The ability to harness information effectively is crucial for companies to surge ahead of the pack in the competitive consumer goods industry. Rising transparency means that consumers and regulators alike have become more exacting in their standards. However, much of this critical information is lost in ERP data silos and expansive reports, leading to reactive rather than proactive management approaches. Implementing a supply chain management dashboard can help businesses achieve their strategic goals with data-driven insight. This case study highlights how GEP helped a packaged food giant enhance supply chain effectiveness through improved data visibility.
A leader in the packaged food business, our client has global operations spanning 20 countries and serving consumer markets in over 180 countries. The company places strong emphasis on building strong brands by gaining consumer trust and fostering product innovation. Despite overall sales growth due to new products, the client was facing several supply chain issues that were threatening its profitability:
- Rising commodity costs
- Supply chain disruptions
- A case of food contamination
The client was looking for ways to maintain its market leadership while ensuring that it delivered the product quality as promised to customers.
The firm’s leadership engaged GEP to deliver a technology platform that would enable them to better manage their supply chain. GEP performed a rigorous analysis of the company’s then-current supply chain management practices to develop a solution. The team diagnosed several key issues:
- Different measurement systems across regions made it difficult to evaluate global operations
- Lack of transparent data on the company’s operations brought about reactive management tactics
- Low standardization and information sharing among plants resulted in duplication of activities
- Labor-intensive manual data collection and analysis took time away from value-generating activities
- Different data storage systems complicated access to data
GEP initiated candid discussions with all relevant stakeholders to understand their strategic goals, define their ideal state and address their current pain points. Based on these inputs, GEP developed a customized supply chain management dashboard to deliver insights on vital aspects of the client’s supply chain. Through conversations with top management and industry analysis, GEP identified three focus areas for improvement: standards compliance, consumer satisfaction and employee engagement. A set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were selected, based on discussions with metric stakeholders, to capture performance on these primary issues.
GEP also prepared training materials to educate stakeholders on the significance of each metric. The tool was piloted on a small scale and then rolled out across the supply chain division.
On the back end, the workflow was streamlined through careful planning and process automation. The client’s data streams were seamlessly integrated into the cloud from multiple sources including ERP systems, such as SAP, and other third-party vendors.
The GEP Supply Chain Management dashboard enabled stakeholders throughout the organization to make more informed decisions. Management could track current performance against target goals and take the necessary action to draw operations in line. Having the ability to drill down from global to region to business unit to plant level meant that management could diagnose problem areas swiftly. The dashboard quickly became an indispensable tool in driving business decisions and red flags, including reducing violations of labor and operational standards, in compliance with regulations.
"Best of Best" reports offered a granular operational view that could pinpoint the best and worst plants. Using this, the management was able to systematically promote best practices from its top plants and tackle the problems of plants with the lowest performance.
The automation of processes also freed up time that was spent on routine data collation tasks and minimized human errors. A centralized information repository also eliminated time spent on creating ad-hoc reports and generated better information flow throughout the organization. Improved data visibility reduced the blind spots that had previously affected the company’s supply chain performance.
Through the GEP Supply Chain Management Dashboard, the client was able to achieve alignment with strategic goals at all levels in the company.