Kraft Foods

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Kraft Foods

Using planning analysts at the center of brand development

Summary

Concepts:

Business, planning, planning analysts, Kraft, brands, market, managers, plans, goals, Finance, accounting, forecasts, consumer, supply chain, support.

Summary:

In a competitive market, the organisations most likely to meet their objectives are those that are capable of leading rather than following changes within that market. Managers therefore need to build a business that is capable of responding quickly to changes in both consumer requirements and the business environment. This case study illustrates how Kraft Foods' management accountants act as financial planning analysts to support the process of brand development. The study highlights how Kraft's forward planning and supporting processes of investment/forecast analysis supports its core brands in a fast-changing market place. In order to achieve the corporate goals, Kraft employs accountants in planning analyst roles who work within customer and consumer marketing teams. Kraft encourages its financial managers to take qualifications such as those provided by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), a professional accounting body.

To support these goals, Kraft has established a set of core values that help to guide employees. Kraft concentrates on the innovation and rapid development of these Power Brands, with a view to having new, exciting products 'out there, now'. The planning process involves using the budget to co-ordinate the whole business, including operations and organisations within its supply chain. Having created an operating plan within the annual planning cycle, a business must monitor the plan to ensure that targets for growth, sales, profitability and cashflow are met. Using their analysis of variance between actuals, plans and forecasts, planning analysts work with the business teams to develop suitable plans of action.

Managers work with the business teams involved with the supply chain and various marketing departments to co-ordinate their spending and investment programmes. In order to meet Kraft's business objectives, its planning analysts work with other financial managers to ensure that transactional accounting and financial controls work efficiently.

Introduction

In a competitive market, the organisations most likely to meet their objectives are those that are capable of leading rather than following changes within that market. Managers therefore need to build a business that is capable ofresponding quickly to changes in both consumer requirements and the business environment. This means not only constantly developing innovations but also being able to launch them into the market place.

Successful organisations consist of different people united in a common purpose or corporate goal. Within every organisation the key element in keeping people focused is a corporate strategy that builds the business so that it can adapt and move forward through time. In order to change, a business must plan ahead so that the actions of each of its parts fit together and are co-ordinated to meet the corporate goal.

This case study illustrates how Kraft Foods' management accountants act as financial planning analysts to support the process of brand development. The study highlights how Kraft's forward planning and supporting processes of investment/forecast analysis supports its core brands in a fast-changing market place.

Planning analysts

The word 'accountant' conjures up the stereotype of somebody sitting in a office, often on their own, inspecting and auditing books, from which they produce historical financial reports. In a fast moving commercial environment such as that at Kraft, the difference could not be starker. In order to achieve the corporate goals, Kraft employs accountants in planning analyst roles who work within customer and consumer marketing teams. The role of planning analysts is to:

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