Mondelēz International, Inc. is a global snack food powerhouse, with revenues of $35 billion in 2013. Its mission is to "create delicious moments of joy" for consumers in 165 countries by bringing them many of the world's favorite snack brands such as Oreo, Nabisco, Cadbury, Trident and Tang.1 Mondelēz International holds leading market shares in every category in which it competes: ranking first globally in biscuits, chocolate, candy and powdered beverages as well as second in gum and coffee. 2 Now the company's leadership wants to further strengthen its competitive advantages and grow its market share in emerging markets by enhancing global collaboration, expediting decision-making and increasing operational efficiency.
At Mondelēz International, product innovation is at the heart of delivering delicious experiences for customers. Around the globe, more than 2,000 scientists lead the company's research and development (R&D) efforts. Their ability to boost efficiency and ingenuity often depends on their ability to collaborate effectively across divisions and continents. What can a team researching biscuits learn from its colleagues who are developing beverages? Why did one candy team decide to discontinue use of certain ingredient five years ago? Is there an opportunity to save time or money by using a new manufacturing process? To answer countless questions and generate new ideas, Mondelēz International scientists often needed access to decades' worth of internal documentation stored in different systems and locations worldwide. This issue became even more acute when the company spun off its North American Grocery business in 2012 and no longer had access to a number of its most experienced product developers
Mondelēz International scientists appreciated the need for a single view of both its own internal documents and a wealth of scientific research and patent information from outside the company. If they could quickly pinpoint relevant information, instead of performing broad research, the company could lower R&D costs and accelerate product development.
"We need knowledge at the touch of a button," said Jonathan Gordon-Till, Senior Associate Principal Scientist at Mondelēz International. "We have lots of legacy organizations and people, and content across different platforms, geographies and languages. All of that collectively can help answer food technology challenges. We are good at documenting our knowledge, but finding information when we need it has been the greatest challenge of all."
Accessing Knowledge at the Touch of a Button
Mondelēz International found its "touch-of-a-button" solution with the global implementation of Goldfire® – patented multi-lingual semantic research software that now provides quick, precise access to a broad spectrum of information sources both inside and outside the company.
We're starting to see faster innovation and intelligent decision-making, reducing our time to market. Goldfire is saving us a lot of time by putting the right information at our fingertips.
"We needed a robust search across all our content," said Gordon-Till. "With Goldfire, it is like having a single repository system without having to move everything into one system. We're able to globally open up our internal content going back to the 1930's, plus millions of documents in the hundreds of knowledge bases that come with it. Being able to do a single, unified ideation search across a lot of different content is something that we've been seeking for a long time."
Within 6 months, Mondelēz International had indexed 230 internal information sources, giving scientists – for the first time – insights into thousands of disparate systems with existing research and documentation across business units and geographies in five languages. Content is indexed in its original language but then translated and searchable in four others. Past barriers and organizational pressures have dissipated as information flows more freely and is easier to use.
In particular, Mondelēz International R&D teams were glad that they could now see not only what the company's other teams had previously decided, but also how and why that decision was made. Why did they abandon a project? Create something new? Or do something differently? The details could now be easily retrieved.
Externally, Mondelēz International researchers could now explore a wealth of worldwide patent information, reference books, standards articles, competitor information, specifications and more.
Mondelēz International is looking for everyone in its R&D function to have access and by the end of Dec 2014, 75% were using it. It has also nearly met its goal of indexing all internal repositories. Gordon-Till believes they are exceeding initial expectations for its initial uptake and showing positive business benefits.
Many Mondelēz International scientists now see the IHS Markit solution as an integral part of their processes. High usage stems from the company's aggressive approach to training and marketing, and its ease of use. The company has more than 30 Goldfire "Champions" ready to lead their peers in learning and applying the tool. Mondelēz International trainers and IHS Markit experts hold regular master classes for users to share best practices, ideas and questions.
"Our scientists are saying, 'This is one of those very, very few experiences with a new technology implementation that we're really enjoying,'" Gordon-Till said. "It's delivering rapid benefits.
Achieving Results, Building Momentum
A Mondelēz International team in the United Kingdom found the answer to a critical product development issue in Russia on an internal German document repository – in English - that the team previously would not have been able to access. Finding the answer in a single search took only seconds compared to an expected 20 days of experimentation. For Mondelēz International, tying up a team of scientists and laboratory equipment for 20 days can cost tens of thousands of dollars for just one simple query.
Mondelēz International is finding that it can shorten the time it takes to sift through routine patent alerts. And for those who are new to the company or moving from division to division, they are shortening the time it takes to bring themselves up to speed on the new products they are expected to work on.
As the company's use of the system builds momentum, it is drawing interest from other divisions of the company – including engineering, manufacturing, consumer insights and supply chain. Mondelēz International leadership is taking notice. "I can't tell you how phenomenal the reaction has been from our senior leadership – they are very supportive," said Gordon-Till.
The R&D team's continued advances, beginning to be replicated across other teams, seem sure to bolster Mondelēz International's market leadership and growth objectives.
"We're starting to see faster innovation and intelligent decision-making, reducing our time to market. Goldfire is saving us a lot of time by putting the right information at our fingertips." said Gordon-Till.