At Campari Group, the 6th largest player worldwide in the premium spirits industry, company growth was accelerated through business process and IT standardization across its core operations.
Since 1995, Campari has acquired 26 companies. That averages out to more than one per year. “Campari used to be a very small Italian company with one brand. We decided to diversify the portfolio and geographic exposure,” said Paolo Marchesini, CFO, Campari Group.
Many of Campari Group’s acquisitions are international, which adds to the complexity. “Our exposure in international markets has grown significantly. It used to be 80% Italy 20% international, now it is the other way around,” explained Marchesini.
Standardization reduces complexity
Absorbing companies at that rate isn’t easy. So how does Campari Group do it? It has standardized business processes and IT applications on a single instance of SAP.
“When we acquired Wild Turkey in 2009 we implemented a significant change within our organization. We separated the supply chain from the sales and marketing organizations and revamped our IT infrastructure and applications,” explained Marchesini.
Campari Group centralized its IT infrastructure into a single data center and implemented a single instance of SAP across all geographies. That single instance was designed to support all group legal entities, then and into the future. It synchronized the supply chain with sales and marketing and standardized financial planning and reporting processes at the market, regional, and corporate level.
“We have a direct presence in 20 different markets and a portfolio of over 50 brands, so complexity is quite significant. Having a single instance of SAP is an asset for us. It provides a scalable model with standard, homogeneous process across the group,” said Marchesini.
Increased visibility and consistency
Standardization on a single platform created other benefits too, like increased speed, quality, and consistency of data. “A big advantage of the single instance is the consistency of numbers,” explained Marchesini.
Campari Group’s financial planning and reporting process is fully integrated with sales and operational planning. It has complete visibility into detailed and consolidated data across the organization. “The granularity of the information is huge. We have real-time market roll ups. Even in the big markets, like the US and Germany, we have clear visibility into profitability at the market, brand, channel, and retail chain level,” said Marchesini.
That level of information helps Campari Group determine where to invest its promotion and advertising dollars to fuel the growth of its brands. “You want to invest on the brand market combination and brand customer combination that deliver the highest profitability in terms of gross margin on sales. SAP supports this process,” explains Marchesini.
Digital transformation in the cloud
Campari Group’s digital transformation has just begun. Currently, it is focused on optimizing HR, sales, and marketing using the cloud but there are also big opportunities to gain efficiency in product production and supply chain.
“Digital is changing the way we do things. The finance mindset is changing from having an internal view of company dynamics into an external view of what is happening in the marketplace. Using data to predict consumption and in the end, anticipating action to ensure you are effective and efficient in what you are doing,” explains Marchesini.
If Campari Group sticks to its strategy its strong growth will continue. “The future is rosy and technology is playing in our favor. We are investing a lot in applications because we believe IT is a key enabler of our strategy,” said Marchesini.
This article originally appeared on SAP Business Trends