Mondelēz International is an American multinational confectionery, food, holding, beverage and snack food company based in Chicago, operating in approximately 160 countries. Their best-known brands include Oreo, Ritz, Clif Bar, and Cadbury Dairy Milk. The company employs approximately 91,000 employees across the company’s factories, offices, R&D facilities and distribution activities around the world.
Mondelēz faced a twofold challenge of developing and scaling the right ideas, getting to market quickly and remaining ahead of the competition. To do that, they needed reliable tools to foster collaboration, encourage knowledge sharing and find the right experts quickly. Without such tools, the company would incur substantial costs caused by delays in production, including for products that relied on the same assembly line.
- Mondelēz has harnessed the power of Starmind to facilitate rapid connections among its large and globally distributed workforce, enabling employees to quickly access specialized knowledge. This has translated into tangible benefits, including a marked reduction in operational delays, improved productivity and significant cost savings. Beyond outpacing competitors in product development, Starmind's impact extends to cost-sensitive areas, such as preventing production plant downtime and reducing excessive storage needs, resulting in streamlined operations across the board.
- Using Starmind, Mondelēz employees can solve complex problems and foster innovation across the organization in less time. About 55% to 60% of questions are resolved within two hours or less, demonstrating the platform's success in connecting experts worldwide and streamlining knowledge-sharing and decision-making processes.
Mondelēz faced innovation challenges, including siloed working conditions, the need to better collaborate and share knowledge and finding the right experts for the job. Starmind's AI-powered expertise directory provided Mondelēz with the ability to quickly and efficiently access tacit knowledge and the best subject matter experts for any given question.
Since implementing Starmind, Mondelēz has experienced substantial and far-reaching outcomes, including a marked reduction in operational delays along with improved productivity. The platform has sped up R&D, boosted efficiency, saved costs and streamlined operations by disseminating critical knowledge swiftly.
CPG companies such as Mondelēz are always looking to improve productivity and efficiency without affecting critical aspects such as food quality and safety. They’re interested in finding new ways to meet delivery targets and avoid costly delays in their carefully programmed distribution and logistics systems.
Mondelēz has dramatically evolved over recent years, says Jonathan Gordon-Till, senior associate principal scientist (global knowledge management) at Mondelēz. “We've invested heavily in systems and processes over the years to optimize documentation and processes but they've never been fully optimum. So we had a gap in our ability to find the best subject matter experts really quickly and efficiently."
In years past, the company was focused on inventing new food technologies. Critical to that approach are patents, invention records and document management practices. Mondelēz also relied heavily on subscription services and other online information.
The company recognized that there was a significant gap in documentation related to tacit knowledge, which is difficult to capture and share. It needed a way to retain and transfer this knowledge, especially before employees left or retired.
Mondelēz also noticed a growing interest in simplifying the complexity of its systems and processes, which had been complicated by acquisitions and other corporate changes. Automation and AI were quickly becoming a priority, and the business wanted a way to automate decision-making. With digitalization as one of its strategic pillars, Mondelēz had access to high-quality data, putting it in a great position to leverage AI opportunities.
Like other CPG companies, Mondelēz was presented with a twofold challenge. First, it needed to develop and scale the right ideas to keep established product lines ahead of the competition and open up new areas of the market. The company also needed to work fast to get its products out of development and into the marketplace before competitors moved in or customer preferences changed.
Mondelēz faced roadblocks in their pursuit of innovation. Chief among them were siloed working and the need for better ways of collaboration and sharing knowledge. This knowledge was needed to avoid quality and safety issues, delays in manufacturing or anything else that could jeopardize meeting delivery dates for commercialization. Additionally, decision-making could be difficult with such a large and distributed company, and getting answers from many places could be arduous and time-consuming.
Finding the right people with knowledge was another challenge, especially without a reliable tool to pinpoint the right source of expertise. This caused costly delays in production, a pileup of resources and a backlog of products that required the same assembly line. Requests and technical questions overburdened some of the company's experts.
It was clear that Mondelēz needed a way to foster collaboration, encourage knowledge sharing, and find the right experts quickly and reliably in order to speed up innovation. While previous efforts to improve documentation and communication made some progress, the company recognized an opportunity to strengthen employee engagement by removing obstacles that were preventing knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Mondelēz’s overarching challenge was to quickly and efficiently find colleagues who had the right subject matter expertise or experience to answer specific questions. “That was the core thing that we sought to solve here,” he says.
It was clear Starmind’s AI-powered expertise directory could provide Mondelēz with the ability to quickly and efficiently access tacit knowledge and expertise for any given question. “It wasn’t just a system that connected documents together or managed documents. It’s about connecting people, making the people really available,” Gordon-Till says.
Starmind’s solution would help Mondelēz employees access the expertise they needed, quickly rather than make assumptions or approximations with technical questions. The intuitive nature of the platform would also make it easy to use and encourage employee engagement.
Starmind was an attractive option for Mondelēz because of its ability to facilitate questions and answers in an intuitive and easy-to-use platform, along with its potential to be rolled out across the organization. With this platform, Mondelēz's employees could expand their search beyond their usual circle of people netting one or two answers. With Starmind, they now receive 4-5 answers, including people beyond their horizon.
The addition of Starmind has yielded substantial and far-reaching outcomes for Mondelēz. The platform had its most significant impact in areas where quick decision-making and efficiency are critical. Starmind has played a pivotal role in facilitating rapid connections among employees with specialized knowledge, especially considering the company’s large, globally distributed workforce and complex web of communication and systems.
This newfound ability to quickly harness expertise has translated into tangible benefits for the organization, including a marked reduction in operational delays and enhanced overall productivity.
Starmind's true power emerges when dealing with highly technical and specific queries. Within Mondelēz, product developers, researchers and technicians often encounter complex problems that must be answered with pinpoint accuracy. In the past, they may have settled for approximate solutions, but with Starmind, they can now engage with the precise expertise needed. This reduction in uncertainty mitigates the associated risks.
The financial impact of Starmind extends beyond outpacing competitors in product development. It also directly addresses cost-sensitive areas, such as preventing production plant downtime and reducing the need for excessive storage. Starmind's role in swiftly disseminating critical knowledge has resulted in substantial cost savings and streamlined operations across the board.
The benefits of Starmind extend to the R&D process, regardless of whether it’s integrated with product life cycle management (PLM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Starmind accelerates the R&D life cycle, especially in scenarios where specialized expertise is required to drive innovation. This has translated into improved efficiency, cost-effectiveness and productivity within R&D.
Unlike traditional question-and-answer scenarios that typically yield but a few responses, Starmind opens doors to multiple perspectives and experiences. This diversity of input has been invaluable in solving complex problems and fostering innovation.
Starmind's global reach within Mondelēz is evident in the statistics. Approximately 55% to 60% of questions are resolved within two hours or less, despite a global organization stretching across time zones. The platform's ability to connect experts worldwide has streamlined knowledge-sharing and decision-making processes.
Even skeptics within the organization have become advocates of Starmind after experiencing its benefits. One notable case involves a key member of the chocolate R&D team, who initially questioned the need to identify what they knew or who to contact. However, upon adopting Starmind, he quickly recognized its value in connecting with experts he was previously unaware of.
Looking forward, Mondelēz envisions extending Starmind beyond the R&D function, recognizing the untapped potential for enhancing collaboration and innovation throughout functions.
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