Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. Its global sales top $100 billion, it operates 511 factories in 86 countries and employs 250,000 people. Yet it still only controls 2% of the world’s processed food industry.
To grab a larger piece of that pie and gain efficiencies through better product and customer data, Nestlé has been busy for a few years on a global strategy for data standards and management. Improved customer services, reduced inventory, better traceability, fewer queries, less administration and better collaborative processes are associated goals.
Nestlé global data synchronisation executive Graeme McGowan and Jason Enright, who’s responsible for the local implementation, told the annual conference of the EAN NZ numbering body in Auckland last week that the company has 20 data “pools” in five continents that are not quite synchronised. Nestlé, which has two factories and two distribution centres in New Zealand, will be implementing GLOBE standards over the next two years. A customised version of SAP is part of the project and will be rolled out in this country in the same timeframe.
The local company, which in the 1990s bought brands including Tux and Allens, has employed two fulltime employees specifically to “cleanse” customer data and product data. A survey Nestlé did globally found that 56% of records were unnecessary and 30% of active records required correction.
McGowan says the project defined 280 data standards. As an example of the thoroughness of data standards, Enright notes that one field, a product name, is described by a six-page document. US English is the default. EANnet, a data synchronisation and product registry service, is regarded by Nestlé as a stepping stone to its goals. The company is considering RFIDs but first “we just have to get the basics right”, says Enright.