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At Hershey, it means doing the ordinary things with ease, so they can spend more time doing the extraordinary

Did you know that the first Hershey kiss rolled off the line in 1905 and now nearly 1.5 billion Hershey’s Kisses chocolates are sold each Valentine’s Day?

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Founded in 1894,The Hershey Company has continuously transformed and modernized its business to stay relevant to consumers’ changing tastes. Today Hershey is a global confectionery leader known for its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks.


The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks.


Milton Hershey founded the company on a principle of doing well by doing good. The company celebrates his legacy through its commitment to consumers, community and children. It prides itself on conducting business in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way. But to stay the course, the company needed to invest in its people and systems to strengthen its ability to translate insights in to actions, build new brands, and ultimately, to bring a little more goodness to the world.


Market Trends Impacting Business


  • The rise of new global middle markets provides an opportunity for businesses to expand geographical footprints
  • Consumers are increasingly thoughtful about their food, seeking to know more about what’s in the product they buy, where it comes from, and how it’s made
  • Digital disruption has shown continued growth in direct-to-consumer-commerce, creating greater opportunities for revenue growth


Current Challenges


Hershey is already doing a lot of things right. But capitalizing on these opportunities was not really possible with its aging and highly customized ERP landscape, built for the late 1990’s. The systems simply don’t support Hershey’s growth strategy for geographic expansion, and the fragmented environment limits the ability to access and leverage insights from data. As a result, IT struggled to keep pace with change, and reporting required a significant amount of offline processing. Metaphorically, this meant that Hershey was spending more time reading yesterday’s news rather than predicting tomorrow’s weather.


Enterprise Connectivity To Run Live

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To address these challenges, Hershey determined it needed a modern ERP core, and turned to its longtime trusted partner, SAP for the answer. Hershey CEO, JP Bilbrey, spoke at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference:


Our business is changing, the global market place is changing and customer preferences are also changing. We chose the SAP S/4 HANA platform to drive our ERP transformation because it provides integration across data, tools, and processes that will drive both value and superior enterprise connectivity.”


At Hershey, enterprise connectivity is about empowering its employees and partners with insights, customized to context, whenever and wherever they need it. This allows for deep insights to reach every corner of the organization and simplifies decision-making. To get there, Hershey’s strategy focuses on three primary areas:


  • Process to Process: Wiring and optimizing core processes across the enterprise to improve flow of information / insights effectively  
  • People to Process: Connecting the right people to the right processes at optimal decision nodes to support smart decision-making
  • People to People: Fostering cross-functional collaboration (e.g., social enterprise tools)

This major transformation will allow for real-time analytics as well as predictive modeling to capture a competitive advantage. The broader organization will be able to further leverage disruptive technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to stay ahead of the curve. Much like Hershey’s has done over the years by consistently evolving to hold a place in our hearts and keep our taste buds happy.


Check out what Running Live to Run Simple could mean for your business

Connect w/ me @airsomers and on LinkedIn.

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