Atria Finland uses data integration to enhance retail collaboration
Part of the Atria Group, Atria Finland is a market leader in the meat industry while also holding a strong position in a range of product categories in the Nordic region. Their clients consist primarily of businesses in the grocery retail, food service, and food industry sectors.
Atria Finland has relied on RELEX to optimize their demand planning since 2013. Using RELEX, they were able to improve their forecasting for retail chains, considering impactful factors like assortment decisions and promotions. They also consolidated multiple planning tools into a single platform that could integrate short-term demand sensing and long-term planning, including budgeting.
In 2022, Atria expanded their use of the system to improve collaboration with their retail partners. Leveraging data integration, Atria can seamlessly receive demand data from retail partners like Minimani, a Finnish hypermarket chain offering grocery and convenience goods who also uses RELEX for forecasting and replenishment and workforce optimization.
Maintaining product freshness and ensuring adequate shelf life through proper inventory management are key challenges for companies like Atria that specialize in offering fresh, high-quality products.
Atria Finland was no stranger to these challenges. For a proactive solution, they implemented a pre-ordering system for their retail partners to assist with production planning around promotional campaigns. However, this method posed several challenges.
First, it involved considerable manual labor on Minimani’s side, taking up several hours each week. Moreover, despite preorders, there remained uncertainty around actual demand, prompting Atria to create a buffer to maintain product availability.
Atria began looking for a new solution that would eliminate the need for customer pre-orders and provide a higher level of visibility into the demand plans of their retail partners. They wanted to decrease the amount of manual work and risk involved in retailer promotions plans and other last-minute retailer changes, ensure high service levels, and avoid availability problems.
A conscientious player in the meat production industry, Atria Finland is keenly aware of the importance of minimizing spoilage and waste within their industry while extending the shelf life of their products. They actively sought innovative solutions to address these challenges and optimize their operations, aligning their business practices with environmental values.
Enhanced collaboration and optimized inventory planning through retail data integration
In 2022, Atria Finland introduced retail data integration to their demand forecasting solution, allowing them to automatically receive RELEX forecasts from their retail partners to identify and resolve potential supply issues proactively and quickly.
Through retail data integration, Atria receives forecast data from retail grocery customers like hypermarket chain Minimani, which also uses RELEX for forecasting and replenishment, making collaboration more accessible. This allows Atria and Minimani to discuss any discrepancies in the forecasted demand plans and make changes or improvements to plans when needed.
The exception-based dashboard allows them to modify, compare, and analyze the demand data they receive from retailers to optimize their production, especially around planned retailer promotions. This will enable Atria to delay production until closer to the start of a given campaign, ensuring the delivery of fresher products.
Collaboration and efficiency: Improving operations for enhanced customer experience
“With RELEX, the transparency we have into our retailers’ forecasts has genuinely put us on the pulse of the end-customer demand,” says Mikko Soini, Planning Manager at Atria Finland. “Seeing the changes in short-term demand – almost in real time – gives us more time to adjust and time our production accordingly.”
Integrating retail data between Atria and Minimani has optimized the food company’s operations, enabling them to maintain service levels without burdening the customer with pre-work. Retailers can now easily place orders, and Atria ensures seamless delivery.
Additionally, eliminating spreadsheets saves time and manual tasks, streamlining operations and improving overall efficiency. Removing the pre-order system has also optimized the ordering process.
This integration has significantly increased visibility and collaboration between the supplier and customer. As more retail forecast data is integrated, Atria aims to offer improved best-before dates and localized replenishment periods, with the goal of extending product shelf life and minimizing waste.
“This enhanced collaboration has not only eliminated the need for manual preorders but has also improved our promotion campaigns. Thanks to clear and efficient communication with Atria, we no longer miss any campaign opportunities,” says Jani Havisto, Commercial Director from Minimani. “Our improved collaboration guarantees that our customers can fully enjoy our enticing offers without any hiccups along the way.”
Moreover, integration provides increased visibility into promotional planning, making it easy to find valuable insights and make informed decisions. Through the solution, Atria identified unsuccessful promotion campaigns and used supply chain insight to rectify problems. As a result, Minimani saw a 3 percentage point increase in promotion availability of Atria products.
“We’ve seen encouraging results with our collaborative supply chain solution, and we intend to expand our use of RELEX further, scaling the benefits of data integration to new heights,” highlights Pekka Korpeinen, Atria Finland’s Director of Steering and Planning. “By providing a clear, exception-based framework, we can effectively prioritize and address key issues at the right time, leveraging comparable data sets that enhance decision-making and collaboration.”