BALTIMORE — Hershey is ready to extend its global footprint, and as part of its initiative to drive that growth, the company hosted its first Global Partner Summit, an open innovation forum.
The goal of the summit, which was held in Baltimore, was to unleash the combined resources of Hershey’s internal innovation resources and its broad supply base to create new ideas, new capabilities, more sustainable practices and consumer-focused innovations that will drive industry-leading growth.
“Tapping the deep knowledge and great ideas across our company and our business partners will unlock our combined innovation and productivity capabilities,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO, Hershey. “Together, our shared knowledge, insights and expertise will fuel achievable, consistent, sustainable growth for Hershey and our supply partners.”
Innovation is a key strategy for Hershey’s long-range global growth vision. It will play a fundamental role in the company’s drive to reach $10 billion in net sales by 2017.
More than 70 suppliers assembled in Baltimore to work on a range of innovation opportunities, including new product ideas, improvements to formulations and recipes, innovative packaging and process and technology improvements. The summit will be held annually.
Hershey expects the open innovation program will increase the number and impact of innovations it develops annually and will accelerate the speed to market for new ideas, resulting in a faster realization of value from the integrated innovation program. Open innovation will also support the company’s efforts to grow in new and emerging markets while reducing overall innovation costs.
“Establishing a process to better leverage our suppliers’ tremendous R&D resources and capabilities will open up new possibilities for developing breakthrough ideas,” said William Papa, Vice President of Global Research & Development, The Hershey Company. “We will build better ways of operating by utilizing new technologies that are more efficient and effective. Ultimately, this will enhance our global product portfolio and help maintain our high quality standards, which have been the cornerstone of The Hershey Company since Milton Hershey developed his famous Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars more than a century ago.”