Nature’s Pride Case: Supply Chain Management

“With the newly given insight of the incoming quantities versus actual demand, combined with the quality of the product, we can ensure that the right product will be sent to our customers at the right time, so the end consumers can enjoy our fresh Ready-to-Eat products year round.”

Stefan Perdijk – Supply Chain Project Manager @ Nature’s Pride

CHALLENGE

The planning of the ripening process is a complex process of matching supply and demand in time, especially with regards to the desired quality and limited shelf life of fresh products. We had to obtain knowledge from experienced buyers, planners and ripening masters and turn this information into a standardized business process.

SOLUTION

From a basic proof of concept, the application was iteratively extended along the way. With each sprint, new insights were added to the backlog. This resulted in a complete planning process for the ripening of fruits, taking into account the various variables that come with this process.

RESULT

An application that allows the planner to steer the ripening process based on incoming quantities, sales demand and the actual inventory. The main advantage is that he or she is able to identify problems in time and respond much faster than previously.

Description

One of Nature’s Pride’s key products is Ready-to-Eat fruit. The fruit arrives at the warehouse in an "unripe" status and in special ripening rooms the fruit is ripened in a couple of days to Ready-to-Eat fruit. To avoid waste of product, it is necessary to match this process with sales demand. This data is required for planning ships and trucks, which is the basis for fruit to be scheduled into the ripening process or into stock. One of the requirements was that the demand dealt with the stock in the right way, maximizing the remaining shelflife of the product and thus ensuring good quality for the end consumer.

In order to stay flexible, another challenge was enabling the possibility to intervene in the planning process, by being able to change varieties, pre-producing on certain days of the week and changing sizes to balance supply and demand.

Solution

The project team collected information about the current processes from buyers, planners, ripening masters and sales and created a flow that linked these processes together. The information had to be gathered from various locations. The planning process now starts with the correct incoming forecasts and sales demands. Combined with the actual stock and the parameters for the ripening processes, Nature’s Pride is able to create a planning on the sales side, as well as the incoming side, on a daily basis up to 3 weeks in advance and on a weekly basis up to 13 weeks ahead.

Benefits

With the newly given insight into the incoming quantities, actual demand and predictive ripening process implemented into our suite of business critical application, combined with the undisputed quality of the underlying product, Nature's Pride is able to ensure that the right product will be sent to customers at the right time, with minimum operational (and product) waste.

About Nature’s Pride

In 2005, Nature’s Pride was the first company in Europe to market Ready-to-Eat mangos and avocados. Currently, the company supplies over 500 unique fruit and vegetables from more than 70 countries, from Ready-to-Eat and exotic fruit and vegetables to the delicious berries and off season products.

Together with their partners, the company tries to make a difference every day. The quality of their products is a result of many factors: From the passion of the grower, to dedicated employees and unique expertise in the ripening of fruit to an appealing presentation on the company’s customer shelves.

This is how Nature’s Pride makes sure it supplies optimum quality fruit and vegetables for consumers to enjoy every day, always having in mind its core values of sustainability and fair trading.