FMCG/CPG Award Winner 2008: Kimberly-Clark

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The Fast Moving Consumer Goods/Consumer Packaged Goods category was hard fought this year with four good entries from C&C Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Hero and Kimberly-Clark.

Hero is a CHF 1.85bn nutritional food group with strong brands in fruit, cereals and infant nutrition, operating in over 30 countries. The company has successfully implemented a Europe-wide, vendor-managed inventory solution for chilled products and has put in place a web-based platform that integrates forecasting, inventory monitoring and production capacity planning.

C&C Group is a Tipperary-based drinks business with strong brands in spirits and cider – many will recognise the company’s Magners cider brand, for which a long maturation process is required. The company has undergone significant restructuring over the past 12 months to move from a functional-based organisation, with two separate companies operating the cider and spirits businesses, to a dynamic customer-focused organisation with a supply chain unit comprising manufacturing, distribution, human resources, as well as IT integration and finance.

Both of these entries were good, but out of the four entrants in this category Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark stood out. Looking at the scope of the change that they both made and the duration of the initiative, the cash-to-cash improvements, the performance levels they were running at and the process skills involved, then it really came down to these two.

Although the entry for Coca-Cola Enterprises centred on the company’s North London operations, the supply chain stretches across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg and reflects a continuous journey of improvement made over the past decade to drive down costs and improve service. In the past 18 months the company has completed a massive transformational project by moving from three separate supply chains for Europe to just one. Many innovations undertaken at its North London operation are now being rolled out in Europe, with key initiatives impacting cash-to-cash cycle times and order fulfilment.

Kimberly-Clark too, has been active in bringing about major transformations to its European supply chain. Over the past 18 months the manufacturer of such well known household brands as Andrex, Kleenex and Huggies, has completed the roll out of its “100 per cent connected enterprise strategy”, which has moved 1,250 stakeholders (mainly customers and carriers) from a manual system of transacting business to an electronically-based operation. This has resulted in reduced errors, faster turnaround times for customer orders and improvements to order management and carrier management operations. Kimberly-Clark’s approach was to use a common process across the whole of Europe.

The company is highly customer focused and its customer segmentation leads to appropriate and measured service levels.Collaboration is at the heart of Kimberly-Clark’s supply chain strategy and is based on building a credible customer focused organisation that collaborates with its strategic partners to create a differentiated service solution appropriate to the customer. The network has been designed to remove cost and complexity, and to improve sustainability – driving perfect order connectivity across the whole of the company’s European supply chain.

The judges concluded that: “These are both very good supply chains, but these guys [Kimberly-Clark] really understand their customers. The company is highly customer-focused and its customer segmentation leads to appropriate and measured service levels. The company has implemented the connected enterprise system in the past 18 months and their planning and ordering processes concern the whole of the European supply chain.” In particular, the judges were impressed by the company’s drive to build collaborative relationships with appropriate consumer packaged goods partners to deliver supply chain efficiencies, cost savings and sustainability improvements. And for these reasons, Kimberly-Clark took away the award for the FMCG/CPG category.

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