Australian company Greenway Turf Solutions has grown quickly since it was established eight years ago and StockTrim is helping staff manage the consequent need for effective demand planning.
Greenway supplies high-quality fertilisers, pesticides, seeds, specialty products and consultancy services to professional turf industries, both in Australia and overseas. Its clients include golf courses, councils, turf farms, sportsfields, and an increasing number of private schools.
The company was established in Brisbane in 2014 and quickly expanded to Sydney, then Melbourne and Adelaide. In 2019, GTS purchased Simplot Australia Turf and Horticulture Pty Limited and became the exclusive distributor of Best, Apex and Simplot Performance Pack products in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
Greenway imports most of its core products (mainly fertilisers) from the US. A lot of the company’s growth has come from having the right product on the floor at the right time.
Import/export manager Scott McKay says the company has effectively doubled in size every two years and CEO Chris Chapman identified a need for some automation in forecasting demand and managing inventory, particularly for the high value imported product.
After conducting some online research and general enquiry, Chris signed up with StockTrim to support the work Scott was doing manually. That was in the second half of 2020, around the time the pandemic began seriously disrupting the supply chain. According to supply chain manager Adam Staier, the timing was just right.
“Lead times blew out from an average of 45 days to now an average of 160. You can imagine the need to rapidly move on adjusting our processes and cast a very close eye on shipping schedules. Now, through using StockTrim, we have been able to get work effectively within the ‘new normal’ of global shipping,” Adam says.
As Scott puts it: “We were shooting from the hip. When Chris signed up with StockTrim and said, try this, I fell in love with it straight away.”
Onboarding with StockTrim was fast and easy – integration with the company’s Enterprise Resource Planning system took about four hours. The team found the software relatively intuitive to use, and they realise it has capabilities they haven’t tapped into yet. They plan to ask StockTrim for training on some of those features, such as adjusting calculations to allow for anticipated growth.
High value, high stakes
GTS changed its ERP system shortly before they started using StockTrim, which meant it had minimal background sales data for the software to base its demand forecasts on. Two years down the track, StockTrim’s forecasting is usually spot on.
“If we didn’t have StockTrim it would be quite time consuming, but it’s the accuracy that’s more useful,” Scott says. “The product is very high value so it’s important we get it right.”
Adam: “At the core of the GTS business is customer service. We pride ourselves on being able to get the right product to our clients when they need it. Without StockTrim to achieve this, we would need to invest a great deal more time in manual analysis.”
Scott believes demand forecasting is “quite painful” for a lot of people, and his experience with trying to get estimates from some of their suppliers bears this out.
“We’re now able to provide forecasts for some of our local manufacturers so they can plan their production schedules. I believe they also use our demand forecasts to order raw materials, and some of these have gone up in price by 150% so they don’t want to be holding excess stock.”
Confidence in the numbers
While Adam says it’s preferable for Greenway to be a little overstocked than under, especially with current supply chain challenges, the company’s warehouse space is limited and “we don’t want to buy product we can’t fit in”.
Adam appreciates StockTrim’s ability to report on lines where anticipated demand has fallen short. “This allows for enquiry and understanding if there’s a seasonal issue or a new trend. It allows us to move quickly and ensure we have the right product for our clients when they need it.”
Having worked for multinationals using highly advanced (and expensive) software, Adam believes StockTrim provides good value for money.
“All the businesses I’ve ever worked for, the sales team wants more stock, and the warehouses want less. GTS just wants the right stock and StockTrim supports the decision-making process to enable this.”
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