Snack food giant Mondelēz uses cloud to push a mindset of faster innovation

July 27, 2021 | 3 minute read
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By Margaret Harrist, Director of Content Strategy, Oracle

Snack food giant Mondelēz International had to transport a whole lot of Oreo cookies, Cadbury and Toblerone chocolate, Ritz and Triscuit crackers, and many other snacks on the way to $25.9 billion in revenue last year.

Almost a third of that was sold in North America, where Robert Owen leads transportation network optimization. That network connects a vast array of plants, distribution centers, branches, external manufacturers, and suppliers. When he joined the company in 2012, the transportation function ran on on-premises Oracle applications, using a wide range of hardware that Mondelēz had to manage.

“We’re a snacking company. We make cookies and crackers and gums,” says Owen, who was one of the guests on the July Oracle Live virtual event, which focused on companies’ experiences with Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications. “We have to be agile, but we also know that we’re not the experts in everything, and we don’t want to be.”

Complicating the IT management challenge further, Mondelēz had customized those applications, making updates extremely complex.

“We found ourselves not only out of support but out of date with the software and some of the peripheral elements,” Owen says.

Using out-of-date technology is a big disadvantage in the consumer goods industry, where pressure to innovate is high. The company decided to adopt the SaaS model, including implementing Oracle Fusion Cloud Transportation Management. That not only provided an upgrade from their on-premises systems, he says, but also changed the company’s mindset to drive faster innovation.

“It was a shift from customizing software and making it work the way you wanted, to a much more standardized model,” Owen says. It also meant getting regular updates—quarterly, rather than the on-premises reality of once a year at best. Mondelēz would no longer be behind, but it had to structure the organization to handle application upgrades every 90 days.

“We needed to make sure that the updates were implemented successfully, and we needed to test and vet them,” Owen says. “To do that, we put together a dedicated team, and we've migrated to a checklist type of environment where we basically do things by rote. We keep the process as consistent as we possibly can.”

It was a huge jump from the on-premises days, and Owen says it’s been a big benefit to his team and to Mondelēz as a whole.

Partners are key

Keeping store shelves stocked with its popular products takes a complex logistics operation that includes a range of partners and requires lots of negotiations on rates and capacity. Each of those partners has different systems that Mondelēz needs to integrate with, he says, and being able to see how all of the pieces perform together is an advantage.

But one of the key factors to the company’s successful move to the cloud has been its partnership with Oracle, Owen says.

“Oracle’s account management team was a key element in the implementation,” he says. “You’re going to encounter issues, and the account management team helped me and Mondelēz navigate, putting the right teams and the right groups of people in touch with one another to talk the same language.”

Another critical factor has been the Oracle Transportation Management development team. “We liaised with them not only when we had problems—and problems are going to occur with enterprise-level software—but also just asking questions, and that team is available,” he says.

But it’s not just Oracle teams that have helped Mondelēz. Owen says that the opportunities to get together with other people at conferences and to participate in Oracle’s customer advisory board have been very beneficial.

“These are things that are done outside of Oracle—and Oracle puts yeast into this and enables it to grow,” Owen says. “It really is a terrific community. We leverage it quite a bit, and it has made my job not only easier and more effective, but frankly it's made it a bit more pleasurable. It's nice to know everybody out there.”

Learn more about Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Management & Manufacturing.

Listen to Oracle Live: The Future of Business with Steve Miranda to hear from Mondelēz and other customers including Koger and TTX, on why they needed to modernize their processes and make rapid decisions in today's fast changing environment and why they switched to Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications.

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