Today marks the official first day of high-tech firm Hewlett Packard operating as two separate and distinct companies. One company, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company will oversee operations of the former HP Enterprise division, a $55 billion dollar entity. The other, HP Inc., will oversee operations of the former HP Printer and PC divisions, of equivalent revenue size. Supply Chain Matters commented on this proposed split, along with supply chain implications in a July commentary, as we envisioned a very busy summer across the company.
The massive HP split involved separating balance sheets, facilities, IT systems and applications, including those related directly to the support of HP’s end-to-end supply chain. Purchase agreements among various suppliers would have to be recast foe each new company along with various special agreements.
A published article from the San Jose Mercury Times provides perspective on the scope and efforts that went into this split, which overall involved 300,000 employees among 651 global locations. Formal planning began last February and initially involved a flow chart that consumed a 40 foot length, 10 foot high wall. Approximately 60,000 employees had to be moved to separate locations, along with a reported 2700 bank accounts and IT systems.
An interesting perspective brought out in the article was the planning could not be a consensus-driven decision-making process. Instead, a small group of executive decision-makers were supported by a separation project team that grew to about 400 people.
The real-test of this separation comes over the coming weeks as the spilt processes and systems begin efforts as two separate enterprises. From a supply chain and product management perspective, key sensitivities will be seamless uninterrupted operation of both order fulfillment, supply chain planning and execution systems. A further perspective will be how inbound direct material and indirect materials contracts are structured, implemented and managed under the split. The Mercury Times report indicates that HP Labs will remain as a separate research and development center shared by both companies.
Obviously, the good news here was that the November 1st separation milestone was completed as required. The systems shakeout period will hopefully occur without major snafus.