FlexiTog has been a stalwart in safety apparel, specialising in protective clothing for cold temperatures since it was established in 1979. With a legacy spanning two generations, the company identified a critical need in the frozen food industry, pivoting its focus to deliver effective certified safety clothing. FlexiTog promises to continue developing to ensure they always have the warmest and most comfortable solution at the drop of a hat.
However, faced with evolving demands and the challenges of a global pandemic, FlexiTog encountered significant hurdles in efficiently managing inventory.
In this case study, we delve into FlexiTog’s journey as it navigates the challenges of demand forecasting, planning, and inventory management. From overcoming stockouts to embracing a cutting-edge solution, discover how FlexiTog not only adapted but thrived in an ever-changing landscape.
As most companies found, the global pandemic impacted FlexiTog’s stock levels. At their worst points, they had between 100 and 120 SKUs out of stock, which made supply chain manager Ryan Briston’s job extremely challenging. FlexiTog switched its ERP system to Odoo but kept its demand forecasting and planning processes the same. This meant managing 800 SKUs and their suppliers across Europe and the Far East using spreadsheets remained difficult and daunting.
Keen not to let their customers down, FlexiTog used two methods to combat these problems if a product was unavailable:
While these options provided excellent customer service to retain the customer, it wasn’t cost-effective and put added pressure on the customer service and warehouse teams to fulfil the orders.
Ryan knew he needed to find a new system to revolutionise their demand planning and forecasting methods to provide more accuracy, reduce stockouts and save the company money.
After researching different products with different companies, Ryan found EazyStock and was convinced it was the system for FlexiTog. Thanks to a seamless connection with Odoo, EazyStock’s cloud software meant installing other software or developing complicated systems was unnecessary, making the process much easier.
After spotting Eastbrook Bathrooms were an EazyStock customer, Ryan talked to them to understand the benefits EazyStock had brought them, which clinched it.
“Hearing the benefits from a customer gives you more confidence.”
Another selling point for FlexiTog was EazyStock’s parent company, Syncron. “Knowing Syncron runs systems like EazyStock for large blue-chip companies using similar algorithms is reassuring. If it works for the big brands, it would be great for us.”
FlexiTog implemented EazyStock towards the end of 2021, and Ryan found the onboarding process smooth and easy.
“We’ve had onboarding processes at both ends of the spectrum, so we know how good it’s been. Mark (FlexiTog’s dedicated Customer Success Manager) has been excellent. He’s always available, replies very quickly and is very knowledgeable. Even with more technical queries, he can usually sort them out himself, which has been refreshing.”
Mark Chapman, Head of Customer Success in the UK, explains how EazyStock’s unique customer success managers mean customers get the best training and support.
“All EazyStock customers get a dedicated customer success manager who gets to know their business and becomes part of their team. We know everyone is different and learns differently, so we develop a tailored training plan for each business to ensure everyone gets the best out of the system. We remain the contact throughout the customer’s journey with EazyStock, providing support and guidance as necessary, at no additional cost.”
The ability to manage supplier lead times using EazyStock has been a game changer for Ryan. Not only have stockouts plummeted from over 100 SKUs to as few as three with an average stock availability service level of 99.98%, but supplier management only takes 25% of the time it used to.
The results have been remarkable:
“Being able to add supplier leads times takes a lot of stress off my shoulders. Say a supplier takes an average of 200 days to deliver; I might add a buffer of, say, 20 days. I put that into EazyStock, and it works to that date for any orders. I don’t need to worry about forgetting, checking or rushing around with express orders.”
The risk of run-out report is also proving invaluable for Ryan in allowing him to react and prevent costly stockouts. With stockouts practically eliminated, FlexiTog’s policies of supplementing out-of-stock items with a higher-specification product and sending out costly express backorders are now a rarity.
“The risk of run-out report is something we didn’t have before, and it’s simple and easy to use. Just being able to go in and see there’s a potential that the product could run out in two or three months means I can speak to the supplier and make arrangements to bring the shipment forward or call off some cartons earlier to fill the gap. We never had that information before; we’d always find out too late.”
When asked what advice Ryan would give to other companies considering upgrading their demand forecasting and planning processes to inventory optimisation software, he says just get started.
“Don’t be scared, and don’t delay. EazyStock has enabled us to produce more accurate forecasts and take control of our stock. Initially, I carried on running our spreadsheets to sense check, but I stopped doing that very quickly.”
“Once you’ve seen EazyStock produce the right figures a few times, you know it will be right.”
Mark echoes this, “I know that it can seem daunting to implement new software, but we will work with you at every stage to make your implementation as seamless and stress-free as possible. Don’t continue struggling with inventory management issues when EazyStock can automate processes to save time and money.”