Before beers of Heineken have made it to your kitchen table, hundreds of people have been taking care of the raw materials and machinery that are needed to ensure a steady supply of the beverage. Heineken operates more than 165 breweries in over 70 countries around the globe which produce over 188 million hectolitres of beer each year.
Managing all the supply chain machinery within these facilities is challenging. Each day, incidents happen and changes need to be implemented. More often than not, multiple ways of monitoring and logging are used to manage different parts of the supply chain. This makes it difficult to gain a reliable overview of all past and ongoing incidents and changes, let alone predict when maintenance is needed.
However, the processes underlying this part of supply chain management are very similar to ITSM. At Heineken, ServiceNow is used to manage incidents and changes and encourage employees to log all relevant information. Engineers at Heineken use an app for ServiceNow that has been specifically designed for this purpose. The functionality of the app is configured in ServiceNow and completely customizable.
At Heineken, the app allows engineers to quickly request information from the ServiceNow platform about incidents and tasks that have been assigned to them. It also enables them to upload information about what they see in the brewery onto the platform. They can receive guidance through the app when working on a change or incident: photos, drawings of designs and Q&A functionality are all available to name a few.
Employees that use the app are supported by iBeacons. If an employee uses the app to make a bluetooth connection with the beacon, all relevant information about the machine or cluster of machines this beacon is linked to will be retrieved from ServiceNow and presented in the app. In this way, past incidents, changes and the actions that have been taken to solve them are accessible on the spot. In addition, since connectivity in production facilities is often lacking, the app is designed to function on its own. All computing is done in the ServiceNow cloud and no permanent connection between the two is needed for the app to function.
Because the ServiceNow platform aggregates data from all users of the app, it sits on an enormous amount of valuable information that can be used to avoid downtime and cut overhead costs. For example, when a bottling machine in the brewery is having a hiccup, the engineer responsible for that machine is provided with the possible causes and solutions for the incident based on historical data. If this particular incident occurs regularly, root cause analysis is supported so a permanent solution can be designed.
Information that has been gathered in ServiceNow is presented on easily comprehensible dashboards that give a quick overview of the current state of affairs in the supply chain. Management will spend less time filling out spreadsheets to manage changes and incidents, and more time analyzing data that helps improve the supply chain.
The genie that causes supply chain headaches can be put back in the bottle, or rather a handy app. All retail enterprises that rely on large supply chains can benefit from it, whether they are webstores, dairy co-operatives, produce food & beverages or deliver tens of thousands of parcels a day. The possibilities are as limitless as those of ServiceNow itself.