In the ever-evolving landscape of the beverage industry, Heineken Ireland found itself facing a complex challenge: the management of glassware and drip mat distribution across a diverse portfolio of 11 brands, amounting to a staggering 90,000 cases of glassware annually, delivered to over 8,000 outlets. The company was caught in a convoluted process involving over 75 stakeholders, each viewing the project from their unique perspective. This complicated network resulted in financial strain and an excessive expenditure of employee time. Heineken lacked a holistic overview of the distribution process, hindering their ability to monitor delivery timelines, stock levels, demand planning, and provide top-notch customer service. The distribution spanned multiple suppliers, leading to disjointed reporting and a lack of cohesive stock management, exacerbating the complexity of the process.
To overcome these challenges, Heineken sought a partner capable of not only navigating the intricacies of stock management and order fulfillment but also upholding stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that spanned diverse delivery timelines and frequencies, ensuring a best-in-class service for their customers.
A Synergy of Expertise
Heineken found the solution in a collaboration between two industry leaders: FMI and STL. FMI brought the management and technological capabilities, while STL, a prominent transport, distribution, and warehousing service, possessed the ability to reach every pub in Ireland. This partnership provided an industry-leading solution that addressed Heineken’s pain points comprehensively.
To roll out this ambitious project, stakeholders from Heineken, FMI, and STL joined forces to design a strategic timeline and approach, involving various departments, including procurement, sales, finance, and IT. Initially planned for a 3-6 month timeline, the project’s complexity led all parties to agree on a 12-month duration for a sustainable solution.
Before going live, the project faced a major hurdle: integrating various systems across Heineken, FMI, and STL. This 12-month integration project required cross-functional collaboration, given the diversity of platforms and technologies involved. The objective was to create a simple flow of information across businesses to provide key insights driving performance and decision-making.
The integration project aimed to deliver insights and details into core functional areas of the business, resulting in a dynamic and insight-led glassware distribution system. Several key reports were generated by FMI based on comprehensive data about the Heineken business, including information on the network of pubs, ordering expectations, sales representatives, call frequency, stock requirements, and damage and returns processes. This data was cleansed and formatted for easy tracking and reporting, ensuring transparency and accessibility for all stakeholders.
The final reporting platform provided by FMI featured a dynamic visualization dashboard that offered complete transparency into every step of the process, enabling concise and effective data visualisation and reporting.
Efficiency, Transparency, and Cost Savings
With the new process and reporting system established by FMI and STL, Heineken gained comprehensive oversight of the glassware and drip mat distribution process. Real-time data provided visibility into deliveries by territory, sales representative, outlet, and date, all within measurable SLAs. These reports also granted Heineken full visibility of stock holding and demand planning, enhancing forecasting accuracy.
The team could now consolidate forecasts within just two days, a task that previously took over a month. The reports facilitated a seamless deep dive, offering clarity on missed deliveries with remarkable precision and enabling prompt issue resolution. As a result, the entire distribution process managed by FMI yielded a comprehensive end-to-end overview, streamlined stakeholder involvement, increased time efficiencies, heightened cost-effectiveness, and enhanced forecasting accuracy.
Aidan McSweeney, Procurement Category Manager Commerce at Heineken, summarized the project’s success: “The feedback is great, from where we came from to where we are now. Stakeholders are extremely positive about the new process and ways of working. It’s harmonized, agile, with more robust processes and reporting dashboards in place. We had no complete oversight of what was happening. We now have this in place. The process has yielded a considerable financial savings to Heineken and has driven huge efficiencies in time saved by the team.”
Heineken’s partnership with FMI and STL exemplifies how strategic collaboration, efficient systems integration, and robust reporting can transform a complex distribution process into a model of efficiency, transparency, and cost-effectiveness. This is the power of synergy in overcoming industry challenges and achieving exceptional results.