“The inventory value has decreased by just over 10 percent and we have far less rejections ”
Kobia is a full range supplier in the confectionery and bakery market. The company has a more than 100-year history and is today the market leader in northern Europe. The customers are mainly patisseries and bakeries, but among more than 900 customers in Sweden there are also grocery companies, food industries and restaurants. Kobia also has a growing share of exports to, for example, Finland, Norway, Poland and Iceland. At the head office in Tyresö, there is also the company's factory where almond pulps, marzipan and fillings are produced. Deliveries to customers take place from Kobia's three warehouses in Hässleholm, Gothenburg and Tyresö.
“You want to be the best in the neighborhood, the best in town, the best on the market. Then we would like to help you. We have the tools you need to strengthen both your business and your brand. Efficient warehousing and reliable deliveries are some of our key words ”. The words can be read on Kobia's website. One of Kobia's tools is SOLO, which was installed a few years ago and is integrated with the Navision business system. Some of the goals for the investment in SOLO were simplified and uniform purchasing routines, time savings, reduced inventory levels and even better customer service. Have the goals been achieved?
Shattered purchasing routines and insufficient inventory control
Jonas Huss is purchasing manager and Jimmy Mattsson is a buyer at Kobia. They can look back on just over three years with SOLO. They say that it has been a process to reach the current situation where SOLO adds important added value to the business. At the same time, there is potential for further development.
- We were in a situation where we were considering going from our own carpentry system, which was built into the business system, to a modern and complete system solution for purchasing planning and inventory management. The situation we had was not good. The purchasing work was divided with buyers who worked according to their own principles and where the purchases were based more on gut feeling than statistics. We also did not have the control over inventories required to be able to lower inventory levels, says Jonas Huss.
Johan says that there was still a hesitation to invest in a new system.
- We saw the possibilities but also understood that it would be a journey before we had a system that we could trust completely. For me, a system like SOLO is precisely about the fact that you must be able to trust the purchasing proposals the system leaves. At first we did not feel completely comfortable in what SOLO did, but with more and more historical statistics, we become more and more confident with the system. Still, some manual tweaks are required, but we also see great added value that we would not have achieved without SOLO. I estimate that the inventory value has fallen by 10-15%, and in addition we have significantly fewer scraps compared to before.
"As a buyer, I can work much more strategically"
For Jimmy Matsson, SOLO has meant a change in his role as a buyer. Both Jimmy and Jonas estimate the time savings for buyers at about 30%.
- For me and my colleagues, this means, among other things, that we can spend more time on relationships with customers and suppliers. It is of great importance to sharpen the level of service. We also have much better control over our stock balances compared to before and that makes our purchases more precise and secure. Good basis for decisions so that purchases can be made faster. In addition to reduced stock levels, our stock balances have become more stable thanks to SOLO and this also has a positive effect on the level of service because we have it in stock that customers demand, Jimmy explains.
Jimmy says that he and other buyers previously worked according to "their own truth", and that they put their own personal values on which goods would be in stock for customers to be satisfied.
- There is a big difference today. With SOLO, we get statistics that we can base purchasing decisions on and the system also provides suggestions for purchasing volumes. We can then choose to approve the proposal or make adjustments. Of course there will be some small corrections, but the time savings are still large compared to how it was before. For me, this means that I have been given a more strategic role as a buyer. For example, I can spend more time reviewing supplier relationships and optimizing the items we have in stock.
Jonas points to another advantage of SOLO. This is a completely different transparency compared to the routines in the previously self-developed solution.
- There was a vulnerability with the old system because no one knew everything. The buyers were good at different parts. That we have gathered everything in a system where everyone has a better overall knowledge is important for tightening up and creating more uniform routines.
"We want to be involved and influence the development of SOLO"
For Kobia, the development of efficient inventory management and purchasing routines is not a quick fix. Instead, it is seen as an ongoing process where SOLO is an important part. For both Kobia and SOLO, there are also challenges that have led to requests for the development of customized functions in the system. One of the challenges has been the management of three different warehouses and their adaptation to regional customer structures. Another is that parts of the range are a mix of pure raw materials and processed products.
- We are good at handing over requests to Promosoft in the parts where we see an opportunity for new functions that match our needs. An example is that we have many articles with different durations. For some dairy products, the shelf life is only a few days, while for others it can be a month. Here we have pushed for SOLO to provide better support and Promosoft are good at listening to our wishes. This is also how we want the collaboration to be and it is constantly moving forward. A new function we look forward to is about the inventory management of fresh produce. With it, we will be able to calculate the loss on goods with different expiration dates, which makes it possible to ensure the right stock levels, Jonas explains.
Another news in SOLO that is ready to start using is supplier login via a link on purchase orders. This function makes it possible for suppliers to confirm placed orders in the system with information about, among other things, delivery date and quantity. Each supplier can also see their KPIs for lead time precision and delivery quality. Since Kobia has had "constant development towards the future" as part of its motto during its long company history, it also wants to continue with the development of the information to the suppliers. The wish list submitted to Promsoft includes a new version of Dashboard with even more KPIs regarding supplier performance.