Making artisanal oils is not a job for the impatient. Pressing seeds too hard or too quickly produces heat that damages quality. The oil masters at La Maison Orphée have developed a balanced process combining traditional care with modern production techniques to create the finest cold-pressed oils, vinegars, mustards, and condiments. The Quebec-based firm draws on decades-long partnerships with growers in Europe and the Americas and expert collaborations with knowledgeable nutritionists, scientists, chefs, chemists, and biologists.
Maison Orphée’s business model is a mix of make-to-order and make-to-stock, including direct shipping to both large retailers like Costco and individual consumers buying through e-commerce channels. Almost one hundred SKUs are manufactured in-house and distributed through three distribution centers (DCs). It’s a tough job to forecast demand for products that have finite shelf lives and expiration dates, and the default process at Maison Orphée used to be to generate one annual forecast – a long-cycle prediction that often didn’t age well. The temptation to tinker with the numbers triggered frequent on-the-fly readjustments. It felt like playing an endless game of catch-up with real-world conditions that seemed only to degrade accuracy and reduce the quality of the plan.
Adding ForecastX from John Galt Solutions supercharged the forecasting power and ease-of-use of Maison Orphée’s Excel spreadsheets. The company’s product manager easily applied ForecastX’s ProCast proprietary algorithm to find patterns in existing sales data. ProCast automatically recommended which of 25 statistical forecasting methods would be the best-fit demand predictor for each product. In addition, ForecastX handled the complexity introduced by seasonality, both on the supply side (raw materials sourcing dependencies around harvest times) and the demand side (surges in condiment consumption during holiday periods). ForecastX overlaid the effects of proactive marketing events, promotions, and pricing discounts planned to occur throughout the year onto the base demand signal.
For Maison Orphée, the ForecastX advantage began by creating the practical ability to revisit and update the forecast every two months, rather than just once a year. The proprietary ProCast algorithm automatically selects the best forecasting method based on available data, replacing the uncertainty of ad hoc readjustments with more confident, data-driven decision-making. The result has transformed a process that once took many days into a revision session completed in just a few hours.
“Just like our products, each forecast has a limited useful shelf life,” explained Maison Orphée’s demand planner Elizabeth Gelineau. “It is better to regularly renew our plan based on incoming sales data and up-to-date statistical analyses. ForecastX lets us update our assumptions at a pace we never could have achieved using manual spreadsheets.”
At Maison Orphée this increase in “freshness” has resulted in greater responsiveness to market events and a six-times increase in agility when incorporating changing supply chain constraints. ForecastX has transformed Excel into an easy-to-use power tool for assessing the factors that shape a perishable future while keeping a vivid demand planning perspective at every step of the way.
"ForecastX lets us update our assumptions at a pace we never could have achieved using manual spreadsheets.” Elizabeth Gelineau, Demand Planner