Wilco van Ittersum

Continuous Improvement Manager | Vivera

"Slim4 is perfectly designed to support flexible planning"

As a producer of meat alternatives, Vivera operates in a fast-growing, highly dynamic market. Vegetarian food is becoming increasing popular and Vivera is at the forefront when it comes to product innovation.

Wilco van Ittersum, Continuous Improvement Manager at Vivera explains: “The demand for a new product is difficult for us to predict. It is highly dependent on promotions as well how the market reacts to a new product. For example, when we introduced a vegetarian steak, we suddenly received a lot of media attention. As a result, the initial demand was ten times higher than we what had previously forecasted.”

“With Slim4, we have more insight into our future raw materials requirements.”

Continuous Improvement Manager | Vivera

Forecast driven production

From its production facilities in the Netherlands, Vivera produces, packages and exports 450 different products to over 25 countries. “Retail businesses demands short delivery times of just 1 to 2 days. Therefore, we must be able to deliver from stock. To control our production and packaging lines as well as our planning requirements for raw materials, we have to base our decisions on a robust forecast. And for many years, we have depended on Slim4 for this.”

Due to the enormous growth that Vivera is experiencing, ensuing the optimal production plan every day has become increasingly difficult. Planners make a schedule, but have to continuously adjust it as new orders trickle in.

“Almost every day, we have to schedule extra production runs,” says Van Ittersum. “Even with the best possible forecast, the reality always differs from this. It is the job of the planners to respond to this in the right way and to ensure that we deliver in line with the customer demands.”

Optimised order generation with Slim4

In order to cope with the increasingly acute planning problem, the Continuous Improvement Manager believed there were two possible solutions: hire more planners or help the existing planners to become more effective.

Vivera chose the latter. In consultation with Slimstock, the businesses decided to roll out Slim4’s Order Generator module in addition to the its forecasting functionality. As a result, Slim4 now helps the team to plan production orders.

Van Ittersum adds: “Slim4 is perfectly designed to support flexible planning. The system can determine which production orders should be moved forward or back.”

Redefining the planning team’s role

Although Slim4 is yet been rolled out across all processes, the initial benefits are already noticeable.

Instead of moving production orders at a detailed level, planners can now deal with parameter settings such as the desired service levels and the minimum batch sizes. Based on the requested delivery times, available stocks and best before dates of items, Slim4 now automatically calculates what needs to be produced.

“We have gained more insight into the future requirements for raw materials as well as the inter-dependencies between semi-finished products and finished products. This makes the impact of a change more visible and allows us to respond proactively. Furthermore, we are in a better position to minimise stock shortages and waste.”