Published: 02-12-2019

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The Issues and Solutions to the Supply and Demand of Barilla SpA

Barilla SpA, one particular of the world’s prime makers of pasta based in Italy, is facing extreme demand variability that is resulting in added charges and higher operational inefficiency inside its supply chain as we go up the chain, the uncertainty of obtaining an accurate demand escalates. Maggiali, director of logistics, was actually conscious of this growing burden that was imposed on the company’s manufacturing and distribution system. To tackle this problem, the sufficient important formulation observed at the time was to implement the “Just-In-Time Distribution” (JITD) that would mitigate the consequences of demand variability. A relatively new method, JITD disputes the existing scheme employed by Barilla by centralizing a frequent database in between Barilla and its distributors. Such information transparency would benefit in offering correct forecasts of demand that would be beneficial to both entities. Nonetheless, the internal resistance that Maggiali encountered created it difficult for him to work on implementing the just-in-time distribution technique. For that reason, as a start off to our analysis of the problem, we will focus on supplying the acceptable options such as avoiding several demand forecast updates, breaking order batches, stabilizing prices and eliminating gaming in shortage conditions. We will subsequently discuss the feasibility of the program in our environment and ultimately the methodology behind the acquisition of the targeted customers that we aim to onboard in the suggestions.


Barilla SpA is an Italian meals business that was established in 1875 in Parma, Italy by Pietro Barilla. It is presently recognized as the greatest pasta manufacturer in the world and owns 25 plants throughout Italy. Every single plant cores on a specific item segment such as pasta, flour mill, and other items that the organization specializes in like cakes, croissants, and bread. The manufacturing firm also has two distribution facilities which take the responsibility for delivering their goods.

Currently in the technique, following the products are made, they are sorted into two distinct categories, the fresh and the dry, which are then delivered to the central distribution centers (CDCs). The fresh goods are stored for only 3 days, whereas the dry ones are either taken to the central distribution centers or the Barilla-run depots. The depots deliver the dry items to the small independent shops, and the central distribution centers oversee the dry merchandise to two kinds of distributers: Grande Distribuzione, which is a distribution organization accountable for distributing to supermarket chains, and Distribuzione organizzata, which is composed of several other distributors.

Giorgio Maggiali is the director of logistics for Barilla SpA and he is facing a lot of resistance when he tries to implement a new manufacturing idea referred to as Just-in-Time Distribution (JITD). In the beginning, this strategy was suggested by the preceding director, Brando Vitali. Nonetheless, Maggiali tightly supports this notion. Due to the present arrangement of the organization, variations in demand at the client level provoke the whole system to operate adversely. The consequence is a surplus of inventory at all levels of the supply chain, which generates added expenses. This outcome is typically referred to as the bullwhip impact. To resolve this concern, Maggiali have to come up with a selection on whether he must proceed with the JITD technique or not, and what is the best way to implement it in for Barilla SpA.

Issue Identification

From the concerns described that Barilla was facing, it is evident that the business is facing the Bullwhip effect. At every single stage of the supply chain Barilla has high inventory levels and recurrent stock out at the distribution level. Also, they are facing: exaggeration in demand variability up the chain, are getting aggravated by sales promotions that give volume incentives like Complete Truck Load(FTL), and a shortness of data on which to predict demand. In addition, there is one more factor causes the issue to be a lot more extreme and it is that Barilla has a massive variability of dry items (about 800 stocks keeping units).

Big inventory levels in the company’s central distribution centers and in its distributers’ distribution centers lead to increased fees on both sides, Barilla’s and its corresponding distributers. Barilla has difficulty in responding to large variations and uncertainty of demand. Therefore, manufacturing and distribution expenses are growing, and the company is being agonized by the consumer order fill price. Although there is a surplus of stock in distributor warehouses, stock out nonetheless happens regularly, and the order fill rate of the distributers is weak. Moreover, the needs of end shoppers will not be met if the dysfunction in the supply chain pursues.

