The Client

This U.S.-based family-owned maker of branded, baked goods, distributes across the North American market through both traditional CPG channels and, more recently, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel of growing importance.

This project spanned everything from customer onboarding to order intake, sourcing, production, delivery, product promotion processing, and returned goods.

The Challenge

Disruptions in the distribution landscape were threatening to overwhelm the company. Costs were skyrocketing for both direct (ingredients and packaging) and indirect (MRO or maintenance, repair, and operating supply) materials alike.

Despite the company’s hefty ERP and CRM investments, they’d been set up—and configured—pre-Amazon. Now, a host of new customers and channels had arisen. These included a company-owned e-commerce site, and discount clubs, with their unique needs for bulk, palletized packaging and in-display boxes. Meanwhile, aggressive new competitors from Latin America were closing in.

Even its traditional consumer packaged goods (CPG) channels—wholesalers, grocery chains, and route sales distributors (such as re-stocking convenience stores)— were under threat.

Data and process bottlenecks

Data—for vendors, products, and customers—was structured for the existing distribution customers. And duplicate entries, system-to-system reconciliation, and poor usability of master data caused order-entry errors, reduced forecast accuracy, and disrupted customer-service delivery.

The resulting “workarounds” were undocumented, residing solely in the heads of tenured employees who were now reaching retirement age.

The objectives were clear: Increase order-management productivity, reduce waste (including rework, order queueing, and customer wait time), cut costs, and introduce newfound flexibility to scale up or down as needed and remain continuously competitive in a fast-moving, dynamic market space.

An eight-week Phase I analysis covered all plant operations and employees, with all major end-to-end business processes documented at nano-scale detail.

Over 120 process-standardization opportunities were identified, along with more than 75 automation candidates, and more than 25 advanced analytics and KPI use-cases.

Importantly, the Phase I analysis delivered a self-funding, guaranteed work plan for the six-month, Phase II implementation that would follow.

Phase I Objectives

The Lab’s patented, template-based approach achieved several analytical goals:

• Accelerate business process mapping, which had been historically slow and tedious.
• Identify applicable automation and standardization improvements from The Lab’s database.
• Document gaps in existing technology utilization, such as features, functionality, and add-ins.
• Normalize application and system event log data to enable detailed reporting and benchmarking.
• Prepare business processes for AI-enablement for real-time reporting and decisions.

The Lab consolidated over 200 improvements into manageable “modules” for implementation. Examples:

1. Standardized Channels. Despite ten “different” distribution channels, many characteristics (demand patterns, SLAs, etc.) were shared. Re-grouping customers based on these needs enabled simplification to just four.

2. Automated Master Data. First, The Lab defined standard metadata categories to render the master data more relevant. We used an RPA bot to reconcile all data across ten-plus systems. And we automated reporting to compare KPIs across the newly-defined customer/product segments.

3. Reduced Individual Variance. Individual-employee performance for order-entry errors, cycle times for identical tasks, and more varied up to 5x. New digital dashboards reported up-to-date individual performance, reducing overall averages by more than half.

These are just the highlights. Get more detail on this fascinating case study by reading the full version below.

Real Life Realized Financial Benefits for Executive Sponsors

Client: Top 5 Snack Foods Producer North America

Sponsor: Chief Operating Officer

Project Summary
• No core technology changes
• End-to-end supply-chain operations
• 8-week analysis
• 6-month implementation

Project Scope
• Order management/
• Materials management/
• Production operations
• Maintenance
• Packaging and supplies
• Finished goods inventory

Project Objectives
• Standardization
• Increased productivity
• Error and cycle time reduction
• Cost reduction
• Improved customer experience

Implementation Results
• Operating cost: Down 15%
• Productivity: Up 20%
• On-time customer delivery: Up 98%
• Perfect orders: Doubled in 6 months
• Average cycle time: Reduced by 30%

Learn more about how The Lab has been helping food-product manufacturers for nearly 30 years; we invite you to schedule your free, no-obligation 30-minute screen-sharing demo.

You’ll learn more about our patented approach to Knowledge Work Standardization®. You’ll see actual E2E process maps and RPA bots in action. You’ll learn how we are able to do all this, remotely, from our U.S. offices in Houston, with nothing outsourced or offshored, ever. And you’ll get all your questions answered by our friendly experts.

Simply call (201) 526-1200 or email to book your demo today!


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