Morplan is the number one supplier to the UK's retail and fashion industries and, with over 5,000 products featured in our catalogue and many more online,we aim to be the one stop shop for all our customers. We've been around for over 170 years so we like to think we know a thing or two about how to serve you best.
- ACHIEVEMENTSHuge improvements in service levels while simultaneously reducing excess stock
Morplan reunites with Slim4
Since first launching in 1845, Morplan has grown to become one of the UK’s leading suppliers to the fashion and retail industry. Through their annual catalogue, website and stores, Morplan offer an extensive assortment encompassing over 6,500 different products; with everything from hangers and hooks to mannequins, display showcases, shop fittings, point-of-sale material and fashion industry tools. However, given the seasonal influence on demand and the fact that many items are subjected to lengthy lead times, John Pemble, Head of Product and Purchasing, and his team faced ever increasing pressure to meet their next day delivery promise.
From the head office in Harlow, Morplan was one of the first companies to recognise the benefits of Slim4 in the UK. However, following an IT upgrade in 1998, SAP was introduced as the group-wide ERP system, bringing an end to Morplan’s use of Slim4. “Although on the whole we were satisfied with SAP, the inventory team found that the SAP forecasting system struggled to achieve the level of accuracy they required,” explains John. “As a consequence, we simply had too much of the wrong stock and not enough of the right items.”
A more proactive approach
Despite utilising SAP as well as a number of additional spreadsheets to manage the stock, Morplan were still holding too much inventory and were forced to invest in additional warehouse space to accommodate excess stock of bulky items. “Despite our best efforts, we still had 30% excess stock on some lines while a significant number of others were out of stock.”
explains John. Given that many items within Morplan’s assortment are subjected to a high level of seasonality and that thousands of items are sourced from the Far East, John decided to re-introduce Slim4 in order to take a more proactive approach to inventory management.
Proven methods for success
“We had worked with Slimstock in the past and with increasing warehouse and transportation costs, we decided to re-implement their forecasting and inventory management tool, Slim4.” When starting the project, there were three clear objectives: increase availability, decrease excess stock and improve overall business performance. John goes on to explain: “We already knew the people at Slimstock and we were confident that they could deliver on all three targets”.
Through utilising the standard SAP to Slim4 interface, the implementation was straightforward and Morplan started to see improvement soon after the solution was successfully implemented: “With Slim4, we were able to investigate seasonal patterns across our range in much greater detail. This, in turn, helped us identify a number of immediate issues and as a result, within the first few weeks of using Slim4, we were on course to achieve our stock reduction targets”.
Impressed with the impact Slim4 has had on Morplan’s performance, John concludes: “Thanks to Slim4, we have increased the service level across our assortment to over 97%. Furthermore, as a result of the huge reduction in excess stock, we have been able to focus more of our time on the art of buying, managing suppliers and achieving further cost reductions.”
“With Slim4, we were able to investigate seasonal patterns across our range in much greater detail. This, in turn, helped us identify a number of immediate issues and as a result, within the first few weeks of using Slim4, we were on course to achieve our stock reduction targets”.