The top-three food and beverage (F&B) manufacturer in Europe sought to streamline and optimize its planning processes as a crucial part of their further growth strategy.
- Currently manufactures drinks in four European markets
- Exports to more than hundred countries around the world
Before embarking on a mission to streamline its supply chain planning with Replan, the leading British manufacturer faced several challenges which hindered its ability to pursue expansion plans.
Challenge 1. Demand spikes
Changing consumer behavior had led to a sharp, unforeseen increase in demand, triggering a capacity shortfall. As a result, the F&B manufacturer had to outsource 10% of their volume to co-packers in the short-term. For the medium-to-long term, the client had made significant capital commitments to add two additional canning lines in the next year to add additional capacity.
Challenge 2. Inaccurate capacity planning
The manufacturer had previously relied on a planning software provided by a leading ERP vendor. Whilst it had several strengths, it also had a significant limitation as it did not consider lost changeover time while creating mid-term or tactical plans. The software merely used an average loss factor to account for changeovers, which resulted in capacity requirements being underestimated. In turn, manufacturer’s production sequences were at best suboptimal and at worst, infeasible.
Challenge 3. Loss of throughput
The inaccurate capacity planning led to unnecessary changeovers. Consuming more capacity than was required resulted in a significant loss of throughput, while simultaneously making the whole supply chain insufficiently responsive to market demand. It also increased the burden on the operations team in the factory.
Challenge 4. Excessive manual effort
Planners spent a huge amount of time editing system-generated plans to make them feasible and fighting fires in the scheduling time horizon; something that could have been prevented with better mid-term planning. This was certainly taking its toll on the planners.
Challenge 5. Lack of scenario planning
As all production was planned and scheduled manually, planners lacked time for scenario planning and strategic thinking. They were struggling to evaluate the impact of even seemingly simple business changes, such as marketing promotions.
It was clear that what had served the manufacturer well in the past would not help it weather the variability and volatility of today and tomorrow. To gain the much-needed agility and future-proof production planning, the company needed to change its supply chain planning software.
After a comprehensive evaluation of several solutions, the manufacturer picked Replan as it best met its needs. What stood out the most about Replan’s intelligent production planning is that it allows for rich modeling of line capacity, including downtime for scheduled cleaning and maintenance. It also models detailed matrices that capture changeover costs and time, which results in a more accurate representation of capacity and production realities.
In addition, Replan takes in business constraints and objectives, including capacity utilization, inventory targets and customer demand satisfaction, allowing planners to easily configure the relative priority of each of them. AI-based algorithms then take all these inputs and produce an optimized, dynamic production sequence, or a wheel, that respects business objectives and is responsive to market conditions.
For the leading F&B manufacturer, integration with existing planning tools and ERP systems was crucial. Not only was Replan able to easily integrate but also offer an intuitive UI that sped up the adoption of the new software amongst planners.
Time was of the essence for the manufacturer as their new planning solution had to be up and running quickly to avoid any disruption. Replan responded by onboarding the client and configuring the solution to its needs within a month.
The Replan team worked closely with the manufacturer to understand its requirements and needs, including which data needed to be extracted from its current systems and how to push the output of Replan’s tool back into their systems. For speed and ease of integration, manual integration was leveraged, that did not require any API integrations or IT expertise.
Once the data was uploaded and a digital twin of the manufacturer’s production process had been created in the solution, they could easily visualize their optimized, dynamic production sequences. They could rapidly run new scenarios on production data to understand the business impact of running promotions and changing demand and capacity, such as adding or removing shifts from different lines.
Implementing Replan’s supply chain planning solution addressed all the key challenges the leading F&B manufacturer was struggling with before. Its mid-term group planning capability has allowed it to improve forecast accuracy by smoothing out variation and reduce clutter. It relieved the planning teams of manual, time-consuming tasks, allowing them to focus on more strategic assignments.
The results include:
- 12% increase in production volume throughput (with no additional investment)
- 10% increase in capacity availability
- 25% decrease in changeovers
- Significant gains in team productivity and morale
In addition, users can access the solution to rapidly run and solve complex scenarios on their own production data, enabling them to further reduce risk and quickly answer strategic questions in meetings.
If you wish to overcome your planning challenges and gain greater supply chain resilience, speak to one of our specialists today about how Replan can help.
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