Coolmark B.V., part of the Swedish company Beijer Ref, is one of The Netherlands’ leading wholesalers of refrigeration technology, climate control and water systems. The company offices and warehouse are located in Barendrecht. There is also a warehouse in Almere, from where air-conditioning equipment is distributed. Coolmark suppliers a very extensive range of refrigeration products with a total of some 15,000 lines. It aims to deliver to customers within 24 hours of ordering.
Despite high stock levels, the measured service level was lower than desired. The company suspected that the inventory did not contain the right balance of product lines. In order to check this suspicion, the Coolmark management team asked Involvation to perform a quick scan of its inventory management. The quick scan revealed several areas for improvement, such as focusing on proactive inventory management, making use of differentiated management parameters, and measuring both the input and the output of the process.
Following on from the quick scan, an on-the-job training project was launched. The choice for on-the-job training created a unique combination of increasing each employee’s theoretical knowledge and directly applying it to their specific situation. At the same time, an Excel framework was set up which calculated the inventory parameters periodically. Various ordering models were implemented, such as for one for cheap and one for expensive items. A separate framework was set up for items that could be ordered both from the OEM (overseas) and locally. Since the tools were developed by the end users themselves, the level of acceptance was very high and the new working method almost implemented itself.
Danny van den Berg, Manager of Purchasing & Logistics at Coolmark: “In recent years, we have invested a lot of time in making our Dynamics AX ERP system operational. However, because of the sheer diversity of items and suppliers, each one bringing their own particular challenges, we lacked an intelligent yet simple tool for calculating the inventory parameters. Among other things, Involvation has helped us to design a solid basis for performing various parameter calculations with the possibility of including unique characteristics for groups of items, suppliers or other criteria. As a result, we are able to perform complex calculations much more often, and to work out the potential impact before implementing our decisions. This has led to better alignment with the (potential) demand in conjunction with an optimised inventory level.”