Continental Candy Industries initially adopted the Slim4 platform to enhance its forecasting capabilities. To streamline its production and purchasing process, the confectionery specialist now relies on Slimstock’s award-winning supply chain planning platform to underpin its end-to-end operation.
“We have unified our approach to supply chain planning, providing sales, production planners and buyers with access to robust data insights,” states Sipke Boschma, Supply Chain Manager at Continental Candy Industries (CCI). By creating efficiencies throughout the chain, the business can ensure better production capacity utilisation and reduce the risk of waste.
“Slim4 is now our central data source on which every department bases its decisions. This prevents misalignments as everyone knows where they stand but also creates opportunities to unlock efficiency improvements.”
Sipke Boschma | Supply Chain Manager | Continental Candy Industries
Many people will have tasted Continental Candy Industries’ confectionery, but few know the company behind it. Continental Candy Industries (CCI) exclusively manufactures liquorice, wine gums, and other candies as private-label products commissioned by major supermarket chains.
With its head office and four production sites based across the Netherlands and Germany, the business has a well-established presence in the region along with growing demand in the UK. Boschma adds: “In total, we make more than 500 finished products that we supply to our customers from stock.”
CCI has utilised Slimstock’s platform to create robust demand forecasts for several years. As a crucial part of a business’s operations, these demand insights form the basis of production planning.
Boschma explains: “Slim4 autonomously creates demand forecasts. However, we also receive input from our customers. The latter is validated by our sales department, adjusted where necessary, and utilised to enrich our statistical forecasts. What sets Slim4 apart is its ability to continuously validate the accuracy of the forecast against the evolving demand landscape. If a deviation is detected, the system alerts our team, and we take proactive steps to ensure the planned production orders are still sufficient to meet future demand.”
Until recently, CCI relied on spreadsheets for production planning and procuring raw and packaging materials. Planners would export the stock levels from the ERP and then match them in Excel with the forecasts generated by Slim4.
Based on this analysis, production and purchase orders were finally integrated back into the ERP system. Boschma: “This was a cumbersome process that lacked flexibility. For example, as sales of private-label products in supermarkets rose sharply last year, we were pushed to the limits of our capacity. Consequently, we had to make difficult decisions about which items to produce and which not.”
To make the best use of the available production capacity and keep the right items in stock, CCI adopted Slim4 to control production and purchasing.
Central data source
Following the successful implementation project, Boschma highlights that results quickly became evident: “We now plan in a unified way. Slim4 is now our central data source on which every department bases its decisions. This prevents misalignments as everyone knows where they stand but also creates opportunities to unlock efficiency improvements.”
“For example, the purchasing team now have the insight required to order raw and packaging materials earlier and therefore close better procurement deals. The fact that Slim4 calculates optimal production runs and automatically transfers them to the ERP takes a huge amount of work off the shoulders of production planners,” adds the Supply Chain Manager.
Service levels up 5%
With Slim4 deployed across the end-to-end supply chain, availability has improved. “At the factory in Hoorn, where we make English liquorice among other things, service levels have already gone up by 5%. This is not solely attributable to Slim4, but Slimstock’s platform has definitely contributed to this.”
Sipke goes on to add: “The feedback from our planners is clear: Slim4’s automated purchasing and production is very reliable. They are also very excited that the sales team can now engage in the process and share insight into which products are being phased in or out. In the past, the purchasing team occasionally ordered too much packaging as they simply did not know that a customer had decided to replace a particular product. By utilising Slim4 to enhance collaboration, we can prevent waste.”
Boschma explains how the training provided by Slimstock’s experts helped ensure the fast adoption of Slim4: “Slimstock’s consultants provided on-the-job training, ensuring that the planning team understood the entire supply chain process. Furthermore, Slimstock worked with us to translate forecasts into effective procurement and production actions, ensuring seamless alignment between our sales and supply chain team.”