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Improving agility and collaboration through Connected Planning at Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals

Leading Indian fertilizer and chemical manufacturer improves planning efficiency and effectiveness while identifying improvement opportunities across demand forecasting, production planning, distribution planning, and margin management

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Changing customer preferences, volatility in raw material prices and availability, and a dynamic competitive landscape all affect the fertilizer and chemical business. To improve customer service while meeting margin targets, Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals deployed a collaborative financial and supply chain planning solution on Anaplan. The company has seamlessly integrated all its planning processes on a single platform, enabling it to perform scenario analysis and granular deviation monitoring, as well as adjusting to changing external and internal conditions of demand, supply, and pricing.

We are much better positioned to fine-tune our strategic decision-making and adapt to market changes with Anaplan.

Arun Bhanumurthy, Executive Vice President, Sales and Operations Planning

Farmers and agricultural businesses across India depend on high-quality fertilizers from Deepak Fertilisers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd. (DFPCL) to grow nutritious, abundant crops. Because it is a seasonal business, DFPCL must ensure the supply of the right product mix at the right time for its customers. As Executive Vice President of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) for DFPCL, Arun Bhanumurthy must anticipate and respond to those customer needs.

“In recent years, the fertilizer and chemicals industry has experienced unprecedented disruption from both customer and regulatory standpoints,” Bhanumurthy says. “Also, we are feeling the impact of soaring prices for the raw materials we use to manufacture our products. To continue delivering excellent service and value to our customers, it’s essential that we accurately anticipate potential supply challenges and adapt our business plans as quickly as possible.”

For many years, DFPCL conducted Sales and Operations (S&OP) and Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) using spreadsheets. Although this approach kept operations running smoothly, it restricted agility and provided limited visibility into business performance. Key operational data was siloed across three different business units, which lengthened planning processes. Scenario planning sometimes took up to a day to complete.

Taking a Connected Planning approach

To address these challenges across its three businesses – industrial chemicals, technical ammonium nitrate, and crop nutrition products – the company chose Anaplan. “We compared Anaplan solutions with a range of planning tools, including applications specifically developed for the Indian market,” says Bhanumurthy. “We were truly impressed with the rich functionality, the intuitive dashboard features, and extensive customizability of the Anaplan solutions. It was clear that Anaplan could meet all our planning needs and handle the intricacies of each of our three businesses.”

DFPCL worked closely with Anaplan partner Deloitte to tailor the platform to meet its S&OP and FP&A needs, including the unique planning requirements of the chemicals and fertilizer industry and the Indian market.

“Deloitte went the extra mile and helped us to design and deploy truly Connected Planning processes to ensure we gained maximum value from our Anaplan solutions,” says Pradip Patil, Supply Chain Professional at DFPCL. “We’ve now rolled out Anaplan to support rough-cut capacity planning, inventory planning, and production planning and scheduling, as well as dispatch and raw materials planning.”

Through its rough-cut capacity planning process, DFPCL can calculate the maximum potential output of its active plants. The company integrates this information with demand-linked constraints to achieve a clear picture of its manufacturing capacity in real time and adjust manufacturing to ensure that it can deliver needed products to customers on time, every time.

To further enhance production efficiency, DFPCL also deployed Anaplan Optimizer in its production planning and scheduling processes. “Anaplan Optimizer makes it so much easier for us to make decisions—especially where multiple businesses and SKUs are competing for the same raw material,” says Patil. “For instance, we’ve set up the solution to model multiple production scenarios and their impact on contribution, raw materials and finished goods inventory projections, and demand fulfilment.”

Faster, more efficient planning

With truly integrated planning processes on Anaplan, DFPCL can finalize sales and profitability forecasts and reports rapidly, contributing to faster, better-informed decision-making. The company is also able to perform a granular variance analysis against the plan and identify key deviations.

All of these improvements support management’s goal of agile, effective decision-making that benefits the entire company. “With Anaplan, we are now able to orchestrate our key leadership meetings through the system,” says Patil. “Ultimately, that means that we can collectively focus on the upcoming demand and supply challenges and jointly agree on key actions for the upcoming weeks, all while keeping in mind the financial impacts.”

Bhanumurthy adds that Anaplan brought additional structure to DFPCL’s planning activities by pulling together sales, operational, and financial data from across the organization, strengthening company-wide data governance, and enabling seamless report creation. Company leaders can see how each business unit is performing in much greater detail, which has unlocked new opportunities to enhance and improve operations.

“Thanks to the efficiency savings we have achieved with Anaplan solutions, we can now spend more time analyzing our plans to find the root causes of any unexpected or unwanted deviations,” says Bhanumurthy. “As a consequence, we are much better positioned to fine-tune our strategic decision-making and adapt to market changes with Anaplan, which ultimately helps us to support farmers and agricultural businesses.”