Offering an extensive range encompassing everything from themed bunting and table wear to balloons and hen party essentials, no celebration is complete without Ginger Ray's party products. To solidify the party’s specialist position as a leading innovator of celebration products, the business has teamed up with the inventory experts at Slimstock.
As the fastest growing wholesaler and retailer of party supplies & decorations, Ginger Ray, has seen exponential growth over the last 10 years. With a customer base including many major high street retailers, department stores and independents across the globe, the party specialist has taken the strategic decision to implement Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, to support their continued international expansion.
Ben Spence, Managing Director at Ginger Ray explains: “In the past, we could rely on spreadsheets alone to keep our inventory in check. However, as our business grows and evolves, it’s vital that we continuously strive to exceed the high standards our customers have come to expect. For this reason, we have placed real focus upon improving the efficiency of our business.”
This major supply chain project will focus upon equipping the planning team at Ginger Ray with the tools and knowledge to deliver the business’ growth ambitions. “By bringing stability to our supply chain, our people can invest more time and energy into improving the level of service we provide our customers,” adds Ben.
Focused around forecasting, demand planning and inventory optimisation, the project in partnership with Slimstock will provide the team at Ginger Ray with greater insight allowing more strategic purchasing decisions. Furthermore, by automating a large proportion of the inventory management process, the planning team will be able to work more efficiently and have extra time to focus on what really matters. This, in turn, will enable the party specialist to achieve substantial increases in availability while simultaneously reducing inventory costs.
“After discussing our challenges with a number of different vendors, Slimstock’s consultative approach outlined them as the clear choice for us. Given their experience in the sector coupled with their passion for wholesale and retail, I have no doubt that Slimstock will be the perfect partner to help our business advance,” States Ben.
Richard Evans, Managing Director at Slimstock UK concludes: “Given Ginger Ray’s commitment to innovation, we are thrilled to support Ben and his team through this next phase of growth. With the project already well underway, we look forward to building a lasting relationship.”
Den globale legeplads innovatør, Kompan, har for nylig annonceret et spændende nyt partnerskab med os, med fokus på at opbygge en sundere forsyningskædedrift.
Hvert år giver Kompan’s lege- og sportsløsninger glæde for millioner af mennesker over hele verden. Fra at hjælpe kunder med at visualisere deres perfekte legeplads, til fremstilling og distribution af komplette legepladsløsninger, er Kompan forpligtet til at gøre deres kunder’s købsoplevelse så behagelig som mulig. For at sikre, at deres produkter forbliver sikre, tilbyder legepladsspecialisten også et komplet udvalg af reservedele og tilbehør, der forlænger levetiden for deres kundes køb.
For at etablere et solidt fundament for yderligere innovation, vil Kompan gå sammen med Slimstock. Gennem øget driftseffektivitet vil Slimstock hjælpe teamet hos Kompan med, at frigøre driftskapital, der kan geninvesteres i andre forretningsområder.
Henning Nør Hansen, som er direktør for supply chain operations hos Kompan, tilføjer: ”Innovation er kernen i vores forretning, og vi leder altid efter måder, vi kan gøre livet bedre for vores kunder. Af denne grund investerer vi i både vores mennesker og teknologi for i sidste ende, at forbedre ydelsen i vores forsyningskæde.”
Som en del af en bredere forretningsgennemgang af deres eksisterende processer, vil Kompan optimere deres IT-infrastruktur med Slimstock's lageroptimeringsløsning, Slim4. Med et indledende fokus på at optimere lagerbeholdningen i Kompans produktions- og lagerfacilitet i Tjekkiet, bruger teamet på HQ, i Danmark, Slim4 til, at optimere deres tilgang til lagerstyring. Henning Nør Hansen tilføjer videre: "For at nå vores mål for kundetilfredshed, vil Slim4 hjælpe med at forbedre produkttilgængeligheden og samtidig reducere det samlede lagerniveau."
Peter Malling, kommerciel direktør i Slimstock Danmark konkluderer: ”I betragtning af Kompan's globale anseelse for både innovation og kreativitet, er vi glade for at støtte virksomheden, når de forfølger deres mål for effektivitetsforbedring. I betragtning af at både Kompan og Slimstock deler den samme passion for kundetilfredshed, ser jeg frem til at etablere et langvarigt partnerskab.”
On one of the hottest days of the year, 30 supply chain professionals visited the bicycle manufacturer, Van Raam, as Anjo Lubbers, ICT & Logistics Professional, offered his insightful perspective on the supply chain:
"If the purchasing, confirmation and delivery of an order can be completed in line with the standard price and delivery time, as little human action should be involved as possible "
As a manufacturer of unique custom bicycles, every product offered by Van Raam is developed, produced and assembled (on order) in-house. For years many, the team at Van Raam has relied on Slim4 to maintain consistently high levels of availability.
