Asahi Breweries Europe Group, the continent’s third-largest brewer following its purchase of beer brands in 2016 from Anheuser-Busch Inbev (ABI), the world’s biggest brewer, is using Project Portfolio Office’s simple yet effective project and portfolio management (PPM) tool, PPO, to better manage its European project management office (PMO).
The addition of SABMiller’s eastern European brewing assets to Asahi’s portfolio included Czech Republic’s number one beer brand, Plzensky Prazdroj, owner of the Pilsner Urquell brand; Romania’s top brewer, Ursus; Slovakia’s Topvar; Hungary’s Dreher, and Poland’s Kompania Piwowarska. The company is using PPO specifically for five European markets, including Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia.
According to Grant McDavid, head of strategy, design and architecture at Asahi Breweries Europe and executive project sponsor, the organisation needed to move away from the more complex PPM solution previously used by ABI, to a more fit-for-purpose solution. “Following the disassembly of these brands from ABI’s global structure, it became clear that Asahi Breweries Europe needed a PPM tool that was more agile for the smaller, now independent business. PPO, having been utilised across the globe by SABMiller previously, provided us with exactly what we were looking for.”
Asahi Breweries Europe head of portfolio and programme, Maciej Malczyński, corroborates that the European organisation was looking for a simple-to-use yet effective PPM solution that could support its decision-making process, while remaining scalable enough to grow and shrink usage as needed.
“PPO is currently being used to manage Group’s entire business portfolio, from investment portfolio management and the application development lifecycle, to the management of financials and business cases,” Malczyński explains. “PPO helps to guide our demand management, risk and issue management, providing a single, centralised view of all portfolios and projects.
“The benefits to this approach are many,” he continues. “PPO provides Asahi Breweries Europe with the biggest single source of truth, delivering fast access to information and supporting documentation. From a budgetary point of view, this allows for a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on requests.”
PPO also gives users easy access to strategic project information, with an overview on what is happening across the entire portfolio available within just a few clicks.
Reporting has also been greatly improved, adds Malczyński, as data can quickly and easily be extracted as needed.
“Our engagement with Project Portfolio Office has been extremely direct and professional, with our expectations, as the client, being very well managed,” says McDavid. “Not only was the deployment of PPO very straightforward, with great collaboration between our internal team and Project Portfolio Office, but we found that the company’s experience within this market made for an excellent understanding of Asahi’s business mind-set.
“While we opted for a ‘vanilla’ PPO implementation initially, we’ve found that the tool is easily customisable to meet our changing requirements, providing us with what has become a truly regional solution. PPO has essentially assisted us to future-proof our PPM processes moving forward, and the next step for us will be to bring the tool into our resourcing practices.
“In addition to having Project Portfolio Office on sides for the build and deployment of the new tool, we found that extending our stabilisation and monitoring phase – a standard part of the implementation approach where our users became more familiar with using PPO on a day-to-day basis – was very rewarding. Having the PPO team around, via remote monitoring as well as during regular steering committee meetings and reviews, as a safety net during this important phase of any project was a very good decision.”
The rollout approach used for Asahi Breweries Europe made for a stable, focused implementation, adds Guy Jelley, CEO and co-founder of Project Portfolio Office. “Adding Asahi Breweries Europe to our client list has been a real coup for Project Portfolio Office; not only we have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the team, but the rollout has assisted in broadening our reach within the European market.”