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Digitalisation Improves the Experience for Business and Consumer
Marco Albino, Director Supply Chain, Granarolo Group
Granarolo Group foundation was founded in 1957, as a branch company of the cooperative that would become Granlatte later, the largest reality of milk producers in Italy.
Today the group counts beyond 2,500 employees and 20 factories (of which 12 are in Italy) and processes 850 million litres of milk per year.
It is an Italian supply chain, born from the passion of farmers and breeders, based on an integrated production system, where the entire process is controlled and managed in close collaboration.
The group follows all stages of the process: from processing of the raw material, to the distribution of the finished product at the points of sale, in order to ensure the highest quality, food safety and the constant search for sustainability. Sustainability translates into animal welfare, reduced use of pharmaceuticals drugs, less water, fewer emissions, less plastic, more transparency about the origin and more job protection.
“We have started several projects in digitalisation”, Marco Albino says, supply chain director of Granarolo Group, “in particular, the most important target: the optimisation and integration of planning activities, which is not trivial considering the high number of production sites. We should be reminded that the most frequently asked question by customers is always related to stock availability. Available-to-promise is the main concept that we would like to develop with this project.”
New technologies help the agri-food group Granarolo to achieve goals of sustainability, but also to integrate communications along the supply chain and improve the logistics
Among the main objectives of the digitalisation projects, we can find the improvement of shipping processes to markets abroad (which in the food sector are complicated by the arrangement of documents submitted to different authorities following rigorous rules) and the integration of ERP in order to facilitate the subsequent stages of order processing; Granarolo serves different channels such as wholesalers, retailer and other B2B customers.
The demand planning and customer service departments, for Italy and export, can count on a team of about ten people”, explains Albino, “then obviously there are the additional organisations: distribution centres (five active platforms) and transportation, equating to a few hundred people. All of this is managed through a specific company, now part of Granarolo Group: Zero4 Logistica. This company fell again mid last year within the perimeter of Granarolo after being outsourced years ago".
It is particularly important to develop a section of this infrastructure, namely the Distribution Requirement Planning (DRP). The integrated system sends to the different factories the production orders and lets the correct stock level be calculated by the Distribution Centre. Stock availability is translated into a specific level of stock or coverage, in order to satisfy a pre-defined sales forecast.
From the strategic perspective, targeting the optimised customer experience, both on B2B and B2C channels, Granarolo step in the e-commerce channel relying on the integration of web portals, connected within the group's ERP: MyZero4.it, MyGranarolo.it and Spacciogranarolo.it.
Myzero4 and MyGranarolo are fully dedicated B2B web portals, that can be an easier alternative to EDI orders. Both can be used by GDO and normal trade customers. MyZero4 has more specific features, precisely designed for a range of customers: hotels, wholesalers, drugstores, ice cream stores, pastry shops, restaurants and pizzerias.
“The main topic of the sustainability”, Albino points out, “was also considered in the web portals’ design. In Spacciogranarolo, for example, there is a section dedicated to the purchase of products with a reduced shelf life (not expired products!), in order to minimise waste and offer an opportunity of savings to the customer. A lot of attention has been also given to the web navigation and user experience. Spacciogranarolo users can surf following consumption occasions: dinner, snacks, breakfast, vegan menus, party food, and so on, on top of choosing product by category".
Granarolo's goal is to be ever closer to customers and, at the same time, always be a step ahead of the competition. For this, the use of the cloud and integration with web portals featuring the SAP environment play a fundamental role. “We are looking for the best technologies that allow an integrated planning of the production cycle,” Albino concludes, “from Demand Planning all the way to manufacturing, and they all should be integrated with the ERP".
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