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FOOD FOR THOUGHT General Mills’ collaborative approach


How LPP became Poland’s biggest fashion retailer


What your business needs to know

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Intelligent solutions W E L C O M E T O T H E F E B R U A R Y 2016 issue of

Business Review Europe. In this issue, we offer advice on how mobile device technology can be used by businesses, as well as a comprehensive guide to how companies can make the most out of digital content marketing to boost their brands. Our cover story is an interview with Gillian Tans, the inspirational COO of, who talks about how the company innovates to stay ahead of the fast-paced online travel market. Other leading companies we interviewed include Brocade – a global technology company. We spoke to Marcus Jewell, Vice President EMEA, about how Brocade’s innovative products work behind the scenes, driving the way we communicate and interact online. Another tech company we feature is VXL Instruments, a manufacturer of desktop, mobile and integrated thin client devices. Managing complex supply chains is the topic of two of our features, firstly with food manufacturer General Mills, which has opened a new distribution centre in collaboration with a partner as part of its intelligent response to changing consumer demands. The second, very different, supply chain story is an interview with the UK’s Department for International Development, covering specifically how it managed the logistics of tackling the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. We do hope you enjoy the issue, please send any feedback to @BizReviewEurope

Lucy Dixon Managing Editor EMEA 3





Online innovator Staying ahead of the competition is essential in the fast-paced online travel market


14 4

Harnessing mobile technology

February 2016

20 TOP 10

Rules for content marketing

Company Profiles SUPPLY CHAIN 28 LPP 40 General Mills 52 Department for International Development

TECHNOLOGY 66 Brocade 76 VXL Instruments



86 ThoughtWorks



Philips SLC

Department for International Development


General Mills



VXL Instruments

66 5


Online innovator

Staying ahead of the competition is essential in the online travel market, as’s Gillian Tans tells Business Review Europe Written by: PIERS FORD


LEADERSHIP AS PRESIDENT AND COO at, Gillian Tans lives and breathes the intensely competitive online travel market. The company is approaching its 20th anniversary under constant pressure to innovate, and to deliver the kind of interactive, sophisticated customer experience demanded by tech-savvy Generation Tinder. And Tans, who joined the business in 2002 after earning her stripes in the hotel industry, has been a key influence in its rapid expansion. Today, has a staff of 8,500, an accommodation network of almost 800,000 hotels and properties, and 9,000 affiliate and distribution partners. Tans’ role in its growth is rooted in her beliefs that there is no mystery to running a successful business: listen to your customers, create an environment which embraces a meaningful work/life balance for your people – and don’t be afraid of mistakes. We caught up with Tans during a very brief moment of down-time,

and discovered a COO who works as hard as she plays, has no time for glass ceilings, and continues to raise the rallying cry to bring more women into the technical side of the industry. “At, we work to not only recruit women, but make sure we are training them to take on more managerial roles,” she says. “More than 50 percent of our total workforce is female, and this ranks higher than a lot of other big tech companies including Facebook, Airbnb and Pinterest. 18 percent of our engineers are also women. This may sound low but it actually beats a lot of our tech peers.” Tans says that because technology evolves so fast, players who depend on it are forced to adapt themselves in order to keep up – and this creates openness and opportunity. “I think that in the next 10-15 years, we will have twice as many female engineers and CEOs as we do today – and I hope at that we double the number of women moving up into leadership positions

“I think that in the next 10-15 years, we will have twice as many female engineers and CEOs as we do today – and I hope at that we double the number of women moving up into leadership positions within that timeframe” within that timeframe,” she adds. Despite having been with the firm for long enough to qualify as a ‘veteran’, and working her way up through increasing levels of responsibility and experience (she was promoted to COO in 2011, and joined the management board of parent company Priceline Group in January 2014, before assuming

her presidential role last year), Tans says she has never been one to take a traditional career path. She grew up in the Dutch countryside and graduated from hotel management school in Middelburg. She hopped across the pond to cut her professional teeth at Hershey Entertainment and Resorts in Pennsylvania, followed by stints 9


with Intercontinental and Golden Tulip, where she was responsible for revenue management. “It was there that I first really began to understand the travel business, and to see how this industry could be revolutionised by the internet,” she says. “Technology evolves every day, as do the needs of our customers, which means that at we have to move even faster to stay ahead of the demand curve. We are plugged in to trends and like to try new things. 10 February 2016

The constant requirement to always be one step ahead in this industry means that it’s a challenging business to work in, but also incredibly exciting.” Mobile trends For the moment, those trends are heavily influenced by mobile. One third of bookings on the website are already made with a mobile device, and Tans expects this to increase to half in the near future. “We also know that travellers

already expect increasingly tailored services and experiences,” she says. “It won’t be long before you’ll be able to fully customise where you stay ahead of arrival, with just a few taps of your finger and the appropriate hashtag. Users will move from being spectators in an online environment to actively contributing to enhance their individual experience. We’re always challenging ourselves to see how we can better tailor our product and services to travellers with different

needs – and that’s a challenge I love.” This approach is embodied in the brace of recent apps and innovations that have emerged from the labs, including its recent Apple Watch app. “It really comes down to listening and learning from our customers in order to connect them with the travel experiences that they crave,” says Tans. “We’re interested in finding new ways to make it even easier, more natural and convenient, to 11


enrich our customers’ lives through new technology and services. “In 2015, we enabled users to spontaneously book a place to stay within steps of their current location, in just two taps, with the Booking Now mobile app. In 2016 we’ll continue to innovate in order to make the user experience as seamless as possible. We’ve also created products like for Business, with enhanced features that empower business travellers to find perfect, on-budget stays with all the facilities they demand. We try to anticipate the needs of the modern-day traveller, and ultimately reduce friction to exceed their expectations.” Tans’ vision is clearly informed by the fact that she herself lives the same 12 February 2016

kind of life – and experiences the same frustrations – as her customers. She spends a huge amount of time travelling, and juggles social media to keep tabs on friends – and manage the vital family/work balance. “I have a bunch of WhatsApp groups set up with my friends to stay in contact with them as I bounce all over the world for work,” she says. “My absolute pet peeve is having to pay for Wi-Fi at a hotel and then finding out that the quality is not good. I’m constantly checking my emails or texting with my kids. Having to struggle with a weak or wildly inconsistent signal is like torture for me!” Equilibrium is regained at home in Amsterdam. Even if the daily


agenda is packed, a peaceful breakfast with her children followed by a cycle ride to work helps Tans to keep her head clear. “I always put my family first, but I am very committed to my job,” she says. “For me, one of the best lessons learned to help balance priorities is relinquishing a bit of control at work, and trusting and empowering my teams to execute. “You can’t control everything in life

“In 2015, we enabled users to spontaneously book a place to stay within steps of their current location, in just two taps, with the Booking Now mobile app”

– that applies to companies and kids – you have to trust the people around you to make the right decisions, and support them when they don’t.” Courage and confidence are also important, she suggests, qualities that apply equally beyond the world of work. “You have to learn not to let little disappointments get you down, and stay focused on the big picture,” Tans says. “Ask yourself what you are doing today to reach your goals. It’s the small steps you take every day that get you where you want to go.”


Harnessin mobile techno

How will the business la of tomorrow be advan mobile device techno

Written by: N I G E L SE DDO N , LAN

ADVANCES IN MOBILE device technology and support influence businesses and their approach to workforce management. The many ways employees can now interact and maintain contact with their customers and colleagues creates more flexible working approaches and improves relationships. However the influx of device availability integrates 14

February 2016

a number of technological hurdles to effectively secure and manage the devices that are being used. Mobility ‘Bring Your Own Device’, otherwise known as BYOD, was first coined in 2009 when employees began demanding more accommodation to use their mobile devices on


ng ology

andscape nced by ology?


the job. BYOD helped change the game in reducing costs and enabling a more flexible and productive working environment. Fast forward to late 2015 and the perceptions of BYOD have transformed dramatically - again. Legal grey areas, sensitive data access, and blurred lines between work and non-work time mean

that organisations’ attempts to implement a BYOD strategy are more challenging than ever. Furthermore, industry specialists suggest that while BYOD is to be embraced, the ‘how’ and ‘when’ must be implemented carefully to prove responsive to IT infrastructure and staff needs. More manageable strategies, such as ‘Choose Your 15

TECHNOLOGY Own Device’ (CYOD), offer employees the use of mobiles or tablets from a selection of devices provided by the organisation. CYOD may be positioned as a catalyst for increased productivity while still securing data amongst the workforce, through working on devices that can be monitored and personally differentiated according to role. Infrastructure Industry experts state that infrastructure in all senses is going through its biggest change in 25 years, highlighting the need for organisations to grow and develop along with technological and industry developments. While pre-selected access rights and availability can be tailored around specific files and data that individuals can access,

security must be front of mind. PwC reported that 90 percent of large organisations stated that they had suffered a security breach in 2015, up from 81 percent in 2014. Offering employees more devices to work from unfortunately opens up an increased number of vulnerable touch points that need to be effectively monitored and managed. Therefore, business leaders considering this flexible approach to working must identify and implement some form of device security and management system. This enables organisations to respond effectively to data breaches or security concerns through identifying the access point, and or file, that was corrupted and prepare for response. A key focus here is to not overcomplicate the security management process,

