Better forecasts equal better business
The distribution centre in Boxtel (NL) is the hub of the company’s physical supply chain and serves as the base for the demand planners that orchestrate it.
The project team started with demand forecasting, which would be critical to the subsequent production planning implementation.
The company was working with a 1-2 week forecast, calculated in Excel as a simple average of the last ten weeks of sales with the highest and lowest values removed. This was replaced by an automated, rolling 8-week forecast in Optimity. The forecast quality improved immediately, and after just four weeks of shadowing, the team was ready to turn off the old Excel solution.
Bart explains the current setup, “Optimity provides much better support for our forecasting process. As a result, our two demand planners are more effective in their work and now work more closely with sales and marketing to plan for sales promotions and product phase-ins and phase-outs. Optimity has also given them the visibility they need to spot and address any potential stock and shelf-life issues before they become a problem.”
Next stop: Production planning
With some production lead times as long as seven days, forward visibility is critical to managing shelf-life for sensitive meat products. So a few weeks later, the production planning model was set up and tested in Optimity’s Supply Chain Optimizer, taking full advantage of the improved forecast accuracy and the longer planning horizon in the new demand planning solution.
The four manufacturing sites included in the initial rollout now receive weekly updates of their production requirements for the next eight weeks. And while detailed scheduling remains a local responsibility, the more stable and forward-looking weekly production plan has made life much easier at the production sites.
A planning solution that brings the business together
With so many acquisitions, and an equal number of ERP installations and locally maintained data sources, it would take quite an effort to ensure master data consistency. Bart expands on this issue, “This part of the project took more time than anticipated, but it was something we had to get through. For example, we had situations where two production sites used the same product ID for completely different items. Fortunately, Optimity knows how to address data inconsistencies, and they could suggest a pragmatic solution. As a result, we now have a planning system that links our entire supply chain together.”