RB will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud and M365 in ‘factory of the future’ transformation

RB is a leading health, hygiene and nutrition company, selling more than 20 million products across the world every day. Its brands are household names: Enfamil, Dettol, Lysol, Durex, Gaviscon, Air Wick, Finish, to name just a few.

Laxman Narasimhan, RB’s chief executive, has unified the organisation around a single purpose: “To protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.” Together, RB’s 40,000+ staff are ensuring customers can purchase the best quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment products, enabling them to live cleaner and healthier lives.

The company is moving to Azure and placing Microsoft’s cloud platform ‘at the heart’ of its factory transformation plan. In addition RB will roll out Microsoft 365, which contains tools such as Teams, Outlook and OneDrive, to support these initiatives and ensure its 40,000 staff can collaborate and share information from anywhere in the world.

RB plans to create a digitally enabled ‘factory of the future’ by using Microsoft IoT Hub to automatically collect data, and Cognitive Services such as machine learning to analyse it in real-time to improve how sites operate. Staff can then use Power BI to report, analyse and improve factory performance and share best practice using M365.

Some of RB's products

RB sells more than 20 million products across the world every day

Looking beyond its manufacturing business, using Azure and M365 has allowed RB to work more closely with supermarkets and retailers across the world that stock their products. Thousands of pieces of data are brought together on a daily basis and displayed in Power BI charts to show executives how different markets are performing and where there is demand for particular brands. Prior to using Microsoft tools, this process used to take weeks, so data was often a couple of months old by the time it could be collated and analysed. Now, staff can see this information in real-time.

Microsoft Teams has also had a big impact on helping staff to work remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown. Daniel Garbett, Group IT Director at RB, said the company will continue to use the tool for remote working and office working, and it will be a key element of their Digital Workplace strategy.

“The uptake of Teams among our staff has been phenomenal,” he said. “Within a very short time, the whole organisation moved across to Teams. It was more reliable, the call quality was better, and employees liked the richness of the experience. COVID-19 was the accelerator for the move as people needed to stay connected in a way that went beyond simple tasks into creating real connections. In February we were doing 35,000 Teams calls a day. Today, that figure is up to 200,000 calls a day.

“The fact we’ve implemented Teams seamlessly into our business and it enables much more collaboration is fantastic for us. It’s become the critical collaboration tool across the business.”

Michael Wignall, Azure Business Lead at Microsoft UK, said: “We are delighted that RB has chosen Azure to help them continue to grow their business across the globe. The tools in Microsoft’s cloud can help any business unlock the power of their data and use it to empower their staff and grow their operations.

“We look forward to supporting RB as their plans for a ‘factory of the future’ take shape.”