CIO100 2017 #20: Pieter Bakker, Frucor

The Frucor Beverages Business Technology (BT) team is leading the development and the delivery of multiple phases of a multi-year digital transformation programme.

The strategies, all of which are designed to contribute towards growth, include BT working in cross-functionally to engage with both staff, customers and external business partners.

Pieter Bakker, CIO and group BT director, says the BT team are working through a programme of initiatives to develop a digital mindset and different ways of thinking as they work towards becoming a more digital enterprise.

Corollary to this, the BT team drove the adoption of an agile methodology in order to deliver to the programme’s timeframes.

“While the programme is very challenging we are already starting to real successes, with the business finding new ways of prospecting for new customers and opening up online sales channels to start doing business differently from how we did it only 12 months ago,” says Bakker. “There is now more of a focus on our digital interaction and collaboration with our customer, with less time spent just taking orders.”

Bakker says funding is allocated in chunks for initiatives and ideas that are generated through collaboration of BT and our sales and marketing functions.

“This focus on ideas has also really helped renew a culture of innovation in Frucor, and every year in November the business congregates to showcase these innovations at a BT lead event, with a view to both demonstrate promising innovations and ideas, but also to trigger any other ideas of where the innovations could be used within their domains.”

“Innovation is a key focus here at Frucor - so much so that we’ve embedded it as part of our people’s core KPIs,” he adds. “Not only is it a way to keep the company thinking about the art of what’s possible, it also really keeps our people engaged and living our values.”

Bakker says Frucor worked with AUT where students helped with some projects under the Digital programme.

“It’s an excellent example of a form of ‘crowdsourcing’ and how it can be used for the good of everyone involved – students get to experience the real world, and work on real problem solving, while our BT team can be flexible and supported in meeting the demand of the business at a particularly challenging time.”

Bakker stresses operational excellence remains a core and constant strategy of the BT strategic plan.

“While we have a series of large digital and innovation programmes under way, the focus remains also firmly on operational excellence – this continues to be a key priority for the team.

“We run a stream of our programme concentrating on constant process improvement, which is agreed by the BT Leadership Team as part of our strategic planning process.

As an example, while we are delivering a complex digital programme, we are also implementing a datacentre consolidation project to drive our performance for the next three years.

Another example is partnering with our strategic technology provider to assist with our Level 1 Service Desk, allowing our Level 2 team to concentrate more on problem management and not just incident management, again to help drive service excellence for our customers.

This keeps BT’s costs under control, while constantly driving service excellence and fueling our growth initiatives. We have a belief (and a principle) that you can always deliver better service with what you have, you just need to have a good look to find it.

‘Bench strength’

BT at Frucor Beverages includes a medium sized trans-Tasman team and we work very hard to ensure there are no silos across the team, says Bakker.

Bakker is part of the leadership team in New Zealand and the leadership team in Australia, and this provides him a broad perspective of both operations and strategy that are cascaded into programmes implemented by the BT team.

The BT team, meanwhile, presents bi-annually to the Frucor Group Executive. The presentation gives a general view of BT strategy and roadmaps, and also updates on top of mind strategic programmes that may require an insight or call to action from that team, he says.

“BT is all about partnering within every facet of the business. We have team members that are dedicated to various units and often have secondments into BT to work with their teams outwardly,” says Bakker.

“We also present every year at the Frucor sales and business conferences, and generally keep this very punchy with a hype video or similar to ensure we maximise the time we have to exhibit ourselves to the wider team.”

As to dealing with shadow IT, Bakker says, “We try and partner with our teams as opposed to try and take things away or just saying ‘no’.”

“We will always work with our partners to get to a solution that fits best to the capability they need.”

It is a continuing programme...As Frucor goes deeper and deeper into the digitisation journey, we need to maintain the momentum.

The imperative of delivering faster solutions is another issue. “It’s a balancing act to get to solution in time that works with our environment from an integration and a security perspective,” he states. “We have adopted Agile and MVP (minimum viable product) approach to assist with this.”

Bakker says BT holds a full team operational check-in fortnightly where the team each discusses what they are currently working on. This meeting also gives the opportunity for fellow team members to reach out and lend a hand.

“As part of our better ways of working initiative, we are currently working on a way to digitise the meeting further to ensure we can operate more as a virtual team despite the geographic distance,” says Bakker.

The full trans-Tasman team also gets together twice a year for an offsite meeting. They invite external facilitators and run workshops focusing on leadership and personal development skills including wellbeing, communication and EQ. “These sessions are followed by strategy review and a very open forum discussion.”

This year, BT appointed two senior digital leaders to assist in driving the team’s strategy of growing our “bench strength”, says Bakker. “This has had a very positive impact on the team, and we can already see new opportunities being cascaded and grasped by various team members.”

The digital future

“This year it is about ‘Being Digital’,” says Bakker.

Frucor has already put the essential platforms in place for digitisation, he states.

The following two years will be about “Mastering Digital”, as the company embraces the new ways of working that digital supports.

“It is a continuing programme,” he says. “As Frucor goes deeper and deeper into the digitisation journey, we need to maintain the momentum.”

Divina Paredes

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

Download CIO's Roadmap Report: Data and analytics at scale