María Almenara: The First Data-Driven Peruvian Bakery

Mujer en cafetería habla por teléfono

Logo María AlmenaraThe technology available to us and the context we’ve been living in have sped up the digital transformation of all industries and companies of all sizes. A clear example of this is María Almenara. This well-known bakery in Lima has been able to predict daily sales of each product one week ahead of time, therefore avoiding overproduction or lack of stock—all thanks to artificial intelligence.

With the help of Microsoft partner SP Peru, María Almenara took the first step towards its digital transformation process. The bakery migrated to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud, leaving acquisition costs or digital infrastructure maintenance behind. “Thanks to the database, we can analyze customer buying frequency and average purchase amounts, optimizing our processes and reducing pressure on the shop and the manager. These steps directly affect the customer experience,” states Carlos Armando de la Flor, the bakery’s General Manager.

Integrating cloud functionality

When María Almenara decided to become a data-driven business, one goal was to reach a 90% fill rate. This indicator shows the ability to serve customers without running out of stock. Today, the bakery has reached a 99% fill rate, assuring an optimal experience for its customers.

Based on the work done with SP Peru, a system was also created with Azure Machine Learning. Its integration with the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) and the development of a specific mathematical technique allows for daily and weekly predictions. This is how the bakery obtained sales estimates for each store and product, allowing for planning and adjustments to cover demand for each of the 8 locations, as well as the ability to ship precise orders.

Furthermore, with a goal of complete business transparency and real-time decision making, the bakery used different Human Resources survey systems like SAP, among others. With the help of Microsoft’s Power BI, management created a control panel to view 18 indicators in 3 areas: finances, expenses and budgets; human resources; and customer satisfaction.

The mathematical technique used for these predictions undoubtedly played an important role in this process. This technique was later replicated and tested by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where local partner SP’s technique performed better than that of the team from the prestigious academic institution.

Serving the person, not just the consumer

Thanks to integrating these changes and its technological foresight, the bakery was able to weather a year as challenging as 2020—and managed to reach a milestone for the industry. This also reflects a change in María Almenara’s ethos, which is made of three fundamental pillars: a) a scalable culture and business model with the single goal of making hearts happy; b) data as an essential asset for leading in the digital economy and c) focus on the person, that is, on partners and customers.

With each step of the digital transformation process, María Almenara realized that its partners had to grow with the company. This is reflected in its turnover rate, which is less than 1%. The industry’s turnover rate is usually 25%. Without a doubt, incorporating technology has created business growth and satisfaction for its 223 partners.

Carlos Armando de la Flor concludes: “Here at María Almenara, we see technology as a helpful tool, not just something to solve things. Thanks to the omnichannel retailing platform our business uses, we’ve been able to establish a way to work that allows pregnant women or women with young kids to serve customers from home, prioritizing their health and comfort, and reducing turnover rates.”



Customer: María Almenara

Partner: SP Peru

Products and Services: Microsoft Azure

Industry: Other

Organization Size: Medium (50 – 999 employees)

Country: Peru

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