Digital is proving a powerful operational and financial yeast for Dominic Howson, Supply Chain Planning and IS director for bakery Hovis.

Last year his implementation of a platform to manage the company's trade promotions significantly improved customer deductions and release processes and cut the aged debt ledger. One single promotion avoided on the back of this platform covered the capital cost, while the analytics from the optimisation data has greatly boosted the ROI on promotions.

Performance and talent management processes have been moved to the cloud, and the BI strategy been brought to life through the development of a more flexible set of solutions dependent on the data to be served. Robotic process automation has also been given a green light, and should dominate the agenda in 2018.

Howson and his team's implementation of an internally built serverless Azure-based sales order processing app has transformed the visibility of orders and management of order capture, providing insights for demand and supply planning. The Azure app repeatedly captures data from every production site throughout the day, allowing production or logistics issues (bad weather, traffic, etc) to be communicated and ensuring Hovis customers get the latest view of expected service levels for the day ahead.

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