The company’s consumers are segmented into three major categories that are tiny retail shops, big independent supermarkets, and big supermarket chains. Deliveries to the small retail shops is completed by the organization’s depots, whereas the deliveries to supermarket go through intermediate distribution centers which are run by a third-party organization that represents several various supermarkets or owned by a chain. The retailers send their orders to the distributor daily, nevertheless, the distributor locations them once a week. Despite the fact that all the distributors have a computer-supported method, a complex forecasting technique or analytical tools for indicating order amounts is only present in a few. In exhibit 12 and 14 (refer to original case for graphs), weak effort in specifying order quantities based on inventory levels is observed. For instance, at Cortese DC in week 29, the inventory level was 500 quintals which is deemed low compared to the other orders throughout the year. Also, this distribution center’s order quantities in the identical week had been significantly less than 200 quintals which is much less than the mean order quantity which is 300 quintals. This leads to a extremely high stock out rate in the week after at about eight.five% which is shown in exhibit 13 (refer to original case for graphs). The case of Cortese DC is not an isolated predicament. Barilla’s other distributors have been not efficient with regards to their capacity to forecast order quantities when arranging orders with Barilla.

To fight the demand variations from their retailers, safety stock is used to solve the issue with demand uncertainty. Nevertheless, this method leads to a total inventory level that is considerably higher than it ought to be and tends to cover the weakness of their demand forecast. What makes the situation even worse Barilla’s sales and marketing and advertising promotion programs and numerous volume incitements motivate distributors to spot large orders in batches further rising the demand fluctuations toward Barilla. On Barilla’s side, to answer concerns regarding demand uncertainty from distributors, Barilla increases the security stock level which at some point leads to higher general inventory levels. With the sales data of its distributers unknown, Barilla faces many conflicts to forecast the demand for its goods and strategy accordingly. Also, Barilla’s wide variety of pasta products makes the demand forecast and inventory management more complex which leads to a much more extreme bull-whip effect.

Thus, the principal reason for the Bullwhip effect for becoming present is since of utilizing safety stock as the main wait to address the demand variability at each and every level of the supply chain, the shortage in demand data sharing between the distributors and Barilla, and the traditional sales and marketing and advertising promotion strategies to boost demand volume at the cost of manufacturing organizing and inventory manage.


As previously stated, the principal identified problem that Barilla was facing is a phenomenon referred to as the Bullwhip effect. The symptoms of such an impact are many but are identified as follows in the Barilla infrastructure. The lack of accuracy in the details shared among the members of the supply chain (from one end to the other) and their independent selection-creating processes relating to demand forecast updates, order batching, cost fluctuation and rationing and shortage gaming are the principal motives behind the observed inefficiencies within the supply chain of the business.

It’s so frequent for each member of the supply chain to forecast its products’ demand in order to accommodate to its production schedule, its capacity plan and its inventory manage. Forecast is usually completed by relying on prior orders history. For that reason, the order that would be sent to the upstream website of the provide chain, to the supplier would be primarily based on this forecast whilst taking into consideration the safety stock that every dealer would want to maintain in order to stay away from stock-outs. Keeping that in mind, each dealer would be contributing to the bullwhip effect by wanting to maintain its own level of safety stock. In addition, when the lead time among replenishments is higher, the bullwhip impact would be exacerbated. This is caused by the dealer’s want to account for this excellent lead time of inventory and would therefore improve its goods forecast in order to account for any surges in demand by its clients. The variability in demand when each member of the provide chain exercises the identical process to account for its own security stock causes a colossal increase in levels of inventory stock at each and every level and thereby consequently incurs greater costs.