“Industry experts state that infrastructure in all senses is going through its biggest change in 25 years, highlighting the need for organisations to grow and develop along with technological and industry developments� 16

February 2016


as mobility strategies will lose their benefit and will eliminate the need for them to be rolled out. Security Techniques such as app wrapping allow organisations to secure corporate apps and data, even for non-enrolled devices. Users can run corporate applications side-byside with their personal apps. Whilst the corporate content is protected the privacy of personal content is respected at all times. Processes

such as this allow businesses to accurately track how corporate data is being accessed and can help secure information, whether the employee is accessing it using a laptop, the latest smartphone, tablet, or even a standard-issue mobile. Unified Endpoint Management software is just one technique to aggregate and support all the devices users carry in one place without jumping between multiple tools. It is also important to improve authentication processes dependent 17


on file and device. Less-sensitive data can be prioritised depending on access availability, allowing more universal content to be accessed by all. Self service The development of advanced service desks has been aided by widespread workforce adoption of smartphones. Self-service mobile apps and online tools have enabled individuals to monitor and remedy personal IT 18

February 2016

“In 2016, flexibility, initiative building, and self-service applications are some of the stand out advancements business leaders should expect to witness from mobile developments�


issues whenever and wherever they may be. Such an approach could potentially be implemented to alleviate pressure on IT staff and decision makers, and to accelerate the problem analysis and fixing process. For instance, SnapIT from LANDESK enables a user to take a photo/screen shot of an error message or issue with their mobile device and attach it directly to an incident log. In 2016, flexibility, initiative building,

and self-service applications are some of the stand out advancements business leaders should expect to witness from mobile developments. However, while the potential for these advancements is significant, it is the preparation, IT infrastructure integration, and the attitude of business leaders toward this movement that will inevitably determine the success or failure of mobile working strategies. 19


10 for RUL ma con ES r t

TOP 10


y: S



Va n





rke ten tin t g



PROF. STEVEN VAN BELLEGHEM is author of When Digital Becomes Human, published by Kogan Page. Follow him on Twitter @StevenVBe, subscribe to his videos at or visit


TOP 10 1. MAKE IT PURPOSE-DRIVEN: When Starbucks recently set up a partnership with a former Washington Post journalist, the aim was to get them to create content about global issues, not just coffee. That is because as a brand, Starbucks wants to be about connecting people one coffee at a time, one neighbourhood at a time, and making their customers understand their purpose really builds their connection with the brand. Content marketing is about selling without selling. Instead of thinking about what you’re trying to sell, look for ways to

enthuse and excite people with the story of your brand purpose. 2. OFFER VALUE TO CONSUMERS: During the recent financial crisis, there was a swimming pool company that managed to keep growing while all their competitors struggled. Their secret was a clever marketing strategy, whereby they cut back on expensive advertising campaigns and simply set about creating content that answered the 200 most frequently asked questions from customers. Consequently, everyone who still had money to

Starbucks actively promotes content relating to other consumer issues such as sustainability and environment


February 2016


buy a pool found their website. The key point here is being customer-centric, focusing on what customers think is important and making your content as relevant to them as possible. Try it yourself – make a list of all the questions people could possibly have about your sector, your passion, your products, your business, your people then answer every one via blog posts, videos and infographics in language your customers understand. 3. ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE: Social media has opened up huge opportunities for companies to connect on a personal level with their audience. So, if someone shares your content or asks you a question, they are giving you their valuable attention, so the very least you should do to leverage that is give your attention back. Most big brands will favourite a tweet when someone says something nice, why not try something more engaging? Try out the video replies and record a five-second clip to thank people in a more eye-catching and personally engaging way.

‘Content marketing is about selling without selling. Instead of thinking about what you’re trying to sell, look for ways to enthuse and excite people with the story of your brand purpose’ 4. REMEMBER, VOLUME COUNTS: It is important to maintain a certain content frequency in your content marketing. It is better to create 10 small pieces of content that work for specific needs than a single broad piece. Micro-content is about taking a single content idea and fragmenting it into as many small pieces of content as you can. For example, when posting a blog, you can also make a short accompanying video, create some visuals or tweak the content for different products or angles and suddenly, one post becomes a series of micro 23

TOP 10 content pieces that can be shared via the most suited channel. 5. CONSIDER SUPPLY AND DEMAND: Facebook is perhaps the most popular medium among marketers at the moment because it offers the biggest reach. However, 1,000 followers on Instagram is worth more than 1,000 likes on Facebook because there is much less branded content on Instagram so it is easier to catch the attention of your audience. Of course this doesn’t mean you should stop using Facebook and Twitter, but you will need a larger follower base to achieve your goals, so keep an eye


February 2016

on up-and-coming channels that will be hot in a few years’ time to gain a competitive advantage. 6. CREATE IN THE MOMENT: 80 percent of your content can be planned weeks in advance based on what you want to say as marketers. However, the other 20 percent should be about what is happening in your customers’ world, which requires flexibility and creativity. This does not mean you have to jump on everything that’s trending on social media, but keep an eye on what is happening. Can you use your expertise to help

Video: myglam Glam Bag Intro Video by Michelle Phan

consumers and add value to them? Having a funny comment on the latest reality TV show is fine, but adding real value in the moment is even better. 7. BLUR THE LINES BETWEEN ONLINE AND OFFLINE: Michelle Phan has become one of the most influential people in the make-up industry by building a YouTube channel with seven million subscribers, racking up one billion views. She has now translated this online success into the offline world, publishing

a book and launching a service whereby more than 700,000 fans now subscribe to her Glam Bag for $10 per month. As content marketers we should also stop distinguishing between online and offline. A lot of the work a brand does online will have an offline link, and vice versa, and good added value content is also very relevant to the offline media. Today’s newspapers are filled with yesterday’s tweets. 8. TELL A STORY: Pieces of content are very often 25

TOP 10

stand-alone, but some of the most successful content is created through scenarios. Think of your content plan as the scenario for a never-ending TV show and try to add the kind of suspense, surprises, emotions and characters that make a good TV show gripping. Lego implemented the extreme version of this idea, creating real movies and short videos in which Lego toys play a central role over several years, climaxing in the Lego Movie in 2014 when millions of people went to see


February 2016

a movie consisting of 100 percent product placement by one single brand. 9. USE A HOOK: A lot of content marketing is simply about creating fantastic bait. You create


‘A genuine human connection can really make an impact and make your brand stand out in the minds of customers, so use real people in content marketing.

good content, people like it and your brand, then that’s it – they move on. Once in a while, however, it is smart to use a hook to acquire the consumer’s data. For instance, by collecting email addresses you can connect with clients and enhance the relationship. Regularly producing top content builds trust with customers, so after a while you will have created enough goodwill to ask something back. If you give 90 percent of the time, you are allowed to ask 10 percent of the time.

10. USE THE HUMAN ELEMENT: Use real stories and real people in your content marketing. We now live in such a digital world that many customers will hardly have any contact with actual people at the companies they buy from. A genuine human connection can really make an impact and make your brand stand out in the minds of customers, so use real people in content marketing. Show the market that you are a real company with real people and consumers will feel as if they are getting to know you and make a connection on a more personal level. 27

In fine style Written by Nye Longman Produced by James Pepper



Having grown into a major fashion retailer, Poland’s fast fashion network is cresting the wave of its success, expanding its brands into new markets and leveraging its optimised supply chain network

The flagship store in Stuttgart for the RESERVED brand 30

February 2016


is perhaps the best example in the European fashion retail market of what can be achieved in 20 years. Following consistently high growth – especially over in the past few years – the Polish fashion retailer has pushed the limits of its global supply chain in order to deliver both quality and value to its customers. In just under a decade, the company has seen its sales swell from €170 million to over €1.13 billion, significantly grown its number of stores and accelerated logistics facilities and solutions. We speak to Sebastian Soltys, LPP’s International Logistics Director, about how he and his teams have ensured that the company’s supply chain has accommodated rapid geographical expansion, as well as evolved to serve the addition of new clothing brands. Operations and expansion LPP is the most popular fashion retailer in Poland – and it is by far the largest. Its size and popularity have enabled the company to look beyond its borders for revenue opportunities. Following the entry into Germany, Croatia and the Middle East, it currently has stores in 18 countries serving three continents. Over the years, LPP has developed six well-known fashion brands which consist of: RESERVED; Tallinder; MOHITO; House; Cropp; and SiNSAY. The RESERVED brand is perhaps the best example of LPP’s diversity and

Key Personnel

Concept work for the new LPP Headquarters

supply chain capabilities and is little wonder that the company chose to launch this as its premier brand in the German market in 2014 –it is maintained by extra value added services such as garment ironing or hanging garment distribution. Later this year, the retailer is planning to open a high-profile store on London’s prestigious Oxford Str. House and Cropp offer clothing lines for fashion-conscious young people; its SiNSAY brand specifically targets the younger female market. The company attracts customers over 30 through its newly rolled-out premium brand Tallinder - while it focuses specifically on the female market with its MOHITO brand whose autumn/winter collection in 2014/15 was designed in collaboration with Polish supermodel Anja Rubik. Somewhat fondly, Soltys recalls a time when the company was small enough to be managed from a single location he says:

Sebastian Soltys International Logistics Director When Sebastian joined LPP back in 2005 as Project Manager he had a clear goal - to set up LPP’s first automated distribution centre. Having achieved that, he took charge of processes optimisation and throughput development, attaining the role of Logistics Center Director and advanced to Supply Chain Management Director further down the line.

