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With the help of the Accenture Supply Chain Academy, SABMiller is able to improve its supply chain performance as well as identify gaps in supply chain maturity and fill them with tailored content.
SABMiller produces more than 200 different brands of beer in 75 countries around the world. The company had more than 70,000 employees and approximately $26 billion in revenue in 2010.
While driving robust growth, SABMiller’s focus on acquisitions and on building a strong presence in emerging markets also created a need for a comprehensive and consistent approach to talent development. Indeed, the company’s preparation for a major global technology implementation had revealed some significant issues related to SABMiller’s global talent.
In particular, within the company’s Latin American division, approximately 80 percent of employees who supported the company’s supply chain were found to have subpar skills in many critical areas, including supply planning, demand planning and inventory management.
SABMiller’s director of supply chain for Latin America, Jaime Ochoa, knew this situation would need to be improved as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Based on his previous experience with Accenture’s Supply Chain Academy while working for another major global consumer goods company, Ochoa also knew the value this proprietary asset could deliver.
For SABMiller the most appealing aspects of the Supply Chain Academy were the quality and breadth of its content, its ability to be implemented across regions, and its capacity to be tailored to the company’s specific capability gaps. Through the Supply Chain Academy, SABMiller could fill specific knowledge and skill gaps in a wide range of supply chain roles across its Latin American operations, and provide courses covering all supply chain functions. In addition, SABMiller would be able to achieve all this on a flexible, scalable basis without building its own learning capabilities.
To tailor the Supply Chain Academy to SABMiller’s specific needs and objectives, Accenture devised a pilot implementation to verify the Academy’s potential impact. Accenture worked closely with the global brewer to introduce approximately 30 SABMiller employees based in Colombia to the system, evaluating the fit between the Academy and the company’s overall learning needs and strategy.
At the heart of this evaluation was a careful analysis of the pilot group’s specific capability gaps and functional roles, and the suitability of the Supply Chain Academy for boosting their skills. SABMiller found that these employees—a group that included directors, vice presidents and senior managers—had the greatest opportunity for improvement in terms of their forecasting and supply and demand planning capabilities.
With this knowledge in hand, the company collaborated with Accenture to design a tailored curriculum that would address these gaps within 12 months. Within that time frame, Accenture delivered approximately 20 targeted courses to this pilot group, earning favorable reviews from all participants for the Supply Chain Academy's format and its capacity to improve their skills significantly.
One of the most important elements of the implementation of the Supply Chain Academy at SABMiller has been the effort spent by the company to boost employee usage of the platform.
For instance, the company devised a host of region-specific promotions and competitions aimed at creating fun and exciting inter-company competition. Promotions involved themes such as “Agent 007,” archery and baseball tournaments, circumnavigation and the Tour de France.
Even though SABMiller’s use of Accenture’s Supply Chain Academy continues to evolve, the training program already has paid off. In fact, in just three months SABMiller employees participated in 900 courses, equivalent to more than 1,400 hours of training. The company’s use of the Supply Chain Academy continues to grow as well, with approximately 300 current daily users and additional expansion to other countries in the works.
Yet the benefits to SABMiller go far beyond participation in the Supply Chain Academy’s courses. “We are using the Supply Chain Academy to identify specific maturity gaps, fill them with tailored content, and measure the impact of that training on the business,” said Jaime Ochoa. “The Supply Chain Academy is helping us ensure that learning benefits the company in tangible ways.”
In particular, SABMiller estimates that its overall supply chain management maturity has more than doubled in degree since its implementation of Accenture’s Supply Chain Academy. Importantly, this progress reflects improvements in demand and supply planning, both of which were identified as lagging capabilities prior to the project. And because SABMiller has strengthened these capabilities, it also has seen improvements in inventory management and working capital.
“SABMiller employees are learning the world’s best approaches to supply chain management, and that empowers them to ask the tough questions,” Ochoa commented. “That, in turn, drives our growth and helps us improve our performance. Overall, the Supply Chain Academy is an unbeatable value.”
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