Land O’Lakes offers a wide variety of quality dairy products and is one of the largest producers of butter and cheese in the US. Land O’Lakes was recognized on the Fortune 2017 Change the World List and is logged among America’s Most Reputable Companies published by Forbes magazine 2018.
During Smoke Jumpers XVII, Land O’Lakes gained another accolade, the Blacksmith Applications customer award for workflow automation.
Land O’Lakes transitioned away from Answers Systems, a division of AFS Technologies, and implemented FORGE software in 2015. At Land O’Lakes, “technology is woven throughout the corporation, allowing the employees to collaborate,” said Melissa Gilman, Corporate Communications Manager. The company makes the most of their FORGE instance by leveraging the reporting capabilities, automated claims processing and program management.
Since the FORGE implementation in 2015, Land O’Lakes’ deduction balance is 20% less than what it had been historically, a really impressive result considering that they were already running a competitive system. The deduction balance success is just one indication that automation improvements have taken hold and claims are flowing through the system efficiently.
What can you learn from Land O’Lakes?
If you don’t already have a deviation tolerance in place, implement one.
Doing so can free up time and gets your team to pay attention to only the dollar discrepancies that matter. Some manufacturers today aren’t using a tolerance, so whether the claim inaccuracy is $2 or $2,000, a valuable resource is spending time reconciling that deviation. Gary Lehmann, Net Revenue Manager, Land O’Lakes, advises his peers, “Get comfortable with knowing that you can’t perfect claims processing. There should be a point to let the payment go through because it’s not worth the time and money to recover.”
Set contracts up correctly and completely at the onset.
The process flows better if contracts are set up correctly from the very start. In the process at Land O’Lakes, the sales team negotiates the trade deal and the trade spend team manages the programs. They’ve found that there is less error this way. After all, incorrect corporate program details could result in major losses down the line.
Rely on data to improve your business outcomes.
Land O’Lakes uses FORGE for data visibility. “We have easier and clearer access to data than we have ever before.” Using analytics tools from Blacksmith Applications, the dairy producer has discovered that there’s no burden of ad-hoc reporting and the field has access to look at how trade programs are tracking at any time. “Blacksmith leads the way in terms of foodservice data and they are leveraging relationships with industry partners to benefit their customers.”
“Blacksmith Applications is the leader in the industry,” Lehmann says. “Blacksmith works with leading manufacturers and learns what works and what doesn’t, then shares those best practices with their customers.”
Lehmann is a regular Smoke Jumpers attendee, and says that the sessions are so beneficial because of “the interaction with other manufacturers and peers. It’s a great reminder that your problems aren’t unique – no company has perfected the trade management process yet.”
Congratulations to the team at Land O’Lakes!