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“we have increased stock turn by around a third, while also improving our service level by 4.5%.”

Steve Stacey

Supply Chain Manager | Poole Lighting

Poole Lighting

Poole Lighting reduce working capital tied up in stock by 33%

Poole Lighting offers its customers the complete lighting supply chain package; OEM design, direct delivery to customer stores or DCs and direct shipping from the Far East. The company, part of the National Lighting Company Group, is the largest supplier of domestic lighting to UK national and independent retailers.

Supply Chain Manager Steve Stacey and his team were operating at full speed to maintain high service levels and keep a tight grip on stock. However, as Steve says, “managing products from 85 factories is very complex. We got to the point where our systems were beginning to creak at the seams.”

Poole Lighting can count some of the UK’s biggest high street retailers amongst its growing customer base. With £50m turnover generated from 3,000 stocked and 2,000 direct shipped SKUs, the company’s impressive growth, and plans for further investment, began to put pressure on supply chain systems and processes. Supply Chain Manager Steve Stacey: “The customer base brings its own set of challenges, in particular maintaining product availability. Added to that, we cover all lighting categories, have our own design team, an ever growing product range and source from lots of different factories in the Far East.”

Slim4 fits the bill

Faced with this challenge, Steve realised that he needed a specialised tool to push Poole Lighting to the next level. “We were struggling with ever larger spread sheets and having to run ever faster just to stand still. We knew we needed a tool and Slimstock’s Slim4 solution fit the bill perfectly.” The project was agreed in late 2012 and fully integrated by spring 2013. Steve again, “the Slimstock team made the whole process very easy. They worked with us to make sure our requirements were met and helped bed the tool in with the team.”

Integrated supply chain planning

“Exceeding our customers’ expectations is a key driver of the business”, says Steve, “and agreeing on a forecast is a critical part of that. We now compare the forecasts we get from our customers to Slim4’s, and add value back to them by highlighting where we see differences. This is the basis in Slim4 for DC replenishment and factory planning. All supply chain processes are now integrated in one system. For us, facing an average 16 week lead time, being able to use Slim4’s exception management to identify those items early is a huge benefit.”

Better forecasting, improved availability

The forecast improvement has allowed Steve and his team to work the stock much more efficiently. “We never thought it possible, but on the top 1,000 items we have both driven up the stock turn by around a third, while also improving our service level by 4.5%.” Having achieved these results, Steve’s focus is now on further improvements. “We are aiming for even higher service levels over the coming seasons and are working hard on improving our new product introductions.”

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