Circle K

Circle K fuels a better forecast

Global convenience store chain drives an accurate global forecast with Connected Planning.

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Circle K operates a network of over 12,000 convenience stations around the world. Because they were managed using a conglomeration of spreadsheets and ERP solutions, demand and supply forecasting were misaligned and sometimes inaccurate. “People were doing forecasting in silos,” recalls Magnus Tagtstrom, Senior Director of Supply Chain Optimization. With Anaplan, Circle K now has greater collaboration and an accurate, aligned 18-month rolling forecast.

One of the clear benefits that I see is the forecast accuracy—this has helped us have the right stock level throughout all our sites.

Before Anaplan, Circle K managed its supply and demand planning in a disjointed combination of spreadsheets and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. This led to inaccurate forecasting, an unstructured approach to information gathering, and conflicting demand forecasts.

“One of my objectives has been to try to connect the dots in the supply chain,” recalls Magnus Tagtstrom, Senior Director of Supply Chain Optimization. “I think we had good solutions, but people were doing forecasting in silos, so I wanted to connect that planning process end to end.”

Tagtstrom and his team built a connected approach to demand and supply planning with Anaplan for Supply Chain. Implemented together with Anaplan partner Executit (now part of Anaplan Gold Partner Vuealta), the solution enables the team to accurately predict supply and demand down to the individual-station level across Europe. Using intuitive forecasting and scenario-based planning, the planning teams at Circle K now have a dynamic capacity forecast per product and station so they know exactly where and when to send fuel.

The key result is an accurate and dynamic 18-month rolling forecast of current and future stock levels for its European locations. Tagtstrom says, “One of the clear benefits that I see is the forecast accuracy—this has helped us have the right stock level throughout all our sites. That’s money that we have as a buffer in the supply chain now.”

With an accurate view of capacity needs, Circle K can save money by reducing inventory and using resources more efficiently. “We have full visibility of our current inventory levels, as well as forward-looking inventory levels,” Tagtstrom explains. “With Anaplan, we know how much we will sell and when we can distribute it to sites. This has resulted in driving down both distribution costs and working capital.”

Another benefit is increased sales, because an accurate forecast means Circle K has fewer stock-outs. “If there is ever a time when our store has no fuel, the customer might not shop with us the next time,” Tagtstrom explains. “So it’s very important to us to anticipate demand.” Circle K also realizes intangible benefits: confidence (because everyone is working from the same plan and data), less stress, more collaboration, and the ability to make better-informed decisions.

Circle K chose the Anaplan platform for its ability to get up and running quickly with an iterative development process. Other important factors were the platform’s scalability and intuitiveness, which led to high end-user acceptance. The road ahead includes broader usage, more data sources (such as weather data), machine learning integration, and partner views.