Israel’s Central Bottling Company Group (CBC Group) is realising the transformative power of technology. As a leading beverage producer and distributor, the company brings some of the world’s most distinctive brands to households across the country. We speak to the company’s CIO, Adit Shroitman, who has spearheaded IT development across the business, which has saved both time and money.
Alongside keeping internal operations running smoothly, Shroitman’s remit now comes into contact with rapidly changing health regulations, consumer preferences, and incoming competition. Day-to-day, she is tasked with leading the information systems unit in CBC Group, with overall responsibility for providing IT services with a focus on quality. Having secured major contracts with such companies as Heineken and Coca-Cola, the impetus to innovate has led the company to its current dominant position in Israel.
All told, CBC Group controls eight companies based in Israel based on a mutually beneficial synergistic operational model. Furthermore, the Group also controls a further five companies outside of the territory which are currently supporting its international expansion plans.
CBC’s group structure means that it is responsible for several companies dealing with a variety of different food and beverage segments. Shroitman explains: “With the diversity of business processes, from B2B to B2C, the business requires IT to be agile and to provide quick solutions without forgetting the overall picture.
“Sometimes we are required to mitigate conflicts between the different needs of the different companies and business units and are required to build robust solutions that can be used from beverage manufacturing to dairy manufacturing.”
She oversees a department consisting of 90 personnel – half of which are consultants and developers specialising in SAP systems, while the other half consists of IT infrastructure experts.
The value of IT
Alongside overseeing the technical side of IT operations, Shroitman also ensures that IT works to drive value across the entirety of operations. This has taken a number of forms over the years, but nowadays focuses on continuously improving efficiency, reducing costs, and utilising the business opportunities endowed by big data collection.
Although CBC’s industry processes may differ to some degree, they are all run under a single SAP system. But the story doesn’t end there, Shroitman explains: “Each company has its own manufacturing challenges that require us to build and support different business processes.
“The IT cost is transparent to the business and yearly business plans are built and communicated to all the companies, we aim to provide the best service and are measuring it constantly. This forces us as IT to utilize our resources in the most efficient way.”
Providing a quick solution to answer regulation needs ( particularly when it comes to recycling), developing a new innovative game changing B2B application that is used by retailers to order 24/7 from the range of products all companies are manufacturing.
CBC has a strong culture of continuous improvement, Shroitman says: “We measure our activities such as service levels, applications usage, and customer satisfaction - projects are also measured on parameters such as budget and timeline. We also discuss with our customers about the value that the applications provide and get their feedback.”
Some activities are outsourced – particularly those that are either repetitive or less knowledge bound, but the company is also not afraid to bring in outside expertise that cannot be found in the organisation. “We do not hesitate to use experts in those fields externally,” she adds.
“Our IT department is considered a leading organisation by our colleagues and we are frequently consulted by industry peers. We host knowledge transfer sessions for other companies and show potential projects to their customers.”
Connecting the future
“Our goals are to continue the digital transformation and offer more tools to strengthen the bond between the consumers, retailers and our companies and continue the post-merger integration process of the IT units in some of the companies we acquired,” Shroitman continues.
As a centralised solutions provider, CBC Group is responsible for a bridge and link between its differing constituent companies, ensuring that each has access to the latest IT innovations. One of the ways in which this has crystallised is in the form of a bespoke collaboration tool that enables these companies to view relevant data and share information.
Technological innovation is key. “Our business runs on technology. If our systems stop so does manufacturing, distribution, sales and customer service. Technology is a part of every business process and customer interaction,” Shroitman explains.
“New technology is constantly examined and implemented where needed. We encourage our employees and customers to bring us new ideas and implement those that contribute to our business. We also participate in start-up hubs.
“On the infrastructure side we are investing in data centre HW such as storage and servers, we are continuing our move to a virtual infrastructure and examine the use of cloud services where needed. On the application side, we push the latest technology like “Get taxi” for technicians, SAP HANA is used for BW, and we also use predictive analytics.”
CBC Group is also working top roll out a number of company-wide innovations, including omni-channel capabilities, digital IVR, and social network activity monitoring. Moreover, the company is examining several products that will allow it to monitor customer trends on social media and is also examining the use of big data for targeted marketing and trends analysis.
Having built an exemplary IT framework across a number of varied business units, CBC Group has ensured that it will be firmly in control of its own destiny for years to come. Not content to rest on its laurels despite a commanding position in the Israeli market, the company’s forward thinking approach has ushered in next generation technology which is already proving to be a key competitive edge.