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The Accenture Supply Chain Academy helped Dow Chemical Co. meet its growth and leadership goals by building critical competencies and skills that ensure supply chain operational excellence.
With annual sales of US$54 billion and 46,000 employees worldwide, Dow is a diversified chemical company that combines the power of science and technology with the "human element” to constantly improve what is essential to human progress.
The company delivers a broad range of products and services to customers in around 160 countries, connecting chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help provide everything from fresh water, food and pharmaceuticals to paints, packaging and personal care products.
Dow has a global vision to be the largest, most profitable, most respected chemical company in the world. The company identified its integrated supply chain as the “backbone work process” and a key reason Dow can respond to challenges in the highly competitive chemical industry. It also identified areas for improvement to help meet its global growth goals now and in the future.
Dow knew the importance of developing global leaders with the knowledge and skills necessary to build cross-functional excellence across the length and breadth of its supply chain. The company also knew it needed to provide a common language of supply chain concepts, best practices and metrics so employees worldwide could tackle problems collaboratively. And it needed a common way of training and integrating new employees into the company’s shared services organization, a portfolio of functions including purchasing, customer services and supply chain management.
Dow set what it calls a “30-30-30” five-year goal for supply chain improvement: a 30 percent reduction in raw material costs through procurement transformations; a 30 percent decrease in inventory through improved inventory management, as well as demand planning and management; and a 30 percent improvement in supply chain total cost to serve through transportation and logistics planning.
To achieve these goals, Dow began searching for a provider that could help improve the capabilities of the shared services organization. It chose the Accenture Supply Chain Academy.
The Accenture Supply Chain Academy represents a major shift in training delivery for some of Dow’s shared services functions—from primarily instructor-led to Web-based training (or e-learning). Beyond the cost advantages, e-learning enables companies to roll out training effectively and quickly to large numbers of geographically dispersed learners at the same time, something that was especially important to Dow given that its growth plans relied heavily on tapping into opportunities in emerging markets.
Accenture collaborated with top Dow executives and teams to understand where the company needed the most help. It then created and implemented a 10-week controlled pilot program for 101 learners from Asia, Europe, South America and North America in the procurement, supply chain and customer service functions within Dow’s shared services organization.
The pilot was very well received, with learners giving high marks to the applicability and relevance of the training to their jobs. Given these positive results, Dow asked Accenture to roll out the Supply Chain Academy program to a broader base of employees in the shared services organization.
The training was supported in six languages—Mandarin, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian and English. In all cases, each individual enrolling in the Supply Chain Academy program received courses that addressed specific skills gaps that needed to be closed to improve the individual’s performance in his or her job and, ultimately, help Dow’s shared services organization achieve its performance goals.
Through the Accenture Supply Chain Academy, Dow is making a strategic investment in giving its most valuable resource—its people—the opportunities to develop the competencies they need to help the company maintain its leading position in the global chemical industry. And Dow’s employees are embracing the opportunity. In the first 15 months after the Supply Chain Academy was rolled out to Dow’s global supply chain organization, 1,500 learners in 40 countries completed more than 6,000 courses encompassing 8,600 training hours.
Beyond extensive use, the program also has had a positive impact on employees enrolled in it:
As it pursues its growth goals in the global chemical industry, Dow has already seen many benefits from its new learning initiative. By using the Supply Chain Academy to build critical competencies and skills, Dow continues to “raise the bar” on supply chain operational excellence.
To learn more, visit www.accentureacademy.com
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