Erdinger Weissbräu: tradition and progress in procurement

EMPTY

|Dec 13|magazine6 min read

(Norwich, UK, 13/12/2019)

Erdinger Weissbräu features in this month’s edition of BizClik Media’s publications Supply Chain Digital and Business Chief Europe, with an exclusive interview with Florian Eineder, Head of Procurement, who elaborates on his vision of a first-of-its-kind procurement transformation.

Erdinger Weissbräu can trace its origins back to 1886, the year in which the construction of a wheat beer brewery in the Bavarian town of Erding was first officially recorded. Today, the mid-size brewery produces around 1.8mn hl (2018) of wheat beer per year. Its longevity and success are based on the four cornerstones of the company’s philosophy: quality of the product above all, a dedication to wheat beer, appreciation of the employees and straightforward brand management. Erdinger makes no compromises when it comes to quality, premium ingredients and its passion for Bavaria’s cultural heritage. 

Today, as the world becomes an increasingly complex and digitalised place, Erdinger is undergoing a first-of-its-kind procurement transformation. Eineder elaborates on his decision to leave one of the world’s largest consultancies for a 530-person beverage company, how he’s driving a cultural and digital procurement transformation across the more than 130 year old brewing operation, and Erdinger’s new role as the first brewery to implement SAP’s S/4HANA. 

“We’re going to get rid of as many operational activities as possible,” he explains. “There are technical challenges, of course, when it comes to implementing the software, the catalogues, etc, but there’s also a huge mindset change within the whole company that needs to be accomplished.” Digital transformation without a reimagining of culture and business process can never be successful; George Westerman, a principal research scientist at MIT Sloan notes that, “when digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.” For Eineder to effect a meaningful transformation across the brewery’s purchasing and procurement processes, that mindset change has been essential. “It was and still is important to take every employee with us on this journey,” he says. “We  must ensure that digital transformation is seen as an opportunity and a necessity, not as a fashion phenomenon or even as a job destroyer. Therefore, openness, transparency and a lot of communication are non-negotiable.” 

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