A Better Way to Forecast Customer Growth
How a manufacturing company improved their ability to forecast when production needed to ramp up to meet customer demand
As a provider of custom-built machines that help food processing companies load frankfurters, sausages, cheese sticks and other products, Drake has to forecast when customer demand arises so they can have all of the appropriate teams and resources in place (engineering, welder, machinists, etc.) in order to meet their deadlines.
George Reed, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, shared that sales forecasts, expenses and hiring plans were historically determined once a year during their annual budgeting and forecasting process.
Each opportunity is large and the sales cycles are long and complex. They knew all the orders that would come. What was missing was confidence in when the order would be placed as that impacted the resources needed from engineering and the lead time human resources would have to hire any additional staff needed.
Investing in a CRM system was not a good option because the volume of sales was low but the complexity of each sale was very high. They knew about each and every deal; what they needed was a better way to discuss the details and activities impacting the close date on a regular basis.
Reed said, “Rhythm helped us to get much more in touch with our budgeting and forecasting process and allowed us to go from gut confidence to intellectual confidence in our forecasting.”
Spreadsheets only let you know what orders to expect
Rhythm helped them review KPIs and customer insights weekly to know when orders will close
“Using Rhythm, we have standardized forecasting with confidence”, said Reed.
The Rhythm team helped create a standard set of metrics (Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) in Rhythm Software that is reviewed in Drake’s weekly meeting. Time is put on the weekly agenda for further conversations.
The metrics provide a consistent way to identify any dialogue needed that impacts the closing dates. This helps substantiate the confidence in the forecast and provides information to plan for resource allocation, hiring and staffing.
Drake Can Now Anticipate Customer Production Needs 4X Better
Customers can rely on Drake to meet their deadlines
Using Rhythm has helped the whole business get better:
- 4x more confident in forecasting close dates
- Increased the lead time to let production know when they need to hire resources
- Reduced margin of error by 50%
- Much more stable workforce which makes them a better employer
Learn more about Drake:
F.R. Drake Company was started in 1979 by Fred Drake, and was incorporated in 1983. Mr. Drake spent many years designing machines for the meat processing industry, so he understood the special requirements of meat processing companies. Globally leading the way in preparation for packaging, Drake is the only company offering systems to load frankfurters, sausages, cheese sticks, and other products. Drake was acquired by the Middleby Corporation in December of 2011 and is now a part of their Processing and Packaging Technology Brands Division. Under this umbrella, global manufacturing, sales and support meet increasing demands for advanced technologies in food production.
Read the full Drake case study.