Molson is Canada's pre-eminent brewer with more than $2 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1786, Molson Canada is North America's oldest beer brand and a global brand name with products that include Molson Canadian, Molson Export, Molson Dry, Rickard's Red and the Brazilian beer brand Bavaria.
The Situation at Molson Canada
With this as background, Wolf was placed in charge of a team of forecasters from across the country with a mandate to find a 3 to 5 year solution that would meet the needs of Molson. Working with forecasters from Quebec, Ontario and the West, Wolf and his team prepared a 50-page Request for Proposal document outlining precisely what was required in their forecasting system. This document was sent out to solicit quotations from approximately 30 firms around the world including France, the U.S., Canada and England.
Molson's Elaborate and Complex Forecasting Needs
In addition to the approximately 1000 item locations that are forecast on a weekly basis, the marketing and sales departments often run promotions that must be forecast independently from the 'normal' brand pack forecast. Forecasts must be turned off and on at the appropriate time to ensure a constant flow to the market while at the same time meeting overall consumer demand. "Many of these processes are also quite unique to Molson, so a cookie-cutter forecasting solution could not serve our purposes."
A Uniquely Flexible Forecasting System
The TimeTrends Forecast Warehouse is the main component in ALT−C's TimeTrends Forecasting System which also includes an optional TimeTrends e-Forecasting module as well as an optional Promotions module. Featuring an industry-standard, intuitive GUI, coupled with a high degree of flexibility, TimeTrends enables Wolf and his team to choose the level of control and management of statistical methods and parameters they are most comfortable with-from complete automation to full manual control for the more experienced Molson forecaster. In addition, an unlimited number of hierarchies, each with unlimited levels, enable Wolf to view the data from his preferred perspective, in the units of measure of his choice.
TimeTrends also features a powerful built-in querying capability that enables forecast 'management by exception.' This helps Wolf focus on the forecast items that require immediate attention. If required, TimeTrends is also extendible into areas such as Safety Stock, DRP, Collaborative forecasting and S&OP.
"TimeTrends is quite unique in a number of areas including the way it chooses the data, forecasts the data and keeps it all straight. Each of our products may have a different start point and stop point. TimeTrends keeps track of it all electronically with a very good database of information. This extends not only to the volumes contained in the database, but also where those volumes start and stop, and how to maneuver them to work together," explains Wolf. "For instance, this 'intelligent' and precise system looks at things and builds hierarchies automatically. Its hierarchical approach however is totally untied to the values in the hierarchy. This concept is quite novel and very different from what we were used to. Plus, TimeTrends takes everything into consideration. If we have a product that only sells 18 weeks a year, it'll figure that out automatically and forecast the same 18 weeks in time for every year that we ask it to."
"The other thing is that TimeTrends is a very precise tool when reviewing historical data," Wolf adds. "We had an electronic database that went back 20 years. TimeTrends was able to signal all of the holes in our data which had accumulated over the years and help us correct any mismatches. The TimeTrends database design is very clean and enforces database integrity during its operation. We've never had any database integrity problems with the forecasting software."
Wolf, a long-time professional who has worked with numerous other forecasting engines over the course of his career appreciates the stability of the software. "The bottom-line is that the engine runs, and we never have to touch it. Everything we've asked TimeTrends to do, it has done." Wolf particularly appreciates the ability to easily override anything the system forecasts at any time, and cascading that change up or down as required.
A Customer-Centric Business Philosophy
As a final note, Wolf points out that, "ALT−C is very open and upfront with its customers. We pushed our technical people very hard to understand how the TimeTrends system works and there was never any hesitation from ALT−C to share the programming code with us. That kind of service and customer-centric business philosophy is not only refreshing, it makes working with this software a true pleasure."
"Cheers to ALT−C!"
TimeTrends® is a product of ALT-C Systems Inc
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