“How Nestle standardised and truly globalised its operations through technology”?

As the popular saying goes – hear it from the horse’s mouth, we were the lucky ones to explore our technology case-study on Nestle with Mr. Stephen Howells, Business Excellence Manager for Nestle.


The problem encountered by Nestle was owing to its huge global presence, it had multiple stocks with different SKU’s (an abbreviation for product codes) i.e. unique code for each product. Numerous codes for a single item complicated not only tracking the contents that went into the thousands of products, but also failed to provide the company with a single source of truth regarding its product performance.


To circumvent this issue, Nestle took strategic decisions to implement a new ERP system into their business, (WITH) a group of 400 of their best employees from around the world, each team member specialised in the different sectors like marketing, purchasing, finance, distribution, etc.


The selected people set out for assignment GLOBE in Switzerland and each member received a new car and the estimated operating cost for this project £30 million every year. Nestle was committed to uniting and aligning on the inside and outside to be more globally competitive while managing complexity with operational efficiency.


Mr. Howells oversaw logistics and purchasing during the project. The firm benchmarked their ideas, accordingly to their market competitors and as communication between different departments was crucial to project’s success there was an open-desk policy.


As described by Stephen, they identified materials requirement planning based on 8 key areas of the business. Each process was documented, checked and verified.


The major challenge was to cleanse the data that had to be integrated into the new SAP system to be launched into the business processes. Initially, there was low focus on data-entry in the earlier stages and resistance to change by senior management.


Chris Johnson, Globe manager of Nestle travelled all over the world to different country units and steered the project successfully by identifying the project as not just an ‘IT project, but a CRITICAL business project’.


Ultimately, the project became a Big Success for Nestle and continues to save the company hundreds of millions of dollars every year. It is also a great example of Business-IT Alignment and effective change management.


-Sakeynay (Sammy), Batch of 2017-2018



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