German sugar and packaged food producer Sudzucker AG learned all about intense market upheaval long before the recession hit. In late 2005, after nearly four decades of protective regulations, the EU opened Europe’s borders to outside suppliers. Suddenly, Sudzucker had to think hard about how to operate efficiently in a markedly more competitive environment. One technology it examined: business intelligence, or the practice of extracting nuggets of valuable knowledge about operations that otherwise remain hidden away in the morass of disparate systems, databases, and processes.
Sudzucker’s “sugar conversion” group, which packages and transports bulk, boxed, and bagged finished product, tapped Factory MOM, which went live across their plant. Everyone, from the corporate chief of sugar packaging and transport, Peter Koopmans, to country bosses, to plant managers use it to help them clearly see where there are trouble areas and bright spots, and what to do about them — whether to stop production, shift it, or make other sorts of changes. Read this engaging article on their success.