“The Nth Load tells us how much to buy, how much to pay, when to look for substitutes, and gives a financial indicator of what we should expect to make in that time period,” says Richardson.
Balanced supply and demand
In a few short years, the model solved Feed Energy’s supply chain management troubles, providing fewer fluctuations in inventory by more accurately projecting their customers’ demands.
The Nth Load’s inventory tracking component tracks individual supply at each of the three locations and, based on historical data, the model estimates customer demand and projects what the usage of different ingredients may be.
“Then we can look at what inventories would be at the end of each of the five weeks on the horizon so they can be more proactive with their purchasing and storage of material,” says DIS’ Parkinson.
The final key to balancing supply and demand is production schedules, as Mike Shindelar, executive director of Feed Energy, explains.
“We also look at the production schedule in that same five-week window and see what potential issues we may have concerning capacity and tank space availability both for finished products and incoming ingredients,” says Shindelar.
Enhancing customer service
The immediate benefits of Nth Load, such as facilitating internal communications, boosting sales volumes and better inventory management, all ultimately lead to improved service for Feed Energy customers. However, the full extent of Nth Load’s customer service capabilities may take time to materialize.
“What the Nth Load is doing for us today is enhancing our supply chain to make sure we don’t run low on ingredients and continue our 25-year history of always having a load available when a customer needs one,” says Shindelar. “But we want to go toward using even more predictive projections.”
For example, Shindelar says Feed Energy will one day be able to provide its customers with precise data about their own company’s feeding operations.
“We believe with the predictive tool we’ll be able to help our customers better plan, utilizing weather, age of animals and markets to help with the decision-making process,” says Shindelar.
The Nth Load may also help Feed Energy provide its customers automatic ordering someday.
“We’re looking at monitoring their tanks to automate the product delivery schedule,” says Shindelar. “We set them up initially with a minimum/maximum system so that we can proactively deliver product and they never run out. That’s something we really take to heart here. We want to make sure our customer has a supply available no matter the circumstances. We never want our customers to run out.”
Prior to implementing the Nth Load, Feed Energy measured its results. By replacing its informal and subjective procurement process with team decision making based on vast, yet comprehensible, objective data, the company opened the doors to growth opportunities and new business.
With the Nth Load, Feed Energy now uses leading indicators to project and predict its future using new technology to control and use data rather than being overwhelmed by it.
Richardson attributes Feed Energy’s success with Nth Load to CEO Riley’s embracing of new technology and his internal drive.
“We take the lead,” says Richardson. “We’re very engaging and proactive in our success because, as they say, ‘If it’s meant to be then it’s up to me.’ ”