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“Slim4 has helped ensure our purchasing and inventory decisions align the strategic corporate plans of the business.”

Nick Brown

Head of Supply Chain

Häfele build a more responsive supply chain with Slimstock

As one of the industry’s most innovative manufacturer and distributors of furniture fittings, accessories, architectural hardware and ironmongery, Häfele goes to great lengths to help its customers create beautiful furniture and inspiring rooms.

To attain further operational efficiency improvements as well as mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Häfele collaborated with the inventory experts at Slimstock to optimise inventory processes.

Challange

Celebrating over 100 years of international heritage, the furniture fittings specialist is dedicating to offering customer the highest standards of quality and reliability. To support the businesses’ flexible & next day delivery promise to its customers, Häfele continues to invest in its supply chain.

However, as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted global supply networks throughout 2020, the supply chain team at Häfele faced a major challenge to maintain the exceptional standards of services customer expect while keeping inventory levels under tight control.

Nick Brown, head of supply chain at Häfele, explains: “Although we already had a solid foundation in place, we knew we could fine-tune our inventory processes to overcome the disruption caused by Covid-19 as well as unlock new opportunities for optimisation.”

Why Slimstock?

As a long-standing partner, Häfele first implemented Slimstock’s advanced inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, in 2014. Following the successful implementation in the UK, the inventory tool has subsequently been rolled out in several of the business’ other key markets

Nick goes on to add: “Slim4 has already played an important role in helping us to share inventory best-practices across the organisation. And as we strive to move our business forward, even during these difficult times, Slimstock remains a trusted partner.”

Streamlining the planning process

With a focus on optimising the workload of the planning team, Häfele took the strategic decision to upgrade to the latest version of the Slim4. Following a successful upgrade process, Nick and his team were able to immediately take advantage of the solution’s enhanced features and functionalities.

Nick explains: “One of the main advantages of Slim4 is that it enables us to manage a huge number of SKUs quickly and effectively. Ultimately, with the work-flow driven basis of Slim4, we have been able to standardise our inventory processes to achieve efficiency gains across the planning team.”

The head of supply chain goes on to highlight how Slim4 ensures the planning team remain aligned with the objectives of the wider business: “With a better understanding of where inventory levels can be reduced without impacting the customer, Slim4 has helped ensure our purchasing and inventory decisions align the strategic corporate plans of the business.”

Supply chain resilience

In addition to improving efficiency, supply chain resilience was also high on the agenda for Nick and his team. “We started to see the impact of Covid-19 on our suppliers in early 2020. However, thanks to Slim4, we were able to quickly identify which suppliers were worst affected and build sufficient safety stock levels to safeguard availability.”

As the virus spread across Europe, Häfele faced a new challenge: a sudden drop in demand as building projects ground to a halt: “With Slim4, we could easily reduce the forecast and delay purchase orders for affected products with just a few clicks. Furthermore, as lockdown restrictions started to be relaxed and sales picked up, Slim4 helped us remain responsive to customer’s product needs by automatically alerting our team to inventory exceptions. Ultimately, Slim4 has played an important role in helping us to navigate through this challenging period.”

Next steps

As the business continues to thrive amidst the ongoing pandemic, Nick and his team are now working hard to implement further optimisation tactics. Nick concludes: “As we start taking advantage of other features within Slim4 such as the EOQ module, we look forward to working with Slimstock to drive further improvements across our inventory management process.”