Sunday 23rd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Halfords boosts product availability

Halfords Group in the Netherlands has improved product availability after deploying Slimstock’s Slim4 inventory management and stock optimisation software.

As a result, the company is now managing more than one million SKUs with just three planners, as stock for all 160 stores is calculated automatically overnight.

Previously, one of the main issues had been the amount of time it had taken shop managers to complete re-ordering processes on a daily basis – time that could have been spent with the customer.

Managing director Willem Marcelissen said: “At the same time we wanted to reduce both the number of stock-outs in the shops, as well as the total inventory in our central distribution centre.”

The company initially looked at making better use of its existing ERP system, but it found that functionality for demand planning and inventory management proved to be insufficient for projected demands. 

Instead, the company then made an overview of all available specialised products, including Slimstock.

“Our margins are tight so we demand fast measurable successes and want to get the best out of our organisation,” Marcelissen added.
After installing the system at its central warehouse, Halfords saw a noticeable reduction in total inventory and improved availability after eight weeks.
The company then started the roll-out to shops – initially selecting ten pilot stores.  Within weeks all ten had reported an increase in sales compared to the others, gaps on the shelves had been reduced without adding inventory, and manager had more time to focus on customers.  

Additionally, managers were reporting availability running consistently higher than before, with a corresponding decrease in time spent checking stock levels.

“That was reason enough for us to go ahead with the roll-out to all shops,” said Marcelissen. “The result is that today all shops are better stocked and have lower operational costs.

“Every night the optimal stock for all out shops is calculated automatically. We can now manage the inventory in all our 160 shops with only three planners – and they take care of over a million SKUs.”

Slimstock’s UK arm is based in Coventry where the software was originally developed.