Erik Jan van den Brink

Commercial Director | Ekoplaza

"Availability rose to 98.7%, the inventory reduced by 15% and there is less shrinkage!"

The on shelf availability rose to 98.7%, the inventory reduced by 15% and there is less shrinkage. Furthermore, following the introduction of dynamic store replenishment, the central purchasing department and the shop floor became far more ‘peaceful’. “Out of all of the 53 supermarkets, there is not one franchisee that wants to return to the old system,” states Commercial Director, Erik Jan van den Brink. Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, has set the foundations for these new processes.

Ekoplaza is a supermarket chain specializing in organic products. In order to determine how much stock they should reorder, the purchasing team previously had to spend many hours each day reviewing all of their articles. Following the successful implementation of Slim4 to support both central planning and store replenishment at Ekoplaza, the situation has changed dramatically.

The placement of replenishment orders is now almost completely automated and the only thing that the franchisee has to do is make a quick final check to ensure that they agree. “The stores are run by franchisees and ensuring the right replenishment orders were made on time caused a huge amount of stress for them every day,” explains Van den Brink.

On-shelf availability hits 98.7%

The implementation of the new replenishment system not only brought peace, but it also dramatically improved the on shelf availability in the stores; this increased to 98.7%. Meanwhile, overall inventory levels reduced by 15%. Ekoplaza also now has less shrinkage. “With Slim4, we can better manage the shelf life of products. Slim4 calculates how many products will expire before they are sold and highlights this to the users; the planners get a notification of such items and they are then able to see pertinent information and make logical decisions.”

Planning takes just two hours a day

A good indication that the planning process has been simplified is the fact that Van den Brink is able to check all the purchase orders for the central DC on his own. Prior to the implementation, several planners had a full time job doing just that. “Every day, Slim4 provides us with purchasing advice and indicates where exceptions lie. I scroll through the list and make any required adjustments then just press the order button. On average, I can do all this work in just two hours. This is quite a unique situation for a company that turns over €130m.”

Franchisee remains in the drivers seat

The Ekoplaza supermarkets are run by franchisees, and although they now have Slim4 to manage their replenishment process, they remain responsible for the product range and inventories in their stores. Van den Brink goes on to emphasise. “We provide a shelf plan, offer suggestions and introduce new products, but the franchisee remains in the driver’s seat; they can always intervene. This intervention may be due to a desire to phase in (or out) a product, add new products to their range or determine how often they require a delivery of a particular item.” The new Slim4 replenishment concept has been implemented across all 53 Ekoplaza supermarket stores and everybody is happy with it. “There is not one franchisee who would like to to go back to the old situation, so I think it worked out pretty well,” concludes van den Brink.