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The flagship store for the Cropp brand

The flagship store for the House brand


February 2016

“I remember when I joined the company 10 years ago - we used to have 10,000 square meters of warehousing - our turnover and the store collateral were both small back then.” Back in 2005, LPP had just over 200 retail stores, but by 2015 this number had shot up to over 1,600 supported by a 70,000 square metre logistics centre. He explains how the youthfulness of the organisation had actually facilitated rapid growth and had given LPP the freedom to create modern solutions: “We had the luxury of creating our logistics operations from scratch, which differs from many retailers; when they need to scale their operations for periods of constant growth, they often have to squeeze them into existing facilities. Saying that, we were able to expand production at our site from 250,000 pieces per day in 2008, to 1,200,000 in 2015.” Supply chain strategy Soltys also explains that, in order to accommodate the massive growth of its retail stores network, LPP had to ensure that its entire


“Alongside the growth of our company, in terms of logistics and supply chain it was enormous, very rapid growth that actually forced us to be very dynamic and flexible to keep up with organisational changes” – Sebastian Soltys, International Logistics Director supply chain was able to adapt and grow, he says; “Alongside the growth of our company, in terms of logistics and supply chain it was enormous, very rapid growth that actually forced us to be very dynamic and flexible to keep up with organisational changes.” “With growth in both the number of our stores and the destinations we serve, the challenge is to orchestrate on a daily basis in terms of time, cost and quality the supply from hundreds of manufacturers which are placed in more than 20 countries, spread across more than 120 different landing points.” “Every single day we have a multitude of goods landing, as well as goods in transit and coming in and out from sea ports, airports, and roads. All in all, it is a constant flow from one supply chain side to the other, represented by 1600 shop floors. Adding additional disruptive layers to that global network means that my team and I have very difficult jigsaw to put together.” And how does LPP ensure that the entirety of its supply chain is up to scratch? Soltys explains: “The key to success is ability to be flexible

The flagship store for the MOHITO brand

The flagship store for the SiNSAY brand

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Reliable partner for value-added warehouse automation

Vanderlande is a major player in the warehouse automation market and specialises in solutions for food retail, fashion, parts and components and e-commerce. It cooperates closely with its customers to optimise their supply chain and enhance the efficiency of the processes in their distribution centres. The company is a one-stop shop for innovative systems, intelligent software and life-cycle services. This integrated approach results in an optimum performance throughout the system‘s lifetime. >


with the strong eagerness on driving process improvements. You need to also remember to be reliable when collaborating with your vendors. “The biggest advantage for LPP is that we can react at a fast pace to cope with any environmental changes. When expansion was booming in Russia three years ago, we set up a distribution centre in Moscow and created a separate supply chain model for the reason of strengthening reaction against the market demand and to bring stock closer to the end customer.” “A year and a half ago, when the political and economic situation in Russia deteriorated, we were able to very smoothly balance what we were bringing out in the Russian market directly, and what we bring to the other countries. So we were just very dynamic with goods between the countries where we operate.” Jacek Kujawa, Vice President of the Board at LPP, adds: “More than ever before, excellence in supply chain and logistics is about bringing the real contribution into the revenue growth and enhancing customer

An extra layer of efficiency gained by the Automatic Storage and Retrieval

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“I would say that nowadays supply chain visibility is crucial, but it’s going to be very challenging for the next couple of years, and only those companies that have full supply chain visibility would gain any advantage facing the volatile macroeconomics” – Sebastian Soltys, International Logistics Director



Generated at: Thu Sep 3 17:13:44 2015

© 2015 Accenture. All rights reserved.



satisfaction. Being innovative in terms of advanced logistics technology and IT systems in reasonable fields really pays off. Although all logistics developments made required much capital investment, they brought us a continuous cost to serve decrease.” Ethical expansion In recent years LPP has worked hard to ensure that its supply chain is as transparent and ethical as possible, which culminated with the creation of a dedicated CSR department last year to provide oversight on this initiative. This endeavour may be relatively new to the company, but due to its inherent speed, it has been able to take it on board with gusto. LPP’s spokesperson Marta Chlewicka says: “We are initially concentrating on implementing the right controls and auditing our factories. While we don’t actually own any factories, we are focusing on being precise with the ones we use – we will be conducting more audits and social audits in our supply chain, especially in Bangladesh this year, and in the future we would like to also control our factories in China.” “We are the only Polish fashion retailer who joined the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh initiative whose aim is to improve the safety in the clothing production facilities in Bangladesh.” Soltys adds: “We also take into account the transport we currently use; we ship via


Number of staff employed by group

LPP also has five franchise stores in the Middle East region w w w. l p p s a . c o m


LPP modern ocean ultra-vessels, which are currently the best on the market and have reduced carbon dioxide emissions. We are also starting some trials with rail connections from the Far East to Poland which will make the supply chain smoother and faster, and no doubt much environmentally friendly. “I would say that nowadays supply chain visibility is crucial, but it’s going to be very challenging for the next couple of years, and only those companies that have full supply chain advanced visibility would gain any advantage facing the volatile macroeconomics. We aim to enhance the supply chain supporting systems to clearly see and analyse every single step of chain, because that helps you to mitigate the impact of the global disruptions and keeps you a step ahead.” “We operate in a total of 18 countries, across three continents and supply roughly 120 million pieces of garments and accessories yearly.


February 2016


Tallinder – the first premium brand in the portfolio of LPP

Such a distribution scale would definitely not be feasible without a well synchronised supply chain, supported by the advanced intralogistics technology and systems. He concludes: “On top of that, I would emphasise the human element, because you might have an ideal system but there need to be personnel to understand the process and the data and combine it to achieve the best results. In the end, it’s all about synchronising every supply chain link well with the previous and the next one.” Having grown at an unbelievable rate in the past decade, LPP has shown that a newcomer to the market can not only move with unmatched speed, but can do so without compromising on the quality of its products and build a strong yet flexible supporting supply chain. As the fashion retail space continues to evolve, the company can be sure that the systems that it has in place are more than capable of accommodating them.

“More than ever before, excellence in supply chain and logistics is about bringing the real contribution into the revenue growth and enhancing customer satisfaction” – Jacek Kujawa, Vice President of the Board

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Food for thought Written by: Lucy Dixon Produced by: Richard Durrant



Increased collaboration is the key to food manufacturer General Mills’ success in a constantly evolving retail landscape


February 2016


he UK food retail industry has been through some enormous changes. The market used to be dominated by the big four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – but in recent years they have been getting some serious competition from discounters such as Lidl, Aldi, Poundland and others. There has also, of course, been a big shift to online shopping and convenience. Dave Howorth, Supply Chain Director for General Mills in the UK, says that this change in consumer behaviour has been the driving force behind many of the innovative moves made by the company, as it reacts to the growth of convenience shoppers, as well as those who favour the discounters and online retailers. He says: “The UK has come out of the recession, but what we are seeing is a permanent change in consumer behaviour. If you listen to some of the


retailers, they’ll talk about more change in the last two years than they’ve seen in the last 20 years.” This transformation, which sees people shopping more frequently and happy to switch between stores, means that supermarkets are feeling the pressure – and looking to manufacturers such as General Mills to help them out. Howorth explains: “There are significant commercial pressures, the retailers are looking to their supply chain to operate at a lower cost. So, for instance, they are looking to de-stock, which means they want deliveries seven days a week.” Meaning General Mills has had to introduce a high level of agility into its own operations. One example of this is a new distribution centre in the North West of England, which General Mills is utilising alongside logistics provider Culina. Howorth says: “The only way to replenish the retailers on a seven-day

