Lotus Bakeries Gains a Sweet View of Forecasting

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Lotus Bakeries Gains a Sweet View of Forecasting

By Alarice Rajagopal and Jamie Grill-Goodman - 11/17/2015
With a well-established global brand of cookies, Lotus Bakeries North America (www.lotusbakeries.com) needed reliable forecasting capabilities to better compete against large consumer goods manufacturers in the thriving snacks category. The first step toward achieving its financial reporting goals meant relinquishing static spreadsheets in favor of a true trade promotion management (TPM) tool.

The company’s first formal effort of using technology to standardize and streamline TPM processes came with the adoption of CPGToolBox (www.cpgtoolbox.com) Trade Planner. The cloud-based TPM tool allowed Lotus Bakeries North America to consolidate sales, finance and marketing efforts to understand how trade promotions impacted the overall business as well as collect critical data points required for an accurate forecast model.

For the first time, the manufacturer compiled its financial data, promotional plans and workflow processes together in one centralized cloud-based system. Sales had the visibility to understand the ROI on promotions and the capability to develop concise financial reports to aid in forecasting efforts. Finance had instant access to sales’ real-time output of promotional data allowing deductions to be matched to promotions quickly.

In addition, data inputs made within the company’s existing SAP ERP system integrated seamlessly into the solution, which eliminated duplicate entries, reduced manual errors and produced a consistent and accurate flow of data. Perhaps more importantly, the platform enabled management at Lotus Bakeries North America to roll up a variety of real-time reports to analyze the entire business in one convenient dashboard view.

“The inherent benefits and overarching potential of the CPGToolBox Trade Planner system provides a lot of organizational capacity for our team,” says Michelle Singer, general manager at Lotus Bakeries North America. “For a small company with a small budget, CPGToolBox made it plausible for us to access the data and the reporting we needed to gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace.”

As a Belgium-based company, Lotus Bakeries North America utilizes distinctive benchmarks to measure and track trade spending. By leveraging Trade Planner’s Salesforce.com connectivity and scalability, CPGToolBox worked alongside the snacks manufacturer to swiftly customize reports that better aligned with its European way of thinking. The cloud-based system allows new and future functionality to be uploaded quickly and affordably to meet the company’s requirements.

With all of its data now residing in one platform, Lotus Bakeries North American successfully executed 2016 business planning within the new tool, with forecasting capabilities not far behind. According to Singer, there is potential for additional countries under the Lotus Bakeries umbrella to adopt the TPM solution in the near future.