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July 13, 2007
Milk and food producer Organic Valley relies on supply chain planning solutions to improve efficiencies.

Despite being one of the largest producers of organic food products, Organic Valley Family of Farms found that its rapid growth rate -- over 25% annually -- was being stymied by technology solutions that were either inadequate or inappropriate.

"We were using spreadsheets for our planning and an enterprise system designed for discrete manufacturing to handle our financials, order management and inventory," explains George Neill, director of IT. "One of the biggest challenges for Organic Valley has been managing our growth in the face of increasing competition from much larger companies. As our operations expanded, it became obvious that we needed to improve our business systems."

Organic Valley required a solution suitable for a process manufacturer. The company has a push business model, which guarantees it will buy a specified quantity of milk or other products at a set price from member farmers. The cooperative then purchases production capacity from almost 100 manufacturing partners located relatively close to its farmers, managing the supply process so milk and other materials arrive at the right plant at the scheduled production time.

The company ultimately chose solutions from Infor -- Infor ERP Adage, Infor SCM Demand Planning and Infor SCM Advanced Planner -- to help streamline its business processes. "We had very specific requirements like shelf life and expiration date management," Neill observes. For instance, Infor's supply chain planning capabilities support Organic Valley's supplier-driven forecasting requirements. The combined Infor solution enables Organic Valley to meet its production, financial and reporting requirements.

Organic Valley projects a $2 million per year savings through improved supply chain planning, which is evident through improvements in financial, order and inventory management. Having one integrated system that supports all business processes across all business lines enables the company increased visibility across the supply chain.

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