Fresh, accurate workforce planning blossoms at The Greenery

Accurate schedules and staffing forecasts deliver healthy savings and efficiency for fresh-produce warehouses

With warehouses operating around the clock, fresh produce company The Greenery must constantly adjust its staffing levels for maximum efficiency. Moving workforce plans to Anaplan enabled managers to schedule their people with unprecedented precision. This improved order fulfilment and ultimately saved money. It also established a foundation for data-driven decision-making across the company.

With Anaplan, we see information in real time and can deploy exactly enough manpower for a given moment.

Erwin in ‘t Veld, Supply Chain Manager

“Our facilities operate 24/7—storing, packaging, and shipping fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms,” says Erwin in ‘t Veld, supply chain manager at The Greenery, a fresh produce supplier based in The Netherlands. “We work with products that can suddenly be in great demand, and that can deteriorate in quality very quickly, so speed and flexibility are key in our business.”

To keep operations moving smoothly, staffing requirements for The Greenery’s warehouse in Barendrecht change daily, or even hourly. This sort of detailed workforce planning was difficult with spreadsheets because data volumes were too great and operations depended on the person who built and ran the spreadsheet. Inaccurate staffing plans meant unnecessary overtime or sending unneeded workers home, which increased costs.

The team at The Greenery discovered Anaplan and asked Finext to create a workforce planning proof of concept (PoC). That successful PoC was subsequently moved into production use. The Anaplan solution uses data from The Greenery’s SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and other sources to create two different schedules: a staff schedule for each day, which also drives staffing for the following day; and a forecast that predicts the staffing needs for the coming week.

Managers now build work schedules directly in Anaplan, which has proven faster and easier to update than the previous solution. “This saves a lot of time up front,” In ‘t Veld says, “and because schedules drive other calculations, Anaplan has become the way to go when it comes to data analysis concerning the Barendrecht warehouse.”

Solution creation with Finext was a collaborative effort. “We used a co-build or coaching model, where people from The Greenery did much of the work themselves,” says Willem van Os of Finext. “That way, they are now able to maintain the Anaplan solution independently.”

The primary benefit of the solution has been more-precise staffing plans. “With Anaplan, we see information in real time and can deploy exactly enough manpower for a given moment,” In ‘t Veld says. This saves on workforce costs and improves order fulfillment.

In addition, decision-making at The Greenery has become more agile, which is vital given its perishable product. “We are data-driven without being stuck in systems,” In ‘t Veld explains. “The agility of Anaplan, and the potential to build additional models ourselves, are great advantages.” The new solution provides a solid foundation for digitization and transformation; The Greenery looks to deploy more than a dozen additional connected supply chain and finance use cases on the Anaplan platform.

“I had high expectations in advance of the implementation,” In ‘t Veld concludes. “We are well on our way with Anaplan, and our expectations have been fulfilled.”