Max Monse

Supply Chain Analyst | Moonen Packaging

"Slim4 provides us with timely signals when supply problems arise."

With a declining economy and rapidly increasing global disruption, Moonen Packaging’s supply chain is vulnerable and faces major challenges. Past experience has made the packaging wholesaler fully aware of the risks, and the business is now responding well with the aid of Slimstock’s Supply chain planning platform, Slim4, according to Max Monse, Supply Chain Analyst at Moonen Packaging.

Moonen Packaging’s central logistics centre in Weert is almost bursting at the seams. In recent years, the Limburg-based company has developed into the largest wholesaler of its kind in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is now a ‘one-stop shop’ for industrial customers and food retailers. In addition to hundreds of packaging products, Moonen also supplies labels as well as office and cleaning supplies.

“These products are usually purchased in small quantities, but they can provide tremendous benefit to our customers. Our strength is that we are geared to the ordering behaviour of this specific target market,” says their Supply Chain Analyst, Max Monse.

Enhanced stock turn

Moonen mainly supplies customers based in Germany and the Benelux region, but thanks to external warehouses in Denmark and Romania, the packaging supplier can now also serve customers located in these countries as well.

A weaker economy automatically means fewer sales and less need for packaging materials. That impact is felt distinctly at Moonen: “An economic downturn can sometimes last several years, so we always have to keep a close eye on the situation,” says Monse. “A declining economy means a downward spiral and a drop in sales. We always have to watch out for that with our inventory.”

Moonen uses the AI-driven supply and demand planning platform, Slim4, to keep a grip on inventory. With this, Moonen constantly keeps its finger on the pulse of the market. After all, the turnover rate of different products varies enormously. For example, the purchase of label rolls is much lower than that of full cardboard boxes. Although no expiration date is attached to their inventory, Moonen needs their operation to be as efficient as possible.

“We try to be as resilient as possible and have an average turnover rate of 4.5. This minimises the chance of waste, but at the same time, we are also on the alert for stockouts.”

Timely action

To obtain the correct type of raw materials, Moonen buys from suppliers around the world. Their supplier base numbers more than 340 different partners. Although some products can quickly be delivered within a few working days, there are also products where the delivery time can exceed 180 days. Timely action in case of delivery problems is therefore crucial, according to Monse.

The supply chain analyst sees that problems in the entire supply chain need to be considered more and more. “There are more and more disruptions; they follow each other in rapid succession and they also seem to have an increasing impact. It really is a challenge for the coming years to respond to this in the best possible way.”

Monse cites examples of the coronavirus period, the Suez Canal blockade and the war in Eastern Europe. Delivery times suddenly turned out to be no longer certain, but Monse speaks from experience of having handled disruptions well. Thanks to Slimstock’s supply chain planning platform, Moonen has visibility over the supply chain and can react quickly in case of exceptions.

“When deviations in delivery times occur, Slim4 alerts us as early as possible. We have a good overview of our suppliers and can immediately respond as problems loom. That’s a nice feeling.”

During the coronavirus period, supply chain uncertainty was high and demand for some products shot through the roof. Monse says that the added value of the supply chain planning platform became abundantly apparent.

“Slim4 provides us with timely signals when supply problems arise. As a result, I was sometimes calling suppliers twice a week to see how we could keep our stock levels up and was constantly working to optimise our orders. That was when Slim4 really helped us out.”

ABC analysis gives visibility

The large amount of historical data Moonen has compiled in the software over the past few years gives a clear overview of the best-selling products. On this basis, an ABC analysis can be drawn up, which clearly shows which products are the most important.

“For the most important products, we have a product availability of 98% as a standard. We are meeting our set standard now, but we want to optimise that further,” Monse says ambitiously. He is, therefore, confident of continuous improvement.

“Slim4 helps us manage and consolidate this standard. We know how, what and when to order, so we don’t experience stockouts. That’s a huge priority for us, allowing us to work on product availability.”

S&OP: the next step in professionalisation

To take the next step in the optimisation process, Moonen is working on Slimstock’s BI functionality. This should give the wholesaler even more insight into the various product categories. Monse sees it as the next step in professionalising its supply chain planning process. “We are now very operational and work with daily tasks. That’s going well, but we want to go further. Our desire is to step up to a higher level and we want to do more with S&OP. If we can achieve that development with Slim4, then we can really take our supply chain to the next level.”