text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

Elektro Internationaal - Worry-free Vendor Managed Inventory

Optimising internal logistics is often a challenge for panel builders, from grab stock management to getting a grip on delivery times. Especially when production is spread across multiple sites, like at Elektro Internationaal (EI) in Woerden. In 2016, the company already took a big step, together with itsme Connected Business, at their batch production site. This was related to the introduction of Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) in the form of a 2BIN system. In the near future, EI expects to start the construction of new premises, whereby all activities will be brought under one roof. At that point, the logistics for the entire production will also be optimised.

Elektro Internationaal is one of the leading players in our country in the field of panel building and control technology. The company designs and builds distribution and control cabinets for a wide range of markets, from non-residential buildings, data centres and healthcare institutions to retail, chemicals and the pharmaceutical industry.

Questions on optimising internal logistics?

Fill in the form and we will get back to you!

EI has 115 employees, including flexible deployment, and operates across four premises (in total, 4,500 m2) in Woerden. This is far from optimal for production and internal logistics in terms of efficiency. There are plans for a brand-new replacement building (in total, 6,000 m2). Provided all permits are granted this year, the new premises should be ready for use by early 2025.

Professionalised logistics

The organisation of the logistics in the new building will be handled by Ber de Vor. He joined the company on 1 August as Supply Chain Coordinator after graduating from the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in logistics management at EI. “That was about internal logistics, but on the front end also about ordering methods and liaising with suppliers. I’m now looking at how we can optimise logistics processes. For as long as we still have several sites, there are ways to benefit in terms of internal transport. In that respect, I am looking forward to the new premises. I want to work out the layout of it as comprehensively as possible and will consult suppliers like itsme.” “For the existing situation, it’s also about optimisation,” explains Bart Ranke, Finance, Logistics and ICT Manager. “We have already professionalised our logistics processes to a reasonable extent. In 2016, at our biggest site for batch production, we opted for VMI in the form of a 2BIN system for gripping materials. As a panel builder, we mainly carry the Schneider Electric brand; we source most electrical components from them. For gripping materials such as wire and fasteners, we already have a long-term relationship with itsme. This has been strengthened even more with the implementation of the 2BIN system.”

“itsme was the most flexible party for materials supply.”

“VMI is one of the logistics concepts offered by itsme,” explains Dennis Hermans, Account Manager OEM at itsme. “We were able to demonstrate with a calculation of the total cost of ownership that it paid off to accommodate low-value materials for batch production in a VMI system. For EI, the big advantage of this is a completely worry-free solution for these products; it has led to a reduction in purchase orders and the number of accounts payable. In addition, downtime, which should certainly not happen in batch production, has been avoided with the VMI system managed by itsme.” At EI, the system in question was the 2BIN system, with two trays for each material. If one is empty, the customer uses the other, while itsme replenishes the stock in the empty tray. “EI opted for itsme as its VMI partner because of its flexibility,” explains Ranke. “We have preferences for certain materials we use in our cabinets and itsme was the most flexible party in terms of materials supply.

New technical challenge

“In the new building, EI plans to introduce VMI for the entire production, including for cabinet production in small quantities,” says Ranke. “We use different materials for that, so there will probably be several 2BIN setups in the new building, with different contents. That’s something Ber will look into.” It would allow EI to achieve even more logistical benefits. “The biggest efficiency boost is simply the fact that we are going from four buildings to one. We will save on staff, traffic and walking routes by no longer having to drive back and forth with materials and grab stocks when there is a shortage somewhere.” Hermans: “To us, the main win is that we can maintain continuity in the relationship with EI and continue to make a demonstrable contribution to their success. We have once again demonstrated the added value of itsme through an optimised VMI system.”

“In the new building, there will be several 2BIN setups.”

For now, EI has its work cut out on the logistics arrangements for the new building, which it hopes will be completed soon. “Nevertheless, we still have more aspirations,” says Ranke. “Control technology is now a side business for us, but we want to develop in that area. With the current scarcity in the labour market, it is great to be able to call on a partner like itsme, which has in-house specialists for programming components.” Hermans certainly welcomes this. “We will be able to serve EI even more at their new location with our logistics concepts and, in addition, will look at what else we can do for them in terms of control technology.”

No worries

This is what keeps the cooperation alive. “For the 2BIN system, it was smooth sailing right from the start,” says Ranke. “In the first few months, we had to fine-tune order quantities and item selection in close consultation. After that, the process was clear to all parties and it began to run like clockwork. It still does. Our site manager recently mentioned that communication is going well, for example about big upcoming projects, so that order quantities are increased in time. It’s just nice that we can go over things like this with someone from itsme on site, that there is interaction instead of arranging everything on a computer. We thought we would be able to pick it up ourselves, but it’s good that it has been placed in the hands of a party that is working on it on a daily basis and who can take away our worries.” “That is exactly what the system is for,” confirms Hermans. “Every week we visit to do a scan and replenish stocks; EI doesn’t have to worry about that. In the background, we also perform backorder monitoring on the 2BIN materials. Every week we run reports and if they contain items with a lead time above a certain deadline, we coordinate with EI. It’s all about taking the worry out of the equation.”