During the tour, employees of the company showed how innovations such as 3D printing and advanced robotics are being utilised to facilitate the businesses growth ambitions. In just 4 years, the specialist bicycle manufacturer has doubled the sales turnover without increasing the size of the purchasing team. Anjo goes on to add: “everything in our operation has expanded except for the size of the purchasing department.”
Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, is trusted completely when the team come to placing orders. Furthermore, through integrating the Tradecloud purchasing portal, lead times have been halved. Through centralising communication with suppliers, the ordering process has been streamlined.
Kruitbosch, the cycling specialist which owns both the growing bicycle brands Cortina and Alpina have recently implemented Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4. “Our goal is to keep our stock availability above 96% throughout the high season,” highlights Norbert Went, sales & operations planning manager.
Over the last few years, Kruitbosch has evolved from a wholesaler of bicycles and accessories into a major retail partner for specialist bicycle shops and web shops across both the Netherlands and Belgium. From the business’ warehouse in Zwolle, Kruitbosch delivers over 12,500 items from stock. For this reason, the cycling specialist is able to fulfil their ‘ordered today, delivered tomorrow’ promise.
“Guaranteeing the correct availability, even during the high season, is our biggest challenge is in. This was the main factor when we started looking for an inventory management solution,” explains Norbert. After having a good experience with Slim4 at a previous employer, both Norbert his college Katrin Otten, again outlined Slim4 as their preferred inventory management solution following a short selection process.
With Slim4 now successfully implemented, the team at Kruitbosch is looking forward to kicking off the new cycling season with confidence. Norbert goes on to conclude: “Our main objective is to keep inventory availability above 96%. If we can also reduce the inventory value at the same time, that would be fantastic but that is not an end in itself.”
If you look outside your window, you might be surprised to discover that summer has already officially begun. However, retailers should not be put off by the recent wintery weather: according to new research , up to 70% of retailers enjoy double digit growth during the summer months as the better weather forces shoppers out of hibernation.
While seasonal influxes can present retailers with great opportunities to profit, British weather is a volatile force and even the most marginal drop in temperature or hint of rain can have a devastating impact on sales. Research suggests that a deviation of just 1° from the seasonal average temperature typically leads to a 1% change in sales. Given that the UK retail industry is worth around £300bn, this minor fluctuation could impact retail sales by as much as £3bn.
With the potential to boost sales in the coming months, what can you do to prevent your operations from being left high and dry by uncertainty?
Noisy demand patterns
For retailers with many stores across the country, demand can vary hugely between each location. As a result, supply chain teams a face a real challenge in ensuring not only the right products are stocked in each location but that each location holds appropriate levels of stock: too much could result in waste while too little could leave customers disappointed.
Understanding this demand challenge, Tesco took extreme measures last year to ensure that customers were able to buy exactly what they needed to make the most of the summer sun. With a super market within walking distance of one of the largest festivals in the UK, the super market chain replaced carrots and broccoli with crates of beer and cider in time for the Reading festival weekend. Anticipating over 35,000 festival going customers over the weekend, it seems Tesco understood exactly how this surge in demand would impact their operations and took the necessary actions to keep customers happy and maximise sales opportunities.
Considering that demand can be highly localised, it is important that retailers keep close control of their inventory situation at all levels of the operation. In the instance of Tesco, it made sense to hold extremely high levels of stock at one particular store in the run up to the Reading festival. However, in times of normal trading, this is unlikely to be the case. For retailers, determining exactly where in the chain stock should be held is one of the most difficult decisions to answer. After all, to what extent does demand fluctuate between stores? Should safety stocks be held at a store level or at one or all of the distribution centres?
The taste of summer
While having to cater for 35,000 festival goers over just a couple of days is an extreme example of a demand spike, volatility is something which must be managed on a day to day basis. Take for instance the sales of fresh meat: the weather can have a huge impact on the kind of fresh products people buy: a staggering 50% of consumers indicated that they based their purchase decision on the weather. As a consequence, retailers have to manage their inventories accordingly. Given the additional challenge presented by the product's short shelf-lives, failure to align operations with customer demand can result in huge costs as excess stock has to be wasted.
Given that retailers exist in a fast moving environment at the best of times, using monthly or event weekly forecasts alone is simply not sufficient to allow your business to pick up and respond to changeable daily demand patterns.
The flip-flop nature of sales
While the nature of food retail calls for responsiveness, fashion retailers face an equally daunting task during the summer months: making sure they have enough stock to last the season without being left with large levels of mark downs at the end of the season. Unlike food retail, where many items are sold throughout the year, a large proportion of fashion items are likely to be stocked for just a matter of weeks before being replaced with new lines.
As a consequence, this means that there is only a very small window in which to determine the initial allocation of stock, distribute items to stores and then convince the end consumer to purchase these items before products have to be marked down to make space for the next collection. Of course if summer arrives late (or fails to arrive at all!) retailers can be left with a very costly stock issue as the sales window shrinks.
