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“A substantial improvement in demand forecast accuracy has helped us to deliver an inventory reduction of over £2m”

Steve Hatch

Supply Chain Director | Elis UK & Denmark

Elis drive stock & service optimisation with Slim4

As a business that has been at the forefront of the industry for over 100 years, Elis sets the standard in textile, laundry and hygiene solutions.

To help accelerate the business’ growth, the multi-service provider turned to Slimstock to boost supply chain efficiency across its expansive global operation.

“The cornerstone of our success is being able to offer our customers peace of mind that their textile and hygiene needs are not only being met but are exceeded; ensuring a cleaner and safer environment for everyone,” explains Steve. For this reason, the hygiene specialist is the strategic partner for hundreds of thousands of customers across the globe.

Establishing a foundation for growth

Following the acquisition of its main competitor, Berendsen in 2017, Elis has pursued several significant supply chain development programmes: “To provide our customers with a more reliable service, we are constantly looking for ways to advance our supply chain processes; inventory management being a core part of this.”

Before the acquisition, Berendsen relied on Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, to manage their inventory. “Although Slim4 played an important role in helping Berendsen to drive service levels improvements, the inventory processes and our needs have evolved considerably since joining forces with Elis.” With a more diverse customer and supplier base to manage, Steve and the wider global supply chain team needed to take proactive steps to manage the growing complexity of their business.

Satisfied with the results Slim4 has delivered at Berensden, Steve embarked upon a major project with the inventory experts at Slimstock to re-implement Slim4 across Elis’ extensive global operation. Steve highlights: “Our goal was to change the mindset of our people and provide them with the right tools to think strategically about inventory.” Following the successful roll-out of Slim4 in the United Kingdom, Steve and his team are now also utilising Slim4 to optimise inventory processes in the Denmark.

£2m reduction in inventory

“Forecasting has always been a major challenge for us. Due to uncertainty in the marketplace, we had to hold high levels of inventory to remain responsive to our customers’ needs. This inevitably leads to high storage costs, increased working capital and obsolescence risk.”

To help the planning team develop more robust forecasts, Steve and his team utilise Slim4 to harness the power of transactional data. “By adopting a more granular perspective of demand, we are now using key information from across the business to fine-tune our forecasts.”

As a result, Elis has been able to make significant inventory reductions without impacting service levels. “Even on our fastest-moving items, we have seen inventory reductions of up to 30%. A substantial improvement in demand forecast accuracy has helped us to deliver an inventory reduction of over £2m in the UK alone”.

35% Improvement in stock turn

A key focus for the project was to bring greater consistency across the business’ numerous markets. Keen to adopt best practices and drive efficiency improvements across the global planning team, Steve did not hesitate to implement the latest version of Slimstock’s inventory solution, Slim4 Web Client, in both the UK & Denmark.

Offering a new and improved user interface, Steve explains how the Slim4 Web Client helps the planning team prioritise their workload: “With its workflow-driven structure, Slim4 has increased the engagement and focus of our people which, in turn, has dramatically improved working efficiencies. The tool also puts all the key data at the fingertips of management, providing a quick and easy understanding of KPIs, with immediate drill down features to help understand root causes and required actions. We now have a truly process oriented approach and its showing excellent results.”

With greater visibility over which items need attention, Steve goes on to highlight how the inventory tool has helped the teams to achieve impressive results: “Since going live with Slim4 Web Client, our stock turn has increased by over 35%”

A global blueprint for success

Following the successful roll-out of Slim4 in the United Kingdom and Denmark, Elis is now in the process of implementing Slim4 in across all its European markets.

Impressed with the results Slim4 has delivered, Steve goes on to conclude: “Obviously, we are at the start of a journey. Slim4 offers us a window to the world and I am confident that we will make use of the enhanced data and processes to truly optimise service and inventory levels to delight our customers.”

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