What Others Are Doing: Collaborative Planning

A major packaged goods manufacturer was suffering from poor service levels and high inventory. They had plenty of inventory, but it always seemed to be the wrong inventory or in the wrong place. Their goal was to move from “just in case” inventory to “just in time” inventory by replacing safety stock with information.

A key first step was to get improved information from the client personnel closest to the customer, their account teams. DHC worked with an internal client team to design a process for effective collaborative planning between the centralized operations, marketing and logistics functions and the major account teams. The process consisted of one to two day sessions where the groups reviewed results for the past two years, discussed key trends for both the account, company and key categories, and then together developed volume estimates and promotional plans for the coming year. To assist with the process, DHC developed a straight forward planning tool, which included volume history, allowed quick volume adjustments based on customized growth factors and captured planned activities in a calendar format. At the end of the sessions, the tool “rolled up” the input from all of the account teams to give the company a view of expected growth in total, by customer, and at any level in between. The client is now in the second year of using the new process, and has made significant progress in closing information gaps – now with both more information and higher quality information. Early results include improved service levels and more focused and effective trade spending.




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