Case Study

$60+ million in savings: Bringing Kantar’s procurement function to life

Amidst a global pandemic and change of ownership that saw private equity investment company Bain Capital take a majority stake in Kantar, the Efficio/Kantar team has spent the last two years delivering $60m+ of savings ($90m including cost avoidance methods) – an increase of c.60% beyond the initial goal of $41m, all while new CPO, Stephen Day, settled into his new role and built the newly designed procurement function and team.

Background

Kantar is a data analytics and brand consulting company. After media giant WPP sold 60% of Kantar to Bain Capital, the procurement function remained with WPP, which meant Kantar needed to build one from scratch to deliver savings and support growth.

Bain engaged Efficio to conduct an opportunity assessment, assist with the carve-out from WPP, and kickstart its procurement programme through an ambitious holistic transformation to deliver savings and set up the function.

Results

In partnership with Efficio, Kantar achieved:

  • Over $60 million in cost reduction savings ($90 million including cost avoidance), exceeding targets by 60%
  • A newly designed and fully implemented global procurement operating model, based on centre-led category management framework covering all regions and divisions of Kantar
  • A diverse procurement team that grew from three people to 40 people, with a 50/50 gender split
  • Greater visibility over the entirety of procurement processes and data, thanks to the introduction of new technologies, including Efficio’s proprietary technology platform, eFlow
An important part of the equation is that you’re able to align with the financial organisation and give them the means by which they can understand where those savings come from.

Stephen Day, CPO, Kantar

Approach

Efficio designed the framework of the new global procurement operating model with the related strategy, governance, and infrastructure. However, to bring a high-performing procurement function to life, one must celebrate different points of view and hire diversely. By focussing on hiring the right people instead of rushing to fill the ranks, the team grew from three people to 40 people, with a 50/50 gender split and two apprentices from refugee backgrounds.

Another top priority was introducing Kantar-wide strategic sourcing processes that consolidated the demand across Kantar’s divisions and manage global supply base relationships and risks appropriately. This was achieved by assembling existing business data in alignment with Kantar’s strategic priorities and goals to provide a holistic overview and form a roadmap of value-generating opportunities and procurement development initiatives. The related procurement processes were streamlined to include and secure buy-in from the C-Suite.

Kantar also lacked visibility in two key areas:

  1. It previously had poor global supplier visibility and therefore little control of spend data, and
  2. It had no central repository for procurement projects, which meant it had no knowledge of savings in a vast array of categories around the world.

Kantar invested in technology, including eFlow, our proprietary technology and knowledge platform, to combat these issues; eFlow provided necessary insights on new suppliers and allowed Kantar to gain visibility on spend compliance across global regions, divisions, and categories.

Most importantly for procurement teams is the ability to deliver savings across the business, and the combined “One Kantar” and Efficio team rose to that challenge. The goal was to build a credible savings plan that engaged all stakeholders, empowering each person to understand the savings that could be delivered and the potential level of recurring savings on an annual basis.

This was delivered using the power of communication. “An important part of the equation is that you’re able to align with the financial organisation and give them the means by which they can understand where those savings come from,” Day said.

Through transparency and collaboration fused with intelligent technology, procurement teams can demonstrate value to the most senior stakeholders and contribute to the full financial picture. Focussing on the story that you develop is the key to unlocking buy-in across the business and engaging in a meaningful way.

Challenges

Kantar operates across 100 countries with 25,000 employees, and the procurement transformation remit included $1.2 billion of spend in 25 core categories across 28,000 suppliers in 100 countries. Pandemic aside, managing the scope and scale of this massive transformation required close attention to detail: the right strategy, a sound execution plan, and sophisticated technology for proper visibility, oversight, and maintenance.

With the new global Procurement Operating Model designed and signed off, Kantar created a procurement team from two staff remaining post-acquisition, and it was of utmost importance to Day to build a diverse team that celebrates different perspectives. The challenge was to rapidly build up the depleted team, whilst balancing this with finding the right people rather than simply rushing to fill the ranks.

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