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PZ Cussons’ use of Teamcenter results in innovative new products being brought to market faster and globally; revenue is up
PZ Cussons Plc develops leading fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands in selected mature and emerging markets that have potential for future growth. The company’s well-known brands include Imperial Leather, Carex, The Original Source, Charles Worthington, Morning Fresh and Radiant. PZ Cussons’ distribution networks in Africa, Asia and Europe enable the company to deliver these brands quickly and efficiently to local consumers.
According to Nina Dar, founder and managing director of Cheeky Monkey Business Solutions, a change management consultancy that designs and implements transformational programs, companies like PZ Cussons that want to continue to be successful in this kind of highly competitive business need to find new ways to link processes and tools creatively around innovation, brand development and product delivery.
Dar explains this requirement: “PZ Cussons works across geographic locations all the time, taking great pride in its ability to respond quickly and appropriately to consumer needs. A product might be developed in one place, part of the formulation might be made in another, the artwork elsewhere and then the product itself might be manufactured somewhere else entirely, after which the supply chain takes over.”
Given this kind of business environment, PZ Cussons’ vision is to make all product recipes and all of its new products readily available to any and all of its worldwide business units. However, to do this, the company needed the right business systems to make this possible. That is why PZ Cussons adopted product lifecycle management (PLM) technology, specifically Siemens PLM Software’s Teamcenter® software.
PZ Cussons already had a technical specification system in place to manage its product recipes. However, while that system was important, it was somewhat overloaded and could not be extended for use across all of the company’s business units. PZ Cussons’ IT director at that time, David Jones, envisioned a global PLM solution that would provide a single version of truth, while also being able to model and simulate new product development (NPD) on a virtual project basis.
Ultimately, the PLM solution was expected to facilitate product specifications, as well as drive the company’s NPD processes. The goal was to enable all product developers to work in the same way and use similar languages and similar templates so that virtual project teams in different locations could collaborate without having to jet round the world. However, it was also understood that PLM was not going to be a “one size fits all” solution, since different country operations often work at different levels and in different ways.
Three PLM providers were asked to respond to PZ Cussons’ technology request, including Siemens PLM Software. The company’s evaluation process was professional and thorough. All three responders were invited into PZ Cussons to see how the organization worked. PZ Cussons established internal teams to evaluate each tender and visit various reference sites. Teamcenter emerged from the selection process as the clear winner.
Since Jones saw this as a business project rather than an IT project, he wanted the PLM solution to be strongly driven by PZ Cussons’ business needs and its deployment organized by someone who was conscious of the cultural and behavioral issues associated with market change. As a result, Cheeky Monkey was selected with these goals in mind.
Cheeky Monkey has a proven track record of thinking creatively about business programs and taking into account the impact of these programs on people and their emotional connections. Cheeky Monkey also had demonstrated its understanding of how these programs need to deliver a variety of benefits, ranging from facilitating strategic objectives to improving vendor relationships, supply chain interaction, manufacturing, outsourcing, and mergers and acquisitions results.
According to Dar, “We already had a trusted and proven working relationship with PZ Cussons. We had been delivering all of their change-related projects and new product development projects and had worked on integrating these programs within their different business units.” Just as importantly, “The whole team at PZ Cussons was really excited – they were going to take on an innovative and leading-edge project and it was a natural step for them to ask us to manage it.”
PZ Cussons’ PLM software options were evaluated and tested in 2005 with design and configuration of the product-specification side of the solution completed in 2006. Dar explains, “Up to then, the main user base of Teamcenter had been in automotive and aerospace. But at PZ Cussons, we were talking about very short runs, lots of projects and very short time scales – days or even less.” In 2007, the Cheeky Monkey team trained 10 PZ Cussons users to go back to their respective countries as project champions. After that, the company went through the data migration process, which is a big issue in the consumer products industry – where the pace and number of components can change very rapidly. The first specifications went live in the United Kingdom at the end of 2007.
