Auto Parts Group Horizon Inventory Implementation – Not all Suppliers are Equal

Auto Parts Group Partnership

Horizon Inventory have been a valuable part of the transformation we are making at Auto Parts Group. They have been nimble, fluid and flexible in ensuring our needs are met, but more than that they have embraced our challenges as theirs, helped clarify business benefits and priorities and provided valuable business advice, strategic thinking and leadership. They are a valued partner.

Stephen Campbell, Managing Director, Auto Parts Group

We really appreciate working with a demanding client like Auto Parts Group – it extends us and our solution – everyone wins.

John Allen, Director, Horizon Inventory

Every installation has its own differences and particular challenges. The Auto Parts Group drew much from the standard inventory management solution with Pareto analyses, common quantities, forecasting, inventory planning and automatic alternate supplier optimisation delivering right "out of the box", however there were some challenges that had to be addressed and extra opportunities that we wanted to pursue, including:

  • We needed extra master data to drive the solution that was not in the ERP system – no problem we extended the Horizon solution to add item classification, preferred and alternate supplier details including pricing, exchange rates and transport uplifts.
  • The supply chain includes several DCs into which product is imported. There are times however, especially with the very long tail of slow movers where it is smarter to nominate one warehouse as the central one, and then distribute to the others as downstream warehouses. No problem – this led to Dynamic Supply Chain Reconfiguration whereby every item is assessed as to the best supply chain configuration to adopt, based on demand and carrying and logistics costs.
  • We also had to tweak parts of the solution including the ability to consider lost orders as part of the demand signals, and alerting where margin and several other measures should be reviewed – no problem – some new rules and parameters and some extensions, and the solutions have been quickly delivered.

Auto Parts Group Productivity

It took us a while to be totally confident but one of the big improvements for us has been the way we can just adopt most of the stock levels and purchasing recommendations provided by the system.

- Laurie Lai, Purchasing Supervisor, Auto Parts Group

With the ERP based inventory and purchasing system staff, were required to laboriously check every line of the stock reorder report. Now the accepted purchasing recommendations are seamlessly transferred into the ERP.  Laurie and her staff also find it much easier to prioritise what is to be ordered, for example to fill a container that is just about to be shipped from a supplier, and this and other improvements all mean that they can focus on tasks that add much more value. Fill rates are improving and Laurie and her team can see the benefits of letting the system proactively manage stock levels.

Laurie and her team have worked with Horizon, and we with them to explore even very small anomalies to refine the solution and make the system even easier and faster to use.

Auto Parts Group Potential

We have been and are working with Horizon to continue to customise and improve our solution.  They are very knowledgeable, helpful, good communicators, logical and practical.  We do however want to further improve our service levels, and reduce our obsolescence risks. These are problems shared across the industry.  We expect to redefine how they are addressed through some industry leading initiatives we are jointly pursuing.

Cameron Dodd, Product Development Manager, Auto Parts Group

We have achieved a lot together:

  • Helping improve processes and disciplines about as to how new products are managed.
  • Creating an environment to share ideas in which users from different companies can compare notes with each other to see how they approach similar challenges.
  • Quickly raising and resolving any issues that arise – we have avoided too much bureaucracy and quickly identify benefits, issues, the solution design and how to deliver it quickly.

However we don't want to rest on just what we have achieved so far. We now wish to explore how we can use a variety of external data sources to improve the quality of demand signals and thereby:

  • more easily establish when certain parts should be exited from the range before they risk damaging life time profitability
  • time product introductions in terms of dates and quantities to better match market needs and maximise opportunities for revenue and profit.

We are confident the partnership will continue to deliver.

Omer Ingber, Director, Horizon Inventory