Timber And Building Supplies Holland

“Slim4 has made our inventory management effective. The focus is now on supply chain management.”

René van Kesteren

Supply Chain Manager | TABS Holland

Tabs Holland

TABS Holland attracts new talent thanks to Slim4

First, they were purchasers, then inventory managers and now they are supply chain planners focused on optimising processes and availability. It is this development that has helped the construction wholesaler, TABS Holland, to attract young talent to their supply chain team. René van Kesteren, supply chain manager, explains how Slimstock’s Slim4 software played an important role in this.

Timber and Building Supplies Holland, known as TABS Holland, arose from the merger between Pontmeyer, Jongeneel and seven other construction wholesalers. From its twelve central DCs located across the Netherlands, the business distributes all kinds and sizes of wood and building materials to around a hundred local branches.

René van Kesteren is the manager of the central supply chain department in Zaandam, where ten new planners were recruited in one year.

He noticed that the labour market was limited at the time. “Good people are hard to find and newcomers want a hip and dynamic working environment. Neither of which are typically associated with the construction sector.”

Improving processes

The positive evolution of the inventory management function within the company has helped tremendously in attracting young talent: “At first, we were seen purely as just the ‘ordering department’, with people who only had to press the order button, so to speak. Now we are a real supply chain department, focused on optimising availability, stock turns and processes. Slim4’s management by exception principles has helped enormously with this development. Routine tasks are automated and planners are free to focus on process improvements.”

A good example of a situation that requires collaboration and process improvement is the preparation required for the new garden season. This is typically the annual moment when the demand for wood in the Netherlands peaks.

“For this, we have to start building up stock levels in time, otherwise we can never have everything available on the shelf when required. Planners must then try to manage the peak in a smart way and also involve suppliers in this. This requires a completely different skill set than just preparing orders; namely exploring scenarios, collaborating with suppliers and sharing purchasing forecasts. However, our planners now have time for this.”

The sky is the limit

Van Kesteren is satisfied with the results the department has achieved so far. Inventory KPIs are pointing in the right direction: inventory availability has increased across the board and turnover has accelerated.

He sees a bright future for his department, with great career opportunities. “TABS is a flat organisation and there is plenty of room for new initiatives. The sky’s the limit, as far as we’re concerned. Construction is not exactly leading the way in the field of chain collaboration, so there is still enormous progress to be made. If you want to contribute to this, you’ve come to the right place. We always have room for young talent.”

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