BPM Makes Carlsberg Danmark More Efficient

By Kenneth Lindegaard

Many companies launch lean-business initiatives for streamlining the way they do business. It’s less common to hear about putting business processes into practice, with a payoff, but it can be done.

Prior to 2013, my employer, Carlsberg Danmark A/S, had created a variety of manual processes for the way we worked. We had lots of documentation about them. But we decided we were either going to talk about updating and automating processes or really execute on them. The question for us was: Which will it be?

I came to Carlsberg from IBM, where I sold IBM business process management (BPM) services and technology. I now oversee IT in the Danish market for Carlsberg, which is part of the Carlsberg Group. Carlsberg Danmark is Denmark’s leading producer and supplier of beer and soft drinks, commanding a 50 percent share of the country’s beer market and a 40 percent slice of soft drink sales.

From 2013 through 2015, Carlsberg Danmark was part of a Carlsberg Group project to move from a Nordic SAP platform to a Western European SAP platform. During the move, we saw areas where Carlsberg Danmark hadn’t received any tools or support to handle certain business processes, such as signing up new customers and tracking customer promotions.

These processes were still largely manual ones. When field consultants met and signed up new customers, there was little, if any, technology involved. And we managed the onboarding process with Excel spreadsheets and a flurry of emails.

The manual processes weren’t limited to new customers. When store owners, who were existing Carlsberg Danmark customers, agreed to run a campaign or a “spot promotion,” we kept track of the promotion and pushed details and equipment out to each location based on a manually populated spreadsheet. Each quarter, back-office employees used spreadsheets to alert consultants, who contacted store owners to get their agreement for a new round of promotions and then distributed the materials needed for displays and merchandising.

Carlsberg also provides a variety of equipment, ranging from glass-front beverage coolers for bars and restaurants to top-opening models that customers can find next to a cashier in a store. Our warehouse in Denmark sent out stock availability and order status reports to our field consultants up to three times a day.

Until 2015, this process had also been a manual one, in which field consultants would have to exchange calls and emails to verify that equipment was in stock, being shipped or delayed. Consultants didn’t have real-time access to inventory, which could create errors in orders or deliveries.

Investing in a Business Process Management Platform

We chose to invest in a business process management platform to handle the flow of data on customers, create new stock-keeping units (SKUs) and deal with an array of other processes. While researching the solution, one of my developers found a free tool kit made by BP3 Global for customizing our BPM interface.

The tool kit allows a developer to bundle parts of a BPM solution for use across multiple process applications. After downloading the free version, we used the tool kit to accelerate our BPM development.

Once we began moving to the BPM platform, my team knew that the equipment ordering and delivery processes, in particular, would have to be compatible with the iPads our company was buying for executives and field consultants. With the tool kit, we optimized the BPM platform’s user interfaces for iPads, tablets, laptops and desktop PCs.

Our success in accelerating development with the free tool kit ultimately led us to purchase an enhanced version of the product.

Another advantage of the BPM platform is the ability to centralize tasks that workers encounter as part of any process. After using the tool kit, we bought a BP3 portal, which displayed and customized tasks our workers needed to complete. The portal adapts to the size of a browser or mobile screen, and it runs on any modern iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, as well as on a desktop computer.