Mars Petcare profits from planning

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Mars Petcare had been in search of an IT solution to improve management of its sales and operations data, but a discussion with Oliver Wight has led to a different approach.

Two years on, the company has implemented an integrated business planning programme and achieved Class A status. As a result, customer service levels have reached 99 per cent, while stock levels have reduced by 15 per cent, and the company has been voted best branded supplier by supermarket chain, Asda.

Sales and operations planning manager David Wragg says: “IBP standardises business processes, but it also allows you to be dynamic; it does not restrain you and that is vital in our organisation, where freedom is one of the bedrock operating principles for shaping the company’s future.”

Mars Petcare takes in brands such as Pedigree and Whiskas and is responsible for over one third of all Mars sales in the UK. It has three sites: Peterborough, Waltham on the Wolds and Melton Mowbray.

The company’s existing operational structure was well suited to the IBP implementation because heads of the key functions of product, demand and supply were already in place, and this aided the speed of implementation. Within nine months, and in a volatile market, the process had eliminated all bias from forecasting and increased the organisation’s business horizon to 24 months.

“After just four monthly cycles, IBP was telling us that our growth was going to be much greater than we were planning for; it was proven to be true, ” says Wragg.

The company’s demand plan is now based on a single set of numbers and is driving the business forward.

“There is a gap-closing mentality right across the division,” says Wragg, “and we are constantly reviewing our processes to make sure we continue to improve.”

Oliver Wight is working with Mars throughout Eastern and Western Europe; the USA; and the Gulf Cooperation Council states of the Middle East. Mars Petcare UK is the second division of the group to receive Class A accreditation after Mars GCC in Dubai. The Russian operation is expected to achieve Class A within the next few months.

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