Kellanova chief digital and information officer Lesley Salmon discusses how it will implement a range of digital initiatives to boost sales, profitability and operating efficiencies.

It has been less than a year since the Kellogg Company, one of the most iconic and recognizable consumer brand manufacturing companies in the U.S., split its business into two entities, creating Kellanova.

Under the Kellogg’s brand, the previous entity was the maker of food brands like Pringles, Eggo and Cheez-It. It also made cereals such as Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Frosties and Coco Pops. When the split happened, the primary company kept its North American cereal under WK Kellogg. Meanwhile, it spun out its global snacking business into a new public company: Chicago-based Kellanova.

Now, after posting its first-ever annual financial results, Kellanova is talking about two of the company’s top priorities for 2024. These include more digital commerce and transformation. In this question-and-answer session, Kellanova chief digital and information officer Lesley Salmon discusses how Kellanova will implement a range of digital initiatives to boost sales, profitability and operating efficiencies.

How Kellanova is using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

Kellanova SVP, chief digital and information officer, Lesley Salmon

Lesley Salmon with Kellanova’s Pringles mascot, Mr. P

“AI and ML are revolutionizing many aspects of our business, from supply chain management to personalized marketing,” says Salmon. “Machine learning algorithms help us analyze vast amounts of data to optimize inventory management, demand forecasting, and production planning.”


Applications also extend to customer experience and personalization.

“We are also using generative AI to enhance customer engagement through personalized recommendations based on consumer behavior and preferences,” she explains.

Adoption has included decisions about scope, as well as guidelines for employees.

“We have established gen AI guardrails within our company, building solid foundations around data, ethics, and governance,” Salmon explains. “Establishing these solid foundations up-front will allow us to fast-track progress as gen AI evolves. It has also been a catalyst for us to revisit our traditional AI investments, driving even more scale to deliver growth.”


How Kellanova is implementing its digital supply chain

At the supply chain level, Kellanova is assessing opportunities for efficiencies and better tracking for improved data quality. Ultimately, that could lead to improved visibility, as well as traceability with additional benefits.

“We are creating ‘digital twins/replicas’ across our manufacturing processes and using smart sensors and connected devices to provide real-time data on the movement of goods, enabling better visibility and traceability,” Salmon says. “This not only helps in reducing costs but also ensures the quality and safety of products throughout the supply chain.”

Use of digital productivity and collaboration tools

For teams at Kellanova, the focus on better tools is meant to improve the quality of work being done in collaborative settings. Microsoft’s Copilot, for example, leverages OpenAI’s Chat GPT technology, which is being integrated into workflows.

We are using digital tools and building capabilities for greater collaboration across the Kellanova globe,” Salmon states. “We recently launched Microsoft Copilot for the Web to help creativity, enhance skills, and get things done faster safely and securely.”


Moreover, the company is pushing employees to engage the new tools with curiosity, inspiring new, better workflows.

“We are running ‘Curiosity Sessions’ across the world so colleagues can learn more about how to use these new tools, ask questions, and champion innovative technology,” she says.

How Kellanova is updating its ecommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels

In ecommerce, Kellanova is looking at its omnichannel strategy. As Salmon describes it, the company is searching for ways to learn from and improve customer journeys at multiple touchpoints.

The continued rise of ecommerce platforms and direct-to-consumer models – or omnichannel commerce – is reshaping how our products reach consumers,” says Salmon. “In today’s world, it is essential to have a strategy and an approach to win where shoppers are shopping by providing them with an experience that helps make the buying journey easier.”


Salmon’s hope is that customer affinity for Kellanova brands will increase as a result.

“Our technology platforms enable us to establish a direct relationship with customers, gather data on their preferences, and create personalized marketing strategies,” she says. “We are also leveraging AI to optimize product recommendations and enhance the overall online shopping experience.”

What is ahead for data analytics for market insights

Executing Kellanova’s plans will require informed product updates based on the data being collected. According to Salmon, some results are already public.

We invest in our proprietary consumer insights data and analytics to understand consumer eating habits, consumption occasions, desires, and affinities,” she explains. “That is where a lot of innovation is taking place. For example, those insights led us to launch the Pringles Harvest Blends collection, which blends sweet potatoes and multigrain.”


Findings in turn can also be integrated into strategy-level decisions.

“Beyond analyzing data, we actively implement learnings to refine our business strategies,” she says. “This approach ensures a highly personalized journey for the consumer from the first point of brand interaction to purchase and after-sales service, the consumer experiences a coherent and highly personalized journey. Our rich portfolio of differentiated brands enables us to create multiple touchpoints that tell a consistent brand story.”

In the end, turning this vision into a reality will expand the Kellanova’s technology team’s impact. Salmon expects to see its relevance across the organization and its portfolio of brands.

“Gone are the days when IT was simply charged with keeping an organization safe, secure, and up to date,” Salmon states. “The Kellanova IT team is at the forefront of tech trends that will solve business problems [and] unlock growth across our commercial business, with our people and our customers.”


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