Tuesday 20 July 2010

A billion dollars of KM-enabled value at Mars

Mars Bar advert 1945
Originally uploaded by Smabs Sputzer
I was in Mars yesterday, at the Slough chocolate factory, talking with Linda Davies, their head of Knowledge Management, who I have known for about 8 years now.

I first met Linda in 2002, when I was helping Mars in the early stages of launching Knowledge Management. Now we are 8 years on, and Linda and her team have added up the value delivered by communities and networks and the Knowledge sharing initiatives they have launched. Linda agreed to let me share this fact with you.

That value, which Linda calls "Knowledge-enabled value", comes to a billion dollars.

That’s $1,000,000,000.00

Congratulations to all at Mars; that is one heck of an achievement.

Linda did not share with me all the details of how this value was delivered, but you can see one major example in the chapter she wrote for my latest book, the Lessons Learned handbook, about the Emerging Markets Global Practice Group we helped launch in Munich in 2004. I quote from her chapter

"In the 5 years this network has existed, sales in the 12 markets have trebled and the percentage profit has more than doubled, adding around $250 million to the bottom line. Whilst it would be unfair to claim this was entirely due to knowledge sharing, the GPG members themselves clearly point to the ideas and lessons they have gained from others as fundamental to their success. I guess you could say it has worked"!

It certainly has!!


Skip Boettger said...


Hope all is well with you. This reads well, but you know that it is the 'How' that is what is important. The 'What' is easy to talk about.

Best to you and yours.

Nick Milton said...

You can get some of the how from Chapter 14 of the book, Skip

All the best to you too, hope things are well with you

Anonymous said...

Brilliant story and a breathtaking outcome but when you think about it, everything they do, every decision they take is KM enabled so I think the amount sounds realistic given their International success. Mark that one as a job well done.
Cheers, Ron

Nick Milton said...

I think you miss the point, Ron - apologies if my post was misleading.

Certainly every decision they make involves knowledge, but not every decision they make is KM-enabled. KM has only been introduced in a proportion of the company - probably less than half - and it is the added value in that "less than half" that adds up to a billion.

The one billion dollars is not the value of every decision in Mars, it is the measured increase in value in those parts where KM was introduced. It is the increase in value (sales, profit etc) measured before and after the KM intervention.

Sorry if I wasn't clear.

All the best, Nick

Alan O'Neill said...

Nick, I think it is a tremendous story and shows the benefits of adopting KM. There are so many stories about KM Failing, or the impact of not using KM. I think we need to shout louder about stories like this so that organisations that are not practising KM can see that there are significant benefits.
Well Done - Alan

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