Smart Garden

Simon Barry

Supply Chain Manager | Smart Garden Products

"Even at the peak of the season, we are now able to achieve availability levels in excess of 97%."

With a growth rate in excess of 400% over the last 5 years, Smart Garden Products (SGP) has bucked the industry trend to become the UK’s leading suppliers of solar garden lighting and decor. To help the business maintain this pace of growth, Smart Garden Products took the strategic decision to partner with the inventory experts Slimstock.

As a business that is at the forefront of the garden industry, SGP has faced a number of challenges in recent times. Amidst this volatility, Smart Garden Products has strived to constantly innovate their business, achieving exponential growth in the process.

Simon Barry, supply chain manager at Smart Garden Products explains: “From the products we offer, to the way we operate as a business, we are always looking at how we can drive improvements across our organisation to stay one step ahead of the competition.” For this very reason, Smart Garden Products was recognised by the London Stock Exchange Group as one the top “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain”.

Greater control over seasonal peaks

As part of their commitment to advancing the performance of the business, Smart Garden Products has placed a real focus on their supply chain. With the majority of the business’ assortment exposed to a high degree of seasonality, the planning team was under huge pressure to ensure optimal inventory levels before, during and after a seasonal peak.

“In our market, seasonality is always a challenge. However, given that out-of-stocks can easily stifle the growth of our business, this has been an important area where we have made real strides forward,” explains Simon.

With Slim4, the planning team can now prepare for seasonal peaks in demand far more effectively: “The consultants at Slimstock have worked closely with our team in order to fine-tune Slim4 around the unique complexities of our highly seasonal business. As a result, we have automated the inventory planning for the vast majority of our assortment.”

This, in turn, means that Simon and his team can invest more energy into accelerating the development of new items, building stronger relationships with suppliers and finding better ways to increase stock availability. Simon adds: “The risk of stock outs has been mitigated. Even at the peak of the season, we are now able to achieve availability levels in excess of 97% across our key product lines,” explains Simon.

Focusing investment where is counts

Prior to working with Slimstock, Smart Garden Products relied on a complex Spreadsheet based forecasting process. “Although we could apply some level of seasonal adjustments, the data was largely based on manual sales forecasts,” states Simon. With Slim4, Simon and his team can now develop far more robust forecasts which more accurately reflect demand. “With Slim4, the most appropriate algorithm is automatically applied along with the right seasonal profile to create a forecast we can trust.”

In addition to benefiting from a more scientific basis for forecasting, Simon and his team have also utilised Slim4 to make more strategic decisions around assortment management. “With the ABC module within Slim4, we can now see exactly which products matter most to our customers and apply the right service levels accordingly.”

Through refocusing and prioritising the investment in inventory on the products that add the greatest value, Smart Garden Products have successfully stabilised inventory levels despite a sizable increase in turnover.

Forward-thinking partners

Anticipating strong growth in 2019 and beyond, Smart Garden Products have now announced plans to roll out the latest version of Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, to help the business achieve further efficiency improvements. Simon goes on to conclude: “We have a built a solid partnership with Slimstock and we look forward to working with them as we unlock further opportunities to improve our operational performance.”