Key Personnel

Dave Howorth Supply Chain Director UK

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200 MILLION ROAD MILES ELIMINATED Peel Ports are running a campaign to help UK companies take 200 million miles off our road and rail infrastructure by the end of 2020

200 PARTNERS We will be partnering with 200 importers and exporters to support shipping lines connecting to Liverpool2; the UK’s most central deep-water container terminal being developed at the Port of Liverpool


Cargo200 has already attracted a significant number of retailers, manufacturers and cargo owners to sign up to the initiative including: JCB QVC Matalan

B&M Regatta Typhoo Tea

Do you want to be part of the CARGO200 INITIATIVE? Contact us at or visit


week, 363 days a year, while maintaining your efficiencies, is to consolidate our volumes with other manufacturers. Because unless you are a huge company such as Nestlé or CocaCola, very few suppliers have the volumes to deliver full loads 365 days a year to the DCs of an increasingly fragmented customer base. So it’s all about collaborating with your 3PL partners and other manufacturers, and with the retailers, to flow those products in a consolidated way and to generate enough critical mass to be able to do that.” General Mills operates in three temperature channels in the UK – an ambient business (Old El Paso, Green Giant, Betty Crocker and Nature Valley), a frozen business (HäagenDazs ice cream and Jus-Rol pastry) and a chilled business (chilled Jus-Rol and Yoplait yoghurt). The new distribution centre is for the ambient brands and it is allowing General Mills to respond to retailers’ needs while still maintaining vehicle fill rates. This helps reduce the company’s environmental impact as well as protecting its cost base. “And it’s all done through collaboration with our logistics partner, other manufacturers and the retailers,” says Howorth. The centre is at Port Salford, on the bank of the Manchester

‘If you listen to some of the retailers, they’ll talk about more change in the last two years than they’ve seen in the last 20 years.’ Green Giant is one of General Mills’ ambient brands

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‘General Mills has been around for at least 150 years, and it’s intending to go forward for a long time as well, so it’s important that we protect the planet that we’ll be operating in.’


February 2016

Ship Canal, which has meant that General Mills can use sea freight. Howorth explains: “Green Giant sweetcorn is manufactured in the south west of France, Old El Paso and Nature Valley in northern Spain. So, for cost reasons and for environmental reasons, we move those products by short sea freight, from the Port of Bilbao in northern Spain into the port of Liverpool. Then it can go onto a barge and then to the quayside at our new warehouse. Not only are we saving the road miles, but we’re also using a more environmentally friendly mode of transport.” Reducing the company’s environmental impact is very


important, says Howorth, for several reasons. “It’s typically associated with cost benefit, of course. We’re a global manufacturer, we have a responsibility – and a reputation – it’s what our consumers and our customers would expect of us. Shareholders and stakeholders would expect us to operate in an environmentally friendly way. But, most importantly, it’s the right thing to do. So General Mills has been around for at least 150 years, and it’s intending to go forward for a long time as well, so it’s important that we protect the planet that we’ll be operating in.” The new centre offers another advantage to General

Culina Port Salford

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We’re going the extra mile in our service and reducing the miles in our service delivery

At Yearsley Logistics we’re passionate about helping our customers manage their logistics better. From our award-winning customer service, to day 1 for day 2 retail deliveries. From reducing food miles out of our strategically located superhubs, to being the largest foodservice network in the UK. We go above and beyond; it’s a philosophy that drives every corner of our business. Find out more. Call us on 01706 694680, email at or visit us at


Mills, when it comes to adapting to the new consumer demands. Howorth says: “The different channels – discounters, online, convenience – require different pack formats and pack sizes. For example, some retailers are servicing online through what they call ‘dark stores’ and these are very automated, so the product at the moment gets redistributed from their main distribution centres into these dark stores, and the first thing they do is rip the cases apart and put them into plastic crates to go into their automated system. We can see a future whereby the retailer may well ask us to do that, and say, ‘You need to start delivering to our dark store, and by the way this is how you need to present it.’ So potentially this could further drive new and different pack formats.” In response, General Mills is looking very closely at what it calls a postponement strategy, so rather than packing a product six to eight weeks before it is sold, it brings the product over in bulk, unpacked, and then packs it in the actual distribution centre one or two weeks before the sale. It is then able to customise the packing as required. Howorth adds: “We’re more responsive and also it’s freeing our factory to do what the factory is good at, and that’s producing the actual finished goods, and not becoming bogged down with all sorts of different pack formats. So within this new distribution facility, there will be a substantial packing facility to enable that.” All this highlights the positive changes for w w w. g e n e r a l m i l l s . c o . u k



‘Delivering the same volumes across a more fragmented marketplace is a key challenge.’


February 2016

General Mills that, says Howorth, have only been possible thanks to the increase in collaboration. “It’s certainly been the most used word of the last five years, because it is crucial going forward, and we’ve been good at collaboration in all directions – with the retailer and the third-party logistics team. It is a true partnership, based on a joint strategy.” As an FMCG-branded food manufacturer, General Mills wants its product in front of the consumer, wherever the consumer is – so these collaborations have been crucial to its success. “Overall within the food and drink sector in


Culina Port

this country there isn’t any growth, it’s flat – so one of our challenges as a business is to grow, while the market is becoming more fragmented with new channels and retailers opening up. Delivering the same volumes across a more fragmented marketplace is a key challenge.” As a result of this, Howorth believes, both manufacturers and retailers are starting to think more end-to-end, pulling down the barriers between what is the manufacturers’ supply chain and what is the retailers’, seeing it as one supply chain. “I think in doing that, we will open up a lot of opportunities,” he concludes.


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“Now I want to be a doctor� - Celina Kamanda, a young Ebola survivor

The battle against Ebola

Written by: Nell Walker Produced by: Richard Durrant 53


The UK’s Department for International Development led the response to the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone, committing £427 million to the epidemic and getting the country back on its feet


February 2016


he Ebola crisis of 2014 brought West Africa to its knees and the rest of the world to arms. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) played a major part in containing and fighting the disease, having been tasked by the Prime Minister, David Cameron and Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, to step in and help Sierra Leone’s government. DFID has the ability to respond to up to three international crises at one time, thanks to their partnership with the international development company, Crown Agents and its Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Operations Team – otherwise known as CHASE OT. CHASE OT allows DFID to respond to emergencies exceptionally quickly. For example, when a natural disaster occurs – such as the April 2015 Nepal earthquake – a CHASE OT team will be assembled


in a tactics room, a plan laid out, and within a 24-hour period there are boots on the ground. The goods follow later; that’s where the supply chain comes into the equation. DFID steps in John McGhie, Supply Chain Demand Manager for DFID, is a busy man. When the World Health Organisation declared the Ebola crisis an international emergency, it was soon realised that the international supply chain was unable to cope with the depth of goods and flexibility required, and so the British government put into place its own end-to-end supply chain to handle operations on location in Sierra Leone. “Although you can acquire some information from initial reports, it’s only when you actually have people on the ground that you can truly assess what is needed,” McGhie says. “We unfortunately don’t have the time to sit and discuss things; we need to actually get people there. It’s peoples’ lives at risk.” Before the supply chain

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‘It’s only when you actually have people on the ground that you can truly assess what is needed’

Yusuf Kabba - an Ebola survivor and campaigner

“No one company could physically tackle what we were facing” – John McGhie, Supply Chain Demand Manager for DFID


‘Working with world experts, we worked out what an Ebola treatment centre looked like and what supplies were needed’


February 2016

could begin moving, DFID had to work out not only what was needed, but how it would slot together. “Essentially back in Whitehall we looked at it and said ‘what is a treatment centre?’ Working with world experts who had dealt with Ebola on a smaller scale, we worked out what an Ebola treatment centre looked like and what supplies were needed.” Acquiring supplies At this point, the basic items could be gathered: “At the beginning we had to think about patient numbers and consumption rates. We needed treatment centres, with 100 beds, able to operate for at least a six month period. Medical staff would be changing their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) every shift, taking blood samples from patients, conducting physical checks and prescribing essential medicines. How many nurses are required, how many doctors, how many cleaners would be going in and out of the red zone?” The centres needed an isolation area, triage, labs, separate wards for suspected and confirmed cases, facilities for decontamination and a mortuary. Air conditioners were required, as temperatures within the tents could reach 44 Celsius, plus all manner of PPE – something that would need to be removed and replaced every time a medical worker entered or left a red zone – and, of course, medical supplies. “All these things were ongoing during the August/


September period and being mobilized from October through to the opening of the first fully-formed treatment centre in November. It all had to work in sequence so that we could get on top of it, and this constantly evolved with the pattern of the outbreak.” At its height, the outbreak was bringing 500 people a week into the doors of 15 emergency treatment centres across the country, 6 of which were UK built, and CHASE OT could no longer tie up so much of its services in one place. “It became clear that the Ebola response was absorbing the majority of CHASE OT’s operations, so it meant that if there was another global disaster – and in the time CHASE OT

