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Improved supplier and inventory management at Wehkamp to enable growth
  • Wehkamp was facing capacity issues in its warehouses and high costs for storage and handling, caused by excessive stock and low stock turns 

  • IG&H was enlisted to free up working capital and avoid unnecessary infrastructure investments by improving its sourcing model and inventory replenishment setup 

  • In just 3 months, working capital was reduced by 25% while stock turns increased by 60%, proving that the planning organisation is able to set the conditions to fuel further growth 

At a glance:

With an extensive home and fashion assortment, Wehkamp is a leading online retailer operating from several warehouses in The Netherlands. At the core of its business model is the ability to offer a reliable next-day and same-day delivery, the foundation of which is a solid supply chain execution. 

The retailer was facing high inventory levels that posed a risk to the fulfillment of orders in a profitable way. Overstock and low stock turns resulted in additional warehouse storage costs and increased markdown risk. Help was needed to free up capacity while ensuring the availability of stock is not changed. 

 A fact-based and holistic approach to achieving the best results 

First, IG&H conducted a quick scan to determine the approach and improvement potential. The outcome was to start optimizing the setup with the largest and most impactful suppliers. In doing so, we would provide (short-term) evidence for this way of working. A holistic approach was taken by looking at replenishment methodology and safety stock settings, improving supplier reliability, renegotiating replenishment frequency and reducing the longest supply lead times.  

In collaboration with Wehkamp management and employees, we used a hands-on approach and supported them with data analysis to work toward a shared target of working capital reduction. In this results-oriented way of working, we included cross-functional weekly stand-ups with direct feedback on improving the results. 

Finally, we set up multiple preconditions for improving the sustainability of the solution. These included KPIs and incentives, organizational design, management style and continuous supplier performance monitoring. 


25% stock level reduction in the first 3 months 

In just 3 months, stock levels and working capital were reduced by 25%. Stock turns improved by 60% while the lost sales and operating costs remained unchanged. Furthermore, there was a 35% increase in the goods receiving capacity in the warehouse. Besides improved collaboration between sales and operations, a supplier performance monitor was also developed. This resulted in streamlined and data-driven supplier management, elevating the planning organization to the next level of professionalism. 

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