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Merger and change management at Bunzl

Bunzl, an international outsourcing and distribution company, existing of approximately ten Dutch company brands needed our assistance in a merger and change management assignment.

Two of the Dutch brands within Bunzl, who are active in the safety industry & personal protective equipment, decided to set up a shared service center for both companies. This meant that the operation remained split, but the staff departments needed to be merged. Quintop was asked to mainly focus on the guidance of management in change approach and change management of this business transformation. Another important part was the merge of both Management Teams.

Problem statement

As the portfolio of this company had two brands in the same industry, they decided that business wise it was clever to merge the staff departments. However, they realised that merging different departments of two different companies in different regions of the Netherlands would not be an easy task. As they had no experience with merging and they want to make it a successful merge, they realised that they needed help.


Merging two departments or organisations, always brings many challenges. Besides deciding on the new design of the departments, the decision who can stay within the company and who needs to leave, and what the shared processes will be, both parties needed to develop a shared culture. The biggest challenge was the fact that only the staff departments were part of the merge and not the operational side of the businesses.

Where Quintop came in

First, Quintop helped merging the two management teams into one combined Management Team. To create a shared culture, the employees in the management team needed to feel that they were one company. During meetings about their ‘new culture’, they also felt the connection more and more between each other. To create the new culture, one of the first questions Quintop asked was: ‘What do you find the most important?’. Based on the answers, together they created their new norms and values. To spread this within the company, Quintop organised several sessions and roadshows. The sessions were focused on the translation of these new norms and values in actual behaviour.

Second, managers were coached how to deal with all types of behavior and off course the resistance they faced. The roadshows were meant for the employees. Questions answered by the management team were: ‘What do we expect from you?’, ‘What does it mean for you?’ and ‘What can you do to make it a success?’.

Quintop was the facilitator in this project. Quintop gave the client knowledge about change management and advised them on the different steps they should and could take to make the merge a success. Together with the client we decided on the steps that needed to be taken and guided the client throughout this whole project. The client’s management team were the persons who needed to execute the project.

The result

This projected resulted in staff departments that were working as one team with the same norms and values. Looking back, it was a smooth process that lasted a little over a year. However, as a company, you are never done with shaping your culture. Therefore, this company needs to keep paying attention to this topic to keep it a success.

Does your company also need help in guidance during a merger or in change management?
Quintop has 25 years of experience in Business Transformation.
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