Learn How Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Digitized and Transformed Its Product Launch Process and Cut Cycle Time by 56%

By Heather Oebel on Oct 27, 2020

This past Thursday, I had the pleasure of leading a webinar joined by Georgi Nenchev, Applications Manager & Solutions Architect for the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC), who described how CCHBC transformed the company’s product launch process in a very short time using Winshuttle’s NPI (New Product Introduction) solution.

In this blog, I highlight pieces of that conversation and share some of Georgi’s great insights. I encourage you to view the full video online to learn all the details.

CCHBC’s Prior Product Launch Process

Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, CCHBC operates 500+ plants across 28 countries (with thousands of products across 200+ brands), selling 2.5 billion cases each year to 615 million customers. According to Georgi, CCHBC launches 300,000+ products annually, with the number of new brands introduced and cases sold increasing each year. The Business Solutions and Systems team (the BSS team) at CCHBC wanted to streamline the product launch process – focusing on centralization and standardization and implementing automations across the business. “BSS is a meeting point where we introduce new technology and processes and blend this mix into a competitive advantage for CCHBC. This is our proud tradition for 50+ years, as each year, we introduce something new to the market,” he said.

Georgi, who was responsible for updating the company’s existing solutions with the new Winshuttle platform, said that previously the business used seven different legacy solutions for product launches. “In the master data area, one challenge was we had outdated systems responsible for the master data management in the material and customer domains,” he said. “Another challenge was the many different product lines across the different regions and countries. We have nearly 50 material types, and it took up to 48 days on average to introduce a new product, which is quite slow. We also had 20 different workflow steps that involved 20 workflow participants. This led to delays in our project launch times.”

Selecting the NPI Solution

As the BSS team began searching for an ideal solution that would reduce CCHBC’s introduction cycle, it had several criteria targets for the application, according to Georgi, such as:

  • Reduce the number of days to launch a new product to 20 days on average.
  • Harmonize and centralize processes across all 28 countries
  • Have flexibility to make modifications easily
  • Synchronize data with SAP ERP in real time
  • Have visibility of the end-to-end cycle

“Because we introduce new products so often, we wanted to modify the solution to serve the business needs and not the other way around where the business suffers because the solution cannot be changed easily,” Georgi said.

After selecting, implementing, and using the Winshuttle’s NPI solution for a year, Georgi cited a main highlight as providing end-to-end product launches with full back-end integrations with multiple SAP systems, such as SAP ERP, SAP Business Warehouse, and SAP Customer Relationship Management. He described the new, simple, four-step workflow as offering “one solution for different needs” – which include allowing different requestors (such as supply chain or marketing employees) to initiate requests for supporting objects, and having bill of materials (BOM) and routing data collected at the plant level.

“We had complex parent-child processes and complicated BoM objects that had to integrate with different SAP systems, but this was made very easy and seamless with the Winshuttle solution, which has enabled us to reduce the product launch time drastically,” Georgi added.

As he continued through the case study, he shared some of his favorite capabilities of the NPI solution. One was the customizable landing page and experience for Winshuttle users, and another was the tailored form created according to CCHBC’s requirements. Highlights of the form are:

  • The drop downs can be easily maintained without having to code or make changes in the back end.
  • It offers tips that help users populate the data in the form easily and help get new colleagues up to speed quickly.
  • Strict validation rules on the back end (that are not visible to the user) enable precise, clean, and standardized master data across all countries.

Results of Having One Centralized Solution

The NPI solution is tailored to meet different needs and variations that come with launching new products – whether that be a new size or color of a product, a modification to keep up with label and regulatory changes, a seasonal or promotional product, or bringing a SKU into a new territory. The solution can speed up complex processes by dynamically linking subprocesses associated with a main process, such as how CCHBC’s parent-child processes are stringing together and kicking off multiple plant-specific subprocesses independently. It can also handle both centralized and decentralized data within the same solution, and it offers a modular approach so companies, such as CCHBC, can start with the pieces that make the most sense to them and then expand.

CCHBC now has one centralized Winshuttle solution with 35 linked processes, seven SAP controlling objects, and 2,000+ workflow participants. “We have very simple workflows, tailored forms with different validations depending on different roles, a more agile launch of new material types, and many controls that allow us to have the master data CCHBC deserves and needs,” Georgi said. “We achieved impressive results in moving from 48 days on average to create a new material type to 21 days, which is a 56% reduction across all 28 countries — some countries even reduced this to eight days. We also saw a drastic change in our data quality due to the different validations that we are supporting by Winshuttle.”

To conclude his portion of the webinar, Georgi offered some lessons learned, such as that the business should be frequently involved and surveyed for feedback. He said that because the NPI solution is so easily adjustable, in response, CCHBC will implement that feedback quite often, as it plans to expand its use of Winshuttle.

During the second half of the webinar, I provide a few more details on the NPI solution and share a demo (of a genericized beverage company going through a product line extension to launch two new flavors of sparkling water) to show the solution in action. Watch the full video session..

About the author

Heather Oebel

The Winshuttle blog is written by professional thought leaders who are dedicated to providing content on a variety of topics, including industry news, best practices, software updates, continued education, tips and techniques, and much more.

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