Transparent performance app

Slimstock’s intuitive performance app provides easy and real-time insight into supply chain performance for both top-level management and other professionals. This app is one way Slimstock is responding to the data-driven and knowledge-driven trend in which organizations need to provide faster access to information for a growing number of stakeholders.

By Marysa Vos

Slimstock is Europe’s leading provider of specialized software for inventory optimization. Information about stock availability as well as about outstanding orders, back orders and suchlike are often important key performance indicators (KPIs) for companies. Thanks to the new performance app, managers can gain real-time insights into the main KPIs related to supply chain. In fact, simple drill-down menus can even give them immediate visibility in urgent situations. If the service level or availability of an item is unexpectedly low, the app enables the user to investigate right away.

For today’s inventory management departments, it is important to monitor performance on a yearly, monthly and often even daily basis. The Slimstock performance app provides live supply chain information and can be used on any mobile device. According to Eric van Dijk, CEO of Slimstock, supply chain professionals have (unnecessarily) become used to thinking in terms of complex systems that only work on desktops and have long integration lead times. “In the consumer world it’s completely normal to have a large number of apps on your smartphone, and that trend is now crossing over into the business world,” observes Van Dijk. “A director should be able to check his phone to see the operational performance while he waits for the lift to arrive, for example.” The smartphone app must provide access to the same information as a desktop computer at the swipe of a thumb so that a manager can get to the root of a problem quickly. To facilitate that and prevent data distortion, the app is directly connected to the same back-end system as the main system.

Intuitive

The app is easy to access and easy to use, and it creates transparency and clarity – everyone has access to the same, real-time information. One of the reasons that (avoidable) misunderstandings arise is that current inventory management systems have mainly been developed for a small number of experienced users, whereas many other colleagues don’t have the right training to search for certain information. “The industry has become used to developing impressive but complex software, often forgetting that it should be suitable for a broader user base too.” Van Dijk suggests that companies need to realize that stakeholders without a supply chain management background should still be able to work with the technology and available management information. He compares the new app to a mobile payment app such as Tikkie or Paym: “Even if I’ve never used the app before, the first time I have to send someone a Tikkie, for example, I know exactly what to do!”

Innovation adoption matrix

To indicate the complexity of the technological possibilities used while also illustrating the extent to which it changes how people work, Slimstock’s performance app has been positioned on the innovation adoption matrix. The lower a tool or technology scores, the easier it is for companies to adopt and integrate it into their business, and vice versa; if a company has developed a product or service that scores highly on technological complexity and which requires substantial changes in the daily workflow, adoption will be more difficult. Highly complex tools and technologies – such as blockchain, for example – often still have to prove their applicability in practice.

The app on the matrix

Slimstock makes use of technological possibilities by simplifying an inventory management system and presenting it in app format. An app in itself is not revolutionary; consumers have been using apps for years. The difference is that the Slimstock performance app is business-oriented and builds on the existing inventory management system. Even so, the app receives a low score in terms of technological complexity because it can be used immediately.

What makes the performance app so innovative is its user-friendliness and the ease with which it can be adopted in practice. Because it generates insights so easily for any stakeholders affected by the consequences of good or bad supply chain management, it contributes to a calmer and more transparent working environment. As a result, companies benefit from increased speed which automatically reduces supply chain waste. Thanks to the simplicity with which the app can be integrated into the employee’s day-to-day activities, the Slimstock performance app is positioned on the left-hand side of the matrix.