How a global snacks leader optimized its P&L through gamification

The senior supply chain management of a global snacks leader wanted to strategically address market pressure by increasing their operational profit with 5 to 10% over the next two years. To reach this next performance level focus is put on following complementary axes:

  • Pursuing profitable (adjacent) business growth and realize lower relative cost by leveraging current assets and cost structure, to realize lower relative costs (as % of total sales)

  • Strictly controlling own entire cost structure, reducing cost levels on materials and formulation, packaging, supply, logistics, production, engineering, energy management,…

  • Work with partners, consultants, suppliers, distributors,… across the value chain to review and rethink the end-to-end cost structure of the entire value chain involved

In a first phase, Venture Spirit was called to help on the latter two axes, simply because of the short-term need for impact. While the traditional techniques to generate new cost optimization ideas, did not produce the expected outcomes anymore, the client wanted to try something more radical. Therefore they introduced Venture Spirit’s gamified approach to scout for fresh ideas, going beyond the trivialities and to realize the goals defined by their company-wide 18by18 program.


The key success factors why Venture Spirit was selected are:

  • Go beyond the usual suspects, involving more people with more ideas, without disturbing the busy day-to-day

  • Trigger safe (anonymous) co-creation and collaboration, across different organizations, ruling out negotiation dynamics

  • Actively stimulate knowledge sharing to rethink the entire business operations for all parties involved

“Using gaming techniques and dynamics really made the difference. It was a fun, engaging experience, with immediate, tangible and real ROI” - Challenge Owner Fast Forward

Approach


Venture Spirit set up an anonymous, gamified exploration process to activate the company’s and its ecosystem’s unusual suspects to generate at least 30M$ of fresh cost-saving ideas. A global inspiration game invited employees from different entities to collaborate cross-functionally and to scout for hidden gems throughout the end-to-end supply chain process (from concept, over production, up to consumer display).


The phased approach combined elements of advisory, to get the right inspirational material and guidance, campaign, to get the expected momentum, awareness and loyalty, and gamified platform, to bring the people together and use the constructive energy.


The project team acted as ambassadors, enthusing participants to play while co-participating actively in the game themselves. On a weekly basis, the best scoring ideas were further examined on their feasibility and net saving potential, to maximize agility in steering the community towards the best possible results and implementation scenarios.

“Now let’s role out my ideas into successful execution fast” - Winning Contributor Fast Forward

Results


The impact was overwhelming. In total, 250 participants came up with more than 300 ideas, reaching a 78M$ net cost-saving potential, given the challenge all expressed as cost saving potential for our client’s business. Evidently, the upside for the partners as well was well received.


Analysis of the cost-saving value and feasibility impact revealed a group of quick wins and more strategic ideas ready for take-up within the organization. These shortlisted ideas represented 47M$ in cost-reduction for the brand’s P&L. To ensure continued involvement of the best players after the game, cost-saving champions could choose to be kept abreast on the progress of their ideas. Almost all of them were happy to do so.


To help senior management decide on execution, three possible implementation scenarios were presented, each of them with specific upsides and decision implications in terms of staffing, governance, new ways of working and P&L impact. Only two months after the game, more than 20 projects were already integrated in the cost reduction program, generating 7M$ in savings. And on top of that, a new internal process made the benefits of gamification (such as less silo-thinking, optimized prioritization and seamless collaboration) part of the day-to-day way of working across the company.

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