Cadbury wins SC competition

Posted on 9 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

Cadbury’s team wins the Scala Fresh Connection supply chain competition after completing nine rounds of a rigorous supply chain simulation game.

The Fresh Connection supply chain challenge was devised by supply chain consultants Scala to raise the profile of supply chain skills and highlight the need for a better understanding of this increasingly complex aspect of modern business.

Over the last two months over 180 supply chain professionals from a wide range of organisations including, BAE Systems, Ministry of Defence, Kraft Foods, Kimberly-Clark and Huddersfield University took part in the game.

Although they did not reach the finals of the competition Kimberly-Clark and Huddersfield both found the competition so powerful in building an appreciation of supply chain dynamics among their teams that they are both now planning to replicate the competition as part of internal training. Kimberley-Clark will be running it as a professional development programme and Huddersfield as a module within their Global logistics and supply chain management MSc.

The competition is carried out online and challenges teams of four to resurrect a struggling virtual company and turn it into a profitable FMCG competitor. Each round adds complexity to production demands, product lines and regulatory compliance; testing team appreciation of scenario impacts on capacity, inventory and logistics.

The Cadbury team, appropriately branded Purple Passion, pipped FMCG rivals, Heinz, at the final post along with teams representing logistics solutions providers and supply chain software vendors. Emma Pawson, customer innovation and continuous improvement manager at Cadbury and a member of the winning team says “This has been a great chance for us to benchmark our [supply chain] skills against industry counterparts, as well as providing an opportunity for a bit of fun internal competition since there were originally three Cadbury teams in the competition and also some teams from kraft – just to make it really interesting!

The dynamic we chose to pursue with the Cadbury’s teams was for everyone to take on a role that was different from what we do day to day. This provided us with a proper opportunity to get to understand and interpret data and processes that we wouldn’t normally have any contact with.

At Cadbury we do collaborate internally but this tends to be very functionally related – so for me just within the logistics area. The great thing about Fresh Connection was that we were asked to manage everything from purchasing right the way through to sales so we really had to consider the end-to-end. I certainly think our experience will make us think in more cross functional terms back in the workplace.”

As winners of the first Fresh Connections competition Purple Passion team members received four platinum tickets to the British Grand Prix, as well as a certificate and warm glow of pride of course!

Following the announcement of the winner Scala held their annual supply chain debate. This open forum debate session was led by senior representative from Tesco, Pepsi Co and Cadbury with the remit of exploring how supply chain collaboration could increase effectiveness in delivering customer value.

In nearly two hours of questions and answers delegates and speakers bandied words about who was responsible for initiating and regulating collaboration partnerships, why collaboration potential identified 15 years ago was still to be realised and who was to blame for failures in on shelf availability.

Some suggested that collaboration reticence should be laid at the doors of manufacturers who were still slow to consider logistics innovation suggestions from third party partners for horizontal supply chain collaboration despite success stories from companies like Mars and Nestle or Kimberly-Clark and Kellogg’s who have all benefitted from efficiencies in sharing transport and delivery systems – for them competition starts at the shelf edge and not before.

The debate closed however, with an admission from a retail representative from The Cooperative that between 60% and 70% of shelf gaps were due to replenishment failures within retail stores. It was also admitted that the reality of supply chain dynamics always left the retailer with the dominant balance of power and that attempts to deny this were naive. Implants at retail sites were discussed in depth as an effective way of getting closer to customer operations and gaining understanding of their strategy.

A more detailed report on the discussions at Scala’s supply chain debate will soon be available. Check The Manufacturer’ s blog section on the magazine website for updates.