Camlab reduces inventory by £100,000

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Laboratory products supplier Camlab has cut inventory costs and achieved 99 per cent stock accuracy after deploying Balloon One’s warehouse management system.

Since installation 12 months ago, Camlab has saved more than £100,000 in stock costs, and it expects to reduce stock holding further while maintaining customer service levels.

The move came about after the company acquired Patterson Scientific in 2007, which increased its total inventory to 55,000 SKUs.

While this enabled customers to procure all products from a single source it presented a major warehouse management challenge to the company’s original computer system.
Camlab replaced its old computer system with a SAP Business One enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Although the new ERP software offered a warehouse management module, Camlab recognised that it would not perform the job it needed for managing such a massive number of product lines.
Rowan Maulder, marketing director at Camlab, said: “Our SAP partner recommended Balloon One as our warehouse IT partner. The company has significant and demonstrable expertise in integrating warehouse management systems with SAP. Its radio-frequency warehouse management system offered the flexibility, accuracy and speed we needed to automate the warehouse for maximising efficiency and reducing operational costs.

“The system quickly provided 95 per cent accuracy, which was a big leap forward for us and now we consistently achieve over 99 per cent accuracy. The annual stock take is a thing of the past as we now have a perpetual inventory allowing full and instant visibility of stock and stocking levels.”
Camlab uses an artificial intelligence-based tool from Balloon One. Within six months, the software had helped the company to reduce stock by almost ten per cent, which paid for the software.

It also reduced dead and inactive inventory by 50 per cent and increased weekly productivity by 75 per cent. The software analyses every single product line – numbers of items, turnover, buying patterns and supply.
“The software allows us to drive service levels and manage our costs. It has given us a clear view of our inventory and allows us to take firm control by helping to balance the stock and reduce stock holding.

“A year ago, we held £750,000 of stock and now it is nearer £650,000 while maintaining satisfaction levels,” added Maulder.

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