Yusuf Kabba - The President of the Sierra Leone Association of Ebola Survivors, Reaching out to Ebola survivors in Magazine Wharf, Freetown

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Equipping the Ebola fight in Sierra Leone November 7, 2015 was a remarkable day for Crown Agents and International Procurement Agency (IPA) – but also a day like any other. It was remarkable because it was the day that Sierra Leone was officially declared free of Ebola. It was the Holy Grail that we had been working towards for more than a year. But then it was just like any other day because we still had plenty of work to do – on the Ebola response and on much more. At both companies we did take a moment, however, to reflect on the magnitude of the achievement, which had seemed so distant and so desperate when work first began. A year previously, the work being done was on a scale and with an urgency that few, if any, had seen before. The outbreak was rising to its peak. Rates of infection in Sierra Leone topped 500 in one week in November 2014. The international

response was surging into action and Crown Agents and IPA were at the heart of things. Our core procurement and supply chain contingent was swelled with anyone who could be of assistance – director-level staff were rolling up their sleeves, getting on the phone and calling suppliers. Procurement, supply chain, logistics, health, IT, finance and HR staff – people from all over the companies – all had vital and urgent roles to do. At that point Crown Agents had sourced, procured and shipped everything needed to equip the first of the Ebola treatment centres funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Sierra Leone. We had also been given our orders to do it all again for six more centres.

The award-winning CAIPA partnership, between Crown Agents and IPA, was also being formed, to establish the supply chains for the resupply and continued operation of the ETCs. The pressure of the situation was unlike anything we’d seen before because of the simple fact that it was literally a matter of life and death for the people in Sierra Leone. Between September 2014 and September 2015, CAIPA procured more than 10 million individual items from over 240 suppliers. 2,118,548 kilogrammes of products were shipped by air and sea freight from all over the world to Sierra Leone. When an all-consuming incident like the Ebola outbreak happens, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world keeps spinning. During 2015 Vanuatu was stricken by Cyclone Pam, the earthquake in Nepal required a huge humanitarian

response and the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean called upon international humanitarian assistance. Throughout the Ebola work Crown Agents and IPA’s expertise has also been needed elsewhere so, on November 7, no-one took their foot off the pedal, work continued, supply chains for medical supplies and solar panels and infrastructure and technical assistance and more, kept moving. Work also continued on the Ebola response, moving into decommissioning, donation and making sure that all the positive medical advances made in Sierra Leone during the outbreak are leveraged for future health systems strengthening.

What is CAIPA? CAIPA was formed in November 2014 as a partnership between Crown Agents and International Procurement Agency (IPA) to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone. IPA holds the DFID procurement contract for Sierra Leone and Crown Agents was able to offer additional supply chain capacity and experience in the region, so the decision to join forces was an easy one to make.

The Ebola response captured the best of what a partnership like CAIPA could offer: • More than 215 combined years of history in international procurement and supply • Strong and productive relationships with governments, donors and suppliers • Multi-disciplinary expertise spanning supply chain, logistics, consultancy & financial services • Agile international staff accustomed to getting things done in the most extreme environments CAIPA’s job is not over yet. The reporting of one new case of Ebola in Sierra Leone on January 15, reflects the ongoing risk of new flare-ups of the virus in the Ebolaaffected countries. CAIPA must still maintain the supply chains

and facilities to isolate and treat any such flare-ups and to scale up and down as necessary. Looking to the future, those supply chains and systems will also be used for wider health systems strengthening work, including for distribution under the Free Health Care programme run by DFID, the Government of Sierra Leone and UNICEF. We’re also supporting Public Health England in running four labs in Sierra Leone that were initially set up within the ETCs, but have now been relocated within Sierra Leone to take on a bigger role in general medical testing. Further afield, CAIPA has also begun working in South Sudan to provide emergency medical health supplies – including pharmaceuticals and medical consumables – country wide in support of the work being carried out by the national Ministry of Health and DFID.

For more information please visit: Crown Agents International Procurement Agents BV

Crown Agents was involved in the UK government’s Ebola response from the outset: its embedded Operations Team (OT) within DFID’s Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department worked on the initial setting up of the seven British ETCs in Sierra Leone. Crown Agents is an international development company that takes on clients’ fundamental challenges and makes lasting change to the systems and organisations that are vital for people’s well-being and prosperity. Headquartered in London, it has more than 180 years of experience in international procurement and has international offices, project operations and agents across the world. IPA is one of the leading organisations in providing superior supply, procurement, consultancy services and emergency response to principals in all parts of the developing world on a strictly independent basis. It was founded in 1981 and is based in Bussum in The Netherlands. The partnership’s work with DFID on the Ebola was recognised with two awards at the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards, taking the honours for International Operations and for the Public and Third Sectors. It has also been shortlisted for the Outstanding International Collaboration Award at the British Expertise International Awards 2016.

D E PA R T M E N T F O R I N T E R N AT I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T “There will be life after Ebola” - John Sesay


February 2016


have had to deal with the Nepal earthquake, the outbreak of hostilities in Yemen, the migrant crisis in Europe and through Syria, the issues around the border of Turkey – as bad as the Ebola crisis was, they couldn’t have one operation tie up what we have been tasked by the government to tackle,” McGhie says. CAIPA offers aid A normal response for CHASE OT would last between one and three months, but Ebola had the potential from the beginning to stay longer and spread wider: “No one company could keep up with the demand for PPE, so DFID’s procurement unit ordered from several companies. No one company could physically tackle what we were facing.” The procurement unit decided that supply chain needed help to cope with this enormous drain, leading to a partnership between Crown Agents and IPA, known as CAIPA. Crown Agents is a large, long-standing organisation and IPA is smaller and proactive; “This provided us with the kind of platform we required, because what is needed today is not what’s going to be needed next week, and this was a constant evolving pattern where we were assessing what was necessary.” This extra support from external contractors contributed towards the development of over 70 community care centres which were located around the country to help quickly isolate and treat

1000 The number of Department for International Development employees

Celina Kamanda - an Ebola survivor


British Army Sergeant Sulaiman Kamara meets Ebola survivors in Magazine Wharf, Freetown


February 2016

cases. What remains now is DFID’s legacy. “The reason I was brought out here was to maintain the supply chain for DFID, but also manage the transition of what happens once this is over. Moving from active treatment to surveillance, through to recovery, through to development… All to help and support the Government of Sierra Leone to get back to normal.” Pre-Ebola crisis, Sierra Leone had one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This dropped to growth of only 1% in 2015. “It was a country that was ready to step ahead and make significant increases which then


got cut off at the knees. We want to leave a legacy of capability within the government.” Sierra Leone today Sierra Leone reached zero cases of Ebola in November 2015, but as the new flare up in January of this year demonstrates, the virus will emerge in clusters every so often. Ebola has also delayed immunization programmes and led to many people feeling afraid of hospitals – increasing Sierra Leone’s exposure to other diseases such as malaria and cholera. However, DFID is developing a programme of support for a free healthcare service for pregnant woman, lactating mothers and children under five (as Sierra Leone has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, with 8.7 percent of babies dying under the age of one), and the elderly. This is all in the name of allowing the people of Sierra Leone to continue to live healthily and without fear. DFID has gone above and beyond during the operation in Sierra Leone, working with the national government and its partners including the World Health Organisation, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ministry of Defence, Public Health England, the National Health Service and the Australian Government-funded Aspen Medical. In the fight against Ebola, the international aid has proven invaluable, and will continue to allow a damaged nation to get back onto its feet as it recovers from one its weakest points in history.

