In recent years the Carlsberg Group has significantly expanded its activities in Scandinavia, Europe, Russia and Asia, recording 56% revenue growth between 2005 and 2009. Not surprisingly there has been a great need to replace outdated offline solutions with mobile ones. The company is now fully engaged in this process. Initially the process will affect Carlsberg’s European and Nordic activities and later the group’s other markets. The goal is for Carlsberg to implement the mobile IT solution ControlTransport from Consafe Logistics, which is fully integrated with Carlsberg’s SAP-system, in 13 countries by 2015.
Claus Jensen is the development consultant responsible for implementing the mobile IT solution at Carlsberg. He pinpoints three main reasons or motives for introducing mobile IT solutions at Carlsberg:
Legislative considerations relating to traceability and food safety.
The desire to streamline the business so it performs better for less.
Automate necessary routine tasks to give staff more meaningful job content.
"Initially we are focusing on the first two points, namely legislation and business optimisation. We are particularly interested in optimising our customer invoice flow so we can improve our customer service, liquidity and return flow," explains Claus Jensen.
Carlsberg’s mobile IT solution enables drivers to print invoices at the customer’s place of business. This means the customer receives the goods and the invoice in one and the same procedure, there are fewer incorrect invoices and Carlsberg receives payment earlier, thus improving its cash flow.
…and inventory status
Returned goods take up a lot of Carlsberg’s system resources, and a great deal of money can be saved if the group has a precise, real-time overview of the scale and location of its return goods inventory. According to Claus Jensen this affords several advantages:
Reduced returned goods inventory
Less warehouse space needed
Substantially less time spent on manually counting returned goods at the warehouse
Better space utilisation on lorries -> fewer empty kilometres -> reduced CO2 emission.
Tighter control and a better decision-making basis
"The biggest advantage of the new mobile IT generation is probably the vast improvement in our data gathering and updating. This gives us tighter control of master data and greater data discipline because data gathering is carried out at source, namely by the driver or the warehouse employee," says Claus Jensen.
In the Danish part of the business alone, the mobile solution comprises 300 lorries, 315 terminals and 340 drivers.
This means that management always has an up-to-date business overview, which in turn provides a better basis for management decision-making.
Cheaper and better IT operations
The Carlsberg Group stresses the importance of centralising and standardising IT operations. "The mobile IT solution enables us to centralise IT development and operations. This results in fewer costs and greater flexibility because the IT architecture is simpler and more standardised," explains Claus Jensen.
Financial flow follows goods flow
One of the immediate benefits of Carlsberg’s mobile IT solution is the improved invoice flow. Each day ControlTransport provides Carlsberg with an updated invoicing basis. This enables the group to maintain a faster invoice flow, which is consistently many days or in some cases even weeks faster than was previously the case. Furthermore, customer statements are constantly updated, giving customers access to precise purchasing and consumption data.
"The solution provides us with a faster data flow, which goes hand in hand with a better cash flow," says Claus Jensen.
Four good tips for mobile IT solutions:
Claus Jensen has four recommendations for other companies planning to implement mobile IT solutions:
Establish close cooperation between IT and logistics. IT mobility must support the logistical processes and it goes without saying that the best results are achieved when logistics experts with knowledge of the value stream are brought on board.
Successful major IT change requires a corresponding change in processes and human behaviour. It is therefore a good idea to carry out 360-degree tests on the IT solution before implementation to give the parties involved the opportunity to assess the consequences. Testing is time-consuming but prevents expensive mistakes and minimises risks.
Involve management and key staff from the entire value chain, from sales to supply chain to finance. The great value of a mobile IT solution is precisely that it unites the whole chain, but this requires consulting and involving the parties concerned.
The more mobile IT benefits the company can SHOW the customer, the better. The mobile IT solution is the ERP system’s extended arm in the field and the marketplace. It is also important to take steps to ensure security by establishing secure internet connections.