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December 1, 2023

The story of AB InBev’s end-to-end planning transformation

Michael Kress sits down with Igor Rikalo to share best practices
and lessons learned from its end-to-end planning transformation.

The Takeaways:

1. AB InBev faced challenges in facilitating the adoption and scaling of its digital transformation technology to all markets. They built a global center of excellence (COE) to coordinate and share best practices and ensure successful adoption. The adoption and usage of the platform required more change than expected, and planners needed to rethink how they did their jobs and be more proactive and collaborative. This required a change of mindset, one that allows planners to shift from firefighting mode to "cruise control on autopilot."

2. The new system requires more collaboration across the supply chain, with planners needing to focus on master data and working collaboratively with partners to understand constraints. Planners are shifting from firefighting mode to proactive planning, and the system is designed to allow planners to find opportunities and avoid fires in the first place. AB InBev is spending a lot of time on adoption and understanding pain points to ensure that planners have the tools they need to be successful each day.

3. AB InBev aims to leverage the o9 platform to avoid fragmentation and track data and adoption, especially in supplier collaborations, which will be a big part of their future endeavors. The company has reached the point where they have an end-to-end solution, and it can now copy and paste it to new markets. However, they continue to learn from end-users and make changes to improve the system's user interface, system performance, and capabilities.

4. Sustainability is integral to the company's business, with a focus on sourcing high-quality, local ingredients to make better-tasting beer that is better for the planet. AB InBev believes that sustainability and community go hand in hand with the company's commercial strategy since beer is an agricultural and local product. Manufacturing closer to customers is a big goal for the company as it allows them to source high-quality ingredients, develop breweries in local communities, and keep costs low for the communities.

5. Michael's advice to other executives looking to transform their operations is to invest in technology, people, and processes tailored towards their business goals and to start with a use case to see the value of the investment and build upon it over time. Michael recommends investing in the supply chain by first investing in people and processes and then ensuring that there is a digital platform capable of supporting the business.

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