Check out our other success stories:

    12 jul. 2024
    DigiFlow - Making Life Easier for Customers
    Technical services provider Breemes supplies customers with PLCs, drives and other materials. Customers like industrial automation company Digi-Flow. Turnover, both parties feel, is not the ultimate indicator of a good relationship. Coming up with solutions together and providing knowledge are equally important. Ultimately, Breemes has to make the customer’s life easier, Digi-Flow CEO Eric Decant believes. Antwerp-based Digi-Flow assists industrial companies in their transformation to smart industrial environments using industrial automation and digitalisation. The company is a spin-off from ESAS Automation in 2020. Solindus, now ESAS, had grown into a company with 2,000 employees after its founding in 2003 by Eric and Robert Decant. With Digi-Flow, they wanted to go back to small-scale entrepreneurship. Eric Decant is now the CEO of the company, which has 30-plus employees. ‘I’m still ambitious, but I don’t want to complete this kind of strenuous trajectory on such a large scale anymore.’ Meanwhile, he is grooming his son to take over the reins. This makes Digi-Flow a true family business, as reflected in its core values of co-creation, long-term vision, lifelong growth and personal.
    Read more
    11 jul. 2024
    ATR Engineering - Short delivery times for components and decisions
    Being able to shift gears quickly is crucial to the success of industrial automation projects. This refers not only to the delivery of components but also to decision-making. Short lines of communication are important here. That was the case in the project to control a washing line for plastic PET flakes, in which ATR Engineering and itsme teamed up closely. ‘The added value of our collaboration is being able to anticipate customer requests extremely quickly.’ Bringing ten years of experience in industrial automation to the table, Adrie van Triest started his own company in 2019. With a broad approach, ATR Engineering in Berkel-Enschot focuses on hardware and software engineering. ‘Our area of expertise is offering total solutions for industrial automation centred around the design of PLC controls. We will sit down with a customer to discuss pending automation issues and we will determine the needs and wishes for a project together in advance. We also offer flexible support for projects or commissioning.’ ATR Engineering is a small company currently employing four engineers from different disciplines. There is also a permanent ‘flexible shell’ of engineers and technicians available to help during peak periods.
    Read more
    10 jul. 2024
    Top Cold Control - Short lines for energy management and project collaboration
    Specialist in industrial refrigeration Top Cold Control carries out complete projects, and energy management cannot be missing from that these days. This starts with a lot of measuring. For a cold store in Amsterdam, itsme, in consultation with Top Cold Control and the customer, designed a solution to integrate energy measurement in the control system. Top Cold Control from Nieuwkuijk, specialised in industrial refrigeration technology, realises large projects for customers in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and, through them, elsewhere in the world. These include refrigeration and freezer systems for slaughterhouses, processing companies, cold stores and transport companies. Top Cold Control can handle all common refrigerants, but specialises in the use of the natural refrigerants ammonia (NH3) and carbon dioxide (CO2). For fast freezing, Top Cold Control supplies advanced, energy-efficient freezing tunnels. "The company stands out for its short lines of communication," says operations manager Arjan Maas. "We are always accessible and customers immediately get the right person on the line with us."
    Read more
    19 apr. 2024
    Dymotec - Open Lines in a ‘Perfect Storm’
    COVID-19 and global component scarcity threw the industry into a ‘perfect storm’. Industrial automator Dymotec and Breemes kept the phone lines constantly open to tackle the scarcity problem together with creativity and proactivity. Dymotec in Olen (B) focuses on industrial automation spanning a broad spectrum of industries, from food and pharma to logistics and metal. The company has been around for 30 years and joined the Jeco Energies Group in 2022. Dymotec now has some 50 employees and also has a flexible shell with technicians, programmers and project engineers. Ever since its establishment, the company from Kempen has had a relationship with (the predecessors of) Breemes.
    Read more

Stay up to date with the latest news:

  • NEWS
    3 jul. 2024
    nVent - Hoffman
    Vertical Mount Indoor Air Conditioner E-NEXT: This vertical cooling unit, E-NEXT, with an IP55 protection degree, is available in many different sizes for different cooling requirements. This means that the right cooling solution, including stainless steel for demanding environments, can easily be chosen.
    Read more
  • NEWS
    26 jun. 2024
    Bata Enduro Collection: The Best in Safety and Ergonomics
    Discover the new Bata Enduro collection, high-quality safety shoes for a variety of jobs, from light to heavy. This bestseller is now better than ever before.
    Read more
  • NEWS
    21 jun. 2024
    Schneider Electric introduces Altivar Soft Starter ATS130
    Schneider Electric has expanded its Soft Starters portfolio with the new Altivar Soft Starter ATS130 series. The introduction of the ATS130 extends the power range of the ATS01 to 55kW while maintaining its compact size and many additional benefits.
    Read more
  • NEWS
    21 jun. 2024
    Avoid costly outages with Anybus Diagnostics from HMS Networks
    Every minute of downtime costs you money. Unplanned downtime of your production lines can lead to huge losses. Anybus Diagnostics, the expert in PROFIBUS, PROFINET and Industrial Ethernet networks, offers the solution to prevent costly failures and maximise your uptime.
    Read more

Why not take a look at these trainings we offer: