medearis will talk about the finer points of a program review during the session Product Stewardship Program Management Post-Divestment. She’ll use a case study to illustrate the process and benefits of realigning product stewardship programs. “When you spun out, you might have taken on a much more burdensome product stewardship program and tools that were really part of the bigger entity,” she says. “Now you have to pare it down to a finite number of products in your business and a different product risk scenario.”

One example of how program review can help involves right-sizing IT resources. In her case study, Medearis will talk about a company that was divested and inherited a complex, proprietary IT system that took significant resources to manage. “So they looked to downsize the number of staff devoted to this homegrown system and find other systems off-the-shelf that could handle their product compliance more efficiently,” says Medearis.

One objective of the presentation is to help attendees benchmark whether they’re resources are allocated efficiently. To aid them, Medearis will share her formula for staffing different functions. “That'll be an interesting discussion. Few people think of staffing as just a basic formula,” she says. “It's usually something that sparks discussion.”


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