Case Study – Anyi Lu
Drastic drop in costs for shoe brand ANYI LU after ditching ERP solution for Cin7
Offshore manufacturing and selling from an online store was once an expensive and labour-intensive process for the US shoe brand ANYI LU. ANYI LU director of IT Gregg Bambo says the California-based women’s footwear company was using a traditional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which had a terrible and dated interface and was: “Useless out of the box, requiring extensive tailoring.” Gregg was unable to justify upgrading to the latest edition of its ERP solution because much of the tailoring did not port automatically and it had a very slow rate of innovation, he says. ANYI LU had to pay a value-added reseller (VAR) – who billed at a high hourly rate – to perform extensive customisations to his ERP system, including adding new business logic. Staff had to deal with the VAR whenever ANYI LU required an improvement. “With Microsoft Dynamics NAV, I’ve never spoken to anyone at Microsoft, ever,” Gregg says.
Legacy: an expensive monstrosity
ANYI LU’s shoes are manufactured in Italy and sold from online and brick-and-mortar stores, including both sole proprietorships and major retailers (such as Nordstrom). The company requires integration with various other companies and supporting vendors such as: FedEx, Shopify, ShipStation, and Xero. Microsoft Dynamics NAV charged thousands of dollars monthly to complete integrations. These often involved third-party bolt-ons, which had costly licensing fees attached to them. The fees were additional to the VAR’s billable hours. Nothing was end-user configurable, and nothing was configurable without cost. Complete integration of all desirable services was simply not economically feasible. “And the bolt-ons were no more graceful in operation than the term sounds.”
Cin7’s EDI feature key to business
An extensive search led Gregg to Cin7. Cin7’s monthly costs are a small fraction of what the ERP solution’s were. Moreover, none of the Cin7 integrations involved third-party bolt-ons. Gregg says: “What I am most impressed by is the rate at which Danny is driving improvements. Since we signed on, he has added third-party logistics, Amazon integration is in progress and he has launched free native electronic data interchange (EDI) support. I am unaware of anyone who offers native EDI. This is always a bolt-on.” EDI is a prerequisite in Gregg’s line of work. “In North America, EDI support is like shipping integration — an essential for efficiency and access to markets … And to offer it for free is just mind-blowing.”
Cin7’s intelligent management of size-runs was a critical deciding factor for Gregg. Size-runs are the basic units of transacting in the wholesale shoe industry. Managing a size-run as a one-line item rather than 18-line items makes for more concise paperwork, he says. A cloud-based system, Cin7 allows for typographically sophisticated presentations, which are richer than standard desktop database interfaces. “We see more data per screenful and more fields per record. Each view is more heavily contextualized and there is far less drilling-down.”
Fewer data silos, less hand-keying, more accurate data
Reduced data silos with Cin7 means improvements in timeliness and consistency of data. A major source of error for Gregg in the past arose from his inability to readily establish which account was the authoritative one. But with Cin7, ANYI LU now has just one main silo, and all other accounts are synced to it. This leaves little opportunity for mismatched accounts. Barcode scanner support is great. Not that the prior solution lacked this: “The budget just ran out before we got that far.” Quality reporting with the ERP system also came at an extra charge. Though Cin7 also charges for this, it’s a minor fixed fee, and Gregg has failed to find a compelling case for requesting it as yet. Cin7 reporting is flexible in end-user hands. The standard report library is comprehensive and highly reconfigurable. Gregg enjoys using the data export and import functions, which enable him to move data in and out effortlessly and make bulk edits. “I never imagined I could have this level of transparency in data manipulation.”
Staff numbers dropped by one-third
“Cin7 is clearly resulting in extraordinary savings in cost, simultaneous with extraordinary improvements in integration.” This is not a rational thing to expect, Gregg adds. “Normally, each of those values trades off against the others. I’d be hard-pressed to explain why a traditional ERP would be of benefit to anyone in the small business sector.” ANYI LU has not only reduced its staffing requirements by a third but also: “In-house documentation and training requirements have been reduced by well in excess of an order of magnitude.”
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