Construction equipment manufacturer JCB has adopted new software to better manage inventory at its main plant in Uttoxeter, UK.

The system allows managers, via point-of-use devices, to control access to stock and know who uses what, when and where, according to its supplier, Apex Supply Chain Technologies of the US. Workers must use ID cards or access codes to dispense each item. Access is limited to only the items and quantities particular employees need to do their jobs.

According to Apex, JCB frequently ran into significant production delays due to misplaced, lost or out-of-stock materials, while uncontrolled spot buying and overuse of materials were also “a real problem.”

The result is significant direct and indirect savings, said Apex. “On automatic air fittings alone, JCB immediately realised weekly savings of £300 ($430). Overall, consumption has been reduced by 30%. Out-of-stocks have been eliminated and interruptions in production schedules are a thing of the past,” it added in a statement.

Other savings have come through an automated dispensing process from Apex, replacing manual tracking which meant ordering processing consuming hours of time. “Maintenance managers were placing more than 50 orders per month at a processing cost of £90 per order to respond to emergency requests for materials. This also resulted in a significant increase in sourcing time, expediting costs and rush orders,” said Apex, which is headquartered in Mason, Ohio.

The automated system has reduced orders to 16 a month, saving more than £183,000 which is equal to reducing costs by almost 70%.

JCB is extending use of the automated dispensing process to other locations across the UK.