Cincinnati, Ohio-based Procter & Gamble Co. (P&G) has one of the world’s strongest portfolios of consumer products, including such well-known brands as Pampers, Tide, Crest, Duracell, Olay and Gillette. P&G employs approximately 127,000 people in about 80 countries. For fiscal 2010, the company reported net sales of nearly $79 billion.
To increase quality while reducing costs and scaling its virtual solutions program to additional services and new centers, P&G’s Global Business Services (GBS) organization has entered into a multi-year outsourcing agreement with Accenture to manage the end-to-end global service delivery.
Collaborating with best-of-breed suppliers like Accenture is part of P&G’s “connect and develop” approach, giving the company access to the latest tools while raising the quality of services and allowing P&G teams to focus on the strategy, innovation and decision-making.
This standardized, end-to-end virtual solutions program is driving operational efficiencies and revenue, enhancing product and packaging design, and creating more satisfying and valuable experiences for shoppers and retailers.
Accenture manages the day-to-day center operations for all 20 large-scale visualization centers around the world, provides high-end project management, manages the development of new centers, develops 3D store environments, and works with P&G to bring continuous innovation to the program.
By working with Accenture’s Global Delivery Network in offshore locations, such as Shanghai, Mumbai and Buenos Aires, P&G has achieved a breakthrough in scaling the service delivery.
P&G’s GBS organization was established to help P&G fulfill its goal of touching and improving more consumers’ lives, in more parts of the world, more completely. It accomplishes this by transforming the way business is done. GBS provides more than 170 distinct services and solutions including:
Making P&G simpler, faster, flatter and more agile.
Speeding time-to-market for new products.
Strengthening connections to consumers.
Supporting P&G’s commitment to sustainability.
One example of GBS’s commitment to helping P&G maintain its relevance in the highly competitive, fast-moving consumer goods industry can be found in the delivery of virtual solutions.
Specifically, GBS has helped the company transform the way it does business with retailers—and ultimately serves consumers—by leveraging virtual reality centers around the world to create, test and optimize packaging, shelving and store designs.
Despite the clear value that virtual solutions brought to P&G’s product development and merchandising efforts, GBS felt it could do an even better job of delivering these services. Under the existing virtual solutions program, delivery responsibilities were dispersed among many providers.
P&G resources, for example, served as delivery managers, in charge of planning and orchestrating the virtualized consumer research initiatives. Other providers and contractors were brought on board to create the virtual experiences; manage the virtual studios; and design, build and maintain the applications that underpinned the virtual experience.
This fragmented approach to virtual service delivery, while successful, was making it increasingly difficult for GBS to control costs, build capacity and quickly introduce new innovations that resonate with the users.
Under a multi-year arrangement with P&G, approximately 60 resources from Accenture Business Process Outsourcing worked closely with GBS to transition—and now manage—P&G’s virtual solutions’ content delivery and facilities services. Accenture’s scope of services has included:
Providing high-end project management.
Transitioning the operations of existing virtual reality facilities to Accenture’s global team.
Overseeing the design, development and operations of new virtual reality facilities and 3-D store environments in key P&G locations.
Creating, integrating, delivering and storing virtual reality content.
Providing virtual reality software and platform development, break/fix and maintenance services.
Managing third-party facility and technology vendors involved in service delivery.
To carry out these activities, Accenture has applied a hybrid on/offshore delivery model. While most team members are located onsite in Cincinnati, Ohio, and in the Accenture Delivery Centers in Mumbai, India, other Accenture professionals—including regional service management and studio operations resources—are providing support from key locations around the world, including Geneva, Buenos Aires, Warsaw, London and Frankfurt.
Working closely with GBS professionals, the Accenture team kicked off the transition in June 2009 with a small pilot project that documented process flows and role descriptions, tested major integration points and hand-offs, confirmed assumptions and service level agreements, assessed the feasibility of moving virtual reality work offshore, and identified productivity and technology improvement opportunities.
The transition of services from legacy providers began in August 2009 and was carried out in phases, by geography, over a period of six months. Accenture began offering full service delivery in February 2010. At that time, the team also began initiating continuous improvement activities and learning processes for all virtual reality roles.
By teaming with Accenture, GBS is able to take advantage of the synergy that comes from working closely with a leader in virtual solutions delivery.
This collaborative GBS and Accenture relationship has produced a number of benefits and enabled P&G to:
Strengthen connections to consumers by providing the right products at the right times and in the right location.
Significantly reduce time-to-market cycles by identifying potential issues and opportunities earlier in the design process.
Create and/or manage 60 three-dimensional stores for merchandisers and 20 virtual solution centers—more than any other consumer products company.
Introduce globally consistent virtual services that meet the needs of GBS’s internal customers.
Improve its ability to make informed packaging and shelf placement decisions quicker and more cost effectively.
Strengthen its relationship with retailers, resulting in stronger partnerships focused on the consumer.
Reduce its “speed-to-shelf” time by up to 50 percent for select products. “If you do virtually in days or hours what used to take weeks, then not only will you go to market faster, but you can afford to do a few more test-and-redesign cycles with more input from consumers and retailers,” explains Filippo Passerini, president, Global Business Services and CIO.
Free up valuable employee work time, which allows for additional capacity to focus on innovation and delivering products that touch and improve consumers’ lives.
Support its sustainability objectives by digitizing the process and reducing the need for physical mock ups.
By having Accenture assume responsibility for the management and delivery of its virtual solutions, GBS has optimized P&G’s virtualization capabilities and enabled the consumer goods giant to enhance product design and placement, drive more revenue and improve shoppers’ in-store experiences.