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“Within a year, our inventory value has dropped from £7m to £4.5m”

Simon Cook

Operations Director | HydroGarden

Hydrogarden flourishes following supply chain success

As the U.K.’s leading supplier of hydroponic equipment, HydroGarden has set the industry standard in service and product quality since 1996.

To solidify their position at the forefront of the hydroponic market and support continued growth, the specialist manufacturer and distributor formed a strategic partnership with Slimstock to boost supply chain performance.

Challenge

HydroGarden’s wide product range encompasses everything required to build the perfect growing environment for plants. For this reason, the hydroponics specialist is the supplier of choice for retailers, commercial growers and research organisations.

Simon Cook, Procurement and Operations Director at HydroGarden explains: “We are committed to providing an unequalled standard of customer service; both in terms of product choice and reliability. However, to support our continued business growth, we needed to take steps to optimise our supply chain processes.”

Why Slimstock?

As part of an extensive review of their business objectives and wider IT landscape, the hydroponics specialist identified the need for a solid planning platform on which they could adapt to ever-evolving trends in the market.

After reviewing several solutions, including their existing tool, HydroGarden decided to implement Slimstock’s inventory optimisation platform, Slim4. “After meeting with the team at Slimstock, it was clear that their expert consultants had the experience and knowledge to help us realise our growth objectives,” adds Simon.

Explaining how Slim4 could support the planning team, the Procurement and Operations Director highlights: “Slim4 is a complete solution for forecasting, demand planning and inventory optimisation. Therefore, we were confident that the tool would help us improve visibility and enable more accurate decision making.”

Actionable insights

One of the main goals of the optimisation project was to help Simon and his team gain greater transparency over their inventory KPIs. “The complexity of our operation has increased significantly as our business has grown. Consequently, our existing systems lacked the visibility we needed to remain responsive to the demands of our customers,” explains Simon.

Explaining how the intuitive dashboard within Slim4 supports decision-making across the business, the Procurement and Operations Director goes on to add: “Slim4 not only provides our planning team with the insight they need on a day-to-day basis, we also rely on Slim4 heavily when producing board-level reports. Ultimately, with complete visibility and instant access to the figures we really need, our people can make the most informed decisions.”

Tackling the container-crisis

Following the successful implementation process, the planning team quickly gained confidence in the system.

However, as the team started to roll out the solution to other areas of the business, Covid-19 started to disrupt HydroGarden’s global supply chain: “The pandemic has had a major impact on our logistics operation. Given the shortage of containers in the Far East, for example, we had to act decisively to mitigate the impact of supply-side disruption.”

Utilising Slim4, Simon and his team were able to quickly re-evaluate their shipping requirements. “Given that we had to fill larger containers, Slim4 provided us with the insight required to ensure we filled them with the most appropriate items. As a result, we could manage our shipments with confidence, ensuring that the impact on availability and cost was minimised,” states Simon.

Reducing the inventory as sales grow

Despite the disruption caused by Covid-19 and Brexit, HydroGarden has maintained healthy growth in sales.

Highlighting how Slim4 facilitated this success while helping the business to reduce inventory levels, Simon explains: “Within a year, our inventory value has dropped from £7m to £4.5m. While this was accelerated by an increase in sales, Slim4 has contributed hugely to this success by enabling our people to underpin this reduction with robust analysis.”

Next steps

With less of HydroGarden’s resources tied up in inventory, the business has attained a healthier cashflow. “We now have more breathing space to innovate,” states Simon

With the efficiency gains being delivered by Slim4, the planning team can invest more time into building supplier relationships as well developing their knowledge: “We are already implementing new initiatives to optimise supplier MOQs and lead times. Furthermore, Slimstock’s successful academy programme will allow us to continue to grow our proficiency within the solution.”

Happy with the results so far, Simon concludes: “In what has been an extremely turbulent year, the team at Slimstock have been a huge help. As we look towards the future, there is lots of potential for further operational improvements.”