A world-leading agribusiness, Syngenta leads the world in crop protection and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2002 were approximately US $6.2 billion. Syngenta (NYSE: SYT*) employs some 20,000 people in over 120 countries. The company is committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. Its goal is to be the leading global provider of innovative solutions and brands to growers and the food and feed chain.
The agricultural market is highly seasonal and competitive with the potential for large changes in market demand. Syngenta needed to build a consensus and collaborative Sales and Operations Planning Process to meet the needs of their business units, which not only spanned different products, and regions, but foreign subsidiaries as well. To achieve a successful sales and operations planning process, collaboration is a key tool in creating accountability and confidence. Syngenta was in search of a way to increase the integrity and responsibility of their forecast. In the past Syngenta’s forecast was actually a sales plan based on historical data that was pulled from their ERP system into spreadsheets then given to the business units for incorporation of actual sales data and current business plans. This centrally controlled process limited the involvement of each business unit and the marketing managers as sales to date, marketing plans, and current inventory were not readily available to each business unit. In addition, the forecasts were created at a level of hierarchy too high to establish accountability.
Syngenta wanted a tool that would help them design a collaborative sales and operations process across their enterprise. They needed a web enabled collaborative solution that would give all the users of the forecast input, and visibility of the entire supply chain. It had to allow for multiple languages, and currencies, and give the business units the ability to manage market changes as they happened through dynamic pricing, promotion, and adjusting production levels. Syngenta also required an automated web based solution that would eliminate the need to email spreadsheets back and forth and give everyone in the sales and operations team immediate access to the sales and operations plan.
A core function important to Syngenta was the ability to link their financial targets to market demand and their operational capabilities. Key to this process was having a solution that would allow them to manage the gaps between each of these pillars of the S&OP plan.
John Galt Solutions’ Atlas Planning Suite is an enterprise solution that allows businesses to better align supply and demand by building and implementing a collaborative forecasting process across the entire enterprise. Using the S&OP module, companies can strengthen relationships and provide visibility to all links up and down the supply chain simultaneously, thereby removing inefficiencies such as overstocked inventory from the process. Its Web-based architecture gives key stakeholders – sales staff, managers, vendors and customers – the ability to interact with the same centrally controlled database, resulting in more accurate and visible information that can be used for sales forecasting, statistical analysis, collaborative planning and decision support.
At Syngenta, approximately 200 individuals across three countries are using the S&OP portion of the Atlas Planning Suite and now have a better read on pricing, promotions, and programs. Instead of producing inventory to meet budget goals, they no use real-time collaboration, to align inventory with customer demand. Syngenta can now meet sales targets by managing gaps with a more efficient S&OP process. Instead of Monthly updates to the forecast and demand plan the forecast is now “live” because the process is web-enabled.
Syngenta recently added the Demand Management Engine module of the Atlas Planning Suite to their process. The automation the demand management engine brings to the forecasting process eliminates the workload that forecasting with spreadsheets presents. Syngenta will now be able to track the value added to the forecast at every level by different business units as they apply their business knowledge to the forecast results. “By tracking the effects those adjustments have on our results, along with the ability to manage our product family by exception we can increase customer service through better product management.” said Richard Herrin manager of NAFTA planning and forecasting.
With the collaborative piece of the process already in place data is pulled by product from all sources of the business to include budget, sales forecast, and sales history. Syngenta intends to use the event and promotion-modeling component in the demand management engine to improve the S&OP process by marrying the experience and knowledge of the planning group to the ease-of-use, demand planning, and forecasting accuracy of the Atlas Planning Suite.
With the Atlas Planning Suite Syngenta now has a better read on pricing, promotions, and programs. Where they used to produce inventory to meet budget goals, with collaboration they now have production flexibility to determine what products to make to order, and what products to make to stock because marketing efforts and the supply chain are aligned with their customer demand. With real-time access to their data Syngenta can also track adjustments to their sales, marketing, and demand plans, and as a result the accuracy of the forecast is constantly improving. This process improvement has resulted in better inventory management.
Syngenta continues to refine and build its on its Sales and Operations Process, by utilizing the training offered by John Galt. “Support and Services were excellent, without John Galt’s project management expertise, our implementation would have taken much longer, and our results would have been less dramatic.” Commented Richard Herrin. John Galt’s knowledge of “best Practices” in demand planning, sales and operations planning, and forecasting have helped Syngenta focus on managing the gaps between forecasted demand and actual results.
According to John Galt Solutions’ Vice-President of Sales and Service Kai Trepte, “Web collaboration has become increasingly necessary due to constant market changes, increased competition and pressure to deliver the right products to the right customers at the right time. A truly collaborative supply chain network brings together design, engineering, production, sales and marketing – both inside and outside the enterprise – thereby reducing miscommunications and stabilizing long-term demand plans.”