For the wider deployment, New Balance will deploy four main capabilities: demand planning, inventory management, supply planning, and S&OP/IBP capabilities. Wheeler describes its goals as relatively aggressive, focused on forecast accuracies, workforce efficiencies, planning cycle times, and faster inventory turns.
The suite will help New Balance pull in, understand, and act upon demand signals more quickly; advanced machine learning improves forecast accuracy, in turn enabling New Balance to better utilize its factories and lower overall costs to consumers.
Eliminating some of the peaks and valleys out of the planning cycle for the factories will also keep costs in check and trickle down to its total landed costs.
“We expect to grow relatively quickly from a revenue standpoint, and rather than grow our workforce in proportion to our revenue, our expectation is we should be able to grow at a slower rate from a labor standpoint because of the efficiency.”
New Balance, which operates branded, outlet, and licensed stores, anticipates the new technology will improve fill rates and service levels for both its store fleet and retail partners.
“Ultimately, because my goal is to better load our factories by knowing our upfront signal, [this will] help us maintain our costs because those peaks and valleys really do hurt us from a cost per unit standpoint.”