The business behind some of Britain’s leading kitchenware brands including Tala and ChefAid, has established a new benchmark by which all future supply chain projects will be judged. Following the success of a major project focused on improving both stock availability and efficiency this month, the leading kitchenware supplier, George East, has already started to realise the tangible benefits of their work with inventory management specialist, Slimstock.
With a broad range of products and an extensive customer base encompassing a number of well-known high street retailers, George East is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of kitchen and homeware products. Carl Debbage, Commercial Manager at George East explains: “Given the complexity of our global network of suppliers, coupled with the continuous growth of our assortment, it was vital that we took steps to improve both availability and service levels in order to keep up with the growing demand for our products.”
After seeing how Slimstock’s inventory management solution, Slim4, could help the business better manage seasonal demand and product lifecycles, the homewares specialist decided to join their parent company, Nedac Sorbo group, as one of 650+ other businesses to implement Slimstock’s inventory management solution, Slim4. Debbage goes on to add: “Although we have only been using the solution for a short time, I can already see how critical Slim4 has become for our operations.”
Since the project was first initiated in November 2015, the team at George East have already started to notice the business benefits. “Working with the team at Slimstock on what has been a highly complex project has been a pleasure. The expertise of the consultants at Slimstock has been evident throughout and it has been a great experience in how a project should be managed. Slimstock has helped us establish a new benchmark by which all future projects will be judged,” States Debbage.
Richard Evans, managing director at Slimstock UK goes on to add: “This has been an exciting project for everyone here at Slimstock and I am confident that our work with George East will help the business go from strength to strength.”
To help maintain and improve their market leading availability across their stylish range of bathroom furniture products, Roper Rhodes has taken a major step towards bolstering their position as the UK’s favourite independent bathroom specialist. Following the decision to partner with Slimstock, the bathroom specialist will utilise the inventory management expert’s supply chain solution, Slim4, to increase customer service levels and support the business' continuous growth and achieve supply chain success.
With customers ranging from national merchant groups to local authorities, housing associations and plumbing contractors, Roper Rhodes has provided customers with a complete range of functional and stylish bathroom furniture for over 30 years. With the support of Slimstock, the UK’s favourite bathroom supplier will now utilise Slimstock’s inventory optimisation solution, Slim4, to modernise their approach to inventory management.
“In the past, we relied upon our ERP system to help manage our inventory. However, as the business has grown, we knew that this approach was simply no longer optimal,” explains John Wright, Operations Director at Roper Rhodes. With an already extensive range encompassing; sanitary ware, showers, taps and bathroom accessories, the business required a solution which could enable the team to forecast demand with greater confidence and thus, manage their ever-evolving assortment more effectively.
With the ability to anticipate demand with much greater accuracy, once Slim4 has been implemented, the team at Roper Rhodes can focus more of their time and attention on what really matters to their customers. “Given Slimstock’s extensive industry experience, flexibility and robust project methodology, it was obvious that they were the right partner for us,” adds John.
Richard Evans, Managing Director at Slimstock goes on to conclude: “As we embark upon this project, I am confident that our work with Roper Rhodes will help the business on their journey towards supply chain excellence.”
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Since 1983, Drive Products has supplied truck mounted equipment for commercial vehicles from operations across Canada. By replacing their existing planning tools with Slimstock’s software, Slim4, they immediately realized inventory could be further reduced by $6Million, and the end is not in sight.
Drive Products is the country’s leading integrator for commercial vehicles. Next to sourcing truck mounted equipment, the company specializes in installation and repair services. The inventory contains 412,600 SKUs, which includes anything from snow plows to bulk transport, towing & recovery solutions, to garbage truck equipment. Mike King, corporate manager supply chain operations explains; “If it can be attached to a truck, Drive Products most likely sells it.”
Slimstock supplants the competition
Due to several acquisitions, the assortment of inventory at Drive Products grew fast and relying on support for their outdated software was turning inventory management into a complex task. To get rid of excess inventory and re-balance it across their distribution network, Drive Products decided to integrate Slimstock’s, Slim4 to their Great Plains ERP and replace their outdated planning solution. “Our previous solution was rather cumbersome to use,” says King. “We considered upgrading with the same vendor, but experience with their support had not been positive. Replacing it with Slimstock’s software was a good choice for us. It far exceeds the speed, accuracy, and performance of our previous solution. The support from Slimstock has been outstanding in comparison too.” The implementation completed well under budget and Slim4 immediately highlighted $2Million in excess purchase recommendations from the previous planning solution.
A clearer insight into irregular demand
Canada’s weather has a tremendous influence on Drive Products sales. Slim4 automatically recognizes seasonality, and based on predictions; we can assure sales that the right products will be available when needed. “Due to a more stable forecast, we have fewer short shipments from suppliers,” says King. He adds, “Slim4 isolates exceptions quickly and alerts us to trends. I now have much clearer insight into irregular demand too. Slim4 provides greater visibility than I ever had before.”
Inventory reduced by more than $ 6M
Previously, A-items made up a large portion of Drive Products’ stock, but only turned 4.8 times a year. With help from Slim4, the inventory value has been reduced by almost $ 6Million and the stock turn has doubled on many items. “Reducing inventory is about as easy as pulling a few levers now,” says King. He adds; “We’ve further centralized our planning process, which has drastically improved efficiency. Previously it took us three days to determine purchase requirements for just one location. Now it takes one day to buy for the entire company, and I can manage it all from one location”, explains King. “I now have more control over stock. We can see where we’re over, rebalance inventory for the start of a season, and stop out of season purchases before they affect our balance sheet.” King foresees a bright future. “I don’t have a lot of spare minutes in my day,” Says King; “but Slim4 is quick. It’s an efficient solution that has positively influenced the performance of our business.”