Success Story Highlights – Improved forecast accuracy – Regulated production plans – Reduced forecasting effort – Improved credibility of planning process
Sun-Maid has served consumers and customers since 1912 by providing premium quality raisins and dried fruits from the raisin and fruit farms of California to homes and eating establishments around the world. As a cooperative, Sun-Maid Growers of California is owned by family farmers who grow raisin grapes all located within 100 miles of each other in the Great Central Valley of California.This fertile agricultural valley produces some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world, including a wide assortment of grapes, peaches, plums, apples, figs, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, and melons. When appropriate, Sun-Maid reaches beyond this geographical area to source a complete array of dried fruits.
Sun Maid faced a range of challenges in dealing with a rapidly cycling product line with heavy promotional demand. In order to handle the continuous flow of new products into the business, Sun Maid had to manually integrate these new products, spending a large amount of time for relatively little forecast improvement. Other partners in the business had little visibility into the forecast for these new products, resulting in a limited process with low credibility. In addition, Sun Maid’s highly seasonal and promotional business caused disruptions in their historical patterns, resulting in large swings in production plans and inventory numbers.
Sun Maid needed to improve their forecasting platform in order to stabilize their production numbers and deliver more effective visibility to the rest of the business. The Atlas Planning Suite from John Galt fit the bill nicely. Atlas offered a range of features and techniques to integrate new products into the business, while keeping promotions and other major destabilizing events from affecting the historical data stream. With the powerful statistical techniques offered by Atlas, Sun Maid was able to identify optimal statistical forecasting techniques for their diverse product line, and produce more effective forecasts that were capable of dealing with high seasonality.
As a result of the improved visibility offered by the Atlas Planning Suite, Sun Maid was able to significantly improve their forecast accuracy. With those improvements in place, production numbers have been stabilized, allowing for inventory to be produced at a more comfortable and cost-effective pace. This has improved the credibility of Sun Maid’s planning process across the company and paved the way for future supply chain planning improvements. “With Atlas, we have been able to make our supply chain work optimally. It really is the best tool I’ve seen for demand planning,” said John Slinkard, VP of Supply Chain at Sun Maid.