hree hundred individuals in ten countries and seven business areas are currently involved in the SAP. com implementation, which will completely restructure Cadbury Schweppes plc, based in Birmingham, UK. This implementation project using e-enabled ERP is known internally as Probe. With the exception of its business development activities, this is the largest project that this organization has ever undertaken. A sweet chocolate aroma fills the air and heads of thousands of children every year as they pass through the factory buildings that make up Cadbury World.
In fact, this fairytale facade effectively conceals the sound contemporary platform on which business processes that are long past their sell-by dates are actually being run. A small half-timbered house that was once the main Cadbury building but now serves merely as a reception area can be seen from the modern office buildings. However, groundbreaking developments were already underway even during these early years. This momentum is still apparent in the organization today and is personified by Simon Ricketts, the chief information officer of Cadbury Schweppes plc.
Ricketts, who has been at Cadbury Schweppes for the last eleven years, is convinced that his organization is creating a new universe and is not afraid to say so. This claim is more than borne out by his focused expos of the project that was initiated almost two years ago. SAP. com and Project Probe have become the key concepts in one of the largest projects that CS plc has ever undertaken. Fragmented IT systems were not compatible Cadbury Schweppes has used IT systems since the 1970s. Its use of SAP as one of a number of ERP systems dates back to 1994.
The groups IT infrastructure was fragmented because its growth was largely driven by purchasing other companies in a series of takeovers. The diverse organizations that Cadbury Schweppes acquired and combined as a single group over the years continued to use its existing IT systems. These were incompatible and various attempts to implement IT coordination scenarios in purchasing or comparable settlement systems failed. Internal and external benchmarking was compromised, and market positioning proved difficult, which in turn was not appreciated by the stock market.
Fragmented systems had both negative cost implications and a detrimental effect on the service that Cadbury Schweppes was able to offer its customers. All of these factors were preventing the organization from sustaining its future growth. Takeovers led to a variety of organizational cultures and a multitude of IT systems within the group. These brought with them various interpretations of the way in which the company conducted its daily operations. Different cultures, management structures and strategies within this conglomerate were responsible for friction and virtually prevented the development of new synergies.
Systems were only ever used to accelerate processes, explains Ricketts. A strategy that did more than simply increase the speed at which business processes were performed was entirely lacking. Like many other organizations, the group regarded IT as a significant technological factor but failed to apply it to business decisions and processes. Using IT to transform business processes The SAP. com solution has allowed us to concentrate on specific business benefits and processes. We are using IT as a tool to transform our business processes, says Ricketts. Cadbury Schweppes is using SAP. om to create a standard IT platform and in doing so develop new transparent organizational processes. The organization is to be streamlined whilst new synergies are identified and exploited. This applies to production, purchasing, accounting and internal communication. The current business climate and customers are always placed at the centre of any such activities, since these are ultimately the keys to future growth. However, what may sound straightforward and obvious actually involves restructuring the entire group. How can an operation of this scale be undertaken successfully in this type of global organization?
Here again, Project Probe is the magic word for Ricketts. The Project Probe process scope is extremely comprehensive and includes the entire SAP. com solution suite. All of the major Cadbury Schweppes businesses assigned senior business executives full-time to Project Probe. Their first task was to agree and design the common global processes. They have remained on Project Probe and ensure that this is a business lead project. Project Probe introduces a set of common world-class business process into all parts of the business. Ultimately all CS plc businesses will implement the common template.
At that point CS plc will have become a truly global company offering customers and suppliers the same world-class level of support and service wherever they are in the world. Supporting growth The project statistics alone clearly demonstrate its massive scope. The project that was started to implement SAP. com involved 400 interviews that were conducted worldwide, the development of 150 business scenarios, and the negotiation of 13,500 SAP. com users. The first phase will involve 12,000 employees across the world. Total investment in Probe amounts to 150 million (approximately U.
S. $212 million). We are counting on a 500 million return on this investment, particularly from the new tools and processes in the customer relationship management arena, explains Ricketts. While Ricketts remains down-to-earth as he presents these figures, his enthusiasm is evident as he describes the structure and operation of the project. Acceptance and motivation are the keys to success Acceptance from every employee was vital in a project of this size in an organization with this type of global presence. Consequently, full motivation from all those involved was indispensable.
The most senior management levels needed to believe in the project and be capable of conveying this enthusiasm to their teams. This principle was also applied to the pyramid structure used for the trial. Run as an international project from Melbourne, Dallas, and Birmingham, the project has been used to unite all of the senior management layers across the company. During intensive workshops that were held in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers, employees explored the status quo of their business areas as a means of drawing conclusions and defining new goals.
This process was gradually rolled out throughout the organization. According to Ricketts, implementing the full SAP. com solution will take at least three years to complete. The food and beverages sectors are expected to go live in July 2002 in Australia, followed by the chocolate sector in November. The Dr. Pepper brand in the United States is scheduled for the middle of 2003, along with the European beverages business followed by the UK confectionery units. Other units will follow later. Unity in the organization
This project appears to influence the business culture and demands placed on every employee. Jobs are changing and people will have to change with them, says Ricketts. Experience has already proved these theories. Collaborative work on Project Probe has brought those involved closer together, has promoted mutual understanding and in the words of one individual increased unity within the organiation. Another participant went further saying, Like a dream come true, the project has radically changed our modus operandi.
While Ricketts is understandably proud of this positive response, he is aware that the restructuring process places enormous demands on employees. Each employee will need to become significantly more multidimensional and cross-functional in the way in which they think and work. The next challenge is to use the SAP. com tools to convert the Project Probe blueprint into operational reality. This will challenge both Cadbury Schweppes and its employees, and will also present SAP with some challenges of its own.
The hour in which Ricketts has described the project has flown by. His enthusiasm is infectious, his ability to motivate palpable. There can be no doubt that Project Probe one of the most ambitious projects ever to be undertaken by a UK company will be successful at Cadbury Schweppes. Would Mr. Cadbury and Mr. Schweppe ever have dreamed this possible as they built their original company headquarters? They would certainly have approved of the continued momentum that is still apparent in the organization they founded over 200 years ago.