Supply Chain : Identifying efficiencies



In an increasingly competitive manufacturing environment, identifying efficiencies is key to business success – and effective supply chain partnerships can be key on this journey. Supply partners who go above and beyond the realms of supplying products, and are leading the way with new solutions, can provide unique insight for businesses who are under significant pressures. Whether it’s the need to implement lean processes, increase capacity, reduce cost savings, or even compete effectively on the world stage, businesses can achieve their ambitions with the right partners who are aligned to their goals.

Based in Ravenshaw, West Midlands, Whale Tankers is a market leading manufacturer of liquid waste vacuum tankers and jetting equipment. In its world-class manufacturing facility, all key processes are carried out internally, from technical specification through to tank build and mounting. In-house product philosophy is important for Whale Tankers, ensuring each customer receives the highest quality in every engineered product.

Experiencing complex and time-consuming processes relating to the management of their tooling and MRO consumables, Whale Tankers turned to MSC Industrial Supply Co. UK for a solution. By working closely together, MSC has been able to identify opportunities for improvement within Whale Tankers’ existing processes to drive efficiencies across their set-up. This activity, which aims to tackle numerous process-related challenges, forms part of a major expansion and investment programme aiming to double the size of Whale Tankers within five years.

At the heart of this approach is MSC’s ControlPoint Industrial Vending Solution, which was first installed in 2020 to manage inventory of tooling and MRO consumables. Ensuring an adequate supply of consumable products is held on site and easily accessible at the point of use, MSC replenishes stock on a weekly basis, removing the need to manually place orders and accommodate deliveries.

Now, following the construction of a new unit which houses eight production bays, MSC has expanded its on-site inventory management solution with the implementation of a second vending solution to further support Whale Tankers’ growth. Reflecting the value experienced through the vending solution, Whale Tankers has also extended their initial two-year contract by a further three years.

Harnessing the value of supply partners

In the first 18 months of their five-year partnership, Whale Tankers has seen a 35% reduction in their consumption of consumables, resulting in significant cost savings as a direct result of MSC’s vending solution. Giving the business greater visibility and control of their inventory, significant efficiencies have been realised through the provision of 24/7 access to regular consumables.

With the majority of downtime previously driven by stockouts, enhanced stock availability has increased productivity by ensuring tools are available when required. Elsewhere, the purchasing department is no longer required to place multiple orders when stock levels of individual consumables are low – and processing multiple invoices has become a thing of the past.

This is all made possible through MSC’s ControlPoint vending solution. Enabling manufacturers to better see and manage their inventory, the system allows greater visibility and control of MRO inventory and costs to keep operations running smoothly. In practice, round-the-clock consumption management via the tool supports Whale Tankers to become leaner, more productive and more flexible.

Alongside the day-to-day benefits of ControlPoint, quarterly business reviews are routinely carried out to ensure business needs are being met, keeping Whale Tankers on track towards their business goals. As part of this, MSC’s dedicated solutions team support the business to analyse and review data captured through ControlPoint to evaluate its effectiveness and identify further opportunities for improvement, in-line with the company’s goals and growth ambitions.


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