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Background

Mining Safety Appliances (MSA) is the worlds largest manufacturer and supplier of personal protective equipment. MSA Australia, the local division of this global operation, markets more than 10,000 different products including hard hats, eye and face protective wear. As a manufacturer, importer and supplier – as well as selling direct – MSA Australia has complex supply chain and warehousing requirements.

Traditionally, inventory management at MSA involved buying in bulk and waiting until items were depleted before restocking – there was no ability to plan or forecast stock requirements, hence inventory levels were high and core items were often out of stock.

“Fifteen to 18 percent of the items we sell make up for 90 percent of sales revenue,” said David Yastreb, Inventory Analyst, MSA.

“When these core items were out of stock it had a significant impact on sales.”

With a downturn in sales and an inability to secure new business, an effective forecasting solution was paramount to ensure the growth and survival of the business.

Software Selection

MSA evaluated a range of forecasting and inventory planning products, but the obvious choice was Demand Solutions™, as it represented the best value for money. Even more compelling was the feedback of two senior MSA executives that had previous experience with Demand Solutions™ and found that it produced excellent results.

“Both myself and a colleague had worked with Demand Solutions™ whilst employed by a competitor, so we were completely confident it could achieve our objectives: a quick ROI, would face little internal resistance due to its ease of use and would act as a valuable resource for sales and marketing staff,” said Yastreb.

Implementation and Results

Implementation took less than the estimated time and came in under budget.

“Implementation only took one month, so we had another month to thoroughly check and test everything. We were also under budget which has allowed us to use the excess funds to add even greater value to our processes by investing in some advanced training & consulting.”

The result for MSA has meant more than simply a reduction in inventory. The ability to accurately forecast and plan inventory has provided a strong foundation to enable growth of the business.

“Now we can confidently meet the needs of our existing customers and aggressively pursue new business,” said Yastreb.

A result of the implementation of the Demand Solutions™ Forecasting & Requirements Planning modules has been:

  • Inventory levels at MSA are the lowest they have been in over a year
  • Sales are up by 20 percent, and
  • An impressive range of new clients has been secured

“I can confidently state that we can only cope with the increased sales and new business due to the dedicated forecasting software – it has provided an outstanding return on investment.”

The Future

MSA is now finding numerous uses for Demand Solutions™ Forecasting & Requirements Planning, both internally and externally. Initially, Demand Solutions™ was implemented to manage imports but it is now being tested for scheduling raw materials in the manufacturing division, and is used externally as a medium to collaborate with suppliers to ensure they can continue to meet the needs of MSA.

“Essentially, it’s provided us with a valuable link to customers and suppliers that has resulted in smoother, more profitable operations right across the business,” said Yastreb.

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