Process and Controls Standardization

Client: Leading Consumer Packaged Goods Company

Client Situation

The AddVantage Group was engaged by a Fortune 100 consumer packaged goods company to standardize processes and controls around the company’s marketing, advertising and consumer promotions function, which represented an annual spend of $1B+ across five business units.  During the preceding three years 30% of the audits performed by the corporate parent were rated Improvable / Unacceptable.

A review of the findings identified four common concerns that needed to be addressed:

  • Approval levels circumvented
  • Lack of Supplier Contracts, Bids, Bid Waivers
  • Lack of Purchase Orders / Statements of Work
  • Inappropriate invoice payment processing
    • Insufficient invoice detail
    • Inadequate proof of supplier performance
    • Delinquent invoice processing
    • Insufficient monitoring of supplier credits

Challenges to this project included the following:

  • Organizational complexity due to the multiple acquisitions and lack of integration and common business practices – groups continued “business as usual”.
  • Lack of documentation for current processes
  • Utilization of six different marketing systems to monitor marketing program approvals and expenditures
  • Organization size drives a lot of specialization, which requires iterative interviews to understand an entire process, i.e. people only know about their link of a chain
  • Abundance of data, but lack of meaningful information
  • Resistance to change

Our Approach

  • Interviewed functional representatives from Brand Management, Consumer Promotions, Packaging, Consumer Insight & Strategy, Advertising, Media, Consumer Relationship Marketing, Customer Marketing Services, Digital Marketing, Multi-Cultural Marketing, Kitchens, Finance, and Procurement at all locations to understand current processes
  • Developed standardized forms and tools to facilitate compliance to the procedure
  • Identified change management issues by functional group and location
  • Identified business controls and control risks along the process continuum
  • Analyzed the training materials and developed a view of the end-to-end process for the annual cycle of managing a brand – there was a lot of information on a subject-basis, but no cohesive document to present the big picture
  • Developed an overview of the major marketing suppliers, including a history of industry consolidations, and obtained financial information from corporate and division finance groups to present various metrics for marketing spend
  • Sourced the key drivers of the year-to-year marketing expense variances for each division
  • Provided insights for the conceptual and detail design for the e-procurement system, including opportunities for process optimization
  • Identified issues in the US organizational structure that compromised the control environment and prevented the degree of standardization required for adoption of the system without significant customization
  • Developed documents and an implementation work plan to facilitate online, self-guided training tools
    • Developed the Statement of Work for the digital training development firm
    • Reviewed and provided feedback on the storyboard, beta, and final version of the training course


  • Significantly enhanced the internal control environment for marketing expenditures
  • Enabled realization of savings through the requirement that stakeholders can only utilize suppliers that have been authorized by Procurement through the supplier optimization process
  • Identified key organizational issues required to enable implementation of an electronic procurement-through-payment system for marketing
  • Standardized the business process for all marketing disciplines at all divisions
  • A standardized process facilitates the future implementation of an electronic procurement-through-payment and ERP system
  • Developed an online Business Controls training course for all marketing personnel utilizing a format that enables adoption by other functional groups, i.e. content is generic, illustrative examples are function-specific and can be changed for a nominal expense
  • Implemented process efficiencies that:
    • Leveraged the benefits of the intranet to enable self-service; this included on-line posting of the procedure, authorized supplier lists, new supplier request form, bid waiver, sample statement of work, and Procurement organization chart
    • Eliminated the requirement to obtain approval signatures at the project level, which typically included costs from multiple suppliers and took one week or more to complete
    • Leveraged the functionality in the new ePackaging system to simply the approval process for supplier quotes