In today’s fast-paced business environment, every company is seeking to improve outcomes – whether that’s delivering faster, improving satisfaction, or increasing revenue. They’re at all levels of maturity and transformation – some ahead of the curve and some behind. And they all have different challenges.
Over the years working with our clients, however, we’ve identified underlying patterns across companies, regardless of age, size, or industry: Most seek improvement through one or more of three common goals:
- Driving innovation to outpace the competition or disrupt the marketplace
- Improving efficiency to drive operational excellence, lower costs, improve productivity, and gain faster time-to-market
- Enabling rapid growth to increase sales, profitability, and market share
Meeting these goals isn’t easy, but companies are making it happen every day. In this post, we’re sharing highlights from three recent engagements to show how our clients are doing it.
Driving Innovation with a New Line of Business
A popular fast-casual restaurant company had an innovative idea to launch a product line of the company’s popular restaurant foods to be sold in grocery stores, so consumers could create healthier, tasty meals more easily. The idea presented a promising opportunity for the company to move into the thriving CPG market, but it was a new, foreign space. To succeed, they recognized they needed to build up their in-house expertise, establish new business processes, and implement technology to support a new supply chain – all of which would need to integrate seamlessly into its established environment. They created an innovation team to build and launch this new startup brand within the organization and engaged NeuEon to provide third-party expertise and strategic guidance. In only nine months, we worked closely with the company’s IT and finance teams, as well as partners, suppliers, manufacturing vendors, and customers, to deliver successfully on the project’s goals, including:
- Facilitating a cross-functional team to map out the new CPG order-to-cash workflow, including order management, fulfillment, shipping, and financial functions, defining the necessary business processes and identifying the technologies necessary to support them.
- Designing an end-to-end order-to-cash technology solution, comparing the needed capabilities against what existed within the company to identify gaps and creating a plan for technology selection and implementation.
- Evaluating and selecting an ERP solution to support the new CPG line of business using NeuEon’s objective, data-driven Technology Selection Process.
- Evaluating and selecting the company’s first EDI solution, which was essential for working with large retail organizations, like Walmart, Costco, Amazon, and others.
- Implementing the ERP and EDI systems, including an integration with the company’s Oracle Financials application to sync invoice and payment information for reporting.
Today, the company’s CPG product brand has grown to over $200 million in annual sales and is one of its four focused channels for rapid growth.
Improving Efficiency through Process Modernization
With an impending warehouse expansion project, a 60-year old B2B food manufacturer knew they needed to revamp their outdated, highly manual workflows to set a foundation for automation, integration, and enhanced efficiency. The company engaged NeuEon in 2017 to provide needed expertise and leadership as they began by tackling their inefficient, error-prone order-to-cash processes, which were so cumbersome, they required an employee to manually review each order to ensure accuracy and availability and initiate fulfillment.
To reduce errors, speed transaction time, and cut costs, we partnered with them to:
- Facilitate a collaborative, cross-functional workshop to uncover, streamline, and validate order-to-cash workflows and system requirements across the company.
- Identify process improvements, prioritizing areas where help was needed most and providing prescriptive recommendations to streamline the order lifecycle within the existing technology framework.
- Implement a plan to limit the number of ordering methods and expand EDI capabilities to speed orders and reduce errors, with clear customer messaging to communicate policy changes.
- Recommend and provide implementation guidance for a customer order web portal to allow customers without EDI to order electronically.
- Identify risks and roadblocks that could negatively impact the automation initiative to ensure the company was prepared to manage them.
- Document improvement opportunities in other areas, including data architecture.
These improvements are helping drive the success of the company’s warehouse project, saving time and money in order management and warehousing functions, and freeing up the customer service team to be more strategic and provide value-added input to the business. We are continuing to actively work with them moving forward.
Enabling Rapid Growth through Focused Technology Leadership
Since its start in 2005, a global hair care product company had rapid, consistent growth until it’s acquisition by one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies in 2017. Post-acquisition, they planned for continued growth, primarily focusing on increased direct-to-consumer sales and international expansion. They were challenged, however, by an inadequate eCommerce platform, new pressures to satisfy corporate and investor demands, and a leadership team stretched thin, with people playing multiple C-level roles.
In 2013, NeuEon was engaged to provide the focused technology leadership and expertise needed to enable the rapid growth the company sought to sustain. Since then, we’ve served in the company’s technology leadership role, providing strategic guidance and delivering strong results. Significant accomplishments include:
- Annual strategic technology planning and roadmap development to meet business objectives and goals.
- An initial holistic technology infrastructure assessment, aligned to business goals, with recommendations and oversight for the rollout of infrastructure enhancements.
- Evaluation and selection of an enterprise eCommerce solution using an objective, data-driven Technology Selection Process to support future growth and international requirements.
- Evaluation and selection of a managed services provider to run outsourced IT and help desk operations, enabling the company to scale without bringing on additional staff.
- Establishment of compliance policies, aligning with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and corporate IT standards.
- Working closely with the acquiring company as the lead technical liaison to ensure proper due diligence and security compliance.
Since 2014, direct-to-consumer revenue has increased close to 250%, and infrastructure cost as a percentage of revenue has decreased annually. The company also has a reliable, scalable, compliant eCommerce system, a capable development partner, and a sound foundation on which to grow.
Which of these goals sit at the top of your strategic plan?
- Driving innovation to take advantage of new opportunities to outpace the competition or disrupt the marketplace?
- Improving efficiency to drive operational excellence, lower costs, improve productivity, and gain faster time-to-market?
- Enabling rapid growth to increase sales and market share?
Regardless of what your short- and long-term strategic goals are, we can help you reach them. Contact us to learn more.