The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo conference brings thousands of supply chain executives together. Instead of enjoying world-famous theme parks, and nightlife in Orlando, Florida this year, attendees explored new ideas and technology investments that drive business growth and create more resilient supply chains.
Various speakers discussed important topics that are top of mind for every executive, such as supply chain resiliency, digitalization, and sustainability. However, when Angie Taylor, CSCP, Vice President of Sales Operations at PPC Flexible Packaging LLC (PPC), shared the stage, she reached the heart of every supply chain challenge.
“The S&OP process is only about 10% technology. Changing people and their behavior is, without question, the hardest part of the process,” Taylor said. “When the 10% is handled effectively, the remaining 90% – a combination of change management and process transformation – gradually falls into place and gets decision-makers on the same page. But without the right technology and tools, S&OP processes will likely fail.”
Taylor makes a valid point that all supply chain leaders need to hear. Supply chain organizations often fall into the trap of criticizing past performance and acting to that assessment. But to be truly effective, they must focus on resolving ongoing issues and bringing departments together to make decisions aligned with accurate sales forecasts and meaningful service-level goals.
And the results speak for themselves. PPC’s proudly provides exceptional services to its customers and meets expectations for on-time, in-full deliveries. The company is now operating with a 14.8% higher fill rate and a 38% increase in forecast accuracy.
Embarking on an S&OP Journey of Customer Collaboration and Business Growth
Getting stuck in a cycle of reacting to the past while ignoring emerging risks and opportunities can happen to any business, including PPC. The make-to-order flexible packaging business has built a 45-year legacy of designing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative, food-grade packaging for companies like Costco Wholesale, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, The J.M. Smucker Company, Kellogg’s, and Mars Petcare.
“Ensuring that every customer wins is a core value of PPC. And my job is focused on rallying our workforce and leading that philosophy,” Taylor shared. “We consistently preach that we should commit to reality-based promises for our customers. No one wants to get a commitment on a delivery date or product performance, only to not receive it at the end of the day. So, we must stand behind what we say and commit to it.”
From film technology and graphics to materials and construction, consumer goods brands worldwide regard PPC as a high-stakes partner. Some packaging innovation projects can take upwards of a year to create a shelf presence that acts as a silent salesperson while complying with food-grade regulations. More importantly, everything PPC does has to be top-notch to deliver that value to customers while keeping food in that packaging safe.
“At PPC, collaboration is the name of the game – and this includes our internal organizations like operations or finance – as well as our customers,” Taylor further explains. “We need the best data to understand how our customers want to plan their business, make the best calls on future planning, and determine the packaging attributes and compliance legalities involved in satisfying them.”
From Taylor’s perspective, unraveling the complexities of the flexible packaging business required not only the right technology, but the right partner. For PPC, that realization led to the selection of Logility sales and operations planning (S&OP) solutions that directly address its needs.
Leveraging a Supply Chain Digital Twin
With Logility S&OP solutions, companies can continuously improve and evolve their S&OP processes. For example, PPC’s operations team accesses valuable information that paints a picture of future needs and how to optimally utilize labor resources and capital expenditures to support customers at the highest level.
This view – called a digital twin – acts as a virtual mirror of physical supply chain operations so the business can run multiple what-if scenarios before they begin making any changes. The digital twin covers critical S&OP areas, including demand planning, replenishment planning, supply planning, and advanced production scheduling.
“We’re now able to generate real-time insights for our customers,” Taylor recalls. “I think that’s been one of the best things about the Logility solutions: enabling the success of others and helping us plan our business for long-term growth.”
“PPC’s S&OP transformation journey has been made possible by the support of our partnership with Logility,” Taylor concludes. “We now have the toolset, processes, and information we need to fulfill the needs of our internal teams and external customers while boosting our maturity with Logility’s industry experts. And at the end of every day, I know Logility is continuously invested in the success of our projects.”