How They Did it: Purchasing Competency Procurement Innovation at Molson Coors

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Author Information : Patrick Penfield (Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University)

Year of Publication : Supply Chain Management Review (2015)

Summary of Findings : It is exceedingly important to refine innovation processes and make them accessible to people throughout the company in order to keep up with trends.

Research Questions : 1. Can all companies move toward seeking expertise of their supply base to collaborate on the development of new product opportunities?

2. What processes should be employed to help purchasing professionals drive innovation from their supply base?

What we know : Developing innovative ideas is a constant challenge for all organizations

Novel Findings : Businesses need to challenge themselves on a daily basis to broaden their horizons in order to stay relevant and innovative.

Implications for Practice : 1. Companies could improve the scope of ideas by putting in place a system for suppliers to voice their ideas.

Full Citations : “How They Did it: Purchasing Competency Procurement Innovation at Molson Coors,” Supply Chain Management Review, January/February 2015.

Abstract : Despite its history of successful product innovation, Molson Coors found it challenging to continue producing innovative products. As a result, Molson Coors began encouraging suppliers to innovate by implementing a five-step innovative process that can be replicated. The first step is to find a Procurement Innovation Manager to drive innovation from suppliers and act as a communication liaison. The second step is to brief the suppliers in detail on the company’s brand. Only then can the suppliers start to develop ideas unique to the company, which is step three. The ideas are judged based on connection to the brand and feasibility. And the beauty of this is ideas do not get thrown out. Rather, they get cataloged for possible use later, allowing the company to capitalize on the idea when the time is right. The fourth step requires the idea to be approved by management before it receives any funding. The final step includes product evaluation on a monthly basis, and then all commitments are reviewed annually. The research concludes that because it is rare to find a “home run idea,” companies should have a system in place to allow innovation on current projects, too.

It is exceedingly important to refine innovation processes and make them accessible to people throughout the company in order to keep up with trends.

Patrick Penfield

Patrick Penfield

Professor Penfield is an assistant professor of supply chain management practice. He is interested in helping practitioners bring their supply chain management activities into the 21st century. Penfield was most recently the vice president of operations for a local manufacturing company and has more than 15 years of experience in supply chain management, working with Johnson & Johnson, Philips Electronics, and The Raymond/Toyota Corporation.
Patrick Penfield
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