CW Innovation Awards: How Mondelez is driving innovation

The company behind Oreo biscuits is tapping low-code and no-code development, drones and blockchain, among other emerging technologies, to drive innovation and improve efficiency

As one of the largest snacks companies in the world, Mondelez operates a large supply chain and manufacturing footprint to produce well-known snacks such as Cadbury chocolates and Oreo biscuits.

To power its growth and drive innovation, the company embarked on an organisation-wide initiative called Innovations @ Mondelez to harness new and emerging technologies such as low-code/no-code development, natural language processing (NLP) and drones.

What started as an experimental project soon became an ongoing programme that led to productivity gains, better employee experience and higher production yields, among other outcomes.

Take the movement of goods across its manufacturing plants and co-manufacturing locations, for example. The process was highly manual and led to challenges in recording and reconciling inventory.

Using automation and more than 200 new applications created using low-code/no-code development tools, Mondelez was able to digitise all the information and approvals, resulting in manhour savings, better compliance controls and faster turnaround time while improving audit efficiency.

At the same time, it also digitised certificates of analysis across its manufacturing plants, enabling it to generate insights on supplier quality and reduce document processing time by 70% for the 100,000 documents it handles each year.

On the human resources (HR) front, Mondelez deployed NLP-powered virtual agents to answer HR-related queries from employees, who can also raise cases and connect with advisors through those agents. This has improved employee engagement and user experience, and reduced live agent escalations by 30%.

The use of extended reality to guide workers in the field and improve workplace safety has been bandied about in recent years. To that, Mondelez implemented a digital work instruction platform that guides workers on approved procedures to handle defects or anomalies, improving process efficiency and reducing unplanned downtime.

At its plantations, Mondelez has also deployed drones and built an artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled analytics platform to monitor the health of its crops, detect diseases and facilitate fertilisation, improving plant yield and reducing water usage, among other outcomes.

“With each of our initiatives, we measure the impact to our top and bottom lines. We are also contributing to productivity in our manufacturing facilities, simplifying our ways of working and building a digital-first mindset”
Sanjay Gurbuxani, Mondelez Digital Services

Another key technology deployed under Innovations @ Mondelez, which was named Project of The Year at the 2023 Computer Weekly Innovation Awards APAC, is blockchain, which has enabled Mondelez to improve the traceability of its products and meet food safety requirements. This has reduced product trace times for recalls from less than a week to just over a day.

A key part of the project’s success was management sponsorship which helped to drive the larger digital agenda and inspire participation from different teams across the business.

More importantly, the project team sent a clear message that there should be no fear of failure as Mondelez was dealing with emerging technologies. With the mantra of failing fast but moving forward, teams had the courage to experiment and come up with a multitude of ideas that yielded real business benefits.

“With each of our initiatives, we measure the impact to our top and bottom lines,” said Sanjay Gurbuxani, vice-president for Mondelez Digital Services. “We are also contributing to productivity in our manufacturing facilities, simplifying our ways of working and building a digital-first mindset where teams are looking at leveraging digital to solve real business problems.”

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