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RCL FOODS’ digital transformation journey kicks off with automated digital system

RCL FOODS, a leading South African food manufacturer, producing a wide range of branded and private label food products has recently utilised Deloitte Africa’s capabilities to revamp their promotion spend management approach.

RCL FOODS, the manufacturers of Sunbake bread, Nola Mayonnaise, Epol and Bobtail dog food, Selati Sugar, Yum Yum peanut butter among many other well-known brands, required a real-time monitoring system of their promotional spend activities.

Today’s ever-evolving economy calls for scalable solutions to complex business problems. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic forced many organisations to reimagine how they do business, thus fast-tracking their digital transformation journey. Leading many down the path of exploring, unpacking, and answering the question - what does meaningful digital transformation look like in the current workplace?

RCL FOODS understood the importance of digital transformation within their organisation, and the replacement of older methodologies of capturing data. The underlying needs included accuracy, in order to project revenue and report accurately. “We partnered with Deloitte to develop a system that we named Harry, which aims to effectively track and reconcile our promotions data,” said Trevor Harding, Chief Information Officer at RCL FOODS.

Deloitte were requested to conduct a proof of value evaluation for RCL FOODS, to demonstrate the value that an automated spend reconciliation process could bring to the highly respected food manufacturer.

“We pride ourselves on taking on projects that help our clients reimagine the possibilities that digital migration presents. When we consulted the RCL FOODS team we realised that digital transformation was a key component of their strategy and that they required a trusted partner to help them bring their strategic vision to life,” said Catherine Stretton, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Deloitte Africa.

Helping customers make smarter decisions

The collaboration was ignited by RCL FOODS’ desire to digitise their customer spend management process. In the process Harry was born out of the collective vision between the two organisations. “Harry, our automated promotions management system – integrates with the various components of our promotions process and validates each of these elements, from the initiation stage where a contract is drawn up, right through to when the retailers invoice us and thus helping to ensure that we are invoiced correctly according to their point of sale,” says Harding.

As organisations begin to migrate towards integrating digital tools and developing tools like Harry, many information-based tasks that were once done manually, such as data collection and reporting will become automated. Automation also improves data analysis to better track metrics such as seasonal sales and changed patterns and anomalies using artificial intelligence.

This will help to free up employees’ time to focus on more strategic, meaningful, and high-level tasks. The role of the employee will evolve from doing repetitive tasks to more analytical and problem-solving work.

Helping customers leverage data and unleash competitive advantage

For many organisations, data lives across various pockets of the business and is often found in silos. Emails and spreadsheets are often the common method to gather and consolidate an organisations data and insights.

“We understand that data lives in many different silos, and our goal was to help RCL FOODS centralise their data pool and gather meaningful customer insights. Developing the tool helped us to bring all this data to the forefront so their employees can make smarter decisions and reduce the occurrence of human error that resulted from manually moving and interpreting data,” says Stretton.

“We used to manually process over a 1 000 claims per annum and these individual claims had to be approved by many workflow participants – Harry helped to automate these claims, and thus free up priceless hours for employees to focus on other tasks,” added Megan Bartlett, Customer Executive at RCL FOODS.
To stay competitive in today’s digital world, organisations must stay up to speed with digital initiatives. They must extract lessons quickly and apply those learnings to implement new functionalities. Creating a culture that fosters continuous growth and learning opportunities is not only critical to the successful adoption of digital tools but to continuous improvement of digital technologies through experimentation.

After companies have focused on their digital transformation around the customer experience, they must evaluate how their technology can support this goal—and this is a complex undertaking. While the specifics vary by industry, at a minimum every company needs to unify all the processes, technologies, data, partnerships, and integrations involved in typical customer interaction.

Operational Efficiency

Digital transformation is about how businesses transform and foster operational efficiency for their people, culture, and processes, and learning how to use integrated information in real-time. New Age technology requires re-skilling, up-skilling, and knowledge transfer from partners of excellence and experts in their field.
“Given time and investment, a system like Harry could replace all forms of manual capturing, doing so faster and more accurately than a human and help to drive more efficient ways of doing everyday tasks,” concluded Stretton.