Alexander Dennis brings planning back in-house

[This article is brought to you by Slimstock] As one of Europe’s leading bus and coach manufacturers, Alexander Dennis is committed to providing customers with an industry leading level of service and support: a key component of which is their fast and reliable aftermarket spare parts operation. However, as their assortment grew and the requirements of their customer became increasingly more complicated, Alexander Dennis turned to Slimstock to help bring the planning of their spare parts back in house.

Alexander DennisChris Watts, Materials Planning Manager, Alexander Dennis: “Thanks to Slim4, availability has improved from 91% to over 96% across our entire range.”

With over 30,000 active product lines, Alexander Dennis strive to offer customers everything they need to keep a bus running reliably and efficiently. However, given that Alexander Dennis’ portfolio encompasses everything from single and double deck buses to luxury coaches, managing the spare parts operation was becoming an increasingly complex task for Chris Watts and his team. With growing a need to reduce the working capital invested in stocks as well as improve availability, Alexander Dennis required an inventory management partner who had the right industry knowledge and experience to help the planning team gain greater control over their growing assortment.

Complete Knowledge Package

Given the strategic importance of Alexander Dennis’ aftermarket parts service, Chris Watts, Materials Planning Manager at Alexander Dennis explains: “While the inventory management services provided by a 3PL had been sufficient in the past, in order to maintain the business’ exceptional levels of customer service we needed to shift our parts and service operation to the next gear.” After weighing up a number of different options, Slimstock’s inventory management solution, Slim4, was unanimously decided upon.

“By moving our operations back in house, we faced a considerable learning curve. However, given the impressive capabilities of Slim4 coupled with Slimstock’s extensive experience in the automotive aftermarket, we felt confident that their expert team of consultants could provide the help and support required to enable us to exceed our inventory objectives,” explains Chris.

Greater insight

Thanks to Slim4, Alexander Dennis now have much greater insight into their inventory situation: “Unless we can fully understand  the bumps that lie ahead, we simply cannot maintain complete control over our operations.

However, with the combination of the analytical capabilities of Slim4 coupled with the solution’s impressive scenario planning functionality, we can now make far more informed inventory decisions.” Through using these insights to manage the assortment more efficiently, Chris and his team have been able to reduce the number of unfulfilled items by 50%, without increasing stock levels.

“Since implementing Slim4, we have seen availability across our entire range improve from 91% to in excess of 96.7%. While our inventory objectives may become more and more ambitious, I have no doubt we are on the right path to achieve further improvements and Slimstock are the best companions for the journey,” concludes Chris.