Bunzl Healthcare, one of the UK’s leading providers of medical consumables, has announced that it has seen a number of key benefits following the implementation of the OPTIMIZA demand planning and inventory management solution from Barloworld Supply Chain Software (Barloworld SCS), in February 2013. These include an overall reduction in inventory and a significant reduction in the number of lines ordered and receipted within its distribution network.
Bunzl Healthcare has achieved greater control and visibility over inventory, efficiencies in the supply chain at the same time as improving service levels to its customers throughout the UK.
Bunzl Healthcare is one of the UK’s largest providers of branded and own-brand medical consumables to all areas of the healthcare market. The company offers a range of traditional and bespoke supply chain solutions to meet its customers’ needs in today’s rapidly changing healthcare environment. With over 500 suppliers in the UK the company manages thousands of product lines, delivering often vital items to customers nationwide.
The decision to work with Barloworld SCS forms part of a strategy by Bunzl Healthcare to drive a LEAN and Continuous Improvement culture within its operations function. One of the key focus areas has been to improve inventory turns and outbound on time in full (OTIF) levels to their customers. The business initially focussed on improving the existing demand planning and inventory management system and driving process improvement.
Paul Thomas, Supply Chain Manager at Bunzl Healthcare, explains: “Once we had made the initial improvements it became clear that we had taken our existing demand planning and inventory management system as far as we could. After a full market review, we decided to implement the OPTIMIZA solution.”
Planning and implementation of the solution took just six months and went live in February 2013. The implementation was managed by a dedicated support team from Barloworld SCS and did not disrupt daily operations or adversely affect any customers and suppliers.
Over the past 12 months there have been a number of benefits from the OPTIMIZA system including; creating a greater focus within the Inventory team on exception management and improving warehouse utilisation such as adding more intelligent replenishment cycles incorporating in layer and pallet re-order factors. The team also reported they have found the system to be very user friendly with simpler access to all the data required to perform their tasks effectively.
Paul Thomas concludes: “The OPTIMIZA solution has provided us with a platform to further improve our forecasting ability. Our inventory team now have access to detailed reports that enable them to work closer with our suppliers to improve their OTIF performance into our business. It gives us the ability to identify the root cause of service level issues as well as providing greater visibility of stock orders throughout our network of branches to avoid overstocking.
“By continuing to work closely with Barloworld SCS we expect to gain even greater leverage from the system, further improving our control over inventory; outbound service levels and warehouse utilisation.”
Kevin Boake, Managing Director at Barloworld Supply Chain Software, said: “Bunzl Healthcare is the perfect example of an organisation with a challenging and complex supply chain that has been able to benefit greatly from our OPTIMIZA solution. This incorporates not only world class inventory and demand management functionality, but also helps organisations visualise, control and audit the daily task of placing orders. This means they can predict and manage demand accurately, scientifically determine optimum inventory levels, calculate optimal replenishment orders, as well as project future investment and warehousing requirements for their business. In short it gives businesses a better understanding of their business which in turn helps them to make more informed choices.”