Inspired by our corporate purpose Making Better Happen™, we have over the past year been evolving our Co-Development approach to make even better customer collaboration happen.
For our customers, Making Better Happen is about enabling them to be even more successful and in a better way. We choose to do this in close collaboration, reflected in our continued commitment to be The Co-Development Company.
Even better Co-Development
In our efforts to further improve our approach, we have used a collaborative process to identify opportunities to upgrade the way we do Co-Development. This has involved reaching out to customers from different industries and geographies to better understand their wishes, needs and pains with the objective of making our Co-Development approach even better.
We have also analyzed and refined every single step and detail in order to provide a better collaborative experience for our customers. The result is an evolution rather than a revolution – as you would expect from a company with a passion for continuous improvement.
“With the evolution of our Co-Development approach, we can provide even better value creation while the foundation of AAK remains intact. Customers will recognize our passion for continuous improvement, true collaboration, and our consistent aim for higher success rates in the projects we do together”, says Johan Westman, President and CEO, AAK Group.
Focus areas for an improved approach
Firstly, we have expanded our Co-Development process with a sixth step called “Understand Better”. The focus of this step is to understand what better means for each customer – all the way from plant to brand.
In addition, we have selected a few focus areas where we have improved our Co-Development approach, thanks to the outside-in perspective provided by our customers.
Successful Co-Development starts by gaining a deeper understanding of our customers’ business, objectives, and potential areas of improvement. To progress, we have updated our toolbox and expanded our scope of understanding to cover the whole value chain. If applicable, customers now have easier and improved access to our various teams of experts, such as our sustainable sourcing specialists.
Speed-to-market is a key success factor for our customers. By using one of our 15 Customer Innovation Centers around the world, designed to function as pilot facilities for developing and testing solutions, customers save time and gain a competitive advantage. We are currently investing in digital technology to enable a virtual Customer Innovation Center experience – giving access to application trials and training at a distance.
To be even more accessible, we have focused on seamlessly integrating better practices from real and virtual worlds at our Customer Innovation Centers. We call this better of both worlds. Now, we provide a smooth, more inclusive process with frequent virtual updates and more collaboration.
Customers often prefer smaller volumes at launch, with the ability to quickly scale up as needed. Although our operations already support launch flexibility very well, we have now further improved our process to meet the need for responsible scaling. With sustainable sourcing becoming increasingly important, a plan for successfully scaling up volumes without compromising on sustainability commitments is critical.
Last but not least, we have made process and efficiency improvements to our Co-Development backbone to ensure that we can deliver what we promise and give our customers an even better experience. In particular, we have focused on aligning our functions internally – from Sourcing through Operations and into Sales.
“AAK’s success rates with Co-Development has always been high. However, with input from our customers and the even stronger approach, we are confident that we can make even better customer collaboration happen,” says Johan Westman, President and CEO, AAK Group.”