Warburton’s  “portfolio forecasting” tool will lead to improved production and promotion planning, the company says

Warburtons has saved an estimated £430k over two years through improved production and promotion planning.

The company revealed that after replacing its ageing IT system with demand forecasting software from FuturMaster, it had been able to increase the accuracy of its forecasts from 79% to 86%.

The FuturMaster software determines what every retailer will typically be ordering in two days time, usually over a two-year horizon. It then breaks down the total volumes for different products or regional locations so operations are more efficiently managed.

The “portfolio forecasting” tool can project up to five years ahead and see what improvements can be made, and what cash benefits could be driven. The system can also help with planning promotions with retailers, often up to a year ahead.

“The IT systems previously in place were proving too cumbersome for our fast-growing business. So forecast accuracy wasn’t great and we were spending far too much time on pointless administrative tasks rather than making strategic decisions,” said Iain Bishop, senior commercial forecast manager at Warburtons.

“The software allows us to very quickly analyse whether a particular promotion is realistic or not and see any resulting sales uplift.

“We can see exactly how many loaves will be required by every retailer for the next day, week or month.”

Bishop said Warburtons had been able to benefit from significant time savings - not only across its operations and production processes, but for customers as well. He estimated that everyone spent just 10% of time on admin, which has freed up 90% of time for strategic decision-making.