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“Thanks to Slim4, we are now regularly offering a service level of over 99% on our A line items.”

Simon Owen

QA and Supply Chain Controller | Kitchen Craft

KitchenCraft asserts their market-leading position with service level of 99%

KitchenCraft was originally founded in 1850 as a manufacturer and wholesaler of ironmongery and household products. Often still referred to as Thomas Plant by many of their customers, the company has evolved into being one of the largest kitchen and homewares companies in the UK. Today, KitchenCraft boasts a product range of over 3,500 products supplying to customers in more than 70 countries. In such a competitive industry, market-leading products have to be backed up with fantastic service levels, particularly developing KitchenCraft’s consistent industry award-winning status for serviceability.

KitchenCraft places huge importance on product availability. Such is the competitiveness of this industry that their customers demand impeccable service levels to back up their impressive range of products.

Service is paramount

Simon Owen states “The seasonal nature of our products, combined with the long lead times and high MOQ’s make planning stock a tricky business. In tandem with this, we have the typical pareto split where 20% of our products have regular demand, but the 80% ‘tail’ requires a higher degree of management. For us, service to our customers is paramount; we have both new customers and customers that have been with us for over a century! You don’t keep a customer for over 100 years without offering them high levels of service.”

For many years, KitchenCraft managed their stock with a series of spreadsheets and a concept of a min-max inventory system. This meant that the planners were having to look at every product, every day in order to determine which ones needed attention.

Time to focus on what matters

Slim4, Slimstock’s inventory management system, was implemented in 2012. “Slimstock worked with us throughout and after the implementation to ensure that our goals were met; there was a little scepticism at first with regards to the solution, but now the figures speak for themselves”, states Simon.

Simon goes on to say, “following the implementation of Slim4, we have been able to get our service levels up to an industry leading high. In a period where we have also seen great improvements in revenues, we are now regularly offering a service level of over 99% on our A line items; even our C line items are consistently over 98%. Not only is our product availability right where we want it, but the management by exception functionality offered by Slim4 allows us to only focus on those items that require attention. This means that my team can continue to add value to what is already a highly efficient supply chain.”

Seamless integration with ERP

Slim4 has been implemented by Slimstock to run alongside Kitchen Crafts existing ERP system Chorus, to provide functionality where the ERP is lacking. Combining the two programs allows a “best of breed” setup, where the maximum benefit is derived from both. However, Slim4 is not tied to any particular ERP software, and can be implemented across any existing platform.

Slim4 was customised for KitchenCraft by creating a structured process and task list for use by the supply planners, allowing them to see their stock position at a glance, as well as where their attention should be focused for best effect. This helped drive efficiency and provide the outstanding service levels KitchenCraft strives for.

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