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Pernod Ricard toasts better demand forecasting with Infor

Drinks company Pernod Ricard, known for its Absolut, Malibu and Jameson tipples, has improved demand forecast accuracy with Infor software

Pernod Ricard, known for its Absolut, Campo Viejo, Malibu, Jameson and Chivas Regal drinks brands, says it has improved its demand forecast accuracy with software from Infor.

Ben Gibson, operations director at Pernod Ricard UK and Pernod Ricard Travel Retail, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea) says the company saw a “need to improve the efficiency of forecasting, inventory management, replenishment, and sales and operations planning” back in 2012. It therefore decided to form a supply chain community at Pernod Ricard Europe, which then decided to look for an IT tool that could help deliver the required process improvements.

The company eventually chose Infor Demand Planning, according to Gibson, because “it provided good functionality, simplicity of use and navigation, good exception management capability with an overall good look, feel and potential for scalability”.

Pernod Ricard began implementing the tool in July 2013, going live in June 2014 in the UK and its travel retail affiliate in Emea. It went live in Spain and South Africa in 2016.

Gibson says the tool has helped Pernod Ricard UK with “an ongoing improvement in demand forecast accuracy and the achievement of optimal inventory levels, which enables PRUK [Pernod Ricard UK] to better align supply to customer demand”.

“We originally looked at Infor Demand Planning as a way of optimising our existing processes,” he says. “Our legacy processes were not automated due to multiple datasets. With so many different brands with different lead times, we needed to marry a consistent back-end set of processes to the dynamic demand figures from our commercial teams.

“Furthermore, we needed the application to be flexible enough for us to adapt that data and feed it into our ERP [enterprise resource planning] systems. This is what Infor Demand Planning allows us to do, and we are now expanding this capability throughout the Emea region.”

Users of the tool work in its commercial, demand planning and supply planning teams.

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Gibson describes a close working relationship with the IT department at the company. “They are based in the same office at Chiswick Park,” he says. “This involves working on strategic supply chain IT operations and reporting solutions to drive business efficiencies. We meet monthly with our IT colleagues to track project progress and troubleshoot solutions to complex problems.

“And there are defined information flows between Infor and our ERP system and BI [business intelligence] tool.”

The company plans to significantly increase support to affiliates beyond the UK and Emea with the continued roll-out of Infor software, aimed at improving sales and operations planning. “A worldwide project is about to start, which will be the key area of focus for the supply chain of Pernod Ricard this fiscal year,” says Gibson.

“Having a sufficiently mature S&OP [sales and operations planning] process is definitely a key requirement before launching a demand planning tool implementation,” he adds. “The tool is ‘only’ a support for the process.”

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