APS for Private Label Food Manufacturer

U.K.'s R.F. Brookes looks to advanced planning and scheduling to improve customer service

West Chester, PA  December 9, 2002  R.F. Brookes, part of U.K. foods group Brookes Avana, is implementing an advanced planning and scheduling (APS) solution in a bid to improve scheduling and customer service even as its business needs grow.

Brookes has been a food manufacturer since the late 1950s. Today, its flagship Rogerstone Park facility, opened in 2000 for full-scale production, stakes a claim to being the world's largest factory for the production of chilled and frozen recipe meals.

The company currently is implementing an APS solution from Prescient at the Rogerstone factory and is set to use the solution for capacity planning and to automate the weekly production planning and daily line scheduling.

The software will replace current spreadsheet-based systems. Brookes is counting on the new solution to generate plans in a fraction of the time previously taken, allowing the company's planners to focus on more value-adding activities.

"Our business is very fast  we are essentially a make-to-order supplier, delivering short shelf life products daily to customer depots  and demand can change very rapidly," explained Mark Seaman, supply chain manager at R.F. Brookes. "We need a system that will cut time out of our planning cycle, helping us plan more rapidly and accurately, which is exactly what the Prescient solution offers us."

Seaman said the company is anticipating a payback in 12 months from reduced material wastage and reduction in planning costs. "We chose Prescient's APS solution because it fits our business, is easily integrated with our existing systems and provides users with a decision support tool that is both powerful and straightforward to use," Seaman added.

Jane Hoffer, Prescient's president and CEO, predicted that the new APS software would allow Brookes to stay agile in its competitive market space. "As with many private label manufacturers, R.F. Brookes needs to find ways of cutting internal costs and leveraging their IT investments in a way that allows them to extract maximum value from their supply chain systems," Hoffer said.