Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Software aids supply chain planning for Absolut Vodka

Steve Rogerson
June 4, 2015
Sweden’s biggest food export – Absolut Vodka – is streamlining its logistics with supply chain management software. The Absolut Company, part of the Pernod-Ricard group of companies, has gone live with ToolsGroup's SO99+ supply chain planning software.
The deal was done through ToolsGroup’s Nordic partner Optilon and is up and running at Absolut's production site in Åhus, Sweden. SO99+ supports demand management, fulfilment and replenishment for the company.
Last April, the Swedish Food Federation published statistics revealing that alcoholic spirits account for nearly ten per cent of the country's total food exports of 70bn SEK. Absolut Vodka tops that category making it Sweden's largest food export product.
“Every single drop of Absolut Vodka, from distillation to bottling, is manufactured in Åhus and the surrounding areas, in accordance with the Swedish vodka tradition,” said Krister Asplund, production director at The Absolut Company. “We only use winter wheat from the fertile fields in our community of Skåne and water from our own deep springs. Each bottle tells of its Swedish heritage, which is of great value to many consumers.”
The live implementation in Åhus follows a year-long proof-of-concept project led by Optilon that modelled Absolut's entire portfolio of vodka, taking constraints such as production capacity into account. With a very agile team of planners managing all of Absolut's forecasting and planning, the company will rely on SO99+ to improve operational efficiency by automating plans that strike an optimal balance between inventory and customer service levels while leaving room for some manual fine-tuning.
During 2013-2014, sales reached nearly 100 million litres or 11.1 million 9-litre cases, with a worldwide export to over 150 markets. The largest market is the USA, followed by duty free and travel retail, Germany, Canada and the UK. Absolut Vodka is the world's fifth largest premium spirits brand.
“99 per cent of our production is exported,” said Asplund. “We are proud that our long-term work with quality, innovation, creativity and responsibility has created a major success in exports regarding Swedish vodka traditions.”
Absolut is the latest to join ToolsGroup's growing portfolio of global food and beverage customers, such as Danone, Diageo, Granarolo, Findus and Lantmannen Unibake.
"For us, quality – not least in production – is paramount and we do not want to leave anything to chance," said Peter Neiderud, who is in charge of logistics at The Absolut Company. “After a thorough evaluation, we chose the combination of Optilon and ToolsGroup to provide the best skills and technology to improve our supply chain and production processes and help us reach our goals.”
The Absolut Company grew from the success of Absolut Vodka, a unique Swedish vodka that conquered the world on its own terms. In a little more than 30 years, Absolut Vodka has become one of the world's best-selling spirits and has created a unique legacy of quality, creativity and originality that lives on to this day. Upon becoming a part of Pernod-Ricard in 2008, five more brands were added to the Absolut Company family.
Optilon is a Nordic partner company founded in 2005 in Sweden with offices in Stockholm, Malmo, Gothenburg and Turku. ToolsGroup is based in Massachusetts.