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    Reducing downtime with vendor-managed inventory

    PP Control & Automation has seen delays and downtime eliminated since adopting RS ScanStock®

    End inefficient, costly procurement processes

    Procurement teams and engineers face several challenges with how they source industrial consumables and manage their supply chain. With complexity coming from a number of stakeholders involved, a fragmented supply base and the range of products split across categories.

    A large part of process costs can be due to inefficient inventory management. This particularly applies to low-value, fast moving industrial consumables. Overstocking, poor stock monitoring, shrinkage and availability issues lead to lost productivity and downtime.

    PP Control & Automation, based in the West Midlands is Europe’s largest independent supplier of control and automation solutions. Working with the likes of Japanese firms Yamazaki and Ishida, it offers a complete outsourcing solution. It also assembles panels and machines for customers, allowing them to focus on the R&D side of the business.


    PP Control & Automation sells around 3,000 different assemblies and buys in between 9,000 and 10,000 different components every year. The nature of its work means that it buys these parts and products from almost 600 manufacturers. Given the number of component parts used on a daily basis, a number of which are low-value repeat purchases, PP Control & Automation needed support to provide a solution for a process that from sourcing to ordering to reconciling invoices was inefficient. It also needed help to improve inventory management. In order to acquire a more strategic understanding of the firm, the RS team spent time with PP Control & Automation, learning more about what they do and the challenges that they were facing.


    The team advised that RS would takeover supply of the commodities using RS ScanStock®. This solution involves RS providing a fully managed service, where it takes responsibility for controlling and replenishing agreed products, freeing up the customer to focus on other areas of the business.

    In the case of PP Control and Automation, the contract involves management of around 800 SKUs on lineside Kanban cribs, with twice-weekly visits.. RS also developed a bespoke barcode-based replenishment report, allowing PP Control and Automation to scan line orders into their MRP system – thereby removing keystrokes, saving time and increasing accuracy.

    Alongside this, the team know if a forthcoming order requires a large number of a specific item and can request an order for this from the RS representative who works with them. Moreover, this representative is based in a nearby RS branch, so decisions and deliveries can be made quickly.


    The RS ScanStock® solution has been in place at PP Control & Automation since the start of 2018 and the firm is pleased with the difference it has made. The new system has reduced the ordering process time and, vitally, also reduced operational downtime. The purchasing and operational teams at PP Control and Automation are clear about the impact it has made. Martin Allen, Purchasing Manager says it is about more than cost saving: “The cost of not having the product is far greater than the pence you would pay to actually have it. For the want of a nail, the kingdom was lost, as the saying goes.”

    PP Control & Automation is so delighted with the system that RS has put in place that the company is keen to share its experience with others. “I’ve got one local company, and probably a second one as well, that plan to visit and I’ll go through what we do, why we do it and why this is an advantage,” states Allen. “It’s an open invitation.”

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    We cannot not have those products available for use when we need them. 24 hours is a long time if you consider that some of our products are supplied in days. Losing 24 hours impacts our business,

    Martin Allen Purchasing Manager PP Control & Automation

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    RS Inventory Solutions

    Find out how we can support you with managing your inventory with our choice of solutions from industrial vending to open issue, bin stock solutions.

    Visit our Inventory Solutions

    Right product, right place, right time

    From the installation of storage solutions and stock selection to checks and replenishment, we take care of everything.

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