S.H. Pratt is one of the prominent banana importers and ripeners in Europe. As a family run business with over five decades of experience in ripening bananas and supplying the UK market, S.H. Pratt operates completely independent. The weekly planning and ripening of up to 350,000 boxes of bananas has resulted in a constant stream of new challenges for the company, including the need for future-proof demand planning that is protected against data loss.
Since implementing FIPS, S.H. Pratt has identified several benefits, stresses the management.
• Interrelated quantity planning, transport planning and maturity planning
• Easy view and tracking of the supply chain
• Up to 90% faster reaction in special cases
• Data security through protected databases
The head quarter of SH Pratt Banana in Luton (UK).
Digital tools lead to optimization of supply chains
Due to the excellent reputation and the increasing demand for bananas, S.H. Pratt has managed to grow steadily and now operates one of the largest banana ripening centres in Europe in Luton with over 120,000 square feet. However, for Robert Wells, owner and CEO, the desire to grow never conflicted with his passion for excellence.
However, the strong expansion of the company also brought new challenges for the planning of quantities, which had previously been done in Excel. "The risk is very high when you do all of a company's quantity and maturity planning in Excel," says Rob Wells, son of the CEO and Head of Supply Chain. Initially, attempts were made to map the entire process in the existing ERP system, but the limits inherent in the system were reached relatively quickly. There are many influencing factors when planning banana boxes: The lead time of an order, the delivery time of the sea or air freight, the transport time to the ripening site, the optimal ripening time in the ripening chamber and the delivery time to the customer must serve as the basis for an optimal supply chain.
All these factors were only considered by one software provider from Austria called activeIT and their software solution FIPS at this time. Due to many years of experience in the food producing industry, activeIT was able to score points and the implementation of the fruit import and planning software FIPS was decided.
Rob Wells (SH Pratt) and Sigfried Glaser (activeIT)
All modules to be used
"We mainly use FIPS for customer quantity forecasting, creating orders with overseas suppliers eight weeks in advance, viewing customer orders, creating transportation planning two weeks in advance, and planning ripening chamber utilization. In fact, there is no module of FIPS that we do not use", said Rob Wells, Head of Supply Chain at SH Pratt.
"Although the usual process for handling bananas was the basis for the development of FIPS from the start, we were able to refine our product during implementation at a large ripening plant. Our customers' many years of experience have made FIPS an even more comprehensive solution“, explains Sigfried Glaser, Software Development Manager at activeIT.