Hot beverage marketer Twinings is lauded for its success in igniting a more than 300-year love affair between the British public and tea.
Despite (or perhaps because of) its longevity, the business has changed significantly since its foundation in 1706. For example, founder Thomas Twining might not recognise a key part of the modern business that bears his name – master data governance. Today, it is essential for running and growing a global business, interacting with hundreds of suppliers, and brewing thousands of batches of tea each year.
Twinings had been using a traditional IT system for master data governance but found that it was becoming less appropriate for its needs. The fragmented system was time-consuming to use and there was an overreliance on emails and spreadsheets, which made it difficult to sustain a single version of truth and conduct audits.
The company wanted to overcome these limitations, while also expanding its solution with automated workflows, digital forms and integration into its current SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. It wanted a low-cost and low-code solution that business users could easily use on their own, giving them more agility. To achieve these goals, Twinings decided to work with Microsoft partner Nintex.
“Nintex K2 Cloud is a great fit for our organisation,” says Richard Noyes, master data governance lead at Twinings. “It delivers the rapid application development we need, in a low-code environment that the business manages primarily, with support from IT. And the licensing framework works well for us too, making this a cost-effective choice.”
Before records are created or modified in SAP, the Nintex K2 Cloud workflow – which is hosted on Microsoft Azure – uses business and technical embedded rules to ensure the data is consistent and accurate. “We use Nintex K2 Cloud to make it really difficult for users to input wrong data,” says Noyes.
For example, when setting up a production process for a new product, Nintex K2 Cloud extracts data from SAP and uses it to populate the drop-down fields from which users select their production specifics. Because they’re using verified data rather than entering data via keystrokes, they can’t input inaccurate information that must later be corrected. “That’s a big win for us,” says Noyes.
The master data governance suite at Twinings includes 20 applications. The company worked with Nintex Professional Services to build the first two applications. After learning the ropes, and with guidance from the Nintex team, Noyes and a colleague were able to develop the remaining 18 applications themselves.
“I’m not a coder or developer but it’s a testament to Nintex K2 Cloud that the two of us could build what we needed on a schedule that was quite fast,” he says. “It’s great on reusability of common components, and that made the development cycle much faster. With other tools, we’d have needed to come up with workarounds for things that Nintex K2 Cloud just did right out of the box.”
With Nintex’s help, Noyes says that Twinings has reduced development time by 30 per cent.
After achieving success with the master data governance solution, Noyes and his colleagues used Nintex K2 Cloud to replace an offline mix of emails and spreadsheets that was slow to onboard vendors, impeded communication between suppliers and Twinings buying staff, and did not provide employees with visibility into supply chain status.
The result was a Supplier Portal that provides an online, real-time way for suppliers and Twinings buyers to share information about purchase orders, shipment status, quality checks and more. The company’s buyers continue to place their orders in SAP, but now that information surfaces in the portal, where suppliers can more quickly access and respond to them via Nintex K2 SmartForms.
“Opening SAP data to our external suppliers anywhere in the world in a secure way is a huge win, and we use K2 Software to make it possible,” says Noyes. “Our buyers, testers and other internal users get faster, more accurate and comprehensive visibility into the supply chain. They’re not left in the dark, so they can respond successfully when we experience supply chain delays or disruptions.”
With so much success, Twinings plans to expand its use of Nintex K2 Cloud to the non-tea side of its business, which manufactures the popular drink Ovaltine. The company also intends to use the solution to gain economies of scale by managing data governance with common suppliers through a single portal and master data governance model.
“Nintex K2 Cloud is an important part of our digital roadmap,” says Noyes. “It reduces risk and enables us to focus on adding value to our products.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.