Mars is expanding its long-term partnership with Microsoft to accelerate digital transformation. The confectionery manufacturer will use the Microsoft Azure platform to improve operational speed and realise intelligent manufacturing supply chains.
Azure’s artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things (IoT) solutions will enable Mars to digitise its supply chain at scale. The business has already made progress in this area, working with Accenture’s Industry X group to deploy the Azure Digital Twins IoT platform in its manufacturing facilities. Microsoft says that this will help Mars “improve margins and reduce waste, and empower on-site associates to make real-time decisions”.
According to Microsoft, the expanded partnership will also integrate transparent and responsible data, AI and digital technologies into Mars’s global portfolio, which will position the business to “further embrace market-leading digital technologies and capabilities, intelligent manufacturing and personalised customer engagement, and improved digital skills training”.
“Our relationship with Microsoft is helping transform how data and technology are used to continue ensuring compliant customer solutions and build trusted brand and consumer experiences,” said Sandeep Dadlani, chief digital officer at Mars. “It will change the relationship between our brands and consumers, deliver hyper-relevant consumer experiences that include content and media, and fulfil needs and expectations across every touchpoint in the consumer’s journey.
“After evaluating all the platforms on the market, we chose Microsoft as our primary Mars platform because of its rich portfolio of features, engineering partner ecosystem, talent availability, focus on data privacy, and security and similar cultural values and principles.”
In collaboration with Accenture, Mars and Microsoft will also expand a cloud and data foundation across all Mars businesses on Azure, which Microsoft says will help Mars “achieve its ‘cloud-first’ strategy” and accelerate business growth.
“Through our expanded relationship, we’re harnessing the expertise and insights Mars has gained from more than a century of producing some of the world’s most loved brands to create a layer of intelligence that will drive reimagined experiences for Associates and consumers,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business. “Together, we will create a foundation for cloud, data and AI that will allow Mars to grow faster and transform how work gets done.”
In addition, Microsoft’s commitment to using 100 per cent renewable energy in its data centres by 2025 will help Mars reach its own sustainability goals, including to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 67 per cent by 2050. On top of this, Mars, Accenture and Microsoft will establish an Innovation Lab to transform Mars’s workplaces and increase employees’ digital skills.