With many of the company’s staple lines being fresh meats and seafood snacks, products have a relatively short shelf life and have to be shipped out to customers, in the right quantities, as soon as possible. To make a product takes between three days and three weeks, depending on the recipe, type and process. Shelf life varies from five days for some seafood products to three weeks on cured meats, but the food manufacturer makes sure that products can be shipped within just three hours of any order coming in.
The challenge – for a team of eight demand planners working across a wide range of products and customers – is made even more complicated given that the group tries to minimise the amount of finished goods it holds across multiple warehouses. The company doesn’t hold stock in its production plants, instead pushing out finished goods so that no two same products are held in separate warehouses.
Out of a total of 3,600 employees working in its factories and offices worldwide, fifteen people deal with around five hundred suppliers, mostly to ensure a steady supply of fresh ingredients as and when required. Only a minimal amount of raw materials are held in stock. Planning for production, labour, supply and even the phasing of new product launches, deliveries and promotions with supermarkets is all made possible thanks to accurate planning.
“Sophisticated forecasting technology makes the process a whole lot easier,” says Stephanie Ricot, head of forecasting at Fleury Michon.