“We implemented the product specifications side of the PLM solution first, because that was already highly structured, but the NPD side was quite different,” says Dar. “The FMCG industry is creatively led by people who do not automatically take to structure in any shape or form and will fight that. We needed to get everyone to use a more organized and standard way of delivering NPD before we could implement it in Teamcenter. As a result, we had to rethink the NPD side and design the NPD processes.”
She continues, “Our next step was to run joint applications development workshops, so we created internal design teams with representatives from all over PZ Cussons’ global operations. We established NPD processes and designed workshops and training material. In fact, we designed the whole program as a precursor to implementing the software. The first NPD capabilities went live at the start of 2009.”
Dar explains the program’s initial successes: “Siemens PLM Software’s team really helped to resolve our initial concerns through their ability, knowledge and experience. We established a really good relationship with them, which played a key role in facilitating a successful implementation. However, it was vital that this relationship, especially between the pre-sales and post-sales teams, be maintained throughout the life of the project.
“It is important not to shy away from the fact that the Teamcenter project is an enabling project that will deliver returns elsewhere. With this kind of implementation, the biggest challenge is to get people to adopt it. You can tell them they have to use it, but getting them to actually use it in their daily work is a completely different issue.
“There are some areas where you can really make big advances using PLM, but you need to understand that you have to do it right. For overall success, your business functions need to come together through the IT director, marketing director, sales director and supply chain director. And you have to remember that there is a real human side to the PLM implementation, especially in this very people-oriented industry.”
The NPD landscape is changing almost daily as the principles of open innovation become increasingly established and attention is focused on the need to bridge the divide between the way creative minds work and the way the technologists work. Dar explains, “Ideas can now originate from social networking anywhere and everywhere and you need to think about what it means for your business before your competitors do. So you have to consider if this is an idea you want to use and keep for yourselves, or whether it is something you can sell or use for a joint venture.
“You then model this inside the virtual project, where you try to understand what it all means before you make a final decision. Then, you model the execution, since there can be many external factors at work that could influence the launch date, price, margins and so on. The post-launch evaluation then runs straight back into your open innovation process.”
Summing up, Dar says, “At PZ Cussons, the need to be dynamic is so important. Margins are very small and you can make a huge difference by just changing an ingredient at the last minute – or shaving a bit of plastic off a bottle. PLM is ideal for this. It’s a lot more agile than the more dated stage and gate NPD process; it allows you to model the whole new product before committing real money.
“The huge advantage of Teamcenter is that it provides a single version of the truth. The last product specifications went live at the end of 2009 and the last NPDs will go live by the end of 2010, so yes, it’s now up and running – and it works.”
So how does PZ Cussons see it? According to John J Pantelireis, group supply chain director, “This has been a significant investment for PZ Cussons. Thanks to the efforts of our people in operations everywhere, a great project team, the super users and our project managers from Cheeky Monkey, we have a system we can trust, a standard version of the truth we can believe, transparency and a lot faster NPD implementation. As a result, many of our UK brands are now appearing elsewhere – much more quickly, earning more revenue and earning it faster.”
Keys To Success:
Client's Primary Business:
PZ Cussons develops leading consumer product brands and leverages first-class distribution networks in Africa, Asia and Europe to deliver these brands to local consumers.
"At PZ Cussons, the need to be dynamic is so important. Margins are very small and you can make a huge difference by just changing an ingredient at the last minute – or shaving a bit of plastic off a bottle. PLM is ideal for this. It’s a lot more agile than the more dated stage and gate NPD process; it allows you to model the whole new product before committing real money."
Founder and Managing Director
Cheeky Monkey Business Solutions
"This has been a significant investment for PZ Cussons … As a result, many of our UK brands are now appearing elsewhere – much more quickly, earning more revenue and earning it faster."
John J. Pantelireis
Group Supply Chain Director
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