Victoria_GrilloCLIF Bar was formally launched in 1992. An instant hit with cyclists and climbers, CLIF Bar’s distribution began at bike shops, outdoor stores and natural food retailers. Soon CLIF Bar’s popularity grew with outdoor adventure seekers of all types, and distribution expanded to include grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail outlets nationwide.

In the late 1990s, the energy bar category experienced rapid growth and consolidation. As huge, multinational food companies began to acquire CLIF Bar’s competitors, Gary and his wife, Kit Crawford, were being pressured to sell their business. In 2001, they made the brave and bold decision to keep Clif Bar independent, allowing them to develop an innovative business model guided by Five Aspirations—Sustaining its Business, its Brands, its People, its Community and the Planet. CLIF Bar has proven that bringing sustainability into all parts of the business is a model for success.

In 2012 CLIF Bar decided it was time to launch a formal S&OP process. A cross functional project group was formed to assess, design and implement a new S&OP process for Clif. The team met weekly and began by documenting the current state. After the current state process map was created, the team spent a month getting educated on best practice S&OP. The next task was to design the future state process for Clif. It needed to be something the Clif culture could accept and embrace. Roles and responsibilities were clearly defined. Critical feeds into the new process were re-looked at and changed where needed. The final task was communicating and getting buy-in to the new process.

Finally, we successfully launched the new process called “Tour de SOMBA” in January 2013. This effective S&OP process has provided Clif with a means of gaining greater control over the business while improving forecast accuracy.

Here are some of the key benefits we have seen as a result of this success:

  1. Measuring performance to drive improvement
  2. Better visibility to risks & upsides by brand
  3. Securing capacity to deliver business growth and meeting customer service expectations
  4. Improved trust throughout the team with one process and clear accountabilities

In May we’ll be leading a free IBF Webinar on the same topic.  Click HERE to register.

Also, we’ll be at the IBF Scottsdale conference next month sharing our experience in person. Some of the learning’s we plan to share include:

  • What is the critical path to launching an S&OP process
  • What are some key resources for best practice S&OP
  • Who needs to be involved
  • What does the Executive meeting involve
  • Sample process maps and templates to use during a redesign

See you there!

Victoria Grillo, CPF
Sr. Director of Demand Planning
Clif Bar & Company