Lion Australia toasts the success of improved trade promotions

Greater accuracy and new trade promotions capabilities save time and money while strengthening customer relationships

We’re leveraging Anaplan to do ‘what-if’ analysis and scenario planning to help us fine-tune our drivers to make it more sustainable growth across our product line.
— Swaroop Khekale, Planning and Insights Leader, Lion Pty


reduction in claim-processing errors in the first year delivered rapid time to value


value from improvements to promotional processes and activities benefits the bottom line

5,000 hours

per year saved through improved data access frees up time for more important work

Lion Australia, a leading beverage company with a growing portfolio of products, built and refined a powerful trade promotions management (TPM) solution on Anaplan. The TPM solution reduced claim-processing errors, delivered substantial financial value, and saves thousands of work-hours annually. More importantly, better trade promotions have bolstered relationships with valuable retailers and helped to introduce the public to new products and brands in Lion’s portfolio.

With a history dating back to the mid-1800s, Lion Australia is a leading provider of beers, spirits, and other beverages in Australia, New Zealand, and beyond. Strong customer relationships drive success in the beverage industry, so Lion invests millions annually on trade promotions through which retailers earn discounts and bonuses for promoting Lion products.

Each Lion customer is offered a unique, constantly changing portfolio of promotions, and each promotion is expected to deliver value, so trade promotions management (TPM) at Lion is a complex task. In 2016 it became clear that spreadsheets weren’t able to handle the complexity; Lion needed a more robust, scalable TPM solution. Anaplan was deployed as an interim fix, but when the permanent solution Lion had chosen proved more expensive and less flexible than promised — and TPM claim-processing errors immediately dropped by 1.5% with Anaplan — the company endorsed Anaplan as its strategic TPM solution.

Continuous improvement

In the years since, Lion has continuously improved its TPM solutions in Anaplan. Discount management processes and an approval workflow were added, and forecasting accuracy and execution visibility were improved. By 2022 these improvements, along with a growing product portfolio, led Lion leaders to embark on a ground-up rebuild of the TPM solutions and establishment of an Anaplan Center of Excellence (CoE) with full responsibility for managing the program.  

“We wanted to further streamline the way senior staff obtains TPM activity reports,” explains Swaroop Khekale, Planning and Insights Leader at Lion. “This was important to ensure that promotions were effective and delivered consistent value to us and our customers. The new TPM solution the CoE created is very intuitive to use, so staff are more comfortable with querying it.”

Everyone wins with better trade promotions

Lion’s TPM team estimates that the company has seen substantial financial benefits thanks to improvements in several areas:

  • Time savings: Teams save about 5,000 hours per year because daily interaction with the TPM solution is faster and easier. “The improved self-service capabilities we now have allow our marketing teams to gain better insights into how campaigns are performing and delivering value,” Khekale says. “This, in turn, results in improved sales and profits for our retailers.”
  • Better promo campaigns: The insights delivered by the TPM solution enable Lion’s marketing teams to build better promotional campaigns. Data streams are richer and easier to analyze; for example, when promotions are tied to events, scan data can now be incorporated for post-event tracking. Campaign pricing can be revised easily to factor in tax implications, and greater forecast accuracy helps to reduce inventory of promotional items.  
  • Process improvements: The TPM solution’s greater accuracy has resulted in fewer invoice disputes and investigations, improved the team’s ability to manage claims from third-party wholesalers, and reduced exposure from claims-matching and backlogs. Lion teams can easily modify promo programs mid-year, and can report on program performance weekly.

Overall improvements in trade promotions have also positively impacted Lion Australia’s customer base. Sharply focused campaigns have delivered measurable uplift in sales volumes, issues related to competing promotions with multiple wholesalers have been mitigated, and more customers are trying new brands in Lion’s product portfolio. “This gives consumers more drink options, and also boosts retailer revenues and our own financial performance,” Khekale says. “Everyone wins.”

And more improvements are in store: “We’re leveraging Anaplan to do ‘what-if’ analysis and scenario planning to help us fine-tune our drivers to make it more sustainable growth across our product line,” Khekale says. “The Anaplan platform enhances the way we plan and manage our promotional campaigns, and adds value to our operations and those of our growing customer base.”

Swaroop Khekale, Planning and Insights Leader, Lion Pty: We are an adult beverages company. So those who love beer will love Lion.

Market in general has been declining for our beer business. So we are trying to kind of grow our segmentation wider across the product line.

We're leveraging Anaplan to do "what-if" analysis and scenario planning to help us fine-tune our drivers to make it more sustainable growth across our product line.

Every part of our business requires absolute critical driver-based bottom-up to top down planning, and we need Connected Planning processes and a Connected Planning ecosystem.

We found out that already there was a bit of a pattern to our promo cycle. By implementing a quick validation rules in Anaplan, we were able to see what was humanly probably not clearly showing us, and that we could save, on our revenue leakage, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All the processes and our functions needs to talk to each other. And that's where we are leveraging Anaplan: To bring in the data that's already built for various use cases and connect that together to achieve the outcome that a model builder has done in a spreadsheet can replicate that easily with Anaplan. It's kind of acting as a perfect remedy for spreadsheets.

I'm Swaroop Khekale, Planning and Insights Leader at Lion. And we plan with Anaplan.

Lion Australia Customer Story illustrative image 1
Lion Australia Customer Story illustrative image 2