‘It was a country that was ready to step ahead and make significant increases, which then got cut off at the knees. We want to leave a legacy of capability within the government’

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Brocade’s innovative products work behind the scenes, driving the way we communicate and interact online The Brocade MLXe-4


February 2016


f you’re using a computer, then every six seconds you’re communicating across a piece of Brocade technology. This is a calculation Marcus Jewell, Vice President EMEA at Brocade, shares while explaining the successes of the technology company. “We’re the enabler, we enable everything to work so as social media explodes, as mobility increases, as mobile phones do more, as consumption of multimedia online increases, all of these things can only be made possible using the technology we sell. So we’re not the instigator to the solution but we’re the critical path in delivering it. As society expresses itself in different ways, as certain cultures change their attitudes to being online, everything is driven from the technology that companies like Brocade make.” Founded in 1995, Brocade is headquartered in San Jose, California, with almost 5,000


employees across 36 countries and annual revenues over $2 billion. It is a leader in data centre networking, known for being a pioneer of Ethernet fabrics with approximately 70 percent share of the SAN (storage area network) switching market. It is also the creator of the most widely adopted NFV (network function virtualisation) solution with more than 100 million production hours. Marcus Jewell heads up around 650 employees in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As well as strong sales and marketing teams, there is also a UK-based engineering force, as Jewell explains: “A lot of our software products are written in the UK in the Cambridge Science Park, where we have a staff count of around 160 engineers.” The engineering team has created a virtual traffic manager, which is a software traffic manager device. Jewell adds: “The focus for the virtual traffic manager is e-commerce and retail. People who use it a lot would be Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and Amazon Web Services, people who are looking to manage their traffic flows across the internet.” As suggested by the calculation at the beginning of this article, Brocade’s product portfolio is extremely widely used. Jewell says: “Everybody from enterprises to cloud service providers, from banks and central government bodies to defence to schools.” But Brocade doesn’t sell direct, it works with a selection of leading partners. Jewell adds: “Everything we do is through partnership. In


Number of employees at Brocade “We’re probably the most successful OEM company that’s ever existed because we’ve managed to keep all the market players satisfied at the same time” – Marcus Jewell, VP EMEA

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Perfect balance

An enterprise IT environment that is flexible yet strong. Fast yet safe. Scalable yet cost effective. By blending the best of Cloud powered and on-premise IT, the balance you seek is the balance that Hybrid delivers. And, with more than 5,000 large scale implementations globally, no one knows Hybrid better than Fujitsu. Find out more -


our SAN business we’re 100 percent OEM, everything we sell is with either via EMC, IBM, HP or HDS (Hitachi Data Services). They’re the big four in the storage market and they take our products to market so we’re probably the most successful OEM company that’s ever existed because we’ve managed to keep all the market players satisfied at the same time.” This doesn’t mean that Brocade hasn’t worked hard on ensuring its sales team has specialist expertise in all the markets it operates in. In fact, the recent development of the sales team is an important achievement. “We’ve invested very heavily in educating and changing the nature of our sales force using a program called Challenger. It’s about providing true business value to the customer as opposed to presenting products. We’ve been using it now for two years and it has allowed us to open up new markets, to increase our awareness and it’s allowed us to develop trusted advisor relationships with our clients.” And attracting the right staff in the first place is also part of this process, which Jewell says is made easier because they are operating in an innovative sector that the best people want to work in. “Our sector is very exciting because it continually reinvents itself. If you think about telecommunications, hardware and software, it’s one of biggest industries in the world now and the usage of our technology only increases each year. So, first of all, we’re in a nice part of the market, which continually grows and evolves. And our

“The digital explosion is a massive opportunity for organisations. But to make the most of it and become digital businesses, they need to balance the requirements of 2-speed IT: fast IT – exploiting cloudbased digital solutions to drive innovation; and robust IT – modernizing the core systems that run the business.” – Mark Phillips, Fujitsu’s Head of Hybrid IT

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1995 The year that Brocade was founded

employees feel that they can make a difference. That’s what really motivates people, that they feel a part of a team and that they can achieve something and not just be counted as a number.” Brocade’s investment in its sales force is one aspect that has helped it to more than hold its own against bigger competitors. Jewell says: “We’re a big company but we have a market cap of about $5 billion, and we compete with a company which has a market cap of around $100 billion. So how do you create a voice against companies which are incredibly successful? You do that by working as a team, by sharing your successes, by focusing




DEFINE THE ENTERPRISES MEET THE NEW STANDARD FOR CLOUD & INFRASTRUCTURE SERVICES. Learn more at Unisys and Brocade service offering condenses IT to make our Enterprise Cloud offering possible.


February 2016


on the customer and by enjoying it. I think we try to enjoy what we do. A lot of companies have lost that sense that work should be, well, fun.” Constantly working on its key relationships is an equally important part of Brocade’s strategy. Jewell says: “I think that the biggest thing is we listen. You get to a certain size of business and you stop listening and you start telling. I think we still listen a lot.” Jewell himself is in constant contact with the partners but says it is companywide task. “We make sure those relationships are multi-peopled, it’s not one person to one person, there’s literally thousands of people to thousands of people

“Our sector is very exciting because it continually reinvents itself. If you think about telecommunications, hardware and software, it’s one of biggest industries in the world now and the usage of our technology only increases each year” – Marcus Jewell, VP EMEA

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Brocade Corporate Headquarters


February 2016

with relationships, it’s a matrix.” Growth within the EMEA region is largely coming from the east, as Jewell explains: “We see a lot of growth in areas where the infrastructures are not as mature as others so although our revenue numbers are biggest in countries such as the UK and Germany, the growth is bigger in places like Poland, Russia and the Middle East. They have more of an appetite to invest and equally they


are less likely to just look at the market leader, they like to look at people who are challenging the space, that’s where we get a lot of traction.” This underlines Brocade’s strategy, which has been one of customer focus and consistency. “What we’re after is quality, sustainable growth. There’s very little point in having an amazing year then having a terrible year, you need to think long term so I think that we are just at the point of an accelerated growth plan because we’ve done a lot of planning over the last four years to get us there and now we can start reaping the benefits. I think our strategy has been a lot more long term than a lot of other companies and I think that’s going to pay off big time for us.”

The Brocade analytics monitoring platform

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Securing your cloud technolog Written by: Nell Walker Produced by: Danielle Harris

gy 77


VXL Instruments, a global leader in cloud computing technologies, is putting its expertise towards the safekeeping of digital information


February 2016


s user demands inevitably change, the world of computing evolves alongside them. VXL Instruments is making great strides in this department by drawing on the issues of the past to transform the future. VXL was established in India in 1976, and its reach is now global, extending its offices from its origins in Bangalore to Singapore, Dubai, Munich, Paris, London, Manchester and Houston. In the days of mainframe computing, VXL began by producing visual display units, which were used to communicate with mainframes. Mainframe systems provided all the necessary storage and processing as today’s servers, and were connected to VDU end points that had no CPU, graphical interface, or memory. Around twelve businesses built VDU’s – also known as ‘dumb terminals’.


Once the PC was introduced by IBM in 1981, “the topography of computing was changed dramatically” says Frank Noon, VXL’s VP of Worldwide Sales. As the world switched from centralised computing to distributed computing, the requirements for VDU’s decreased rapidly: “Thanks to the PC, with its hard disc, CPU and Graphical User Interface, dumb terminals were no longer required. VXL and its competitors had to re-engineer themselves once the PC took over.” Although the PC brought many benefits to organisations, it also introduced a whole new set of problems. In the centralised computing age, large companies had few administration and security problems with their mainframes and VDUs, but the PC gave them serious concerns. Users were now able to use the PC as a personal computer at work; after all, the consumer ‘home PC’ had yet to be adopted. IT administrators were faced with escalating support costs due to PC misuse and, because PCs enabled users to store personal information to disc, they presented a genuine security risk. “US company Citrix came along and introduced a product which enabled

Number of jobs supported by VXL Instruments

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Frank Noon, VP of Worldwide Sales

the PC to behave like a VDU, allowing companies to revert back to the centralised way of doing things rather than the distributed way,” says Noon. “This stripped freedom away from the user by disabling the hard disk and the ability to download images. The PC then behaved like a dumb terminal. This provided a perfect solution to reducing support costs and eliminating security risks. However, companies were now paying six or seven times more than they would for a VDU, while having the expensive features of a PC removed.” The paradox of paying more for a product while delivering less was resolved by VXL through the

GIGABYTE is an Associate Partner of the Intel® IoT solutions Alliance


February 2016


introduction of the thin client, which is essentially a PC with the PC features stripped back. There is no need for a hard disc or a powerful CPU as the server behaves like the mainframe, providing the storage and processing horsepower. This enabled VXL to deliver end point devices at between 30 and 40 percent the price of a PC, and filled a gaping hole in the market. The lack of features means that the device cannot be used inappropriately in the workplace, and because it delivers a virtual desktop to the screen, the users sees exactly what they would see on a PC. “Hitherto, the Thin Client has enjoyed most of its success with large enterprise customers – traditional centralised computer users – which to-date has represented only a fraction of the total desktop market at around 7 percent of desktop sales. However with the introduction of cloud computing and the increased confidence of users, the time for thin and zero clients has finally arrived. Google, Amazon and Microsoft have invested billions in creating huge datacentres to take care of users’ entire computing and storage requirements. They’re now delivering software applications via virtual desktops, and because Cloud Computing adheres to the centralised computing principle, the thin and zero client is now the product of choice for a low-cost, end-point device.” VXL has grasped at the old concept

VXL has 110 specialist developers working on Fusion UDM technology 400,000 thin clients have been made for quick service retail outlets across 74 countries Fusion technology can be applied to any digital platform

