IBM and SignalDemand today announced that ConAgra Mills, a Commercial Foods brand of $12.3 billion ConAgra Foods, Inc., is using IBM's Smarter Commerce-based solution and its predictive analytics capabilities to increase supply chain efficiency and help bakers and other small businesses succeed in today's fast changing economic climate.
Today's small food producers and bakeries face significant challenges from the current economic climate and the consumer's shifting dietary patterns. These changes are forcing businesses to identify ways to operate at a lower cost while maintaining the high level and quality of service their customers demand. For many of these businesses, ConAgra Mills is the answer.
ConAgra Mills, the third largest miller in North America and a grain industry leader, offers the most comprehensive selection of premium multi-use flours in the industry. The business is also at the forefront of ingredient development, price risk management and customer service. Aware of the challenges facing its customers, ConAgra Mills sought to enhance its overall customer experience by developing a solution capable of more efficiently delivering these businesses a greater variety of products but at a fraction of the cost.
ConAgra Mills needed a tool with predictive capabilities in order to be more responsive to both market changes and customer needs up to 18 months in advance. Turning to a joint offering that combines IBM software with SignalDemand's EnterpriseOptimizer solution, this Smarter Commerce-based supply chain solution allows ConAgra Mills to deliver customers the products they need, when they need it and at a price they can afford to ensure their continued business success.
"Our customers operate in an increasingly complex and volatile market environment," said Bill Stoufer, president of ConAgra Mills. "The solution from SignalDemand and IBM is part of our effort to use science-based solutions for our customers so that we can eliminate pain points and allow them to succeed in the new economic realities of today's market."
IBM's Industry Solutions group was first introduced to SignalDemand through the IBM Venture Capital Group in 2010. IBM and SignalDemand's relationship gained momentum late that year, thanks to the Venture Capital Group which helped to deepen this partnership through cross-IBM alignment and execution across the Software Group industry solutions and Services groups.
"We have worked closely with IBM for many years to identify trends and partnerships. Given IBM's deep understanding of the value of predictive analytics and optimization, it was clear that there were natural synergies between IBM and SignalDemand that could make a difference to the markets they serve," said Mark Gorenberg, managing director at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. "Introducing early stage high-growth companies like SignalDemand is a part of our ongoing collaboration with IBM."
"The increasing verticalization of Venture Capital investments in business analytics is directly relevant to IBM's analytics solutions and roadmap," said Claudia Fan Munce, managing director of IBM Venture Capital Group. "IBM's relationship with Hummer Winblad and early access to SignalDemand's predictive analytics capability is a great example of working with an innovative venture-backed company to align them with the IBM industry strategy and operationalize the execution of the partnership."
With today's announcement the two sides expand a relationship that has allowed SignalDemand solutions to achieve certification on the IBM Consumer Products Industry Framework and has resulted in new joint client opportunities including Fonterra, a global leader in dairy nutrition. Announced in January 2011, the IBM Framework addresses consumer products companies' need to work smarter, providing innovative industry-driven solutions that help accelerate business performance.
"We believe that the consumer products industry is poised for a transition, as volatility and other factors send shock waves through its traditional price, mix and supply decision making processes," said Mark Tice, CEO of SignalDemand. "This partnership provides SignalDemand with the benefits of enormous scale that IBM can provide. Strategic partnerships like this will make it possible for SignalDemand to continue on our high-growth trajectory while not compromising on the value we create for our customers."
SignalDemand (signaldemand.com) provides predictive analytics and optimization for commodity based value chains. Through on-demand software and services, SignalDemand delivers real-time recommendations to help make complex price, mix, supply and purchasing decisions across products, customers, channels and suppliers.
SignalDemand's recognition includes being named a "Cool Vendor" in Gartner's "Cool Vendors in Manufacturing" Report and was the only on-demand pricing company recognized by JMP Securities' "Hot 100" list of private companies. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Cargill, ConAgra, Fonterra, JBS, Sobeys, Sysco, Teys Brothers, BJs, Farmland Foods and Hormel rely on SignalDemand for immediate and ongoing improvement of financial performance. For more information, please visit signaldemand.com. For more information on the IBM Frameworks or for details on how IBM is helping retail and consumer products clients and Business Partners to make smarter, faster decisions, visit 01.ibm.com. More information about IBM Venture Capital Group is available at ibm.com/venturecapitalgroup.
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