DaySpring Achieves Big Sales & Operations Planning Improvements with Demand Works

DaySpring, Cards, Inc., owned by Hallmark, is the largest global provider of Christian greeting cards, stationery, gifts and related items.

The company has a broad product line and a large and diverse customer base consisting of drug and grocery chains, card shops, religious stores and direct sales to consumers.


The Challenge

DaySpring manages forecasts for over 300,000 product-customer combinations, including about 7,000 active products. In addition to the large number of items that are planned, DaySpring continuously innovates, improving, replacing and expanding their product portfolio each year.

The company was doing the best they could with spreadsheets, managing huge workbooks for the various product groups and functions, including separate but coordinated plans for sales, operations and finance. It was becoming increasingly difficult and time consuming to plan on such a large scale with spreadsheets, and coordination was suffering because the spreadsheets in use by the various departments were difficult to align with one another.

Management was committed to increasing inventory turns as well as coordination between sales, production, procurement and finance, and they knew that they would need to implement an integrated planning technology to achieve their goals.


The Solution

With thousands of items, DaySpring needed a scalable solution. They also needed a technology that was agile enough to adapt to their evolving products and channels. After evaluating numerous alternatives, they chose Smoothie? Server, by Demand Works.

“We selected Demand Works because it had a highly scalable architecture, and it also had the capabilities that we needed for sales forecasting, inventory optimization, and S&OP. Very few other solutions supported the full range of planning functionality, and we were impressed the by Smoothie’s usability. Many solutions say they do certain functions, but they often do it in a way that’s hard or even impossible to use. Smoothie did things in ways that we thought would best support our lean, high-volume processes,” said Jeff Nichols, Director of Analytics.

DaySpring decided on a staged roll out by product line, beginning with boxed cards and gradually broadening the scope to include counter cards, gifts, stationery, and mixed merchandise, including the Mary Martha line of direct sales products. Demand Works provided training and integration assistance with the initial boxed cards implementation, and DaySpring planning and IT personnel were able to roll out the remaining businesses with limited assistance from Demand Works.


The Results

“After a little over a year, we were able to reduce inventories in the boxed cards product line by 65 percent, down from an average of about 2 million units to 700,000. We were also able to maintain in-stock service levels of over 98 percent, which is important because of the demanding characteristics of many of our channels. Excellent service is also critical to our mission of spreading God’s word,” said Ron Pearson, Sr. Demand and Inventory Planner.

Major improvements were also achieved in other product areas. By the end of the second year, the phased roll-out was completed, encompassing global plans for the remaining DaySpring product families. While achieving significant financial benefits, DaySpring was also able to streamline their forecasting operations. Now, only two full-time planners are needed to manage the 300,000 product-customer forecasts.


About DaySpring

DaySpring?, the world’s largest Christian-message product provider, was founded in 1971 with a single Christmas card. Today DaySpring offers more than 6,000 products—from greeting cards to home décor, specialty gifts to devotional books. In 1999, DaySpring was acquired by Hallmark Cards, Inc. DaySpring products are sold in Christian retail outlets, mass retail stores, card and gift shops and other outlets in the United States and 60 foreign countries. DaySpring is based in Siloam Springs, Arkansas (USA), and employs a staff of more than 280 people. Visit www.dayspring.com for more information about the company, to find a local retailer, and to send a free e-card.


About Demand Works

Originally founded in 1993 as Advanced Planning Systems, Demand Works provides demand and supply planning solutions that deliver large-scale improvements in forecast accuracy, coordination and asset management. Demand Works is exclusively focused on the areas of forecasting, demand and supply planning, and S&OP, and we support hundreds of companies throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and other parts of the world. The solutions are currently available in six languages, and customers include manufacturers and distributors of many well-recognized household brands as well as countless industrial and other manufactured goods.