No Tricks, Only Treats With Hershey’s Digital Supply Chain

Richard Howells

On October 31, ghosts will haunt the streets, princesses will grace us with their presence, and masked superheroes will be out in full force protecting our neighborhoods.

There are few holidays that kids look forward to more than Halloween. And getting all dolled up and transforming themselves into someone or something else is hardly the reason. The real reason is, without a doubt, the candy.

Need proof? Just take look at your child’s face any time a piece of chocolate hits the bottom of his or her bag. Pure, unadulterated bliss.

Yet despite how much your kids value these tasty treats, they definitely take for granted how this candy winds up in their satchels on Halloween night. We adults, however, know the truth. Before any delicious morsels hit our tongues, this candy embarks on a long, complex journey through the supply chain.

The Hershey Company, which manufactures a number of your favorite sweets, knows this better than anyone. That’s why the organization is embracing the latest innovations and reimagining its existing systems and processes to simplify its current supply chain operations and deliver superior customer experiences.

The Hershey Company’s secret ingredient: data

“We’re a 120-plus-year-old confectionary company,” says Hershey CEO J.P. Bilbrey, “but at the same time, we describe ourselves as a knowledge company.”

This knowledge is invaluable to Hershey, as it enables the company to optimize its planning, production, shipping, and other capabilities.

Obtaining this data, however, can be a challenging task. Nearly 75% of supply chain executives say that accessing customer insight, for instance, is difficult, according to recent SCM World research. And more than one-third of surveyed executives admit to possessing no customer data at all.

The Hershey Company has been able to access valuable customer insight by digitizing its supply chain. This transformation has helped the organization to:

  • Visualize data in real time and quickly act on the insights
  • Transform how it manages inventory, procures goods, and moves items through its system
  • Put customers at the forefront of its operations

Like chocolate, connectivity is oh-so sweet

In addition to offering unparalleled access to data, digital supply chains are so valuable to companies due to the connectivity they provide. When everything is connected, businesses can collaborate on a whole new level.

By openly sharing information within an enterprise, as well as across networks, supply chain organizations can leverage their strengths more broadly and thrive in today’s digital economy. They’re better equipped to sense, respond, learn, adapt, and predict to Run Simple and create value in the moment.

Connectivity allows Hershey Company staff to better communicate and collaborate with one another, as well as with suppliers, partners, and customers. Additionally, by being well connected, The Hershey Company is in a prime position to take advantage of all the data at its disposal.

J.P. Bilbrey believes that connectivity is crucial to the short- and long-term success of The Hershey Company.

“Enterprise connectivity is going to be the single most important thing to be able to win in the marketplace,” he says. “And we want to win.”

Operate as a Live Business, just like The Hershey Company

Being a Live Business means being able to see across your entire network in real time, enabling you to simplify and optimize your operations, from concept to delivery. It means possessing greater agility, visibility, scalability, and responsiveness. It means adapting to ever-evolving customer expectations and satisfying your buyers.

With a digital supply chain, The Hershey Company has been able to achieve all of this. That means a happier Halloween for your children. And who knows? If your kids are willing to share their bounty with Mom and Dad, it could mean a happy Halloween for you, too.

Learn more about how your business can kick-start its transformation into a Live Business by digitizing its supply chain.

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About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.