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A high level of preparation

01 July 2018

An important repair service provider for the automotive industry, Fletcher Moorland uses an industrial vending solution from Apex Supply Chain to ensure its engineers are well equipped to meet challenging deadlines.

When customers rely on you to repair vital production equipment, typically within a matter of hours, every tool, component or consumable item needed must be available. Failure to ensure this can result in missing customer deadlines and can also negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

For engineering service and repair company Fletcher Moorland, most jobs they handle fall into this emergency category.

To differentiate itself, the company is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to repair and service production components for its industrial and manufacturing customers across the UK. This includes everything from motors and pumps to electrical and electronic equipment.

Stock-outs were becoming an all too common occurrence. Running a busy workshop which operates 24 hours a day, including weekends, engineers would help themselves to what they needed on a job-by-job basis from the company’s stock cupboards. These items include ball bearing components, drill bits and consumables, including tapes, adhesives, batteries and sanding discs.

With engineers then moving on to the next repair, they would often forget to advise management of imminent stock shortages or to complete the company’s purchase request forms. This would put pressure on the purchasing and logistics department to fill stock levels ASAP.

This lack of traceability and control led to increased working capital and more invoices to be processed.

Fletcher Moorland turned to UK distributor Hayley Group for help.

Hayley Group installed a mix of automated, self-serve devices manufactured by Apex Supply Chain Technologies:

  • A SOLO wall-mounted dispensing device for high value drill bits.
  • A Smart 5000 helical dispensing device for consumable supplies including glue, tape and batteries.
  • Two AXCESS 6036 automated lockers for precision ball bearing components.

All of these devices provide easy access to items while automatically tracking and reporting every withdrawal in real time to the Apex Trajectory Cloud. This cloud-based data platform automatically notifies Fletcher Moorland and the local Hayley branch office when any stock-keeping unit (SKU) reaches a predetermined level. The Hayley team has these items restocked within a matter of hours. Trajectory Cloud also automatically generates reports on consumption rates to alert management to potential issues.

Using SOLO to dispense drill bits eliminates the issue Fletcher Moorland was having with stock contamination. Engineers can no longer place a used drill bit in a package with new drill bits as only unused items remain in the device.

Visibility into consumption through Trajectory Cloud has led to process improvements. For example, if procurement sees a significant increase in drill bits being used on a particular job, they can procure different products to make the repair more efficient. This saves Fletcher Moorland time and money.

By dispensing precision ball bearing components using two AXCESS 6036 lockers, Fletcher Moorland are seeing the benefit of traceability. By putting a different SKU in each of the 72 individual locker compartments, Fletcher Moorland can more easily trace components back to engineers and projects as needed.

Visibility

With automatic restocking alerts from Trajectory Cloud, Hayley has more visibility into Fletcher Moorland’s consumption patterns and can easily provide the right materials, at the right time. This helps them optimise the product mix for Fletcher Moorland and reduce the need for rush or emergency orders. The distributor has been agile in meeting their customer’s needs, so Fletcher Moorland has awarded Hayley additional business.

In the meantime, the vending devices are also making a positive impact across Fletcher Moorland’s business. Procurement, for example, has time for more important tasks. According to Marie Roe, Fletcher Moorland’s Purchasing Supervisor, “the time spent dealing with emergency orders for standard stock items has been significantly reduced.

Procurement has been streamlined from multiple invoices for each order, to just one weekly invoice from Hayley. This allows us to focus on more strategic elements of the business and devote more time to our customers’ needs.”

Engineers are now more conscientious about taking items from stock.

 
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