1. Keep away from Numerous Demand Forecast Updates – To avoid this demand forecast updates from one site to yet another and to bypass the repetitive processing of information, both sides of the supply chain ought to be unify their efforts in utilizing the very same raw information in the very same program. This could be accomplished by implementing the electronic data interchange (EDI) program to facilitate the flow of data. Nonetheless, this is not enough. In fact, the distinct techniques employed to forecast when making use of the very same raw information would also lead to demand variability. Therefore, it’s needed to have the upstream web site of the provide chain responsible of updating the inventory level and of forecasting the demand of its personal downstream site. The downstream web site would thus be turned into a passive member of the supply chain. This is referred to as a continuous replenishment program (CRP) or vendor-managed inventory (VMI).

An additional remedy is to directly connect to the customers and get the demand data by detouring the downstream internet site. This turns out to be useful, not only in terms of getting precise demand forecasts and low stocks levels but also in recognizing the demand pattern for the items of the company. Plus, if the just-in-time distribution and replenishment could be implemented, it could decrease the bullwhip effect to a minimum and as a result, execute operational improvements.

two. Break Order Batches – An additional concern faced by Barilla is the batched orders inside the provide chain. This implies that the business accumulates demands just before issuing an order from its suppliers. In other words, suppliers get orders periodically or after a month, they witness an erratic flow of demands that is unbearable on a one-time basis, and a null demand for the rest of the month. In addition, this approach is used when the supplier is not capable to account for small and frequent orders due the time-consuming processes and to the higher costs encountered. Unless a organization is utilizing the EDI system to minimize charges, it will always uncover this frequent ordering method unfeasible not only due to its higher expenses of putting an order and replenishing it, but also due to transportation expenses.

Companies don’t situation an order unless it would need a complete truck-load (FTL) and significantly less-than truck load rates in an attempt to lessen their price of transportation and would even be provided incentivized discounts from the suppliers. When waiting to fill a truck, organizations would be possessing long order cycles inside the provide chain and therefore, inefficiencies in the provide chain.

However, possessing frequent orders when making use of the EDI program and extended order cycles are not compatible unless the organization would acquire a third-celebration logistics firm that would make tiny replenishments feasible, while saving fees on complete truckloads. In fact, these third-party businesses would not only be accountable of the inventory of 1 business but of several of these in order to realize full truckloads economies. This way, the company would have acquired an successful approach that would again, be mitigating the bullwhip impact.

3. Stabilize Rates – A single of the simplest and most price-powerful strategies at taming the bullwhip impact would be to “reduce both the frequency and the level of wholesale cost discounting.” In the previous, Barilla’s sales method relied heavily on the use of trade promotions, as a implies of penetrating their goods into the grocery distribution network. This approach played a pivotal role in the company’s sales tiny did they know they had been feeding straight into the Bullwhip impact.

Barilla utilized two strategies that had been element of their “Trade Promotions”. Both had been implemented making use of a “canvass” method whereby they would divide the year in ten-twelve periods, which normally lasted 4 to 5 weeks. The finish objective of such a divided timetable was for incremental achievement of sales target. The 1st strategy aimed at setting a certain set of promotions on a specific range of merchandise that would last for the length of that period or just long enough to reach target sales per canvass period. Such promotions also depended on the margin structure of the category, ranging from 1.4% for semolina pasta, four% for egg pasta, 4% for biscuits, eight% for sauces and ten% breadsticks.

The second strategy is offering their buyers “volume discounts”. Such discounts would incorporate Barilla paying for the transportation to distributors and offering offers for purchases by the “Truck-load’. Barilla prioritized and a lot more importantly misinterpreted these methods as lucrative in the extended run, however they had been only aggravating the Bullwhip impact.

4. Get rid of Gaming in Shortage Scenarios – The best way to combat gaming would be to firmly rely on past sales records, as opposed to quickly responding to drastic instantaneous demand. Despite the fact that this isn’t a complete proof method, as there exists situations where genuine shortage will be met, it is the initial step in eliminating or at least decreasing the fluctuations in demand that arise from buyer demands. Aggravating the gaming case is the versatile and forgiving return policies that some companies exercising. It should be crucial of Barilla to impose rigorous cancellation and amendment policies. That way, Barilla as a manufacturer and distributor can defend itself from the uncertain demand.


