Kaolin clay has many industrial applications and is included in ceramics, coated paper, light bulbs, cosmetics, and even toothpaste. Georgia-based Thiele Kaolin is one of the world’s leading providers and processors of this crucial material. For more than 50 years, Thiele has delivered processed kaolin products across North America, Europe, and Asia. Today the privately-held company employs 500 workers in its American facilities.
In 2005, Thiele used a homegrown system that simply pasted the previous year’s forecast into the next year, without allowing for adjustments. The limitations of this system rendered any meaningful planning nearly impossible. Thiele went in search of a solution that could integrate with their database to produce a highly accurate statistical forecast, hand off the baseline to the sales force for modifications, and return the completed forecast to the ERP system for production.
The Atlas Planning Suite went above and beyond Thiele’s requirements, offering an intuitive and extremely powerful platform for statistical forecasting and collaboration. John Galt’s implementation staff trained Thiele’s forecasters on the Demand Management Engine and developed custom solutions to interface with their ERP system. By delivering the Planning Portal component to several users in sales, Thiele gained the ability to capture input from the representatives closest to the individual accounts.
With the Demand Management Engine and Planning Portal in place, Thiele built a flexible and effective forecasting process. With an effective statistical baseline and the tools to capture business feedback from knowledgeable users, the company is now able to place accountability on the sales force by measuring a statistical baseline against actual sales. In addition, a planning process that once took 2-3 hours can now be completed in 15 minutes.
With the ability to plan for the future, Thiele can focus on proactive measures including positioning and expansion. Production plans can be made with a stronger degree of certainty, allowing production processes to be optimized. Thiele also has plans to deploy the Planning Portal to their domestic and international warehouses, bringing the plan closer to reality than ever before.