Rmi Ameline, Supply Chain Planning Director at Pernod Ricard Group, spoke to Hugh Williams, Managing Director of Hughenden Consulting, about the company's Supply Chain education process:
What were the business drivers that led you to search for a supply chain consultancy service?
Rmi Ameline: "The Pernod Ricard Group is a worldwide company with affiliates in 70 countries and over 19,000 employees, for which we have a centralised education programme for middle and senior managers. At the time we had 20-25 sessions covering areas such as marketing, sales and HR, which were all run at the Pernod Ricard University in Paris.
"We realised that we needed to add a session for Supply Chain Managers and for the affiliates who have staff in supply chain operations, as we did not have any training resources in this area. Pernod Ricard is a very differentiated group, having acquired and merged with many companies over the years and therefore we had a large range of skill levels throughout the staff. Our main aim was to reach one standard way of thinking about supply chain management for the group and to upgrade people's skills and understanding of what supply chain planning is."
What were the critical requirements around the project?
RA: "We needed a partner who could supply an education session that included a mix of theoretical and practical skills, which could be easily transferred to the various affiliates, as the skills would need to be applied in the attendees' home countries. One consideration was that we had very strict time constraints and so the sessions had to be a maximum of three days in duration. We were also keen to find a partner who would provide an energetic and animated session to convey the training in a memorable way."
Why did you select Hughenden Consulting above other providers in the marketplace?
RA: "We looked at four providers from three European countries but decided that the education sessions would be delivered best in English because the content is reasonably technical and requires a rigorous vocabulary to support it. As well as being clear and easily understandable, the English language is also spoken by all of our affiliate companies.
"In addition to this, we were impressed by Hughenden Consulting's branding, with the liveliness that is conveyed by their website and their supporting documentation. The level of education they were able to demonstrate through their literature was also a deciding factor.
"Related to this, we found the My Event area of the website, where people who have attended an education session are able to find related course documents, a unique feature, which was not found with the other providers. Hughenden Consulting seemed to offer a global package. Finally, Hughenden Consulting assured us that they would run all the sessions with two people, which would enable the sessions to be a lot more interactive and less like a traditional learning environment."
What benefits have you seen since working with Hughenden Consulting?
RA: "The project has been an ongoing one and not just related to quick wins Hughenden Consulting are now globally in the loop and we are able to approach them for advice about other areas of the business. We trust them, and as we both now know each other very well, their knowledge of our business and of our employees has reached a level where we see them as a partner, not just a supplier.
"Hughenden Consulting are not afraid to challenge traditional opinions and by working in this way, they have allowed us to fight against outdated ideals and to move the supply chain operations forward.
One of the key benefits of working with Hughenden Consulting is that we now have the beginnings of a real supply chain community within the group, which means that people who have taken part in the sessions now interact with each other and share best practice around the company."
About The Pernod Ricard Group
The Pernod Ricard Group is a global leader in wines and spirits. Since its creation in 1975, the company has undergone steady development, founded on both organic growth and successive acquisitions. The purchase of the Swedish vodka Absolut in July 2008 is the most recent sign of the Group's worldwide ambitions. Building on its portfolio of Premium brands, its presence on every continent and its decentralised management structure, Pernod Ricard is dedicated to continuing international development.
About Hughenden Consulting
Hughenden Consulting is a specialist consultancy, focused on the processes of Supply Chain Planning. The company is expert in a very specific field of Supply Chain, specialising in Sales Forecasting, Inventory Planning, Production Planning & Scheduling, Materials Planning and Sales & Operations Planning all the areas that are recognised as critical contributors to the financial performance of a business. Hughenden has long-term partnerships with its clients, helping them, through a combination of consultancy and education, to institute continuous and sustained change. Hughenden Consulting believes Supply Chain Planning is an area where change takes place over a period of time, not as a result of a report. The company is able to provide a consistent service in both consultancy and education in English, French, Spanish and German, and has so far provided its services in 25 countries.