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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Coke Does Interesting AI and Decision Support Work

Former competitor of mine, their use of AI and more for supply chain.

How Colgate-Palmolive Built a Framework for Supply Chain Analytics

Lisa Johnston, Editor-in-Chief   Colgate-Palmolive has developed an analytics engagement lead role to serve as an organizational coach.

Colgate-Palmolive has developed a foundation to fuel the advancement of supply chain analytics that not only includes a dedicated analytics catalyst team but also a coach to lead them. 

Though it remains in early days, the company is also exploring the future of decision intelligence and what new roles may be required to support it.   

Having a digitized supply chain is a key component of supply chain resilience, but it’s often hampered by a dearth of tech talent and a critical need for upskilling. Like many consumer goods companies, Colgate-Palmolive is taking steps to democratize analytics across the enterprise, including through investments within supply chain analytics engineers. 

What’s a bit novel is that they’ve also developed an analytics engagement lead role to serve as an organizational coach, a role that Jason Bunce, Colgate-Palmolive worldwide director, supply chain analytics enablement, cited in a Gartner webinar this month as critical.  

See also: David Foster Takes CIO Helm at Colgate-Palmolive

This role focuses on educating, socializing, and facilitating analytics within Colgate-Palmolive, and owns the development and delivery of their data literacy program, collating and sharing best practice, and managing the No. 30 publicly owned consumer goods company’s intranet-based practitioner community. 

“It’s an investment that can look to be a bit of a luxury on the face of it,” said Bunce, ”but it's been a really sound investment for us.”

ACT Activate 

The analytics engagement lead also spearheads a key group of citizen data analysts — a virtual team known as the analytics catalyst team (ACT), who are handpicked assistant data analysts from across the global supply chain. These business employees — there are around 40 of them — dedicate 20% of their time to support ACT and are split between analytics developers and analytics translators. 

They not only bring “extra hands on keyboards” to help develop datasets, visualizations, and other analytics, but the translators serve as the power-user glue between business and technical employees.

“They're passionate about analytics, and they want an opportunity to make a difference,” noted Bunce. “Being part of this team [gives] them an opportunity to deliver value, while at the same time developing personally through enhancing their capabilities and gaining great exposure across the business.”  

Upskilling, Top to Bottom 

Culture change starts at the top, and so Colgate-Palmolive kicked off its analytics development program with a bespoke training program for supply chain leaders, including their chief supply chain officer.   Over the course of a week, leaders spent an hour a day in a socially networked self-learning environment with an external facilitator. Each day tackled a different topic, such as the value of building data analytics capability, data as a strategic asset, the importance of collaboration in data analytics, and developing an analytics culture. It was ultimately delivered to 1,000 leaders over the span of a year. 

See also: Out of the Gate: 12 Tips for New CPG CIOs

Different learning personas were subsequently developed to focus on data literacy, an introduction to data science, and storytelling with data — “so we’re all speaking a common language” — as well as monthly newsletters, quarterly practitioner communities, and an active intranet sharing community. 

Look Ahead: Decision Intelligence 

Bunce’s team’s scope includes transforming operational analytics around inventory, transparency, and plant performance, and this year they’re pivoting slightly to complement the enablement focus and expand into advanced analytics — focusing on elevating from descriptive analytics to diagnostic analytics. 

This includes a particular emphasis on demand sensing, as well as network design modeling capabilities and developing additional synchronization within vertical integrations.

Colgate-Palmolive is further exploring the value of decision intelligence, according to Bunce, and the company has begun piloting technology within the space with a third party.  

“At the moment when we're in the early stages of this development, we can contract out a number of these roles," he said. "But I think as we grow in this space, we'll need to have the conversation about what we contract out and what we build within our organization." 

“Whatever we do. I think we need to have a degree of ownership of this, so there will definitely be new capabilities that we're developing internally.”    ... ' 

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