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SAP CRM sweetens Wrigley's trade promotion

An image overhaul, coupled with trade promotion management tools from SAP, has boosted the Wrigley Company to the top of the confectionery market.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- When Bill Wrigley, Jr. took over as president and CEO of his father's company in 1999, he decided that it was time to expand the image and reputation of the Wrigley Company's global brand, widely known for its popular chewing gum.

Along with an image overhaul, Wrigley wanted to revamp the aging, disparate IT systems and processes at the company -- and he chose SAP to help make that happen. By 2004, the Peoria, Ill. company had deployed SAP R/3 systems globally on a single instance and had also invested in SAP's Enterprise Portal. Yet increased competition had the company wondering how it could distinguish itself using new technology.

"Based on the changing needs of the marketplace, [Bill Wrigley] decided it was imperative to expand the SAP functionality at the company," said Paul Barbary, Wrigley's vice president, CRM, in a session at SAP's Sapphire user conference.

With candy prices in the U.S. decreasing and the company moving into new confectionery categories that required more promotional and seasonal trade attention, Wrigley could no longer avoid the need for trade promotion. In the past, the company had preferred to keep trade spend lower than average, investing instead in a large field force and strong consumer marketing.

"[In 2003] we had to become a big trade spender, and we weren't prepared," Barbary said.

The Wrigley Company was interested in trade promotion management software from SAP, but because it was a new software offering and because of Wrigley's own upcoming acquisition plans -- it has since acquired the Altoids and Lifesaver brands -- it had to phase in its implementation. First, Wrigley formed a testing program, which it called "CView" or "Customer View," and the testing team, including Barbary, started blueprinting.

Initially, the team defined the project objectives. They determined that the company had a definite need for improved collaboration among departments and a need for powerful account planning that should be rolled out at the channel, market, regional and global levels.

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The team also held a number of "as is" and "to be" workshops, where they learned more about trade promotion and its benefits for the organization. Barbary pointed out that the training was considered just as important as the software Wrigley was evaluating.

"Trade promotion management is a discipline -- it's about learning. It's about the people and not the tool," Barbary said.

In the first phase of the project, from 2004 to 2005, the company deployed Web-based dashboards and sales reporting tools. The second phase, expected to be complete by 2007, will involve event marketing and analytics.

The Web-based dashboards are imperative to the simplicity of the system, according to Barbary. The dashboards have a consistent look and feel for all users in all departments, and they utilize single-sign-on (SSO) capabilities so that the end user can move throughout the SAP system with ease. The dashboards are also alerts-based, which reduces the interruptions to the user.

"Everyone knows how to drive a browser," Barbary said, "so everyone will [know how to use it]."

Using the dashboard, salespeople can quickly track their own progress month to month and over the year, while managers can quickly review how their teams are performing throughout the year. Users can personalize their dashboards with tabs, windows and bookmarks.

After preparing and testing phase 1 of their project, the CView team moved from country to country deploying the system, adding 1,800 global users to the CView system from mid-2004 to December 2005. On site, the team identified the power users of the new system, managed and coordinated the data hierarchy, and coordinated training up to the go-live date within 90 days.

By deploying the system on a global scale, the team learned valuable lessons for phase 2 of the project. Ensuring data quality and data hierarchies is one of the most important steps of the implementation, Barbary said. In addition, local experts are integral for personalizing the system to meet local needs. It is also important to identify the target users to focus on training, instead of trying to train a very large group. Many sites were inclined to train a large group, according to Barbary, but in the end, the target users were the most likely to adopt the system.

As phase 2 rolls along, the CView team is still working to find a balance between ease of use and functionality for the system. Since there were no reference customers available for the software, Wrigley's system is the prototype, and one they are constantly adapting.

"How easy you can keep it versus how cool you can make it -- that is something we still struggle with," Barbary said.

The trade promotion management system goes live on July 10 in the U.S. and Canada, but it will not include the mobile salesforce. If all goes well with the pilot systems, Wrigley plans to roll out SAP's trade promotion management application in Australia by the end of 2006 and in parts of Europe in 2007.

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