Spar boosts service levels to 99.5% through more effective daily planning

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As a consequence of huge fluctuations in demand and extensive product ranges, for many retailers, consistently meeting the needs of their customers can be a real challenge. In order to take a more proactive approach to supply chain planning, Spar Holding BV turned to Slimstock and their inventory optimisation software solution, Slim4.

To absorb volatility in demand, the retailer required a system which had the capability to automatically analyse the needs of their customers on a daily basis and manage inventory levels accordingly. Within the first week of installing, the software enabled Spar to fragment their assortment into product groups, allowing their planner to focus their attention on the most important inventory issues. While Spar has already started to optimise inventory levels, with help from Slim4, the retailer hopes to achieve further supply chain cost reductions.

Keeping 500 stores stocked everyday

From their two distribution centres located in Holland, Spar supplies a network of around 500 stores including 250 supermarkets branded Spar, 140 smaller convenience stores and a further 100 stores located near holiday destinations which provide fresh groceries for tourists during the summer months. In total, the retailer's product range encompasses around 8,500 articles; 25% of which are refreshed every year.

Minimising stock out situations

For food retailers, it is of utmost importance to plan demand as accurately as possible. In addition to this, Spar also wanted to minimize the effort required to ensure that all inventory was available at the right location at the right time. Through automatically recognizing demand patterns, Slim4 has helped Spar gain greater control of their operations. By enabling the retailer to work more effectively, Spar can proactively reduce stock out situations while simultaneously reducing inventory costs and waste which comes as a consequence of the short shelf lives of many of their products. Thanks to Slim4, the retailer can now achieve much higher service levels.

Complete integration with existing systems

"We selected Slimstock as a partner for our inventory optimisation project," says Edwin Brekelmans, Supply Chain Manager at Spar. "Their extensive knowledge of the retail industry appealed to us and is evident in the user-friendly nature of their software". Given that Slim4 could be completely and easily integrated with Spar's ERP system, DisRetail, and their warehouse management system, Locus, the retailer is now more responsive to demand during Easter, Christmas and other holidays. In the retail industry, this is especially important for products with short shelf lives.

Brekelmans concludes; "With help from Slim4, our planners have improved our service levels to 99.5%. In addition to a major improvement in on-shelf availability in our stores, we are now better positioned to control waste costs and the stock turn in our distribution centres".

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