Automated Demand and Replenishment Planning at Pinnacle Propane
How Pinnacle Propane used Atlas Planning Platform to increase customer service levels whilst saving over 15% in annual end customer delivery costs
COMPANY: Pinnacle Propane
INDUSTRY: Wholesale Distribution
COMPANY TYPE: Privately Held
JOHN GALT SOLUTION: Atlas Planning Platform
Pinnacle Propane is a retail propane company specializing in bulk propane storage and end customer delivery, cylinder filling, and community distribution systems. The diverse company operates out of 13 service centers plus over 40 fuel depots in the Southern and Central United States serving over 60,0000 customer locations. Pinnacle partnered with John Galt Solutions to improve their demand planning and automate replenishment orders to meet customer requirements while optimizing delivery routes
Over a short period, Pinnacle Propane has used the Atlas Planning Platform to:
- Improve customer service levels
- Reduce annual transportation costs by 15%
- ROI of almost 3 to 1 within 2 years of project start
- Increase forecast accuracy by 25%
- Improve visibility and accuracy of daily demand forecast
- Leverage machine learning, syndicated weather data, and IoT signals to automate planning
- Fully automate daily demand and replenishment planning
- Optimize commercial logistics dispatch and routing process
- Boost productivity with one demand & forecasting analyst servicing over 60,000 customers
- Demonstrate improved service levels while reducing additional inefficient delivery stops
Improved Forecast Accuracy and Streamlined Transportation Routing
“Atlas Planning Platform helped us automate our demand and replenishment planning and optimize our transportation and distribution needs to meet required customer service levels”
Gijs Majoor VP of Supply Chain, Pinnacle Propane
Pinnacle initially partnered with John Galt Solutions to improve its routing process which was highly dependent on accurate demand planning. “When evaluating the costs of logistics, the tendency is to look at route optimization whilst the true optimization can be found with accurate forecasting and order management ensuring that a customer will be replenished at the right time required” stated Gijs Majoor VP of Supply Chain & Sustainable Fuels, Pinnacle Propane.
With the Atlas Planning Platform advanced planning features, Pinnacle increased the number of planned deliveries and increased customer service levels. Pinnacle also optimized truck routes to minimize travel distances and delays by using Atlas to leverage real time demand signals, such as syndicated weather and IoT sensor data. The ability to capture and analyze external data, recognize complex patterns and identify actionable demand signals allowed Pinnacle to not only improve their forecast accuracy, but also scale its operations and support growth.
Using the Atlas Planning Platform, Pinnacle has saved over $800,000 a year in delivery costs.
Leveraging Machine Learning
Recognizing that manual tasks slow down supply chain teams, Pinnacle Propane leveraged Atlas to automate 300 policies covering a wide range of business scenarios. These policies include everything from finding data issues to customer prioritizing orders. With Atlas, the company established and monitors KPIs to prioritize and automate the orders of over 60,000 customer locations and ensure safe and timely deliveries.
Pinnacle also used Atlas’s machine learning capabilities to automatically identify bad data. The Atlas advanced planning platform automatically identifies bad data and sends prescriptive recommendations to the team. For example, Atlas may identify missing ERP data, identify incorrect tank delivery quantities, make changes to the routing schedule, and more.
Atlas frees up valuable team members’ time by automating manual tasks and delivering prescriptive outputs when it identifies issues.
Improving Visibility and Accuracy of Store-level Replenishment
Pinnacle Propane brings in telemetry (cellular sensor) inventory data for part of its customers every day. This telemetry data, sent by an IoT sensor placed on top of bulk storage tanks, allows Pinnacle to measure the inventory levels of each customer. Atlas converts inventory data into daily usage and accurately re-plans replenishment needs to be routed by 5 am each day.
1 Forecasting & Demand Planning Manager Serving Over 60,000 Customers
Most companies would require a much larger team dedicated to planning demand and replenishment needs for thousands of customers, but Pinnacle only needs one Forecasting & Demand Planning Manager. Atlas collects and optimizes all the planning data, including daily location-level inventory, to rapidly reforecast customer demand before automatically releasing new orders to ensure replenishment trucks arrive at the optimal time.
Establishing a Single Source of Truth for Cross-Functional Productivity
Atlas provides a single source of truth - one unified plan – helping Pinnacle Propane to automatically integrate data and synchronize operations inside Pinnacle and outside of the business to suppliers and customers.
“Historically, most of our information systems have been siloed, but Atlas has done a tremendous job bringing all functional data together into one application which has improved planning accuracy and cross-functional productivity.”
Stephen Little, Forecasting & Demand Planning Manager, Pinnacle Propane
Pinnacle transformed their supply chain network away from spreadsheets to the Atlas Planning Platform allowing them to accelerate, automate and align plans resulting in faster decision making, improved service and reduced costs.
One significant benefit of this enhanced planning is the creation of a multi-week driver forecast, which leverages Atlas’ ability to harmonize near-term and mid-term seasonality and demand. This driver forecast ensures the near-term routing optimization can be executed by synchronizing the demand planning, delivery planning and driver forecast processes rather than being created by separate groups, with separate data, assumptions and tools.
About Atlas Planning Platform
Easy-to-use, AI-driven, Cloud Deployed Digital Planning Platform
John Galt’s Atlas Planning Platform provides a comprehensive end-to-end supply chain planning solution with advanced analytics and machine learning to automate planning, break down business silos and deliver greater visibility. Atlas Planning, a SaaS-based platform, transforms S&OP process; demand, inventory and replenishment, supply and inventory optimization, manufacturing planning and scheduling, financial budget and sales forecasting.