Optimise your supply chain strategy

To optimise your supply chain strategy you need the right tools. Simply said: ‘without the right tools, technology, and knowledge you cannot make optimal supply chain decisions’. To make your business succeed, the supply chain management and the inventory strategy should align with the overall corporate vision of the organisation. Even seemingly small inventory management decisions can have a profound and far-reaching impact across the rest of the organisation. As a result, it’s vital that you and your logistic and supply chain planners have the level of insight and control required to execute supply chain tasks effectively. Slim4 can help you with making optimal inventory strategies and decisions.

What is the definition of supply chain?

Supply Chain is a system of organisations, activities, and resources involved in moving a product from supplier to user. It involves the transformation of natural resources, raw materials, and components into a finished product that is delivered to the user.

Let’s take a closer look at:
- Stocked /non-stocked items: portfolio & range management
- ABC /XYZ analysis
- Product Life Cycle management
- Service level differentiation
- Obsolescence management
- Multi echelon inventory optimisation
- Supply Chain Collaboration (SCC)
- Sales and Operational Planning (S&OP)
- Business rules
- Customer segmentation

Stocked/non-stocked: portfolio & range management

What is your supply chain tactic when it comes to (non-)stocked-items? Are you having a clear insight into the items which have the biggest impact on your company's turnover? Do you also actively analyse what items should be stocked and what non-stocked? It’s no secret that for many businesses, 80% of the turnover is generated by just 20% of the assortment. Thus, it is vital that you only invest in items that add value to the business or its customers. Slim4 ensures optimal stocking decision-making by fully supporting the portfolio & range management process:

• Make effective stocked/non-stocked decisions based on the organisation’s specific business rules
• Collaborate with marketing to optimise assortment decision & prevent excess stock in the face of price changes


In pursuit of a unique selling point, many businesses have developed extensive assortments encompassing many thousands of SKUs. While this ensures that businesses are able to provide customers with a huge amount of choice, managing such a large number of items puts a huge amount of stress on the business both in terms of time and cash flow. To help maximise the value of the entire assortment without compromising the organisation’s ability to meet the needs of their customers, the ABC/ XYZ functionality of Slim4, provides supply chain teams with greater visibility and focus:

  • To provide a solid basis for service level differentiation, Slim4 supports ABC analysis based on a range of metrics, depending on what fits best for your specific industry
  • Unlike other systems, which look back to identify successful items, Slim4 can also base ABC analysis on forecasted demand
  • Slim4 enables separate ABC analysis to be run across different departments (warehouse, sales, etc.)

Product Life Cycle Management (PLC): inventory strategy for every phase

Effective Product Life Cycle Management is all about adopting the right supply chain strategy at every phase, do you agree? No two product life cycles are ever the same. So it is vital that inventory levels are managed carefully to maximise availability during the introduction, growth and mature phases as well to minimise obsolescence at the end of the life cycle. Slim4 helps you to stay ahead of product life cycles:

• Automatically adapt the inventory strategy to fully optimise the entire product life cycle
• Apply business rules to adopt either a defensive or aggressive approach during the launch phase
• Remain responsive and automatically establish a forecast after initial sales of new items
• Optimise margins and inventory costs for mature items
• Notify planners when sales start to fall at the end of the product lifecycle
• Gain insight into different phase-out scenarios and decrease inventory levels accordingly

Service level differentiation: 100% availability

In a perfect world, you would maintain 100% availability across every item. However, in reality, this is neither achievable nor beneficial to the organisation to realise this service level. As a result, you must focus your time, attention and financial investment on the products that matter most. Slim4 literally stands for Service Level Inventory Management and supports businesses with the following capabilities:

• Automatically sets service levels based upon ABC and the business rules in place
• Optimise safety stock to achieve desired service level and thus maintain high levels of availability

Obsolescence management: minimise obsolete cost

How long can you simply accept obsolescence as a result of poor inventory management? With Slim4 you and the planning team can proactively avoid excess and thus minimise obsolete cost. The right supply chain strategy and technic will help you minimise obsolescence costs. Our software enables you to achieve the following:

• Factor in product shelf lives into the inventory management process to improve product quality & maximize sales opportunity
• Protect margins through minimising shrinkage

Multi echelon inventory optimisation (MEIO)

 With more channels, more demanding customers and an increasing number of products to manage, many organisations can quickly lose sight of their inventory position. Faced with expensive excess stock levels and one location and crippling shortages at another allocating products can be a daily (expensive) struggle. Slim4, as a multi-echelon inventory system, can adopt a holistic approach over your entire supply chain operations:

• Strategically allocate safety stock to maximise availability across the chain while simultaneously minimizing overall investment in
• Take into account inventory & demand at all levels of the operation
• Adopt a multi-echelon model taking into account your specific network characteristics (e.g. number of branches, internal lead times,
    volatility in demand)

Supply chain collaboration (SCC)

  Have you successfully set up supply chain collaboration within your organisation? Given that a business can only ever be as successful as the weakest leak in the chain, the reliability of suppliers can have a major influence on your performance. After all, an unreliable supplier will not only cost you money, it will kill your service levels too. Slim4 helps you to enhance end to end supply chain collaboration in order to build stronger ties with supply chain partners:

• Easy sharing of supply chain data including stocking decisions, EOQ and purchase forecasts to enable your supplier to meet the required demand

Sales and operational planning (S&OP)

Sales & operational planning decisions are taken on a daily basis, for example, whether or not to stock a new product or how best to overcome a supply shortage. The insight required to make such decisions often require inputs from across the business. The impact of these supply chain decisions also extends far beyong the supply chain team. Slim4 helps businesses optimise their S&OP process in order to enhance collaboration between different departments:

• To support the entire S&OP process
• Aggregate demand at different hierarchical levels to support specific S&OP processes
• To aligns statistics with external forecasts

Business rules inventory management

Slim4 is a standardised software solution which helps you to achieve your supply chain strategy. However, we enable all of our customers, who are active in various industries, to apply their company specific business rules. This allows us to ensure that day to day inventory management processes and decisions align with the overall corporate strategy of a company. Through utilising business rules, Slim4 removes the application of ‘gut-feel’ when defining the inventory and replenishment strategy:

• Standardised logic ensuring that everyone works in the same way towards the same goal
• Maximise efficiency through automation based upon if-this-then-that type logic
• Unlike in ERP systems, parameters can be changed dynamically

Customer segmentation: differences in purchasing behavior

Because of differences in purchasing behavior between customer groups the importance of each item will vary dependent on the customer in question. Slim4 provides you with the possibility to not only do an ABC-analysis on items but also on customers:

• Establish different rules around stocking decisions, safety stock requirements and the need for dual sourcing depending on both the item
and customer class
• Slim4 provides specific exceptions to enable supply chain teams to react to the evolving needs of priority customer immediately

Optimise your supply chain strategy with Slim4

Tested by over 850 customers and over 5000 certified users worldwide, our inventory management software has a proven track record. We are specialised in helping businesses to optimise their supply chain process. Customers of Slim4 experience huge improvements in customer satisfaction while simultaneously reducing inventory and supply chain costs.

Feel free to read the business cases of our customersAre you interested to know what we can do for you? Contact us and let's have a coffee. 

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