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“Thanks to the forecasting capabilities of Slim4, availability has increased to over 99%.”

Richard O’Driscoll

European Supply Chain Manager | Nortek

Greater insights helps Nortek increase availability to over 99%

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of heating, ventilation and cooling solutions, Nortek’s products are utilised across a range of environments from sports centres and exhibition halls to commercial kitchens and manufacturing facilities.

Nortek is built upon a solid foundation of lean business principles and as a result, the business decided to implement Slimstock’s inventory management solution, Slim4, in order to improve planning and thus increase their already impressive service levels.

Given that their customers often have very specific requirements, in addition to their extensive range of standard HVAC spares and solutions, Nortek also design and manufacture bespoke systems, developed around the customers’ exacting needs. However, given the variety of materials and components required as part of the manufacturing process, ensuring high availability is essential. Richard explains: “In order to ensure that customers receive orders on time, and in full, we strive to maintain high levels of availability but we must also keep costs under control.”

Striking the right balance

With Slim4, the team at Nortek have a much clearer picture of their inventory position: “the ABC module within Slim4 has provided us with greater insight into our assortment. For example, we can now see exactly which items are most profitable and group them accordingly.” This has offered the planning team much greater focus: “Through adopting specific strategies depending on the classification of the product, we have been able to establish more appropriate service levels and thus strike the best balance between availability and inventory cost.”

Informed decision making

Thanks to the forecasting capabilities of Slim4, the team at Nortek are able to anticipate demand with far greater accuracy. Furthermore, through utilising the simulation functionality within Slim4, Richard and his team are able to see how decisions may affect their operation. “Through simulating the likely impact of business decisions, we can explore a number of different avenues and thus make much better informed decisions,” explains Richard. This has enabled the team at Nortek to reduce the amount of time spent firefighting: “We now utilise these time savings to explore why issues occur and then work with both suppliers and other teams within the business to overcome them and thus continually improve the performance of our operations.

“With the insights and times savings delivered by Slim4, we have been able to increase availability to over 99% across the entire range without having to increase our investment in stock: something which would not have been possible in the past. We have been really impressed with the results achieved with Slim4 so far and we are now looking at how we could automate purchase forecasts in order to improve supplier relations. Given the success we have already achieved with the help of Slimstock, I have no doubt we will achieve our future inventory goals.”

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