Located in Amsterdam, N.Y., Beech-Nut Nutrition Company is an iconic brand that dates back to 1891. It began to market baby food in 1931 and today the CPG manufacturer is an infant and toddler food household name.
In recent years, a lack of state-of-the-art tools and technology began to hold back the ever-growing enterprise. Inefficient sales planning, settlement, and trade spend management processes placed limits on its profit margin, an issue that grew as the company scaled. Beech-Nut Nutrition Company responded with a widespread search for an IT solution to address this problem. AFS Technologies (AFS) was selected for its industry-specific solution and expertise to partner with the CPG. Working with the baby food manufacturer at the business process level, AFS set out to maximize the CPG’s use of information in the key areas of forecasting, trade controls and results, deductions, and field sales.
In partnership with the CPG, AFS deployed its comprehensive Trade Promotion Management (TPM) software designed to improve financial results through its purpose-built functionality for annual objective/budget planning, account base volume and promotional planning, deduction and check settlements, and analytics.
With the easy-to-use solution installed, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company now accurately forecasts spends and shipments with confidence through access to dynamic, real-time data. On the front-end, the manufacturer effectively plans trade controls and results because the solution provides it with the highly-specific data required to identify gaps, quickly course-correct, and optimize trade promotion performance.
The AFS TPM solution also employs a meaningful field sales team accountability process. Now equipped with scorecard metrics, managers can evaluate the many individuals that comprise its large field sales teams effectively. And perhaps most importantly, the manufacturer now has a user-friendly means to process its increasingly high volume of deduction validations—and today potential profit leaks are minimal.
After the AFS TPM Retail deployment, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company grew sales by 10 percent while holding its trade budget flat. Furthermore, trade spending forecast accuracy has increased five percent, and nearly 300 accrual booking, auditing, and reporting man-hours have been eliminated.
“This investment has already provided tremendous value,” Tim Grimason, Sr. Manager, Trade Marketing and Customer Service, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company reports. “AFS put us back on a good foundation by enabling us to improve volume, revenue, and market share while reducing spend levels.”
With the AFS TPM Retail solution in place, the baby food and snack CPG manages sales plans and control trade spending effectively. Today, customer plans are built on real-time data and realistic baselines. Programs are effective, optimized, validated, and used to measure a field salesperson’s success.
“AFS TPM Retail enabled us to forecast our spend rate by customer, by segment, which has allowed finance to accrue at a level of accuracy we could not have hoped to achieve without the solution,” Grimason adds. “The Account Manager forecasts that roll up to a total field sales has become a major focus of our S&OP and production planning process. Deductions are tracked, assigned to promotions and managed above and beyond what was possible before.”
With its newfound ability to track promotions by customer, segment, or product, the food manufacturer pinpoints successful and unsustainable trade spends. Empowered with dynamic, precise, and integrated budgeting, planning, and deduction settlement data, today Beech-Nut Nutrition Company forecasts spends and shipments with confidence thanks to the industry expertise and solutions of AFS Technologies.
“The AFS TPM Retail system tracks all promotions and spends so that we can manage our trade budget appropriately,” Grimason concludes. “I have already and would continue to recommend the solution.”