Bimbo Bakeries Case Study

If you can click a mouse, you can find the answer to any question.


Beginning in the ‘80s as a small, family-owned operation in Texas, Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU) – a division of Grupo Bimbo, based in Mexico – is now the largest and only commercial baking company to service all 50 states in the country, distributing famous brands like Entenmann’s, Ball Park, D’Italiano, and Thomas’ to retail behemoths including Walmart, Costco, and Target.

Acquisitions of big-brand labels such as Sara Lee’s baking unit in 2011 led to unprecedented growth for BBU, making them the 13th largest consumables supplier in the U.S. that’s still growing. As primarily a DSD business, BBU must effectively manage more than 10,000 routes on the streets to over 100,000 retail customers and 60,000 food service customers in a way that allows them to continuously increase efficiency.

BBU became the largest DSD vendor participating in Scan-Based Trading (SBT) after acquiring Sara Lee, with their SBT net sales skyrocketing by almost 700% within the first year.

“The acquisition of Sara Lee was a turning point, a major milestone, because Sara Lee had much more presence in SBT than BBU,” said Dean Aiello, Director of Finance at BBU. “It presented a great challenge across several levels of the organization.”

BBU was faced with consolidating multiple legacy business and reporting systems in a short amount of time, managing a complex mix of prestigious brands, and filling a large knowledge gap across their organization in order to successfully accomplish their goal of minimizing waste associated with scan-based trading.

Improving Visibility and Analytical Capability

Multiple legacy technologies and reporting metrics along with multiple route systems needed to be consolidated and optimized after these sizable acquisitions. As BBU makes products to order based on route orders, they are required to manage extremely complex data and billions of transactions. The biggest immediate challenge they faced was finding a flexible solution that granted visibility into not only this magnitude of data, but into data that has an inherently different structure – SBT data.

The legacy system in place was difficult to understand and not flexible enough to handle this type of data. BBU turned to Salient’s Margin Minder®, which was already the business performance management system of record before the acquisition. Because of Margin Minder’s flexibility, BBU was able to clearly present the calculated shrink based on scan data, directly related to P&L, and based on quarterly data, used to true up settlements with customers on a quarterly basis. Multiple views surrounding both weekly and quarterly metrics made it easy for sales people to navigate and not be overwhelmed or confused with the data.

Simplifying Complex Data

Shifting the Paradigm

Participating in Scan-Based Trading meant shifting to a different way of thinking for BBU’s sales team. The organization sought to make it as simple as possible for sales people to quickly access actionable data in order to make better informed decisions. Instead of training their local sales managers on how to simply create reports, they decided to break the mold and grant them the capability to view and run market- and purpose-specific analyses at any time to glean instant insights with the minimum amount of time and effort.

The solution to avoiding possible confusion around SBT data was Margin Minder’s Storyboards. Storyboards gave BBU the ability to take seven or eight different reports and present them to their sales force as one guided analysis of the whole process, which clearly indicated anomalies or discrepancies in data. By building these Storyboards and deploying them across their sales team with simple instructions, users were able to gain instant insights from simple reports. BBU created market-specific versions of Storyboards to address both route types they manage, with the goal of minimizing user thinking to the point that someone with and minimal training in SBT get actionable results quickly.

As Storyboards were rolled out for BBU, users not only embraced the application but requested enhancements. Within two months, the number of reports it held grew to 12 for some markets, along with a mix of SBT and non-SBT data that allowed users to see key service and data entry patterns that could indicate the root cause of SBT issues or illustrate gaps in procedural compliance.

Re-educating the Organization

In conjunction with making the right answers easier to find, BBU was responsible for filling a large knowledge gap and re-educating the entire organization on navigating Margin Minder, Storyboards, and understanding SBT data. After simplifying its sales force’s goals by focusing on KPIs and making them more easily attainable with these tools, BBU was able to deploy a large-scale training on how to use them with Salient’s training and collaboration center, called Knowledge Manager. They held web-based training sessions, as well as on-site training for areas with the largest opportunities, and were then able to upload training materials and additional reference materials directly into Knowledge Manager.

Knowledge Manager, which is directly embedded into Margin Minder, allowed BBU to create and implement basic user guides as well as customized training manuals for different roles throughout the enterprise. This successfully ended the “one-sizefits-all” approach to training and further focused members of their team on their specific roles and performance goals.

The training was based on the realities of multiple route types and SBT timing. Having the built-in library of reference materials provided by Knowledge Manager, synced up with quantifiable analysis in Margin Minder, ensured that teams could retain the information being taught and avoid excuses for not knowing how to read certain reports or navigate the system.

Better Results with an Aligned Workforce

Empowered Managers Equals Better Results. Quicker.

“It’s very, very simple for field sales people to use. It’s not only quick – these guys don’t have a lot of time and less patience – but it’s really very user friendly and that’s really important,” said Dean Aiello, Director of Finance at BBU.

The simplicity and speed of Margin Minder’s Storyboards and Bookmarks armed BBU’s sales force with critical information to properly manage their routes and easily spot discrepancies in data. Within 10 minutes of training a new user, they were able to quickly pull meaningful information and identify potential problems to make more effective decisions.

“Storyboards were a really great addition for us because what they did was take something that was complex and made it simple. If the user could click or double click, they could run the report,” Aiello said.

Margin Minder improved operations across BBU’s expansive network of routes. They began drilling down into the store-level UPC information and printing out reports to give to their independent operators. This gave them the ability to have a discussion about the results, particularly if they found discrepancies indicating possible fraud – a crucial component to tracking and managing routes participating in Scan-Based Trading.

Uncovered Fraud and Theft Equals Less Shrink.

By empowering their team to actively manage this detailed data across the organization, BBU was able to effectively meet their goal of minimizing shrink.

“We’ve had routes that play games with inventory that we’ve caught, especially quite recently, because we’ve been able to unbundle the information for our sales managers to understand and challenge those attempting something fraudulent,” Aiello said. “In the one test market we’re doing this, just quantifying where we have potential fraud in that one market has saved us six figures thus far this year. We were paying out that much in excess credits.”

Even in their best performing areas, with the lowest shrink market in the country, potential problems were uncovered. Within 10 minutes of teaching their team how to use Storyboards, they identified six problems they weren’t aware of. Three of them were emerging and growing and would have been serious situations had they not been aware they were happening.

Training and Resources Equals No Excuses.

In order to re-educate and train the organization, BBU aimed to make it as simple as possible for managers to get actionable information as quickly as possible. By using Knowledge Manager as a resource library and creating Storyboards to make core analyses and reports easily accessible, they were able to save valuable time for their sales team even if they were not technically proficient. Focusing in on key reports and providing simple instructions has allowed them to get better results, quicker.

Even new trainees that were not familiar with Margin Minder or scan-based trading were able to access meaningful reports and glean important insights from them after just 10 minutes of training. This not only saved time and effort in the re-education process, but in conjunction with providing instructions and resources through Knowledge Manager, it eliminated excuses from BBU’s workforce from running the correct reports and knowing where to focus.