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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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