Fastmover inventory strategy: preventing price increases and delays during Turn Around season

At Sitech services, we know better than anyone that maintaining plant and machinery is critical to business continuity. During the Turn Around season, we often consume fastmovers, such as bolts, nuts, fittings, valves and gaskets. The delivery time for these types of items is usually short, but last year delivery times and prices ran up considerably. Fortunately, our expert colleagues from Sourcing & Supply Chain responded to this situation in a timely manner and additional stocks were proactively stocked. This allowed us to serve our customers without delays and shortages during the Turn Around season.

Increasing delivery times due to scarcity
At Sourcing & Supply Chain, Sitech regularly analyzes what market developments there are when it comes to sourcing different product groups. In the spring of 2022, one such business analysis revealed that delivery times for fastmovers were rising considerably. “For example, we noticed that the delivery time of certain threaded rods was increasing from one week to three to four months,” observes Ria van Rijn (Operational Buyer at Sitech). “This was caused by scarcity in the market, partly due to the Corona period and the war in Ukraine. As a result, the export of steel from Ukraine and Russia has largely come to a standstill.”

Avoiding price increases by ordering ahead
Supply Chain Engineer John Daemen: “With an eye on the Turn Arounds that fall, we thought it would be wise to build up extra stock to avoid shortages. With that in mind, we made an analysis of the consumption of fastmovers in recent years and the peak load in certain periods. We then discussed with the Turn Around organization the investment needed to order additional stock. In consultation, we chose to order the quantities needed at peak loads.”

This operation involves several services together: tracking market developments by Sourcing, scope determination by Supply Chain, decision making from the Turn Around organisation, ordering, negotiation and follow-up of orders by our buyers and efficient inspection by Inspections.
Evert van de Nobelen, Manager Procurement & Supply Chain

Phased delivery and inspection
A total of 320 fastmovers were ordered from 7 suppliers. With that bulk order, all fastmovers were ordered at once for the Turn Arounds of several of our customers. That requires logistical coordination. “When ordering, you then have to take into account that those items are delivered in phases,” explains Ria. “This is to avoid too many peaks in the workload at the warehouse and Inspections.”

Tracking order progress accurately
Vincent van Vlijmen is Expediter at Sourcing & Supply Chain. That means he follows up critical orders after they have been ordered by buyers. “I check whether agreements with suppliers are being followed up, check deliveries in the interim and arrange counts of materials. So that I have a clear picture of the status and whether it matches the agreements between Sitech and the supplier. In this case, I reported weekly to the Sourcing Managers on the status of these bulk orders. For example, there were gaskets and specific threaded ends that were triangulated to arrive later, so I would immediately discuss these with the supplier. That way we still managed to get the materials in in time for the start of the Turn Arounds.”

By placing additional bulk orders, the Turn Arounds were assured of sufficient fastmovers, a stock that has since been completely consumed. And by bundling purchases, fewer orders had to be placed and fewer inspections done.
John Daemen, Supply Chain Engineer

An efficient action, in other words. “We can now draw from our standard stock again,” John says. “We make a monthly update of what is still lying around and what the expected consumption is. Based on that, we make the decision whether an additional replenishment is needed one more time.”

More information?
We always strive to provide our customers with the best possible service, even under challenging circumstances. If you have any questions about our service or the measures taken regarding fastmovers, please contact us at frontoffice@sitech.nl

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