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Case Studies

Karro: Improving Forecasting Capability


  • One of the UK's leading meat processors
  • Part of Sofina Foods, headquartered in Malton, North Yorkshire
  • Employ over 4,000 people across their national food production locations
  • Their high quality pork is stocked by leading retailers across the UK


  • A single system able to provide daily, weekly and annual budgeting
  • Provision of statistically driven forecast base
  • Faster input times by users
  • Firm base for further developments


Karro Food Group Improves Forecasting Capability with sofco Demand Planning

Karro Food Group is one of the UK’s leading meat processors with pork processing plants across the country.

Part of Sofina Foods, Karro produce high quality bacon, gammon, fresh pork, fresh and frozen sausages, ham and cooked meats to retail, food-service and manufacturing customers across the UK.

Karro process around 50,000 pigs each week for delivery to the UK’s major supermarkets and wholesale food supplier markets, all with full supply chain visibility. Their pork is eaten by millions of consumers every year, and is stocked across the country by leading retailers. Head quartered in Malton, North Yorkshire, they employ over 4,000 people across their national food production locations.

Why sofco?

Karro carried out a software selection considering a number of supply chain vendors. sofco was selected for the following reasons:

  • Expertise in the food industry
  • Flexibility of tools
  • Ease of use
  • Capability to manage daily, weekly and annual budgeting processes in a single tool
  • Reliance on standard technology
  • Good price performance ratio
  • Fast implementation time
  • Capability to implement supply chain templates tailored to the food sector

The existing ERP system was SAP, therefore sofco’s ability to easily integrate with SAP was also a key reason for choosing sofco as a partner.

Supply Chain Context

Pork products operate in a particularly challenging market, which is very variable in demand patterns; some are highly seasonal, such as barbecue packs, while other products are more stable. Moreover, variability of demand is strongly influenced by product promotions, which can cause an increase of over 300% in sales. Due to the incredibly short customer lead times – normally less than 1 day – the forecast is the primary instrument to generate the weekly and daily production plan across the 9 plants.

The challenge is further compounded due to the short shelf life of pork products and a fixed supply of pigs. The wrong forecast could not only lead to lost sales and poor customer service, but over production can lead to spoilage costs as the products pass their shelf life.

The Challenge

Given the importance of forecasting, Karro initiated a Supply Chain Management project aimed at improving the accuracy of the demand plan. The goal was to deploy a demand forecasting solution that would:

  • Consolidate demand planning and budgeting in one system
  • Take into account the impact of trade promotional activity
  • Produce daily level forecasts
  • Aggregate data by products channel or time and produce reports easily.

The previous system, based on HP 3000 technology, had some limitations. The system used a single fixed parameter algorithm to generate a forecast. Flexibility was limited: users could only enter the weekly forecast volume. Extracting reports was also particularly difficult.

The Solution

To meet the requirements of Karro, sofco deployed Demand Planning module from our End-to-End Planning Suite, sofco Planning.

Demand Planning manages budgeting and weekly and daily forecasting processes. It enables a joint evaluation of sales volumes and values, allowing the correlation of demand forecasting and budgeting activities from the early stages.

The solution utilises a collaborative forecast approach. The users of the system, account executives, can easily accept or overwrite the forecast with their own market intelligence, compare forecasts with last year’s sales and the current budget and add promotions.

Users can see the plan from their market perspective, aggregating data by products and families, channels or time and easily extract reports directly into MS Excel.

Since the successful implementation of sofco Demand Planning at the Malton site, Karro has now rolled out the solution across other areas of the division.

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