2005 Supply & Demand Chain 100 Case Study  Wise Snacks, Inc. / JRG Systems

Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: The salty snacks producer updates its supply chain systems and processes to manage manufacturing swings

Profiles in Supply Chain Enablement: The salty snacks producer updates its supply chain systems and processes to manage manufacturing swings

Company: Wise Snacks, Inc. (Kennesaw, GA)
Company Size: Medium
Company Sector: Consumer Products (Food)
Area(s) of Enablement: Order/Demand Capture, Fulfillment/Logistics, Product Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain Integration & Infrastructure
Enabler: JRG Systems (San Mateo, CA)

SDCE 100 2005Case Study: Founded in 1921, Wise Snacks today is a leading regional producer of such salty snack foods as potato chips, tortilla chips and popcorn. The company, which employs about 2,500 employees, manages more than 500 SKUs.

Recently Wise Snacks elected to update its supply chain by deploying systems and processes to proactively and rapidly manage manufacturing swings and the costs associated with those processes. At the time, the company was relying on manually produced, inflexible plans that depended on the "tribal knowledge" of the schedulers. That being the case, Wise Snacks went looking for an automated scheduling system that would:

  • Reduce the time necessary to create and modify schedules

  • Capture the "tribal knowledge" that existed among the scheduling personnel

  • Minimize changeovers

  • Reduce both raw and finished goods inventory

  • Create new efficiencies in manufacturing and labor utilization
Susan Pleasant, senior vice president of manufacturing and supply chain at Wise Snacks, said that at first the company looked to enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors to provide a scheduling solution. "But then we realized that ERP systems are really the plumbing," she said. "You have to have them to book orders and handle procurement, but fundamentally, they aren't focused on making your company more dynamic."

Going with Web-based

Instead, after an exhaustive vendor search, Wise Foods chose a graphical production scheduling system from San Mateo, Calif.-based solution provider JRG. JRG said its Factory Scheduler, a Web-based, "on-demand" system, connects factories to retailers, enabling manufacturers to build-to-consumption by accurately aligning production with demand for on-time product delivery at the lowest cost.

After just ten weeks of implementation — including integration with Wise Snack's ERP system — the new scheduling solution was up-and-running. "JRG integrated smoothly into our ERP system in a matter of days," said Neil Bixler, director of information technology.

By creating a single, automated system, the contents of "the book" are now readily available to everyone, from the floor managers at the plant to the executives in the corporate office. At a glance, they can understand whether the factory can meet the specific demand for each 24-hour period, according to JRG.


"Now inventory stockpiles are significantly down, plant production efficiencies are remarkably improved and we have reduced production scheduling resources," Bixler said, adding that the solution has been capable of solving "even the toughest production scheduling scenario."

After one month of use, Wise Snacks reduced inventory by 40,000 cases, from 142,000 to 102,000, while maintaining a 99.6 percent service-to-sales level. The company was on track to reduce inventory to the target goal of 75,000 within an additional two months.

Elsewhere, the company has reduced the number of stales and damages, cut labor costs by predicting needs more than 24 hours in advance, and cut changeovers by 10 percent across packaging and processing lines.

Adjusting "On the Fly"

The system has also created new revenue opportunities. "We're now able to handle work we would have had to turn away before," said Kopetski. "We were recently able to accept a 48-truckload promotion from Shaw's Markets, allowing us to increase revenue and improve shelf-space with a key customer."

Wise Foods now has a completely automated system that enables them to be a flexible, dynamic company. "We are now producing to order," explained Kopetski, "and as changes occur throughout the day, we can adjust on-the-fly."

Now that Wise Foods has shaved nearly 10 hours off the scheduling process each day, they see a world of new opportunities available to them to improve revenue and customer service and to create new efficiencies across the production process.

For more stories of successful supply chain implementations, read the "2005 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100" article in the June/July 2005 issue of the magazine. Also watch the Today's Headlines section of SDCExec.com every Tuesday and Thursday for more in depth best practices drawn from this year's Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100.