Inventor-e targets £1m opportunity after signing PP C&A manufacturing deal


Transforming inventory management is paying off for Inventor-e after it signed its latest deal to scale-up production.

The Solihull-based company has extended its working relationship with PP Control & Automation (PP C&A) to include the build of its latest model, the iVendScale+, and has already won orders to supply Mitsubishi’s vast factory in Scotland and Babcock’s Faslane and Coulport facilities.

Targeted at managing fast-moving consumables for manufacturers and Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) facilities, this is the firm’s largest inventory management system to date with four separate cabinets housing up to 72 weight sensor-controlled bins per cabinet that can store MRO consumables, PPE, fasteners, critical space and other industrial essentials.

End users receive full accountability as the software monitors what is taken by each employee, which will typically drive a reduction in consumption by between 20 to 40%.

Inventor-e CEO Dean Henry is expecting sales for this system to hit £1m this year and, in order to cope with a rise in volumes, has used the strategic manufacturing outsourcing expertise of PP C&A to manage the final electrical design and build of iVendScale+.

“We had already built a strong working relationship with specialist engineering design agency Grove Design on previous Inventor-e models, so the process of getting the initial plans ready for manufacture was completed relatively quickly – another key benefit of long-term strategic outsourcing,” explained Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation.

“The challenges this time were speed to market (to build on existing and new customer demand for a larger solution) and the development of an inventory management system that is easier to maintain and offered more configurations than ever before.”

He continued: “Everyone plays to their strengths. Grove has unbelievable design experience and used this knowledge to develop a mechanical build solution that would make accessing the wiring easier, whilst our electrical and automation expertise meant we could reduce the number of cables used without jeopardising any performance benefits.

“The main iVendScale+ cabinet changed from a fully welded approach to a flat pack construction that is assembled by riveting the pieces of metal work together. This immediately gave staff the ability to service and maintain the system without continually moving out the shelves and the wiring.”

A production cell for the new system has been added to the existing Inventor-e manufacturing lines at PP Control & Automation’s world class facility in Cheslyn Hay.

Lead times of iVendScale+ have been drilled down to between ten and twelve weeks if all materials are in place, a situation that has improved greatly after the two companies chose to overcome global supply chain disruption by buying a considerable amount of stock and electrical components up front.

Dean Henry, CEO of Inventor-E, went on to add: “The supply chain issue is just another example of how you need clear transparency in a strategic manufacturing outsourcing partnership. Disruption was rife and we had to address it together to make sure we could keep up with potential demand.

“We expect to generate over £1m of revenue from iVendScale+ over the next twelve months, but the bigger picture is a £50m global opportunity.

“Thanks to the relationship with PP C&A, we have brought a new solution to market quicker than our competitors, a new solution that will change the way factories manage their inventory for years to come.”

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