“Intuiflow has helped us adapt to the changing environment. It enables us to be very proactive.”
Food has enormous power to build relationships and bring people together. But what happens when a global pandemic transforms institutional dining and makes the simplest ingredients impossible to find?
Food service distributor National Food Group (NFG) was struggling to adapt to the fast-changing pandemic landscape. Demand was up, but production capacity had dwindled thanks to staffing shortages. Delivery delays and material shortages compounded the challenge.
The company’s replenishment process was cumbersome and inefficient, forcing the inventory team to copy NetSuite data into Excel files, then reconcile them with sales forecasts for each individual product line. Executives had little visibility into changes in demand. NFG inventory manager Monica Peterson, inventory analyst Elli Harris, and inventory strategy lead Kyle Keeney began searching for a more streamlined and effective solution.
A webinar about Intuiflow for NetSuite (formerly Replenishment+ NS) — a NetSuite native solution that uses real-time sales order data to automate the calculations that NFG’s team had been doing by hand and help companies pace materials to changing market demand — supplied a catalyst for action.
According to Keeney, Intuiflow stood out for its convenience and simplicity. Not only did the software integrate seamlessly with NetSuite, but it also mirrored the team’s own approach to evaluating things like the Average Daily Usage of an item.
“The logic is very intuitive,” asserted Keeney. “It’s fast, and it enables us to incorporate more data into each calculation. And we don’t even have to worry about breaking the Excel formula.”
Implementation kicked off in the spring of 2021. Within five months, Intuiflow was live in more than 10 of the company’s distribution centers — and had driven a 7% increase in service levels. The value of on-hand inventory decreased by 23% over the same time period. Inventory turnover, meanwhile, increased by 62%, and internal analyses show even further room for improvement.
Productivity improved, as well. Intuiflow has streamlined the planning team’s workflow — and enhanced organization-wide alignment — by making all relevant data accessible in one place. It’s also helped the team react more quickly to changes in demand. In fact, the time they must devote to planning one of their primary product lines has dropped from eight to six hours per month.
How to spend those extra hours? “We can model new scenarios and see if it’s worth increasing safety stock,” explained Keeney. “We can proactively address changing lead times.” They can also adapt each product line according to how it’s impacted by market changes. Keeney commented: “Excel calculators are limited. Before, we would have to make more overarching adjustments. Now, we can customize buffer settings for each individual item.”
Now more than ever, the ability to ensure a consistent supply provides a major competitive advantage. “Intuiflow has helped us adapt to the changing environment,” said Keeney. “It enables us to be very proactive.”