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Campina Implements Accolade® Solution to Centralize Product Innovation Data and Increase Portfolio Value

Published 09 December 2010 | By Sopheon

Campina is a $5 billion international dairy cooperative headquartered in the Netherlands. One of Europe’s leading consumer and industrial dairy manufacturers, the company is jointly owned by approximately 6,900 member-farmers and is divided into three business units: Consumer Products Europe (CPE), Cheese and Butter, and Industrial Products (DMV International). Besides producing consumer dairy products, Campina makes ingredients from milk and milk components for applications in the commercial food and pharmaceutical industries.


The business challenge

Campina has innovation centers in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Each center is charged with developing innovative new products that will help the company broaden its international appeal and maintain its position of market strength. However, when Campina’s executives took a close look at the company’s product portfolio, they found that many resources were being allocated to low-value, incremental enhancements of existing products. Only 10 percent of the products under development were considered 'radical' innovations – not enough to enable Campina to meet its growth targets.

Although Campina had implemented the Stage-Gate® product development methodology across all three innovation centers, each was using the process differently and had its own preferred tools for managing product development projects.

Product data was stored in multiple locations, making it difficult for executives to find and retrieve the information needed to make good decisions about projects in the pipeline.


The solution

Campina decided to implement a single, clearly defined innovation process across the company. It was expected that this improvement would make it easier for teams to execute on the delivery of projects, and that it would facilitate cross-divisional collaboration, encouraging widespread process adoption.

One key goal of the process initiative was to strengthen management of the company’s product portfolio. The plan was to create a centralized repository for product innovation and portfolio data that would link to, and consolidate information from, disparate software applications being used for various operational functions across the enterprise. Principal among them were Livelink® ECM for document management, Infor® PLM Optiva for formula management, various SAP® systems being used to store sales data, and Microsoft® Project. Bringing together data from these systems would give executives the full range of information they needed, for instance, to determine the business potential of proposed projects and predict their impact on the value of the product portfolio. Resources could then be assigned to the projects with the greatest commercial promise.

The company appointed Dr. Michael Erdl, director of R&D and quality assurance at Campina Innovation – its largest innovation center – to identify and evaluate software applications capable of supporting its data consolidation, process automation, and portfolio management goals. After a comprehensive review of 10 possible solutions, Campina chose Sopheon’s Accolade® system. Reasons for its selection included Accolade’s uniquely strong alignment with Stage-Gate and the software’s advanced portfolio management capabilities.


The results

In implementing Accolade, Campina deployed a crossfunctional working group comprising representatives from R&D, quality assurance, marketing, finance, operations and purchasing. The Campina team worked with Sopheon’s business consultants to configure Accolade so that it precisely matched the company’s process requirements, setting the stage for enterprise-wide deployment.

Approximately 380 users across Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, and the United States are now leveraging the software to collaborate on new product ideas that meet the needs of consumers in each region, as well as to work together on high-value, global projects.

Because product innovation and portfolio data from across the company are now accessible in a centralized repository, Campina’s R&D teams and executives can easily compare projects to identify those that most closely align with strategic business objectives. The Sopheon software has also made it possible for the company to systematically perform risk/reward analysis across its portfolio, resulting in a better balance between investments in innovative new offerings and spending on line extensions.

According to Erdl, Accolade enables us to more objectively evaluate our development pipeline and to approach product innovation with greater rigor. One of the most important changes is that we are wasting fewer resources on projects that would have been killed at later stages of development. We have more project transparency than ever before, allowing us to make better product investment decisions much earlier in the process.

In summary, Accolade has helped Campina:

  • Improve project transparency across the organization to support strategic go/kill decisions about proposed new products
  • Strengthen cross-functional communication and collaboration by using a single, disciplined process for new product innovation
  • Decrease time-to-market and increase new product success rates

Erdl concludes, Accolade has provided the foundation we need to respond to fast-changing consumer needs and preferences. For the first time, we have visibility to our complete development pipeline and can make adjustments as required. We’re able to determine – practically at a glance – the impact a proposed new product will have on the entire product portfolio. We consider Sopheon a strategic partner that has allowed us to overcome a common challenge for many fast-moving consumer goods companies today: creating a balanced portfolio of winning new products and bringing them to market more quickly.