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Baking in transformation
Ardent Mills client spotlight
In undertaking a transformation at start-up, Ardent Mills has created a net-new technology environment that's already making an impact. A "business first" approach to the transformation has resulted in a company that's much smarter about what it does and how it does it.
"We wanted to select an ERP that would align with the needs and size of our business."
-Valerie Conard, senior director of procurement for Ardent Mills
The impact from transformation
In undertaking a transformation at start-up, Ardent Mills has created a net-new technology environment that's already making an impact.
- Simplicity and speed: In some cases, 75 percent of the tasks have been sliced out of processes, eliminating redundancies and accelerating activities throughout the organization
- Accuracy: The elimination of two sets of legacy systems and processes has helped diminish the potential for error, as employees now work with a single integrated cloud-based system
- Smarts: The technology transformation forced Ardent Mills to dig deep to understand its activities and process—to see exactly how they could contribute to the future success of the new business
While bringing together operations from multiple companies allowed the new Ardent Mills to leverage a combined nearly 300 years of experience, it also gave the mega-startup a tangle of disparate systems and manual processes for ordering goods and services and for delivering final products to customers.
Finding the right recipe
To begin putting a net-new environment in place, Ardent Mills enlisted the aid of Deloitte to select suppliers; negotiate agreements; perform vendor management; and provide for operational continuity across a number of third-party IT software, services, and infrastructure areas. Deloitte's involvement was especially critical when it came to jump-starting IT procurement—saving Ardent Mills months of research on system and software choices, functionality, and vendor pricing. Deloitte's Supply Chain Managed Services practice worked alongside Ardent Mills to define a sourcing approach across IT, technology, procurement, legal, and business functions—scaling up quickly and integrating into the Ardent Mills' culture to form a single, high-performing team.
The final technology solution that made sense for Ardent Mills was one in which a core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system or backbone could be augmented in phases, using a "Velcro" approach to add modules of functionality as needed—and to remove and replace them just as easily when needed.
The technology transformation of Ardent Mills is putting the company on a path to results that align with leadership's vision to be "the trusted partner in nurturing its customers, consumers, and communities through innovative and nutritious grain-based solutions."
- Responsive: The new technology should allow Ardent Mills to meet its customers' needs faster, helping to deliver superior service while building confidence in the company
- Future-oriented: With technology streamlined, IT and business leaders within the company are freed up to focus more on innovating—on delivering products and services that deliver new value internally and externally
- Agile: The new backbone-plus-Velcro approach allows Ardent Mills to adjust rapidly to market or competitive forces by simply adding or replacing applications that fit the company’s evolving needs
Serving up a solution
A "business first" approach to the transformation has resulted in a company that's much smarter about what it does and how it does it, according to Ardent Mills CIO Jeff Schreiner. As part of the technology overhaul, the company had to determine every activity involved in a specific business process. In some cases, Ardent Mills was able to eliminate as many as 75 percent of the steps in a process, resulting in significant time savings and improved process accuracy, according to Schreiner. Throughout the process, Schreiner emphasized an agile methodology approach to execution, with the successful, rapid phased deployment a testament to that approach.