Predict your consumer behaviour

UK olive and continental food supplier preps supply chain with Futurmaster software that aids with predicting market behaviour.
calendar icon 30 March 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

Winterbotham Darby is a fast-growing food business that predominantly supplies own-label chilled food produced in Europe to the major supermarket chains in the UK.

Winterbotham Darby’s charcuterie range includes crumbed, sliced, diced and whole products with unrivalled traceability and animal welfare schemes in place. Pre-packed meat accounts for the majority of sales but whole legs, hams and salamis for deli counters are also an important part of the business.

The company has been able to identify and stay ahead of various other food shopping trends – such as increased sales of olives during warm weather, or rising demand for low-salt ranges and discounted lines over recent years - and managed to optimise levels of finished goods stock after implementing Demand and Supply Planning software through specialist vendor Futurmaster.

The software helps Winterbotham Darby generate a more accurate short-, medium- and long-term forecast for sales out to its customers. These forecasts are converted within Futurmaster to generate a supply forecast, which is sent out to its manufacturing partners across Europe. The improved accuracy of these forecasts enables Winterbotham Darby to maintain an optimised average stock level of seven days cover, with monthly stock turns of 4.2.

Simon Dancy, Group Planning manager at Winterbotham Darby, said:

Before the implementation of Futurmaster we had to rely on multiple, linked spreadsheets with complex formula and manual data entry. This posed a business risk if anything ever went wrong with them.

Raw material supply into manufacturing

With increased category growth and expanding production in the UK, Futurmaster’s MRP (Materials Resource Planning) module was implemented to manage the ordering of raw and packaging materials. The Futurmaster MRP module enables information on annual demand to be gathered easily for the Group Buyer to negotiate contracts for the procurement of product ingredients. The system also allows a procurement team to place orders at a SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) level based on the lead-times required by the suppliers, ensuring that raw materials are available to support the production plan.

The ongoing expansion of its UK manufacturing capability, including investment in new equipment and processes, generates an increasing level of complexity with raw materials and packaging formats. All of this is managed through Futurmaster MRP. In 2015, Winterbotham Darby acquired an additional manufacturing site in the UK. The processes that have been developed and implemented within Futurmaster provide a platform, which is expandable as the business grows.

Inbound transport planning and distribution

With a majority of the company’s inbound freight being managed internally using third party logistics providers, Dancy explained how they have recently started utilising analyser tools within Futurmaster Supply Planning. This enables them to generate orders, across multiple suppliers, in a way that optimises the vehicle utilisation based on outputs from the analysers.

Finished goods are distributed to retailers from a number of warehouses around the UK. Daily detailed stock files from each location are interfaced into Futurmaster Supply Planning to enable management of every product at a line level. Dancy explained how, by importing the stock on hand, by use-by date, they are able to continually manage and optimise the stock held.

Managing promotional activity

At any one time, a wide range of products can be on promotion with retail customers. Companies can use a separate Advance Promotions Management (APM) tool from Futurmaster to manage these promotions internally. The commercial team discuss promotional plans several months in advance.

The APM module of Futurmaster gives information to Commercial, Finance and Planning departments on the impact of promotional activity. Once confirmed, the promotions feed forecast volume into the Demand Planning, Supply Planning and MRP modules of Futurmaster.

In future, Simon Dancy hopes to be able to use new developments in machine-learning capability from Futurmaster to predict promotion performance with greater accuracy. Even outside factors are taken into account to determine the forecasted uplift.

The supply chain software helps a team of demand planners, supply planners and procurement co-ordinators manage a range of around 750 finished goods SKU’s, and 450 ingredient and packaging SKU’s on a daily basis.

As reported by Futurmaster

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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