Building a robust forecasting and planning solution to help a fast growing independent drinks company keep growing

Blue Bottles - Desktop


Having implemented SAP ERP and BW, this fast growing drinks company came to appreciate the importance of more sophisticated forecasting and planning system. They had always prided itself on its flow of new products and ability to react swiftly to changing market circumstances.

Agility was still key to success, but their current in-house forecasting system was not robust enough to cope with the ever increasing demands placed on it. Demand planning was a particular problem area. Promotional activity could not be included within the existing forecasting system. People were creating their own spreadsheets, even by passing forecasting altogether. It was often the case that those who shouted loudest and most often, not necessarily the most important customers, were served first.

The company’s Head of IT having considered the technology of APO and visited other reference sites, was introduced to Pivot by another leading food and drink company.

“We wanted people who could be a part of our team, share goals, give us the right level of skills transfer, understand our roadmap and then get on with it. We didn’t want IT consultants with overbearing administration and straightjacket methodologies,” reported the client’s Head of IT.

The Solution

The Pivot consultants recognised that speed, quality and business buy in were essential to the success of the project. They generated prototypes quickly for demonstration, modification and development as part of an agile and iterative approach with users.

“Pivot was particularly clever in ensuring everyone’s buy in by using real data in the pilot phase to prove the business case,” Head of IT.

In this multi phased project, designed to avoid peak periods (e.g. Christmas), Pivot delivered Demand Planning in weeks and Supply Network Planning a few months later. SAP Production Planning followed these to provide the client with a fully integrated forecasting solution which dictated a ‘single entry point’ for timely accurate data across the organisation.

Clever functionality allowed the company to utilise a ‘mix and match’ pallet distribution system which resulted in significant cost savings. At peak times the company often uses external depots and had previously found it difficult to plan the efficient movement of stock on and off site. Sometimes things had even ground to a halt.

The net result was a robust and integrated supply chain with a single entry point. It has helped deliver improved customer service, productivity gains and cost savings. Staff now trust the data and are confident in their planning. Indeed they now see SAP as a valuable tool right across the business.

“Pivot are my ‘go to guys’ for anything relating to supply chain within the SAP arena. We have a great working relationship and, for the operational side of our business, I always can rely on their expert, impartial advice. Despite the tight timescales and our substantial demands, their flexible approach delivers the results we need and demand every-time,”

Head of IT