Smithfield boosts customer service with daily inventory management


A wholly owned subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Smithfield Packing Company operates 12 plants in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida. Its major brands – Smithfield, Gwaltney, Stadler, Esskay, Valleydale, Sunnyland and Lykes – are sold via food retailers and food service companies across the country. Smithfield Foods is the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer, with revenues exceeding $15 billion in 2014.

Smithfield had a very cumbersome supply chain planning process that involved multiple production planners each separately scheduling individual production lines. They were pulling data from SAP and a variety of spreadsheets. Forecasting for their 2200 SKUs was a very painful and time consuming process that would take hours. The planners needed a tool to help streamline the forecasting and inventory planning process.

After reviewing several software packages, Smithfield selected the Atlas Planning suite from John Galt Solutions. Atlas provided the ability to meet the complex requirements of the protein industry in an easy-to-use, highly flexible forecasting and inventory management solution. Ten planners use Atlas to review orders and inventory positions that are updated every day.

“Forecasting with Atlas has been a huge improvement. It generates a very reliable forecast and helps the planners allocate inventory,” stated Susan Edwards, Inventory Deployment and Forecasting Manager.

Forecasting at Smithfield is now a team effort that includes about 20 salespeople who provide field input every month via the Planning Portal. The impact of past and future promotional events is also factored into the forecasting process. Now Smithfield’s planners can effectively manage inventory replenishment, and leverage inventory optimization to meet customer service levels with minimum inventory positions. With the ability to manage inventory by exception they can finally get a maximum return on inventory investment. Their sales people now have the ability to share the sales forecast and inventory plan with key accounts, increasing customer service, and strengthening customer relationships.

“With Atlas all our supply chain planning information – orders, inventory, promotions and history -- is available from any viewpoint required. It’s simply a pivot table away,” concluded Smithfield’s Edwards.

“Forecasting with Atlas has been a huge improvement. It generates a very reliable forecast and helps the planners allocate inventory.”

- Susan Edwards, Inventory Deployment and Forecasting Manager at Smithfield Foods