Even P&G faces unexpected risks

When working on a project to launch a new product a risk plan is put together as we’ve discussed. It’s known that Mother Nature, the economy and government regulations could be hard to forecast and thus could change your plans dramatically.

You do your best to put appropriate plans together to plan for these scenarios, but what do you do when the unthought of happens?

In April of 2011, P&G announced it was going to introduce an entirely new way to wash clothing — Tide Pods. A concentrated individually packaged detergent which removes stains and cleans better than traditional detergents according to their testing. They were planning to spend $150 million on marketing and launch in September of last year, hoping for first mover advantage. Then they announced a six month delay to launch the product earlier this year. Meanwhile Purex, All and Arm & Hammer have had time to perfect their products and launch at the same time. When P&G finally released the product to retailers, they faced supply issues and could only supply enough products for shelf displays, and not off shelf promotional spaces which increase awareness for new products.

Retailers are upset, and P&G is blaming the complicated new production process. Investors are already frustrated believing that P&G is lacking the innovation they once had (they’re moving their personal care HQ from Cincinnati to Singapore in an attempt to jump start that business).

Then once the product finally hit the shelves, parents are finding their children eating the product thinking it’s candy, causing severe side effects and sending children to the ER. P&G has said they’re now going to put a better locking mechanism on the fishbowl container which houses the bright colored pods.

Chicago was a key market for the launch of these products so you may have seen the advertising including CTA station dominations as shown below.

Have you tried the product? Does it live up to P&G’s hype? What could they have done differently to try to alleviate some of these issues (or foreseen them)? And if this can happen to a CPG leader like P&G, is there hope for the rest of us?





“I moved a hospital today…”

“I moved a hospital today… What did you do?”

Maureen Mahoney, the hospital’s chief of transition planning, said the staff’s extensive preparation for the move has paid off.

“We’ve been planning for this for four years, and we have not had really any surprises today,” she said.


On the first day of our class, a remarkable project was going on. Moving 126 patients from the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park to their new facility in Streeterville.

Roads were closed. More than 24 ambulances were involved. 14 hours worth of work. And no real surprises.

Maureen Mahoney was tasked with leading the project. The project has been 6 years in the making. Mahoney visited 13 other hospitals that went through moves and learned that comprehensive planning with plenty of time was crucial for their success. She started with the hospital in 1984 as a staff nurse and kept a notepad by her bed at night to write down spontaneous thoughts about the move.

Unexpected things did come up, but Mahoney adjusted. For example the NATO conference forced the team to delay some moves and training. And a company was put on call in case the hospital needed to be boarded up if protests made their way north.

For such a high profile project, it appears the move went very smoothly for employees and patients alike. In fact, many parents were looking forward to the move since their children hadn’t been outside in some time and were used to being “poked and prodded.”

Mahoney’s team was assisted by Balfour Resource Group which has expertise in the movement of medical facility moves.

The planning to pull this off obviously had to be incredible – having ER’s open at both locations should a child’s condition worsen, and then attempting to plan for weather or political events which could disrupt the move.

The team celebrated their success by wearing purple t-shirts which read “I moved a hospital today… What did you do?”

The skills which everyone has written about were clearly evident in the leaders of this project.

What element of the move impresses you the most? I was working in the area the day before the move and spoke to several of the staff who were packing their final boxes. They seemed excited and none seemed overly stressed about the move which is a testament to the pre-planning and work of Mahoney and her team.