Campbell's supply chain operations in Belgium, France, Germany and four UK sites are hoping to benefit from more accurate, common data following implementation of demand planning, production planning and manufacturing scheduling.
An example of the type of benefits which should result is the ability to respond to a retailer's offer. If a supermarket chain is discounting a product by 40% and demand rises accordingly, Campbell's integrated system will translate that demand into supplier buying figures, replenishment requirements, production capacities and factory scheduling.
According to Barry Stewart, project leader of supply planning for Campbell, the integrated nature of the EPO system is the root of the benefits the company will reap. "Getting closer to true demand gives us a better speed of response to customer demand and means we can cut down on safety stock holdings."
Stewart said the system was easily integrated with the company's SSA BPCS ERP package. "It can often be difficult to get interfaces to run well - but this went seamlessly," he said.
"The biggest challenge was that we did not have a full-time implementation team. It was the responsibility of key users and there was a difficult trade-off between business-as-usual and the implementation.".
Manufacturing IT analyst Simon Bragg of ARC Advisory agreed on the benefits Campbell would be likely to see.
"By centralising production planning, based on forecasts from retail stores, you know where the current stock is in the supply chain across Europe and you know the production schedules of all your plants," he said. "With this global visibility, you dramatically improve on time in full delivery, reduce stock-outs and cut inventory in the chain."