Agile Supply Chain System Enables Rapid Growth for CPG Company

High Ridge Brands (HRB) began in 2010 with the acquisition of the Zest brand from another global consumer products company. Over the next seven years, it expanded to include a broad portfolio of trusted, iconic brands such as VO5, Rave, Coast, White Rain, Reach, and others.

The company immediately implemented a Microsoft Dynamics ERP system right out of the starting gate, but demand forecasting and inventory planning were initially performed manually with Excel spreadsheets. As the company grew in size and complexity, they were unable to keep up with their spreadsheets, so they purchased Agile Supply Chain System Enables Rapid Growth for CPG Company H the Smoothie? sales and operations planning platform from Demand Works in 2011.

High Ridge Brands’ executives were a seasoned team with deep CPG experience, and they were accustomed to world class planning systems. The team realized early on that they would need to move away from spreadsheets to get inventories and costs under control. They also knew that they would need to find a solution with a rare combination of flexibility, functionality and scalability to keep up with investors’ aggressive growth and acquisition plans.

“Smoothie gave us the flexibility we needed, and it was able to scale with us,” said Scott Kirk, HRB’s chief operating officer. “Each acquisition brought new challenges, including new distribution centers, contract manufacturing suppliers, and unique demand profiles, not to mention the obvious increases in the number of items and locations being planned. We couldn’t have done it nearly as well if we had less scalable or less agile systems.”

“We have consistently been able to integrate new brands in less than 6 months,” said Meg Hamilton, HRB’s director of operations. “Smoothie’s support for item supersessions and changing distribution patterns has been an important enabler, and the solution is intuitive enough to use so brand managers can plan directly within the system. Not only do we use it for our supply chain, but Smoothie has become the foundation for our sales forecasting and budgeting as well.”

Currently, the company plans hundreds of items across several distribution centers. Like many other leading high-velocity consumer goods manufacturers, HRB plans each key customer’s demand individually, leveraging important promotional and channel information that is gained through their national sales and marketing teams. Supply is also planned throughout a complex supply chain consisting of numerous raw material and contract manufacturing suppliers. “The biggest benefit in implementing Smoothie was a 15% reduction in inventories with simultaneous improvements in customer fill rates,” said Ms. Hamilton. “We also realized other benefits. For example, we operate with a relatively lean planning group, and we’re able to get answers to new and unanticipated questions quickly. Lastly, I think the likability of Smoothie is another plus. We recently acquired Dr. Fresh, the company that makes Reach toothbrushes and other similar products, and their team is actually looking forward to using Smoothie.”

Of course, much of the success at HRB is due to their innovative approach and strong management team. As Greg Putman, HRB’s demand manager put it, “Just because you put in a system doesn’t mean you’ll get results. You have to also have a strong process and the right metrics.”

About Demand Works

Originally founded in 1993 as Advanced Planning Systems, Demand Works provides demand and supply planning solutions that deliver large-scale improvements in forecast accuracy, coordination and asset utilization. Demand Works is exclusively focused on the areas of forecasting, demand and supply planning, and S&OP, and we support hundreds of companies throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and other parts of the world. The solutions are currently available in six languages, and customers include manufacturers and distributors of many well-recognized household brands as well as countless industrial and other manufactured goods.

About High Ridge Brands

High Ridge Brands, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, is focused on providing high-quality personal care products at compelling value. Today, High Ridge Brands has a portfolio of trusted, iconic brands serving skin cleansing, hair care, and oral care markets primarily across North America and Europe. Its brand portfolio includes Alberto VO5?, Binaca?, Coast?, Dr. Fresh?, Firefly?, LA Looks?, Rave?, REACH?, Salon Grafix?, Thicker Fuller Hair?, White Rain?, Zero Frizz?, Zest?, as well as several licenses such as Barbie, Hello Kitty, Spiderman, Star Wars and Transformers. With offices in Stamford, CT, Buena Park, CA, Slough, UK and Shenzhen, China, High Ridge Brands has a global presence. The company operates an asset-light business model, outsourcing most of its manufacturing needs, and currently has approximately 160 employees worldwide.