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Supply chain boils down to service

Supply chain an integral part of Carlsberg’s corporate strategy.

With 10 billion litres of beer brewed (2016), 42,000 employees, a wide portfolio of 140 brands and presence on 150 markets, Carlsberg is a company with many network and digitalization challenges when it comes to meeting customer demands.

At the Supply Chain Conference September 7, Joep Hamers, Director Strategic Network Design at Carlsberg Group, presented Carlsberg’s work with network optimization.

At Carlsberg, the supply chain priorities are an integral part of the corporate strategy, and network optimization is a strategic priority for supply chain in the coming years.

– This means that we don’t have a specific supply chain strategy. Our way of working is to make sure everything we do supports our corporate ambitions. Typically, supply chain goals include service, cost, asset and agility in the supply chain 4.0 model.

Case study on closing breweries

In his presentation, Joep Hamers provided a case study of how Carlsberg used network optimization to cut costs and at the same time enable growth opportunities in China where Carlsberg has a big footprint. Carlsberg’s demand is concentrated to urban areas, and big demographic changes are going on. Carlsberg also saw that the distance from plants to demand was not that big. The analysis led to the decision to close several breweries, saving costs and enabling growth and investments in the remaining plants

From data to decision

Forecasting future demands is of crucial importance, perhaps even more so for a company working with fast-moving consumer products in a world with a lot of demographic changes, Joep Hamers emphasizes that collecting the data doesn’t automatically provide the decisions – you still need to analyze the significance of the information and choose what actions to take.

– You can use supply chain data or historical data to predict the future, but you always need to have these data interpreted, validated and adjusted by experts so that the commercial side of our business can take the correct action, which also must be aligned with our corporate strategy. If you only take the history and project it into the future, this means assuming that you don’t have any influence on the future, but with our corporate strategy we try to shape the future to how we want it to be.

Digital challenges ahead

As for the future digital challenges, Carlsberg has only started their journey, and even if their new way of working with supply chain is in place, Joep Hamers concludes that choices need to be made on what digitalization initiatives that bring most value for Carlsberg’s business:

– We have started a journey where we are trying to get better in data management and data excellence, to optimize some of the inputs to our tools that we use. It’s time to decide to continue what we already do, start something new and also choose what we will not do. The scope of digitalization and technology is so wide that you can’t do everything.

Do you want to know more about Optilon's work with Carlsberg?

Please contact Country Manager Lars Villads Krogh on +45 261 445 45 or

Lars Vllads Krogh