In order to maximise sales opportunities during this limited seasonal window, it is important that retailers get the initial allocation right. A poor decision at this point could result in inappropriate inventory levels for the rest of the season. Furthermore, given that the weather could turn at any point in season, it is important that retailers take time to assess their exact order requirements for the second or even third replenishment. If the order moment is wrong or if stock is ordered in the wrong quantities, retailers may leave themselves in a difficult position where excess stock or out of stock dictates their profitability.
Rain or shine: protect your operations
From the clothes we wear to the food we eat (not to mention the beer we drink), it seems summer has a huge impact on our purchase behaviour. While good weather is partly to blame for the shifts in demand, there are a whole range of other factors which must be accounted for. As a consequence, retailers require complete visibility over anticipated demand at all levels of their operation. However, given that there is only a certain extent to which anyone can predict the weather, it is important that businesses have in place rigorous forecasting processes which encompasses historic demand, emerging trends, seasonality and promotions. Furthermore, it is also critical that the forecasting procedure accounts for volatility on a day to day basis in order to ensure operations are well aligned with the ever shifting demands of the end consumer.
Carefully managed, summer can provide businesses with a potentially huge opportunity to profit. However, without the sufficient insight, they risk leaving themselves unnecessarily exposed to seasonal fluctuations in demand. With this in mind, what steps have you taken to prepare for the seasonal challenges that lie ahead?
As a key supply chain partner to the building services industry, Brymec has secured a market-leading position through offering customers an unmatched level of service. To help set a solid foundation for future growth and secure their position as an indispensable partner within the industry, the supplier of HVAC and industrial components has recently announced a strategic partnership with the inventory experts, Slimstock.
With an extensive range of products including own branded products manufactured to Brymec’s exacting standards, the business provides its customers the ultimate convenience and peace of mind. Given that Brymec’s next day, timed and same day delivery options are available across the entire product range, maintaining high levels of availability is critical.
As a business that strives to satisfy its customer’s project requirements, regardless of how complex or how aggressive the timescale, inventory optimisation has become an increasingly high priority for the team at Brymec. Andy Thomas, sourcing director at Brymec explains: “Our customers cannot afford to compromise on essential deadlines and therefore neither can we.”
With an ever-expanding range including many new own-brand product lines, managing the inventory currently requires a high degree of manual intervention from Andy and his team. In order to help the business to advance their approach to inventory management, Brymec will implement Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4.
“To build upon our already impressive standard of customer service, we knew we needed a solution that could help us to optimise our inventory. However, we were also looking for an implementation partner that had both the capability to successfully implement a solution that complements our operation and that could enrich the knowledge of our team. For this reason, Slimstock was a clear choice.”
Martin Montgomery, supply chain specialist at Slimstock, goes on to conclude: “As a business that is as committed to their customer’s success as we are, I see great parallels between Brymec and Slimstock. With the implementation project now underway, we are excited to support Andy and his team in their pursuit of operational excellence as Brymec grows.”
Since launching in the Danish market in 2010, Slimstock has gone from strength to strength. Following continued growth in the region, Slimstock, Europe’s market-leading inventory optimisation specialist has recently solidified their Danish team with the addition of two experienced industry professionals; Peter Malling and Kristoffer Drejer.
Peter Malling, Commercial Director
As senior commercial director at Slimstock Denmark, Peter is dedicated to helping businesses unlock their full potential through optimising their inventories. With over 15 years of experience of helping businesses to achieve growth, Peter has joined Slimstock to assist customers to optimise their various supply chain processes with Slim4.
“I always try and put myself in the position of the customer, and their customers as well. I believe a clear understanding of the customer’s pain points is vital in order to sell and implement the right solution which will ultimately help them to compete in a market that continues to disrupt and challenge them.” explains Peter.
Kristoffer Drejer, Supply chain consultant
Dedicated to helping customers successfully implement our inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, as well as deliver continuous efficiency improvements, Khristoffer joined Slimstock’s in 2019 as a supply chain consultant. As a former Slim4 key user at Triscan SmartParts, Kristoffer understands first hand how Slim4 can be utilised to reduce inventory levels, unlock working capital, boost efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.
Slimstocks Vision for the Nordics
Explaining Slimstock’s growth strategy for the Nordic region, Richard Evans Managing director of Slimstock UK & Nordics highlights: “Over the last 18 months, we have invested heavily into the Nordic markets to better support our customers and help them achieve their supply chain objectives.”
Underpinned by the Slimstock’s 500-strong international team, the inventory experts’ ambition has always been to provide customers with local support delivered by local experts. “In Denmark, Sweden and Norway, we have established a solid team of experienced professionals. Our vision for the future to build upon the existing Nordic Group but with more focused local support, marketing and growth,” adds Richard.
