Heura leverages AI-driven digital transformation to power faster decision-making and future-focused business growth.
Internal Process Roadblocks
The Tipping Point
Project Results10% inventory reduction Increased forecast reliability Efficiency gains through streamlined planner workflows and smoother collaboration Customer-focused planning and increased competitive advantage
Founded in 2017, Heura Foods produces 100% plant-based products. The brainchild of founders Marc Coloma and Bernat Ananos Martinez, the social mission-turned-business has opened up new options for consumers looking to change the current food system to a more sustainable and nutritious one. With a growing portfolio and expanding market, Heura’s focus on “food tech” is powering the movement to reduce daily meat consumption.
Heura’s Business Model
Heura employs an outsourced manufacturing model. As Daniel Salrach Ruiz, Heura’s Supply Chain Director, explains, “The category is still at its early stages in most countries. One
of our strong focuses is to drive innovation and leverage technology to keep on delivering healthier and high quality products. Outsourcing allows us to scale rapidly to accompany our growth and international expansion, while focusing our investment in product development and developing the category penetration. We develop and control the recipes, product specifications, and quality, and we can bring in more manufacturers to support our growing business as needed.”
The challenges facing Heura’s team of five planners can be distilled into two groups: industry-specific challenges and internal process inefficiencies.
Upon its inception, Heura was as new as its market, making demand difficult to predict. According to Salrach, “Since its creation, Heura has ignited and driven the growth of the category in Spain, acting as category captain. So demand was really volatile and difficult to predict. And then as the industry developed, the market got more and more competitive.”
Internal Process Roadblocks
Internally, the company’s planning process was creating a lot of frustration for the teams. The main issues stemmed from an asynchronous planning process that involved Excel spreadsheets and manual input from a variety of stakeholders.
Salrach elaborated on the three main disadvantages of the previous process:
“First, working with Excel files was time-consuming and inefficient. For example, a demand cycle might take 1-2 weeks. Discovering a mistake at the last moment meant the team had to work overtime to fix the issue. This required a lot of back-and-forth interactions, which created a lot of delays. In supply chain, you always want to make decisions based on the latest demand information, but because of these delays, we were making purchasing decisions with outdated demand signals.
“Second, we were gathering input from different key account managers and team members, and it was a mess trying to combine all of these insights into a cohesive forecast. Our key account managers spent so much time filling out excel files, it kept them from being able to focus on selling, resulting in an opportunity cost for the company.
“Third, from a demand planning perspective, we were so preoccupied trying to make sure the process wasn’t breaking we didn’t get to focus on more important matters like data analysis, demand performance, and understanding product and customer behavior.”
These inefficiencies resulted in an enormous percentage of lost sales due to stock outs and missed growth opportunities.
The Tipping Point
At last, the situation became untenable. Salrach recalled the day the decision was made to embrace digital transformation.
“I remember the moment we knew we had to look for a new solution. It was on a Friday, and the demand planner and I were beginning the forecasting process. We needed to download the template to start, but neither we nor IT were able to download the template. It was too heavy. We spent two hours waiting for the file to download. At this moment, we decided we could not continue like this.
“We had two options – adjust the existing process to make it more efficient, or move directly to more advanced planning tools. We knew it was time for an advanced tool, one that provided a statistical forecast and eased collaboration between the different stakeholders for a more efficient process and better forecast accuracy.”
Heura Chooses ToolsGroup for AI-Driven Planning and Success
The Heura team began considering its requirements for a new supply chain solution that could support the company’s growth objectives.
- Advanced technology that enabled greater accuracy and efficiency
- An affordable, scalable solution that could grow with the company
- Smooth implementation
- Strong vendor partnership
- Industry trust
“If you want to grow really fast and do things in an efficient way,” said Salrach, “it’s never too early to adopt strong supply chain solutions and best practices. Even a super young company needs advanced tools in order to scale up and scale faster. In order to sustain hyper growth and manage that change, you need to embrace digital transformation and equip your planners with automation that will help them focus on where they can add the most value.”
With these considerations in mind, Heura quickly narrowed down its choice to ToolsGroup Service Optimizer 99+ (SO99+).
As Salrach explained, “I had learned about ToolsGroup from a former boss who had implemented SO99+ at two companies, so I knew it was a trustworthy software leader.
“ToolsGroup serves big organizations, but it is affordable enough for smaller companies. It’s in this niche that provides good value and the right tools for smaller companies looking for a solution that will grow and scale with them. ToolsGroup offered the AI-powered forecasting and automation we knew would help us grow – and grow in a way that would best serve our customers and ensure our future success.
“One of the big considerations was time. We selected ToolsGroup, not just for its capabilities, but also because it had a short implementation and an excellent execution plan, so we knew we were going to be supported and successful. We rolled the solution out across all company business units and were fully operational in six months. ToolsGroup helped us implement, not just a software, but a supply chain culture.”
Benefits and a Bright Future
With ToolsGroup’s effective, cutting-edge technology and support, Heura is now able to track data and better manage its overall operations, resulting in:
- 10% inventory reduction
- Increased forecast reliability
- Efficiency gains through streamlined planner workflows and smoother collaboration
- Customer-focused planning and increased competitive advantage
Julia Antón Morrondo, Head of Supply Chain Planning at Heura, is glad to leave the days of spreadsheets behind. “Before, we were handling everything with Excel and emails,”
she explained. “Now, we have a centralized system that reduces manual adjustments, increases collaboration, and helps us process a lot of data so much faster than working with Excel formulas for 3-5 days. That was a huge benefit for our day-to-day processes. We’re a young company, and thanks to ToolsGroup’s intuitive solutions and support, we have already gained from having a much more dynamic overview.”
With the advantage of these powerful solutions supporting its accelerating growth, Heura is prepared to satisfy customer demand while seizing the opportunities in its growing and thriving market.