Inventory management from AGR supports rapidly expanding and diverse customer base
The-Mad-Group was originally established in 1923 and today encompasses Fitness-Mad, Yoga-Mad and Pilates-Mad offering the most comprehensive and competitively priced products to the European sports and leisure industry. Its goal is to offer high performance fitness equipment at affordable prices.
All Mad products are carefully selected to provide optimum performance and the majority are designed for commercial use and are widely used and trusted by some of the leading Studios, Clubs and Fitness Professionals in the industry.
Pilates-Mad offers unrivalled value for money, typically being 25-50% cheaper than the US competition because there is no middle man and no double shipping. The company’s long-established reputation for supplying high quality products has made it Europe’s premier Pilates equipment specialist.
In 2011, The-Mad-Group turned to supply chain planning and software specialist AGR to help manage inventory levels for over 1,000 yoga, pilates and fitness products and better serve its growing and diverse network of wholesalers, independent sports and leisure retailers plus an emerging online business. Since that time, the company has transformed its approach to managing stock levels, implementing AGR Inventory Optimiser to minimise inventory and stock-outs while the group’s overall business has doubled.
Meeting the supply chain needs of an increasingly successful leisure business
According to David Elliott, Managing Director of The-Mad-Group, “Our business faced fresh challenges. It was becoming more successful, attracting a larger and more diverse set of customers with differing buying patterns and purchasing needs. In addition, our rapidly expanding product portfolio meant sourcing manufacturers from countries as far away as India or the Far East with lead times varying from 90 to 135 days. The time had come to introduce new ways of planning and optimising our inventory in order to manage the expectations of our growing business and increasingly complex customer base.”
Demand for The-Mad-Group’s products can be difficult to forecast. For example, one customer might sell only one item from the group’s total portfolio although sales of that particular item might be four-times higher than from other customers selling a more comprehensive range of items. It was important for David and his team to be able to establish buying patterns so that they could better forecast demand, set expectations for the delivery of existing and new products and so maintain good customer service and boost customer loyalty.
Changing customer base prompts transformation of stock control processes
Historically The-Mad-Group had relied on a semi-manual system based on spreadsheets and specific SQL queries to manage the company’s stock control. It then upgraded to the well-established Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, subsequently combining it with a business intelligence platform from Jet Reports.
However, business expansion and an increasingly complex customer base highlighted the limitations of The-Mad-Group’s initial investment in technology as David Elliott explains, “Our original system was both labour-intensive and provided a hotchpotch of flat data that couldn’t factor in essential details like lost sales. Even with the addition of major new ERP functionality and clever business intelligence reporting, we still lacked the flexibility and granularity of information, graphically presented, that was essential to gaining complete control over our stock control processes.”
Real-world success stories pave the way for AGR
David and his team sought to improve their inventory management operations in a bid to meet the demands and expectations of The-Mad-Group’s expanding, prestigious customer base. They were looking for a solution that could help analyse and segment its various customers, integrating them with the right parts of the planning process to provide accurate inventory forecasts.
The turning point came during a demonstration of AGR Inventory Optimiser at
a NAV customer event. David Elliott continued, “I was impressed by the level of automation the technology could deliver. It was very graphical and could provide the dynamic data we needed in a single, easy-to-use, integrated solution. AGR offered an easy to use option that was cost-efficient and blended well with our existing ERP environment. It came highly recommended by our Microsoft partner and encouraged by the success stories of other AGR users, we believed that AGR Inventory Optimiser fitted our requirements and was the perfect solution for taking our business forward in the future.”
Speedy implementation, quick results and time saved
With the help of AGR’s consultancy team, it took The-Mad-Group just ten days to implement the new solution and link it seamlessly with the company’s existing Microsoft Dynamics NAV platform. The Managing Director and Senior Buyer of The-Mad-Group are the primary users of AGR Inventory Optimiser with the sales force referring to the system before committing to very large orders that might negatively impact other regular customers. For example, this means the sales team can quickly establish how much product they can afford to offer a customer a major customer which wants to sell 1,000 hula hoops in one week compared with just a couple of hundred the whole year round, potentially leading to stock- outs and leaving other faithful customers high and dry.
The implementation of AGR Inventory Optimiser has contributed to the success of The-Mad-Group as David Elliott explains, “AGR’s technology and customer service have delivered an impressive set of results. Thanks to the high visibility provided by AGR Inventory Optimiser, we can now manage our inventory and customer expectations quickly and effectively. AGR’s graphical interface is a huge benefit for us. At a glance, we have complete clarity of what we can sell at any one time, saving us time and boosting customer loyalty.”
David continued, “Replenishment is a key task and vital to our business, until recently this took up a large part of my time. With AGR Inventory Optimiser in place, once we have validated the orders, I am comfortable moving this responsibility to others to deal with. The exception reporting in the system still keeps me involved but overall the time saved is immense. Since implementing AGR, we have doubled our turnover without doubling our inventory, the perfect combination.”
Fast forward to the future
In-time, The-Mad-Group aims to build on the success and stability of the initial AGR deployment by moving to the latest and embedded NAV version to create a fully integrated inventory management platform. David and his team also aim to learn from other AGR users, sharing their knowledge and experience to drive continual improvements in technology and the service they deliver to customers.
Customer The-Mad-Group Location UK HQ with customers throughout Europe
Industry Fitness and leisure Software AGR Inventory Optimiser
ERP Microsoft Dynamics NAV
The-Mad-Group was originally established in 1923 and over the years has evolved into new markets. The group now encompasses Fitness-Mad, Yoga- Mad and Pilates-Mad offering the most comprehensive and competitively priced products to the European sports and leisure industry.
Pilates-Mad is Europe’s premier Pilates equipment specialist and, together with sister brand Align-Pilates, supplies Pilates Studios, commercial gyms and health clubs with everything from Pilates mats and simple accessories to studio quality apparatus such as wall units, barrels, chairs, arcs, rotational disks and spine correctors.
- Managing inventory levels and stock forecasts for over 1,000 products
- Supporting a rapidly growing business
- Serving the different needs of an increasingly complex and diverse customer base
- Since implementing AGR, turnover has doubled whilst inventory levels remain stable and stock-outs are minimised
- High level of graphical visibility provided by AGR facilitates efficient inventory management
- Automation produces significant time savings
- Ability to manage stock and set expectations accurately boosts customer loyalty
- Cost-efficiencies through integration with in-house ERP system