Students help optimise HR reporting system for AB InBev Europe

As the final part of their BPM boot camp, four Masters students developed a European central reporting system for our Talent Partner AB InBev. “They really came up with insights that we can and will apply in the future,” comments Melinda Illés from AB InBev Hungary.

“AB InBev is a company with a very open culture. We look for disruptive ideas and improvements every day,” Melinda kicks off. “We heard about the BPM boot camp and Professor Öykü Isik’s classes and we found that giving the students such a challenge was a great opportunity both to let them look behind the scenes of AB InBev’s operations and to get a fresh take on the areas that need improving in-house.”

From left to right: Sam Laermans, Sebastian Bogaert, Melinda Illés, Wouter Monten and Marielle Uylenbroeck.

The project: ‘Standardise HR reporting’

The BPM project for AB InBev was about standardising HR reporting activities for AB InBev Europe. Melinda explains: “In Europe we have two teams compiling HR reports: one in Budapest and the other in Kharkiv. The problem is that there’s quite a bit of overlap in the preparation of the reports in the two teams: some work is being duplicated or is simply unnecessary. They needed to map the reporting process in both locations and devise a standard way of reporting that optimises the output of the two teams.”

The students’ take: ‘A real-life case in an international environment’

A group of four students were assigned the BPM project at AB InBev. Sebastian Bogaert acts as spokesman for the group: “AB InBev provided us with the relevant raw data and the names of several contacts. It was up to us to decide who to contact, what questions to ask and which data to use. It was a great experience to work on a real-life case in an international environment. We conducted Skype interviews with employees based at the offices in Kharkiv and Budapest, which gave us a broader and more detailed perspective on the matter.

“We made both short and long-term suggestions for improving the current process. We suggested centralising everything in one place, implementing a ticketing system. AB InBev assisted us throughout the project in a very flexible and supportive manner, which was very much appreciated due to the short timeframe. Melinda came from Hungary to the Vlerick campus in Leuven to attend our final presentation.”

The result: ‘Methodology and clear ideas’

AB InBev was indeed very pleased with the results that the students delivered. Melinda: “They mapped the respective processes, paying attention to every detail, which was especially hard when you think it was the first time they had seen our company ‘from the inside’. They used the methodologies they had learned to find the gaps and put forward clear ideas on workload and process optimisation. Their ideas were in line with the projects that are already running in the company and they really came up with insights on optimisation that can be applied in the future. This was the first time AB InBev had had the chance to work with Vlerick students but it certainly won’t be the last!”

The BPM boot camp: a taste of BPM

A project like this is the final module of the BPM boot camp, which aims to give students a taste of BPM as a holistic management approach on how to optimise a company’s performance. Professor Öykü Isik explains: “The first two weeks focus on content delivery through lectures, guest speaker sessions and many exercises; the final week is centred on a ‘deep dive challenge’ where groups of students solve a real-life business problem using everything they learned in the first two weeks. This year was the second edition of the BPM boot camp, for which 24 students enrolled.”


Fancy a deep dive challenge yourself?
Would you also like to have Vlerick students conducting a BPM project in your company?
Don’t hesitate to contact Professor Isik.