From its eight warehouses, Febelco supplies over 3,200 independent pharmacies up to three times a day. In terms of inventory management, this way of working presents the Belgian wholesale distributor of health products with a number of major challenges. In order to overcome these supply chain hurdles, Febelco took the strategic decision to implement Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4.
“One of the most important improvements that we have achieved so far is the improved transparency over our inventory position. Ultimately, Slim4 now offers a solid base for further optimisation,” explains Marianne Donche, deputy purchasing director at Febelco.
Customer orders can be made directly via the customer service team, via the internet or via the purchase platform, Profficina. Given that pharmacists expect their orders to be delivered within just a few hours coupled with the fact that the business typically makes up to 3 deliveries per day, Febelco’s service division if under huge pressure.
In order to guarantee fast deliveries, Febelco have built a network of eight warehouses located across Belgium. While these warehouses vary greatly in terms of size and the degree of automation, all of them satisfy the business’ ‘Exceptional Distribution Practice’ guidelines. In total, a fleet of 250 delivery vans operate around the clock to make over 22,000 deliveries to pharmacies every day.
As Europe’s leading independent manufacturer, wholesaler and distributors of aftermarket air brake and vehicle control system components, supply chain innovation has always been at the centre of European Braking Systems’ (EBS) success. However, to underpin the business’ ambitious 5-year objective to grow substantially, the automotive braking specialist has joined forces with inventory optimisation experts, Slimstock, to launch a major supply chain initiative focusing on enhancing visibility and control across their extensive operation.
Since 2000, EBS has strived to provide customers with a sustainable supply chain for top quality aftermarket components. Committed to the advancement of braking technology, EBS invest heavily into R&D and their own-brand range of components has helped the businesses to establish itself as one of the world’s leading airbrake manufacturers.
Furthermore, with a range of over 25,000 items ranging from their own “EBS” branded product and market leading manufacturers including Haldex, Knorr Bremse and Wabco, EBS offer one of the most unique assortments of air brake and related components available in the market. This combination of unrivalled product choice coupled with the team’s extensive knowledge and technical expertise has helped EBS to set its self apart from the competition.
As part of a wider focus on optimising business performance, the team at EBS will implement Slimstock inventory management solution, Slim4. Chris Roberts, purchasing manager at EBS explains: “To continue growing at our current planned rate, it is vital that we exploit every possible opportunity to drive efficiency improvements across our operation. Given Slimstock’s experience in the aftermarket sector, I have no doubt they are the right partners to help us professionalise our approach to inventory management.”
Following the successful implementation of a new warehouse management system, the braking specialist will implement Slim4 to help manage the growing complexity of their operation. Focusing initially on the central distribution centre in Manchester, the planning team at EBS will utilise Slim4 to help forecast demand across their extensive range before rolling the solution across their other locations.
Chris Roberts goes on to add: “Slim4 will provide us with the visibility we need to reduce planning errors and improve the time efficiency of our inventory management processes. Ultimately, by reducing excess stock and improving availability, we will be better positioned to satisfy the needs of our customers”.
“As a business that understands and appreciates the importance of supply chain innovation as much as we do at Slimstock, we look forward to building a lasting partnership with European Breaking Systems.” concludes Richard Evans, managing director at Slimstock UK.
DSV Global Transport & Logistics, a logistics services provider with subsidiaries in more than 80 countries, has signed a partnership with Slimstock as their preferred inventory optimisation software provider. DSV has a dedicated team of inventory optimisation specialists that has been improving supply chain performance for their customers for over 13 years. Slimstock’s software and supply chain knowledge will be used to support DSV’s inventory optimisation team in assisting their customers with their inventory management processes and helping them improve their supply chain performance.
"Customers nowadays demand more of us than just warehousing, order fulfilment and distribution. They need a logistics partner that takes on responsibilities throughout the supply chain, including optimisation of stock levels. This strategic partnership stems from a years-long relationship between our 2 companies and underlines our commitment to deliver inventory optimisation as an integral part of our service offering” says Meinderdjan Botman, Chief Commercial Officer at DSV Solutions.
Eric van Dijk, CEO of Slimstock, has high expectations for the partnership with DSV. "Many companies struggle with inventory management and their role within the supply chain. Together with DSV, we developed a quick scan to calculate the improvement potential for DSV's customers. Based on this analysis we can help companies to improve their supply chain performance. At Slimstock we already do this for about 1.000 companies worldwide."
First automotive customer ready to roll
DSV’s first customer that will be using Slimstock’s software is a car dealership based in South Africa. They work with such brands as Hyundai, Opel, Isuzu, Renault, Suzuki and Volkswagen. The company has outsourced its logistics operations to the local DSV subsidiary. In a pilot project, DSV will start to manage and improve the inventories for them by using the software from Slimstock.