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Author's profile photo Richard Howells

Integrated Business Planning at Bell Canada

Today at Sapphire, I had the chance to hear from Steve Price, Bell Canada on the companies Integrated Business Planning journey to “link strategy with operations to deliver on a customer driven, holistic end to end Supply Chain”

First, Steve explained that “Bell was incorporated on April 29, 1880, and are today  Canada’s largest communications company with a BCE Revenue of $17B US, and mobility revenue of $6B US”.

The challenges

Steve also explained that “Bell Canada have a very broad supply chain which supply over 2400 retail Points of Sales across the country, and directly own and manage 900 retail points of sales”.

Steve continued, “competition is strong, and we need to respond to changes. We sometimes change prices multiple times a day which results huge shifts in volumes. When OEM’s have lead times of 4-6 weeks this is a challenge, and we can’t fix this by carrying more inventory – in fact the goal is to reduce working capital”.

Driving Change with Collaborative Planning, Forecasting, and Replenishment

Bell Canada initiated a CPFR process that was “is designed to support both Bell and our partners (OEMs) in achieving their goals”. These goals included:

  • Implement a closer working relationship with partners
  • Inventory right sizing
  • Leaner procurement process
  • Improve transparency and accountability
  • Improve client-vendor communication
  • Efficiently manage product fulfillment
  • Meet the needs of customers with the value of brand that our vendors supply


Integrated Business Planning – The catalyst for change

Steve highlighted some of the benefits of deploying the SAP Integrated Business Planning solution:

  • Planning with real-time information – “Before we had a data latency issue due to a weekly, manual process. Now we have an automatic feed into the planning system up to 3 times a day.”
  • Data Accuracy – “We now have improved forecasting, and better visibility into purchasing demand”


  • Ease of Use – “Cloud based solution with Excel and web-based UI means easier user acceptance and adoption. Reporting is greatly improved with Excel templates and analytics are available via the web”.


  • Planning at all levels – “Previously, we could only plan at the SKU/Supplier level in weekly buckets. We can now plan at the level we choose (daily/weekly/quarterly/yearly) at any level of granularity (SKU/Model/Supplier/All)”.


  • One Source of Truth – “One centralized database and planning tool means one source of truth. The planners can focus on planning, not on data manipulation”.


  • Improved Numbers – “For 3 years running we have not increased our working capital, even with a 20% increase in costs from OEM’s”.


Steve concluded “IBP was a huge win. We download the data to one place. We have more reporting capabilities, know what is going on and have the ability to respond to changing customer demand.”

I would like to thank Steve for a great session.

Learn more about SAP Integrated Business Planning or register for the Infobrief by IDC, Digital Business Planning is at the Heart of Supply Chain Transformation.

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