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See's Candies are well known and loved throughout the West, where the 84-year-old company sells more than 100 varieties of chocolates and candies through 200 See's shops. See's takes special pride in its meticulous manufacturing process that uses only the freshest, finest grade raw ingredient. Its manufacturing is extremely labor-intensive. In fact, it takes more than 1,600 people to make, package, and deliver its candy at the peak of freshness to stores. Because its manufacturing is at the heart of its business, See's devotes special attention to careful planning, constant measurement and adjustment throughout the production process.
According to Eileen Duag, director of product support for See's Candies, that production planning has become vastly easier and better with the introduction of an on-demand planning solution from JRG. Before the introduction of JRG in late 2004, aligning production accurately with actual demand was a laborious process using spreadsheets and forecast figures pulled from many people throughout the organization.
The new JRG system creates a single, web-based automated system that users at any location in the organization can access. The spreadsheets previously used to manage the supply chain at See's Candies have been eliminated, and the massive amounts of factory data they used to contain are readily available and easy to read and analyze.
Duag and her group at See's celebrated the transition to JRG. "We had a spreadsheet burning party," she says. "What's most important for See's is that its plant managers now are able to redirect their focus on the most important aspect of the business-their people."
See's has regained 20 hours of management time and 20 hours of clerical time per week thanks to JRG. The IT department is also realizing significant productivity gains from the JRG on-demand solution. The web browser-based interface makes the factory planner's administrative job so much easier. In addition, the IT staff no longer has to run around deploying drivers and upgrading the systems because all the scheduling is handled through an easy-to-use managed service model.
Rather than relying on spreadsheets that require manual and error-prone data entry and analysis, See's now has a completely automated and on-demand supply chain solution that enables them to make business-critical decisions on the &Mac223;y. The company can plan more accurately, allowing the management team to spend time with employees rather than with spreadsheets, and accommodate seasonal fluctuations with ease.
"The on-demand model completely relieves us of the cost and burden of managing supply chain software," she says.
The benefits for See's from the JRG solution so far include:
• Increase perfect orders that ensure that retailer shelves are full
• Reduce inventories to strengthen the balance sheet, accelerate turns and cut write-offs
• Lower production cost and significantly increase supply chain and labor efficiency
• Low IT impact or risk by reversing the traditional risk/return profile, integrating seamlessly with legacy/transaction systems
• Easy, inexpensive setup with flat subscription fee of $10,000 regardless of the number of users
• Zero maintenance cost because JRG manages the solution on its servers
The JRG system was implemented at one factory in September 2004, just in time for the holiday season, and just in time to save the company very big expenses, says Duag.
"With JRG in place, we were able to avoid a huge cost overrun in December that we would not have otherwise detected in time," she says. "That savings alone has more than paid for the entire project. We have new appreciation for the ability to make critical production decisions in real time."
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