Turning down more than $1 million a year in new orders is not something any company wants to do. Yet that’s what Lodge Cast Iron did as it struggled to accurately meet production demands. The 120-year-old Tennessee company, which manufactures more than 350 different SKUs of cast-iron cookware, addressed this challenge on two fronts: It opened a brand-new foundry in late 2017, increasing manufacturing capacity by 75 percent. And it transformed its demand, production, and purchasing processes and implemented a monthly S&OP process using the Anaplan platform.
With Anaplan, Lodge’s demand and production planners can run scenarios and almost instantly tell what the foundries have the capacity to produce, and how changes in plans affect other items in production. Lodge has longer manufacturing runs with fewer changeovers now, resulting in greater efficiency and less production downtime. They’ve also decreased how long it takes to fulfill orders. “Improvements in uptime and efficiency, along with better inventory planning, mean we’ll realize 100 percent ROI from Anaplan in less than a year,” says Sam Touchstone, SVP Finance/CIO.
The new Anaplan Supply Chain solution, implemented with the help of Anaplan Gold Partner Akili, has reduced the chance for human error and ensured that forecasts can be updated easily, accurately, and frequently. Visibility into the forecast has been vastly improved, meaning that demand planning and production planning are aligned, costs are reduced, and efficiency is greater. “Since we implemented Anaplan, we have had very few ‘out-of-stock’ items—and when inventory is tight, we are better able to prioritize by customer and item,” explains Demand Planner Amy Rogers.
Anaplan’s benefits reach beyond the production numbers to improve the lives of the people who live and breathe the planning cycle. Lodge’s production and demand planners have experienced significant time savings. For Rogers, entering projections from sales reps is no longer a manual process, so data that was formerly updated every three to four months is now updated monthly.
This has transformed the way the planners work. “We used to complete loading studies—where we calculate capacity for the remainder of the year to determine if we’ll need to run extra shifts—once a month,” explains Manufacturing Planner Jason Kintner. “Now we have weekly loading studies because the data is readily available.” As a result, Lodge has been able to reduce overtime by five days a year.
By connecting inventory and purchasing models in Anaplan, Lodge is also empowering purchasing agents—who are responsible for acquiring some 9,400 different packaging items—to order boxes, cartons, and other products based on suggestions calculated in Anaplan. The company is also looking to implement an Anaplan module that will help integrate the demand plan with the FP&A process. For Lodge, Connected Planning means time savings, cost savings, and better efficiency, and the potential is just beginning to take shape.