In their journey to recovering from the spin-offs triggered by the Bullwhip effect, Barilla SpA wants to very carefully address and cater to the treatments suggested, in order to begin reversing their downward trajectory.

Barilla SpA wants to implement an Electronic Data Interchange program (EDI), that way they can steer clear of the repetitive processing of information, which is major to variability in demand. But alongside such sharing of data, must come a continuous replenishment system (CRP) or vendor-managed inventory (VMI) that will unceasingly update the inventory levels from the upstream website as nicely as forecast the demand of its personal downstream web site. Moreover, they need to straight connect with their buyers and demand data by detouring the downstream site. This will serve useful in terms of having precise demand forecasts, low stocks levels and also in recognizing the demand pattern for the products of the firm. That is when, with proper implementation of Just-In-Time-Distribution, the Bullwhip impact would be decreased to a minimum, top to operational improvements.

The “Batch Ordering” is an additional concern that Barilla demands to right away tackle. The business accumulates demands before issuing an order from its supplier. The demand on behalf of the suppliers is erratic, even so the deliveries are executed on a periodical basis, which doesn’t meet the demands of nor the finish client or the suppliers. Unless a company is utilizing the EDI system to minimize charges, it will constantly find this frequent ordering approach unfeasible not only due to its higher expenses of putting an order and replenishing it, but also due to transportation expenditures. Barilla SpA also demands to move away from incentivizing and encouraging (using discounts & promotions) complete truck-load (FTL) orders. This method was initially used in an try to minimize fees however, it is serving contrary. Such long awaited periods to “fill-up” a truck load, creates an enhance in fees, inefficiencies in the provide chain and possibly driving consumers away. In order for Barilla to onboard frequent order deliveries using their EDI, they ought to undoubtedly obtain a third-party logistics firm that would make small replenishments feasible although saving charges on complete truckloads. This way, the business would have acquired an successful approach that would once again, be mitigating the bullwhip impact.

As for the stability of prices, as Patrick Campbell mentioned “Pricing is the exchange rate you put on all the tangible and intangible elements of your organization. Value for cash.” And unfortunately, Barilla SpA has been implementing a method that also been serving them otherwise. There must be an all-inclusive discontinuation of the promotions and volume discounts, efficient immediately. Such techniques lead to an amazing boost in charges and only feed into the Bullwhip effect. Establishing a extended term fixed expense policy will support handle diversion and the fluctuations in demand. Alongside such approaches should be an implementation of an Activity-primarily based Costing (ABC) method that would extremely easily allow Barilla to recognize the excessive fees of each sales promotions and volume sales. And lastly, for the handle of “Gaming”, Barilla SpA should cautiously use the newly implemented EDI program and always rely on previous sales records when thinking about incoming orders from consumers, specially in scenarios exactly where the demand is either ends of the extreme.

As for the inquiries supplied at the finish of case, we suggest the following to Barilla SpA’s upper management and head of Operations:

The Just-In-Time Distribution system is feasible for Barilla SpA but upon condition. The aforementioned symptoms of the Bullwhip effects are each present and active in the Barilla’s ecosystem and demand quick attention, a lot of of which Barilla’s is dynamically encouraging. Once the above are tackled and addressed, only then can the Just-In-Time Distribution serve to be powerful. As for the consumer segment targeted, Barilla ought to aim at onboarding firms that are capable adequate to adopt and implement the information systems and have the essential infrastructure to sustain such a provide chain distribution.

Acquiring their full commitment will call for Barilla SpA to clearly highlight the rewards of the Just-In-Time Distribution program. Such a distribution scheme is based on a long-term vision of lowered fees, enhanced supply chain communication and precise forecast of demand, regardless of erratic fluctuations from both end consumer and distributor.
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