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Bel Brands Leverages Arkestro to Modernize the RFP Process

Multinational cheese producer Bel Brands spends $285 million yearly among its 3,500 suppliers. The company modernized its RFP process using Arkestro, resulting in a 10% cost savings. The move brought a considerable increase in efficiency as well, resulting in a 25% increase in productivity for the Bel Brands procurement team.  

The Company

With roots in France that go back to 1865, The Bel Group crossed the ocean to begin operations in America in 1970 with the purchase of a cheese plant in Kentucky. 

Bel Brands headquarters is now in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, with plants located across the United States. The company produces a wide range of popular cheese brands, including The Laughing Cow, Mini Babybel, and Boursin Gourmet Spreadable Cheese. Bel Brands is a vital part of a multinational company that is ranked third globally in sales of branded cheeses, with a presence in 130 countries, 12,000 employees, and products enjoyed by over 400 million consumers.

The Challenge

Bel Brands has embraced continuous improvement and recognized a need to improve its procurement operations. 

The company spends $285 million yearly among some 3,500 suppliers. The procurement team is responsible for sourcing everything from raw materials to capital expenditures and marketing expenses. To ensure all aspects of its business are optimized, the company regularly challenges its existing suppliers by inviting new suppliers to participate in bidding events. Re-evaluation is important. However, the drawback to this approach is that it requires considerable time. The RFP process can take up to 90 days. Analysis of the information spread across multiple platforms is time-consuming for all the stakeholders involved in the process.

The challenge for Bel Brands was to optimize its procurement operations. Specifically, the procurement team aimed to speed up the RFP process while also improving their level of collaboration and relationships with suppliers. The company also aimed for changes that would result in cost savings.

The Solution

Bel Brands selected Arkestro as its new Predictive Procurement Orchestration Platform. 

Arkestro is accessible to all stakeholders in the bidding process, eliminating the problem of side conversations and increasing collaboration. This also makes it easier to track, manage, and communicate with suppliers. Arkestro is built around a powerful and transformative artificial intelligence core. With all the procurement data in a single system and AI’s ability to power through data, reporting and analysis are lightning-fast and far more effective. Arkestro enables a data-driven strategy with easy access to deep forecasts and insights. Artificial intelligence automates some events of the bidding process for additional time savings. AI is a game-changing feature that helps procurement teams to make more informed decisions in a shorter amount of time.  

In short, because Arkestro was designed for procurement professionals by procurement professionals, the platform is ideal for optimizing Bel’s existing processes.

The Result

When Bel Brands implemented Arkestro, the first thing the company noticed was the level of customer support they received. There was no flailing and no extended ramp up. Instead, they were able to start realizing the value from their new platform immediately. 

The bidding process was transformed. Arkestro narrowed down the list of suppliers to those that were the most relevant to a bidding event. Doing so allowed the procurement team to be strategic, working more closely with select suppliers instead of having to deal directly with every company that placed a bid.

Jean-Michel dos Remedios, Head of Procurement, Sourcing, and Supplier Development for Bel Brands says:

“Because the bidding is managed by a platform, we don’t have to manage every single conversation with each and every supplier. Communications are way faster and easier, and because we now have so much extra time, we can focus on building more valuable strategic relationships.” 

Justin Heard is CapEx and Industrial Procurement Manager for Bel Brands. He has seen the amount of time he spends on data analysis slashed:

“Overall, Arkestro has helped to modernize the RFP process. For me specifically, it has reduced the time I’ve spent in Excel doing manual analysis.”

The numbers speak for themselves. After rolling out Arkestro, Bel Brands reports a 20% to 25% increase in sourcing velocity. Bidding events happened much more quickly, more strategically, and with a corresponding increase in team productivity. In addition, the company reported Arkestro delivered a 10% savings on the final bid.

Jean-Michel dos Remedios sums up Bel Brands’s Arkestro experience:

“In the procurement world, time is of the essence. Arkestro has really helped to kickstart our digital transformation journey by giving us our time back through leveraging data and AI. These innovations make us faster, and the faster we get, the more we can accomplish, and the more successful we can be.” 

Learn more about how Bel Brands used Arkestro to automate faster savings, download the full case study here.

To modernize your procurement processes, chat with us today.

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Rob DeSantis

Founder

As a former co-founder of Ariba running sales, Rob has deep expertise in the procurement space, having helped propel Ariba from zero to $250 million in revenue in four years and IPO of the year in 1999 before its acquisition by SAP a decade later. In addition to co-founding Ariba, Rob was also an early angel investor and board member of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online network.

More recently, Rob served as an investor and advisor to a small portfolio of companies including Bloom Energy, AEye, Inc., HiQ Labs, Agiloft, USEND and more. He is also a co-founder of Dibbs Technology and TrueParity. Rob holds a BSME from the University of Rhode Island.

Marty Meyer

Chief Financial Officer

A trusted partner and advisor on the executive team, Marty has a unique background having been the CFO of nine venture backed technology companies. Marty has raised over $300M in venture funding and has closed six strategic M&A transactions with a combined value of over $1B. Marty has deep domain expertise in ecommerce, consumer internet, networking, data security, data privacy, media technology and enterprise software industries. Marty is especially experienced in the finance and operations activities of SaaS companies and is driven by data and metrics to help create outstanding customer experiences and drive efficient growth.

Neil Lustig

President and Chief Operating Officer

Neil is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience leading and building teams in Tech. Neil brings insights from a variety of market spaces and company sizes. Most recently Neil was the CEO of GAN Integrity, an innovative SaaS Compliance technology company serving enterprise customers in North America and Europe. Before that Neil was the CEO of Sailthru, a leader in ML driven personalized multi-channel marketing communications for media and e-commerce markets. Prior to that Neil was the CEO of Vendavo, the leader in B2B price optimization and management for large enterprises. Before Vendavo, Neil led the commercial team at Ariba, the market pioneer that defined and created the eProcurement space. Neil served as the GM of Ariba Europe and subsequently the GM of Ariba North America. Neil started his career at IBM where he spent sixteen years, initially as a software developer, and then twelve years in a variety of Sales and Marketing roles

 

Neil has a BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from SUNY Albany. He is a native New Yorker, Brooklyn born, and still resides with his wife and three children in New York City.

Bonnie Adams

Director of People Operations

Bonnie is a People Operations and HR veteran, with over a decade of experience establishing successful people and culture functions for early to mid-stage tech startups going through high growth phases. She has a passion for supporting and creating inclusive and collaborative work environments and is well-versed in driving positive changes in her organizations as a trusted leader. Prior to joining Arkestro Bonnie worked as the People & Culture Coordinator for Ionic Security, helping them scale from 5 to over 200 employees in addition to a $120M funding round. Most recently she was the Head of People & Culture for blockchain innovator Storj Labs and was the Director of Human Resources at PrizePicks, the largest independently owned Daily Fantasy Sports platform in North America.

Arym Diamond

Chief Revenue Officer

Arym Diamond joined Arkestro in January 2022 bringing over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software and consultancy industry.  He is responsible for the worldwide go-to-market revenue strategy. Prior to Arkestro, Arym was Chief Revenue Officer at CalAmp focused on Telematics and Logistics. He also served as the area vice president of North American Sales within the Salesforce.com Enterprise Business unit for Einstein Analytics & AI, where analytics and machine learning were re-imagined for the front office.  Prior to that, he spent over 10 years at Oracle in various sales positions. Arym holds an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and an undergraduate degree from California State University.

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