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VXL INSTRUMENTS of strengthening corporate control of an organisation’s computer environment by launching a new product called Fusion UDM Premium. “Traditionally, thin client manufacturers have included a device manager, which is software that allows IT administrators to manage the device. The market growth for device management software is forecasted to be double digit across all customer sizes, but in particular the server message block – or SMB – space. This is most certainly driven by the adoption of ‘bring your own device’, which reduces costs for businesses. The BYOD movement has to-date been embraced by only 4 percent of users, and this low take-up can be blamed entirely on security fears. The last thing any organisation wants is for employees to bring their own notebook or tablet to the office and have it connected to the company network without restrictions.” VXL decided it could create a new device manager – Fusion UDM Premium – which could manage not only thin clients but laptops, phones, tablets, and cash registers on as many operating system platforms as possible. “People 82

February 2016


bringing their own devices into the workplace and connecting them to the corporate network has the potential to be disastrous, but with Fusion, when a user connects to the network, their private icons are eliminated from the screen and there’s no access. Only the desktop that the organisation wishes the user to have will be accessible. It’s as secure as it possibly can be.” VXL has a team of 110 specialist developers dedicated to Fusion, who spend their time evolving the product to work across multiple platforms. It was launched in October 2015 and is, according to Noon: “The most significant product we’ve created since introducing thin client hardware in 1985”. Hot on the heels of Fusion, VXL is releasing two new products in spring/summer 2016: Illumini, which is a digital signage

‘With the introduction of cloud computing and the increased confidence of users, the time for thin and zero clients has finally arrived’

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Arun Bhuwania Chairman 69 years old,industrialist and entrepreneur with several different businesses established from 1960s to present. Started with chemicals manufacturing in 1970 in India, then became the first independent exporter from India under Priya Group for various speciality chemicals, dyestuffs and bulk pharmaceuticals on a worldwide basis. Established an IT and computing components distribution operation in India in 1984, and grew to being one of the largest distributors in the country, being the key partners for Intel, AMD, LG, Phillips amongst others. Joined VXL as chairman in 2005 and was instrumental in global growth and positioning.


February 2016

product, and Smart Client, an interactive whiteboard. True to form, VXL is several steps ahead with these technologies: “The unique selling points for these products is that, to-date, control of interactive whiteboards and digital signage devices has been PC-orientated. We are reducing overall cost of the acquisition of these products by replacing all the Windowsbased technology with thin client technology. We have significant trial-user sites in Asia, allowing us to receive feedback and modify the applications accordingly, so when we launch they’re sure to be robust and market-ready.� VXL is a global company, with around 450 staff worldwide and all manufacturing and software development undertaken in Bangalore and Mumbai. Training programmes and


apprenticeships are offered to new employees, generally ending with job offers depending on the individual’s strengths. With regards to the future of the company, Noon is confident: “PC demand has fallen rapidly in the last four years, whereas the market for UDM is huge. We will continue to work closely with Lenovo, which doesn’t manufacture its own thin clients, so it puts forward VXL products to meet demand. It’s a strategic relationship. We also supply thin clients in quick service retail outlets – around 400,000 across 74 countries so far – and new mobile platforms are being introduced all the times, and we’ll have all of them covered with Fusion. There’s no reason why we won’t continue to succeed.”

VXL’s advanced range of thin clients

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Fresh thinking Written by Nye Longman

Produced by Danielle Harris



Software and consultancy company ThoughtWorks has long been a pioneer in its field, as Business Review reports

Key Personnel

David Whalley CIO


February 2016


hat is clear from speaking to ThoughtWorks’ CIO David Whalley is that the software and consultancy company was pioneering everything that is now standard practice years before such operational trends became fashionable and commonplace. Having individuals who literally ‘wrote the book’ work for the company is a testament to the culture it embodies and representative of its ability to be the first in delivering fresh thinking using the latest technology. ThoughtWorks provides software delivery, pioneering tools across 12 countries hailing from a variety of professional sectors including education, e-business, retail, healthcare, media, global development, along with government institutions. Examples of its innovations include assistance in building an interactive education program, creating a product management system, and developing the back-end mobile system for a major retailer. ThoughtWorks’ offerings are structured to assist clients with a variety of different needs, every step of the way. The company has the capacity to experiment, design, and deliver – whether just in the office or across the globe. Its understanding of how technology enables businesses to compete more effectively is at the heart of its thinking, covering everything from making existing systems perform optimally to complete re-design. Innovation is an idea that is often bandied


around business circles without any consideration given to its implications or even its meaning; ThoughtWorks has fearlessly swept aside this ambiguity with its own interpretation – nothing less than revolutionising software design, creation, and delivery while maintaining a strong commitment to using its scope to bring about positive social change. Whalley explains that this approach has not only entrenched its founding vision of consistent, radical change but has empowered the company to share this approach with the rest of the industry, he says: “We are responsible for solving the industry’s hardest IT problems; we want to change the way people think about and do their IT. We are one of the pioneers of agile, continuous delivery, as well as lean enterprise development. “We were driving things like agile and continuous delivery which are now mainstream and are continuing to think about how we build


Number of employees at ThoughtWorks

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Uncovering DevOps Challenges with Continuous Intelligence As organizations embrace the DevOps approach to application development they face new challenges that can’t be met with legacy monitoring tools. While continuous integration, automated testing and continuous delivery have greatly improved the quality of software, clean code doesn’t mean software always behaves as expected. A faulty algorithm or failure to account for unforeseen conditions can cause software to behave unpredictably. Within the CD pipeline, troubleshooting can be difficult, and in cases like debugging in a production environment it may not even be possible.

+ Increase availability and performance. Sumo Logic enables issues to be identified before they impact the application and customer. Precise, proactive analytics quickly uncover hidden root causes across all layers of the application and infrastructure stack.

Adding to the challenge, DevOps teams are adopting container technologies like Docker as a way to localize and isolate software function, while running applications on hyper-lean OS environments. In a DevOps context, containers allow agile teams to templatize application execution environments that developers can use and operations teams can “bless” for production deployment.

+ Provide real-time insights. With Sumo Logic DevOps teams can easily extract machine data insights to provide greater intelligence around their customers, products, and application usage. These insights provide a more accurate and complete analysis for business users.

DevOps teams are challenged with monitoring, tracking and troubleshooting issues in a context where each container emits its own logging data. Machine data can come from numerous sources, and containers may not agree on a common logging method. Once log data has been acquired, assembling meaningful real-time metrics such as the condition of your host environment, the number of running containers, CPU usage, memory consumption and network performance can be arduous. Sumo Logic - Full Stack Visibility DevOps requires a new breed of log analytics tools that runs at cloud-scale, employs predictive algorithms, and can be integrated with a host of DevOps tools across the entire continuous delivery pipeline, not just server data. Sumo Logic is an advanced log analytics tool that brings these unique capabilities to DevOps teams. Sumo Logic enables you to:

+ Streamline continuous delivery. Easily identify application issues and configuration changes across development, test and deployment environments. Share the same truth about critical issues, trends and opportunities across DevOps tool chain and application stack.

+ Monitor Docker infrastructure. Sumo Logic delivers a comprehensive strategy for monitoring Docker infrastructure with a native collection source for events, stats, configurations and logs. Sumo Logic’s advanced machine-learning and analytics capabilities along with the new Sumo Logic application for Docker enable DevOps teams to analyze, troubleshoot, and perform root cause analysis of issues surfacing from distributed container-based applications and Docker containers themselves. + Enforce compliance. Sumo Logic delivers a simple, proactive and automated process to audit and investigate operational, security and regulatory compliance incidents. All data is centralized, secured, and easily analyzed in real-time through a single, highly scalable solution. Learn how Sumo Logic enables your DevOps team to streamline continuous delivery, automate monitoring and accelerate troubleshooting. Go to



Sumo Logic is a SaaS-based log analytics platform that leverages machine-generated big data to deliver real-time insights across your entire continuous delivery pipeline. Sumo Logic empowers DevOps teams with a simple and scalable solution for monitoring KPI’s and metrics across the entire stack to deliver quality software. Our purpose-built Cloud-native service has scaled to over 4 Petabytes of data, and our amazing team is focused on delivering data-driven insight to enterprises worldwide. Our mission is to enable businesses to harness the power of machine data to improve their operations and deliver outstanding customer experience at Enterprise scale. Address: 305 Main Street, Redwood City, CA 94063 Tel: +1 650-8108700 Email: Visit our Website:


and run IT; we are constantly reinventing ourselves internally to achieve this. Our clients come to us because we can fix their hardest problems. My aim, as CIO, is to be able to point to our internal IT and say we are an exemplar of how to do this.” Redefining boundaries One of the major facets of thinking that underpins ThoughtWorks’ ideology is its desire to remove as many boundaries as possible which is extended by its promotion of openness across all of its operations. An interesting manifestation of this has been the way in which it has approached the ongoing design and deployment of its new security model. Whalley explains: “Clearly, everybody’s focused on security so I don’t think we’re different to anyone else in that respect but we are thinking about the security perimeter in a different way. The traditional way is to focus on firewalls and building controls around an

