Kraft Heinz signs up Microsoft to lift it into the cloud

Azure trusted with food giant's sauce code


US food behemoth Kraft Heinz has signed a multi-year agreement with Microsoft to shift much of its datacenter assets to Azure.

The deal will also see the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) migrated to SAP on Microsoft's public cloud service.

Microsoft is far from the only game in town, but Kraft Heinz is referring to Azure as its "preferred cloud platform." There are great expectations attached to the move, including a reimagining of day-to-day operations, enhanced customer experiences through real-time predictive analytics and the creation of a more "collaborative supply chain."

More intriguing is the use of Azure Digital Twins, Microsoft's IoT take on creating a digital representation of a real-world environment. Kraft Heinz plans to use the tech to model its 34 owned manufacturing facilities in North America with a view to calculating the optimal product capacity and dealing with problems before they occur.

IoT is also utilized by what the companies are calling the "Supply Chain Control Tower" to observe plant operations and automation across Kraft Heinz's product portfolio, with the metaphor stretched to breaking point through the use of "air traffic control" to provide real-time visibility.

The deal is part of Kraft Heinz's AGILE@SCALE plan, announced earlier this year. The program, according to CEO Miguel Patricio, is about "transitioning from our size working against us, to our scale working for us." And buddying up with the tech giants along the way – in this case Microsoft.

It's just as well because Kraft Heinz's last set of results weren't looking too rosy with a 3.1 percent dip in US sales, which form the bulk of revenues. Stronger international sales almost managed to pull things back up to 2020 levels, but gross profit was also down year on year.

Patricio dubbed the performance "outstanding," attributing it to the company's "strategic transformation."

The stock price of Kraft Heinz is slightly up on the year at time of writing but down from the giddy heights of five years ago. The company itself was formed from a merger between HJ Heinz and Kraft Foods in 2015. ®

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