Gruppo Amadori - Case Study
Amadori optimizes the processes of Demand Planning, Promotion Management, Commercial Budgeting and Forecasting with BOARD
Amadori is one of the industry leaders in the Italian agri-food sector, an innovative company specializing in poultry. With a revenue of more than 1.2 billion euros, the company, founded in San Vittore di Cesena more than 40 years ago, relies on the collaborative efforts of approximately 7,400 workers and has industrial plants, branches, and agencies throughout Italy. Amadori is a food company with an integrated production cycle and has direct control over the entire production and distribution chain: a strategic choice aimed at obtaining a guarantee of quality through the entire production process. The Amadori Group firmly believes in "team play" where people with different specialisms, mentalities, and viewpoints collaborate and share their knowledge to achieve the company's objectives.
Across the Italian market Amadori has:
- 6 hatcheries
- 6 feed mills
- 6 transformation and processing plants
- 19 branches and agencies
- 3 primary platforms, which handle up 300,000 crates a day
- Approximately 350 agents and 450 vehicles for secondary transport that serve, almost daily, roughly 20,000 customers with 500 products and 1,700 references
In addition to this are the company-owned, directly managed poultry farms (over 1,100,000 sqm) and 3,700 hectares of land upon which these farms are located. The Amadori Group has numerous distribution channels including Large-scale Retail, Retail, HO.RE.CA., Wholesale, and Export.
The Challenges and The Selection Process
The commercial and marketing area of the Amadori Group needed a solution that would respond in an integrated way to the demands of commercial Budgeting and Sales & Demand Planning, with a focus on promotion management and planning.
For demand planning, in particular, they wanted to replace a vertical application, which was no longer suited to the Group's expectations:
“The previous commercial planning solution utilized multiple algorithms, which were often difficult for business users to understand and provided very few possibilities for the sales & marketing teams to intervene. We were looking for a solution that could support a more collaborative planning process, where the commercial figures would be able to interact more often and more easily with the data” declared Sandro Salvigni – Application Solutions Manager at Gruppo Amadori.
In other words, it was a matter of finding the right balance between the algorithmic management of data and the historical knowledge from the field, which continues to be a fundamental corporate asset for steering sales performance.
After involving the major leaders in the BI and CPM market, the software selection process led to the creation of a short list of vendors who were asked to create a prototype (Proof of Concept), in order to field test the abilities of different products:
“BOARD proved to be the most convincing for usability – confirmed by positive user feedback, the speed and flexibility in developing solutions - as well as the low cost and for meeting the IT requirements that we had in mind” stated Salvigni.
Commercial Budgeting, Demand Planning and Forecasting for all distribution channels
BOARD is used by the Amadori Group for Sales & Demand Planning, Commercial Budgeting, and Forecasting on around 1,500 products. Demand Planning is carried out by starting from historical reference data read by an Oracle Data Warehouse, divided between baseline sales and promotion sales so that users can simulate the potential impact of future promotions on sales results:
“Thanks to BOARD, the Sales Reps, Key Account or Customer Managers, Marketing Executives, or Customer Service operators, can insert promotions directly in a – so to speak – “transactional” way, based on very precise estimates that take into consideration the historical progress of the single item on similar promotions. Furthermore, every promotion is associated with properties (such as, for example, duration), which allows the user to compare their promo with similar attributes. After performing the starting estimate, the user will always be able to make changes manually, if needed”, explained Salvigni. “BOARD's ‘split & splat’ function makes it possible to distribute and spread every variation immediately, up to its maximum level of detail, thus providing business users with significant support for interactive simulations per customer-week-item”, Salvigni continued.
Once the demand planning process is managed, the results are used to create a rolling forecast on 13 weeks, which allows for analysis of all the commercial planning at a higher level of aggregation and a constant comparison with the yearly budget.
Clearly, when new demands related to the management of promotions emerge at this level, it is possible to go back and work on demand-planning, then proceed to update the forecast interactively. In addition, the forecast and final balance data are used on a weekly basis for a commercial budget revision process, aimed at maintaining a strong alignment between the goals and the evolution of sales prospects.
The commercial budget is also created with BOARD. At the first stage, sales volumes are defined per single item or group of items, customer and week, at the second stage the controller defines a first contribution margin and finally an evaluation of the final balance proceeds is done, based on historical data, with the main focus on groups of items.
“At this stage, BOARD's ‘split & splat’ function, which permits the automatic allocation at different levels of detail (e.g. product-product line) and different sizes (e.g. channel, customer, product) of any piece of data inserted, is very useful to us for performing analyses from many viewpoints” stated Salvigni.
Flexibility and ease of use for business
The Sales & Marketing area of Amadori has found a flexible platform in BOARD, one that is attentive to the User Experience and makes it possible to support the rapid growth of the company and its distribution channels effectively.
“Our users appreciated the new solution right away, thanks to its adaptability and ease of use,” declared Salvigni. “Also from the technological point of view, BOARD has proven itself to be high performing, with a software architecture that is easy to manage and an in-memory database.”
The Sales & Demand Planning application brought truly significant advantages in the planning of promotional activities for customers, with a related impact in terms of volume, which was especially critical for the large-retail channel where promotion management plays a fundamental role in determining sales results.
“The algorithms used by BOARD reflect the real needs of decision-makers in the commercial and marketing area and support business considerations,” stressed Salvigni. This confirms, once again, BOARD's mission to overcome the gap between complexity and statistical potential on one hand and business needs on the other.
“Especially in the large-retail channel, the problems of promotion planning were much more critical and the management of data and algorithms which could be done in BOARD functioned to support business activities effectively: we are able to manage standard data and promotional data together – even at a historical level - allowing users to interact with them at the same time. This was one of the purposes of the project and I can say that the result was truly positive,” declared Salvigni.
“ One of the most advantageous aspects of using BOARD is the possibility to go from analysis per single item to group evaluations, and vice versa, in an extremely dynamic and flexible way depending on need. Previously, we were forced to perform analyses within certain, very rigid limits; for example, we could think at an aggregate level, but we could not go down to a detail level for a single item. BOARD's flexibility of analysis is fundamental because for certain new items, core business items or those for which we have a particular commercial policy, we need to perform detailed evaluations; meanwhile it is more suitable for other items to think in aggregate terms while maintaining the possibility of going down to the detail level. The same occurs at the level of temporary entities, allowing us to conduct analyses easily in different timeframes depending on our needs”, explains Elisa Stefanazzi – Project Manager at Gruppo Amadori.
“A similar benefit is also found when using BOARD for commercial budgeting and the analysis of related historical data”, adds Salvigni. “Now we can build a budget with weekly procedures that can take into account certain growth curves and peaks in sales trends. This is very important for our Sales & Marketing area because defining weekly commercial goals allows us to be aligned with the typical sales cycles of our products. In addition, we have been able to close the annual budget cycle with unprecedented speed, thus meeting the deadlines given by the new management”.