Burt’s Bees Builds Collaborative Forecast with Atlas Planning

  • www.burtsbees.com
  • Macola, i2 Factory Planner
  • Consumer Goods

Burt’s Bees is the leading manufacturer of Earth-friendly natural personal care products. They manufacture over 150 face care, body care, hair care, lip care, men’s grooming, baby care and outdoor remedies products. These products are distributed via 30,000 retail outlets, including major grocery and drug store chains such as Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreen’s and RiteAid along with traditional gift and health retailers.

Initially Burt’s Bees earth-friendly natural personal-care products were only sold in drug stores, boutiques, and health foods stores throughout North America. But now, with the dramatic rise in popularity of its products, the Burt’s Bees supply chain has also grown rapidly—doubling in size over the last 3 years—and expanding globally into the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. With an increasingly complex supply chain and growth exceeding 20% per year, the Financial Planning and Analysis team realized they needed more sophisticated demand and inventory planning tools.

After carefully reviewing several leading software offerings, the Burt’s Bees team selected John Galt’s Atlas Planning Solution due to its event management, ease of customization, and clean, intuitive interface.

Burt’s Bees had successfully used John Galt’s ForecastX Wizard for about 2 years. Now they were ready to leverage Atlas Planning’s more comprehensive forecasting process that includes inventory management and promotional events.

“We needed a demand planning tool that could handle heavy lifting of data manipulation,” stated Braxton White, Manager of Forecasting. “We found more horsepower in the John Galt solution, and it also fit our limited budget.”

With John Galt’s Atlas Planning solution Burt’s Bees has seen dramatic improvements in forecast accuracy and inventory fill rates. And their recent addition of the web-based Planning Portal makes it easy to collect forecast input from about 35 salespeople across the country.

The solution’s flexibility has created a much more efficient forecasting process. “Atlas Planning’s pivot table is worth its weight in gold – it’s really exceeded my expectations,” added Mike Robertson. “We don’t have to wait for a report from another system; we can make changes to our planning assumptions and instantly see the results.”

Now Burt’s Bees can easily review the success of a critical element of their continued growth—new product launches. “Atlas Planning provides us lots of flexibility to break out new products and review launch success,” commented Braxton White. “This flexibility has empowered us to make changes quickly as the market and our organization changes.”

The team at Burt’s Bees continues to push toward a consumer driven supply chain. As part of that goal, they plan to implement John Galt’s Consumer Centric Planning solution (CCP) with all their key retail accounts by summer of 2009. Once they fully implement CCP, Burt’s Bees will build weekly forecasts for big box retailers like Walmart and Target using POS and IRI data as well as promotional calendars.