When the 176-year-old German firm of Benckiser NV merged with the 159-year-old British company Reckitt and Coleman PLC in 1999, one of the world’s largest health, hygiene and home consumer goods was born. Now the company, Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has operations in 60 countries, sales in almost 200 and a global employee base of 38,000.
One primary challenge in merging large complementary companies is sustaining growth while realizing new levels of efficiency and cost savings. The organizations must take on this challenge while simultaneously integrating management teams, sales and product groups, operating assets and procurement divisions, which is not a trivial task.
In 2010, the company set up an initial electronic system in Slough. The initial solution was a document management system using a folder structure. Although the system worked in principle, it was clunky. The network would go down often and saving an email took around 10 clicks. For 10 months, the patent department was split between using paper files and a basic electronic flat folder storage system. This arrangement was seen as a temporary measure until the team could identify a more suitable electronic system for the full team.
2. Enhancing efficiency with a digital IP solution