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CLIENT CASE STUDY


Beverage company: Improved sales forecasting and demand planning

A global beverage company seeking an advanced solution for forecasting and demand planning called on Accenture Analytics.

Overview

A world-renowned beverage company was looking for a way to improve its forecasting and demand planning capabilities. Aware of Accenture’s expertise in analytics-driven solutions, the global beverage company turned to Accenture Analytics. In the forecasting pilot Accenture Analytics put together, they demonstrated greater accuracy than the beverage company’s existing solution. This is expected to lead to improved fill rates and more cost-efficient management of the supply chain. Future benefits to the beverage company are estimated at $3.9 million annually.

Opportunity
The client sought greater understanding of causal factors affecting demand. Sales forecasting is essential for efficient resource planning, for cost control and for higher levels of customer satisfaction.

For companies in the consumer products industry, SAS software is considered a best-of-breed solution for statistical forecasting and advanced analytics. Making a substantial investment in SAS software, the client sought Accenture’s help in implementing a demand planning solution that would integrate SAS with the company’s data sources and enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Solution

Well-versed in implementation of SAS solutions, Accenture helped integrate analytics-powered tools with the beverage company’s enterprise data warehouse and ERP system. SAS connects to the client’s data warehouse in both directions through automated interfaces built on middleware technologies.

The project team analyzed numerous variables to assess potential effects on sales. Regression analyses considered multiple factors—such as holidays, events, price and weather—and helped to determine statistically significant fluctuations.

To leverage the impact of multiple variables, Accenture developed advanced forecasting models in SAS Forecast Studio and also developed custom models. Reconciliation techniques led to recommendations for the client to improve sales forecasting and demand planning.

Results

Results from the pilot project demonstrated improvements in stock keeping unit (SKU) accuracy at multiple levels:

  • Location SKU is up by 8 percent compared to the previous forecasting system.
  • State SKU planning has risen by 9 percent.
  • Improvement at the national level has exceeded 7 percent.

Improved forecasting is expected to help operations managers improve management of the supply chain and anticipate fluctuations in demand. With greater control of inventory and costs, the future benefits (annual and recurring) to the company’s bottom line are estimated at $3.9 million.

Developing a causal forecasting solution has proved beneficial in ways company leaders have appreciated. Accenture Analytics delivered a well-integrated solution that is on track to influence, predict and anticipate fluctuations in demand from customers.