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“Slim4 provides a full range of insights to provide greater visibility over the availability of the most important products.”

Thomas Balis

Supply Chain Team Leader | Brouwland

Brouwland reduces inventory value & improves efficiency amidst strong growth

Starting out as a pharmacy and drugstore in 1972, over the last few decades Brouwland has grown to become one of Europe’s most specialised wholesaler of home brewing products. As the market leading supplier of cheese, beer, wine and liqueur making products, the business has seen a steady year on year growth of 20%.

Further to the growth in sales, the business has also expanded the assortment considerably in this time. However, with the implementation of Slim4, Brouwland now has the right tool to manage the growing range, improve service levels and increase availability: all while improving efficiency. As a result, the inventory value was reduced by 15%.

From the 5,200 m2 distribution centre in Beverlo, orders are delivered to customers in both the B2B and B2C segments on a daily basis. While more than 60% of the business’ turnover is accounted for by their customers in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, Brouwland also supplies end users, distributors and professionals across the world.

Ever-expanding assortment

The range has grown considerably in recent years and the business now offers more than 12,000 SKU’s. About three-quarters of the extensive range is made up of off-the-shelf products ready for customers to buy. The remaining products are custom made for the customer’s specific needs.

“Every year, 200 to 300 products are added to the assortment. Although there is scope to further expand our product offering, in order to successfully phase in a new item, this requires a huge investment of both time and money,” explains Thomas Balis, Supply Chain Team Leader at Brouwland.

Thomas goes on to add that he anticipates the assortment expand further in the coming years: “Afterall, demand in the market continues to grow.” This growth, however, has had a profound impact on how the team at Brouwland’s manage the inventory. While the business sustained a year on year growth rate of 20% over the last 10-15 years through investing in their assortment, this strategy has caused an exponential increase in stock value. “The challenge for us was that we did not always invest in the right stock.”

Stock value down, efficiency up

In order to better manage the rising inventory levels, Brouwland implemented Slim4. Thanks to Slimstock’s inventory optimisation software, the stock value, in spite of further assortment expansion, fell by 15%.

“Slim4 provides a full range of insights to provide greater visibility over the availability of the most important products and seasonal items. As a result, we can now respond dynamically and, above all, much more efficiently, because we are guided by exceptions. Whereas in the past, it would take two full-time employees to manage the orders. Today, it takes just half a day of one of our team member’s time.

Slim4 also provide insight to optimise production planning. By taking into account set delivery times and desired stock levels, amongst other factors, Slim4 provides order recommendations for which products should be produced.

Further improve service levels

We are constantly looking for improvements With Slim4, Brouwland can also monitor and optimise service levels. As a result, the team can put far more focus on actions that help improve customer satisfaction.

“Thanks to the time savings provided by Slim4, we can spend more time working proactively to fine-tune our processes. For example, when it comes to making agreements with suppliers about payment conditions, lead times and transportation, we can ensure all elements of our operation are as optimised as possible.

Furthermore, given that all of our Slim4 users have attended training at the Slimstock Academy, we are able to take full advantage of the benefits Slim4 offers. This, in turn, allows us to continue working towards improving service levels and increasing availability.”

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