“We are responsible for solving the industry’s hardest IT problems; we want to change the way people think about and do their IT. We are one of the pioneers of agile, continuous delivery, as well as lean enterprise development” – David Whalley, Chief Information Officer

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February 2016

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LO R I R U S S O , Head of Global Talent Aquisition & Employer Brand


enterprise to stop people getting in. We have actually reached the stage where we are moving our remaining software to the cloud. So we can rethink our security model. “We have 35 live offices and they’re spreading, literally, to pretty much every part of the world. We have people spanning from Ecuador, Brazil, London, and Singapore. We have to have a very flexible model of supporting how our people work. “What we’re doing is thinking about the perimeter that we’re trying to secure and think about the trust levels that we enable, how people access our systems. The level of security will depend on who you are, where you are and what you’re doing.” “If the device you’re working on is provided

$500 million Expected 2015 revenue generated

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‘Although having led in its field for so long, ThoughtWorks is certainly not about to become complacent, which is why the company is pioneering IT innovations internally and while working with its clients’


February 2016

by the company then we’re confident that it’s encrypted and we’ll trust that device. If you’re in a ‘strange or new location’, then we’re going to be more suspicious and may ask you to authenticate through a more rigorous process. I think it is different than what 95 percent of companies are currently doing because they are reinforcing the boundaries and enclosing things. That won’t work in ThoughtWorks where we need to provide our consultants with the flexibility to help our clients in whatever location they are while still protecting sensitive data. “It gives me as the CIO much more flexibility because once we’ve got that model, it’s much easier to maintain than having to think about firewalls and physical security in lots and lots of offices with people travelling around the world.” “We are also embracing ‘Shadow IT’. Rather than control IT systems we actively encourage our employees to build and market their own applications that can, using the same security models, access our data. This will allow us to focus our internal IT on real core functionality and utilise the talent we have in the organisation to extend that core. Early days, but the results are so far encouraging.” Whalley also explains how the company is a strong believer in the power of software and technology for social change. That ethos is embedded into the organisation and touches and influences everything we do. University graduates, for example, are sent to


India to attend a six-week orientation course, now known as ThoughtWorks University; alongside learning important skills, the newcomers also get their first taste of the company’s innovative culture and understand that its social mission is not a Corporate Social Responsibility add-on, but something integral to who it is and how it operates. Although having led in its field for so long, ThoughtWorks is certainly not about to become complacent, which is why the company is pioneering IT innovation internally, as well as with its clients. Its mission to break down existing boundaries instead of erecting new ones resonates far beyond its industry and is a model for all companies to aspire to. w w w. t h o u g h t w o r k s . c o m


Lighting the Written by: Lucy Dixon Produced by: Mark Atkinson




Philips SLC is an innovative lighting company working closely with key suppliers Khalid Al Hobayb General Manager of Philips SLC


hilips is a global leader in lighting who joined up with Saudi Arabia’s top lighting manufacturer, Saudi Lighting Company, to create Philips SLC in 2014. The combination of world-leading technology and detailed local knowledge has allowed Philips SLC to bring the latest innovations in lighting to Saudi Arabia. Khalid Al Hobayb, General Manager of Philips SLC, says that the company offers LED lighting to every sector, from residential and commercial new build and retrofit projects to consumers, end users and distribution partners. When you consider the research from the Saudi Centre for Energy Efficiency which found that Saudi Arabia’s energy consumption is amongst the highest in the world, with an average per capita consumption of electricity that is twice the global average, there has never been a better time to install LED lighting, which can provide energy savings of around 50 percent and when connected to controls energy savings of up to 80%. Innovation runs through the core of Philips SLC, says Al Hobayb, describing the company’s laboratory in Riyadh. “It’s state of-the-art, it’s the only one available in the region. Here we can test and measure all the components which are required for development of innovative products coming in from global Philips innovation centres.” The products need to be extensively tested by Philips SLC as product specifications and


requirements vary hugely from region to region. Al Hobayb adds: “Where needed we are able to localise the products and adapt them to meet the specific requirements of the KSA. And here in Saudi Arabia, the clients are invited to visit the laboratory so that they can experience and examine all the products as they are being tested. When we get any of the raw materials, electronic parts, or other components, we take a batch to test in the laboratory before giving the go ahead for it to be manufactured. We do this quality test in order for us to make sure that we have the highest quality products delivered to the customers.�

HealWell is a new lighting solution for patient rooms which provides light that is tuned to support the biological clock and creates a pleasant ambience for patients and visitors, thus supporting the healing environment

Top quality This attention to ensuring its products are of the highest quality is crucial to Philips globally, w w w. p h i l i p s - s l c . c o m



1700+ Number of staff employed by Philips SLC


February 2016

as well as Philips SLC, and the clients it works with are the proof of this – from universities and hospitals to iconic government buildings, Philips’ products are lighting the way. To facilitate this, Philips works very closely with its suppliers, as Procurement Manager Piotr Wysocki explains: “We treat suppliers like our partners. We don’t want to do one year of business and then search for another one. We want long term partnerships with suppliers, so that they know exactly what to deliver for us. This enables us to deliver the best lighting solution and fixtures. This is a very important and a very efficient way of working.” Working so closely with suppliers has evolved over the years at Philips, says Wysocki, who has been with the company for 20 years. He adds: “I have seen significant changes in Philips since


2011, with a focus on building up relationships with partners. To explain it simply, we want to cooperate only with these suppliers who can commit to us, who can really work long term with us. From 2013 to December 2015, we have optimised our supplier base to raise the level of quality, competitiveness and time to market for ensuring innovation and sustainability in our products.” And then every year the Philips team meets all the suppliers, giving them valuable information about the market and about its strategy for the near future. Wysocki adds: “We are giving them really a very good picture of

“Here in Saudi Arabia, the clients visit the laboratory so that they can examine all the products as they are being tested” –K  halid Al Hobayb, General Manager of Philips SLC

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what we expect and what we can offer them. Our way of working is based on an Early Supplier Involvement approach – it’s a close cooperation. We’re not just making demands, we’re supporting suppliers too to develop and evolve. This has led to a number of regional suppliers becoming global suppliers to Philips.” Home of innovation Philips SLC is working hard on getting the energysaving message out there, by involvement in projects such as SABIC’s Home of Innovation, where its products will be on display as part of a wider look at smart technology. Al Hobayb explains: “We are partnering in the Home of Innovation initiative with all the lighting and controls, it will be a model in order to show what is needed to reduce energy consumption.” As a key partner, Philips SLC will be able to invite customers to view the project and find out more about the products used. But LEDs are not only about energy saving, says Al Hobayb, they are also being used to showcase Saudi Arabia’s beautiful buildings. He adds: “When you look to our portfolio, Philips SLC has one of the biggest range of products

In 2015 Xceed was the most used LED road light in the Kingdom

50% The typical amount of energy savings gained by Philips LED lighting

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PHILIPS SLC The King Abdul Aziz Tunnel, which is one of the main road passage tunnels near Al Haram, leading to prominent places in Holy Makkah

Established in 1983, Sirijaya is a reputable manufacturer of innovative, high quality Fluorescent and LED Light Fittings, Lamp and Starter Holders supplying to domestic and overseas markets.

NO.9 Lebuh Perusahaan Klebang 9, IGB International Industrial Park,31200 Chemor, Perak Darul Ridzuan, Malaysia. Tel: +605-2923888 (Hunting Line), 2912223 - 2912228 Fax: +605-2912221, 2912222 Email: Website:


February 2016


available, and we are number one looking at innovation, so of course we have the right capabilities to deliver systems and solutions.� One excellent example of this is the King Abdul Aziz Tunnel, which is one of the main road passage tunnels near Al Haram, leading to prominent places in Holy Makkah. As you would expect, this tunnel receives a significant amount of traffic during the Hajj season. The tunnel is now using 50 percent less energy thanks to the installation of LED lights, which also reduces maintenance work thanks to their lifetime of 60,000 hours. Another stunning project is Riyadh’s Kingdom Centre, which dominates the city skyline. The 65-storey building includes a shopping mall, the Four Seasons Hotel and state-of-theart, luxury apartments. Its switch to an LED lighting solution with Philips ColorKinetics saves a massive 80 percent energy and has increased the time between maintenance visits from 2,000 hours of use to 50,000 hours. And all this while withstanding the scorching temperatures of a Saudi Arabian summer. Both projects illustrate the changing attitude to lighting globally, largely brought about in Saudi Arabia by Philips SLC. The company is committed to bringing new and innovative lighting systems and solutions to the Kingdom, enhancing the cities’ skylines on flagship projects and allowing consumers and businesses alike to increase sustainability while also becoming energy friendly.

The King Abdul Aziz Tunnel in Holy Makkah

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Business Review Europe – February 2016