Gritomatic

The company now known as Gritomatic was born in Moscow, in 2012. At the time, the small family-run business, called RuChef, consisted of just owner Konstantin Martynenko and his wife, Olga, and dealt in kitchenware of all kinds.

After noticing surprisingly strong sales of a particular sharpening system, the pair decided to focus exclusively on the knife-sharpening category: “We sell sharpening tools to sharpen knives, scissors, tools and different blades, but knives are the major aspect of our business,” said Konstantin. “All our customers own knives.”

About half of Gritomatic’s sales are guided knife-sharpening systems made by different brands and half are sharpening stones. While sharpening can be performed freehand, with just a knife and a stone, it requires skill to do correctly, hence the need for guided sharpening systems. “We want to supply many sharpening systems because we feel that there are many new innovations from different countries and different brands.”

The Gritomatic team now includes three more people based in Russia, two in Moscow and one in Irkutsk. “But just because we are small doesn’t make things simple,” said Konstantin. Doing business first in Russia and now in the United States, Gritomatic considers itself an international company.

“If we start discussing Cin7 or similar systems, they have to be compatible with US dollars, euros, Russian rubles. We have to put in the system that we have inventory in different countries. If we have inventory [in Russia], we cannot make it available in the United States because the logistics are very long.”

TradeGecko Not up to the Task

A fundamental lack of flexibility made it impossible for Gritomatic to continue using TradeGecko. “Maybe three years ago, we gave up. We spent a lot of time putting everything in their systems so of course, it was a disappointment for us.”

What kind of problems were they experiencing? As Konstantin explains it, TradeGecko sends the sum inventory of multiple warehouses to Shopify rather than separating inventory by location.

“It was impossible to prevent it,” he said. Why is this such a big issue? “If we don’t have stock of some product [in the US] but we have stock in Russia, we cannot sell it on Shopify because our web store is for American customers. Or if we have some in a warehouse for internal needs, it should not become available on our web store.

“In Cin7, I can say that I want one warehouse to be connected with Shopify and that’s it. I can have a Russian warehouse, I can have a warehouse connected to Amazon FBA. I can have different ones but only one connected to Shopify, and that’s the point.”

FBA as a Stop-Gap

After their split with TradeGecko, Gritomatic relied solely on Fulfillment by Amazon to ship their international orders so they didn’t felt the need for an inventory management system. Then, in 2015, Konstantin and Olga moved to the US and opened a branch in Cartersville, Georgia, 30 minutes from Atlanta. “We wanted to be able to do fast and inexpensive shipping, so we had to be close to a transport hub.”

While FBA had worked well enough for a time, it was also extremely limiting, with “many issues related to customer satisfaction. When you send 10 or 20 orders per month, Amazon is perfect. But when you send a lot of orders, the micromanagement of orders that are lost or delayed becomes very time-consuming.”

Back then, about 80% of their sales came from Amazon and just 20% from their Shopify website, which for Konstantin, felt “very risky.” Deciding it was better to start handling their own fulfillment, Gritomatic opened a warehouse at their Cartersville facility last June.

It was around this time that Konstantin resumed his search for an inventory management solution that was compatible with their new business model. After trying several other inventory management systems, Gritomatic began using Cin7 last September. Now 60% of orders originate from Gritomatic’s own website, with maybe 35% from Amazon and 5% from eBay.

“We tried maybe six systems, and only with Cin7 did we get the feeling that the developers understand what they’re doing. Core Cin7 is fantastic. Our products are about bundles, and the support of bundles in Cin7 is extraordinary.”

Cin7: Best for Bundles

What’s in these bundles? “We sell knife sharpeners and we sell sharpening stones. And there is no one universal stone set, so we offer different stone sets. It’s like a product matrix: You can choose a sharpening system and you can choose a sharpening stone set.”

“[Bundles in Cin7] are implemented so smart that we started to extend the number of our bundles and kits.” When Gritomatic began, they had maybe five bundles, 10 tops. “Right now, we have approximately 100 bundles and we plan to offer maybe 100 or more. I doubt any other system could help us [in the same way].”

Gritomatic carries sharpening systems made in the US, Russia, Ukraine, China and more. “All of these systems can use our sharpening stones. We offer a variety of sharpening stone bundles because people own different knives: everyday carry knives or kitchen knives, hard steel more expensive knives, or soft steel less expensive knives.”

The sharpening stones Gritomatic carries are mostly synthetic, made of diamond particles or more advanced materials like cubic boron nitride, silicon carbide or aluminum oxide, all of which have different properties and costs. They also carry natural stone, though Konstantine describes this as a “very niche” category and rates synthetic stones as superior in every way. “They are more predictive and less expensive to manufacture. They are faster. They are more universal for different materials.”

What’s Next

Russia is Gritomatic’s primary market in terms of sales, but if Konstantin has his way, that will soon change. “We think that our American business will be larger, just because of the economy size.” Production, however, is based in Russia and will remain there, due to lower labor and equipment costs.

As for the future, Gritomatic has big plans: “We want to be the biggest seller of guided knife-sharpening systems.” Konstantin wants people to understand that they don’t have to be confined to proprietary systems like Lansky, the most well-known brand. “Lanksy is okay, but it’s only a few diamonds of different grades and that’s it. You cannot experiment; you cannot try different stones. You just have to stick to the system. All our sharpening systems are not proprietary, so owners of our systems can have access to hundreds of thousands of different stones—not just from us, but from the market.”

Konstantin also wants to improve cost calculations. “That’s one of our priorities. I see how much precision of cost calculations Cin7 can offer, and your competitors don’t do this.” He also wants to make better use of Cin7’s Xero integration. “When we buy, when we sell, when we have a production job, when we have a movement of stock from one place to another. We don’t use Xero for that, but we need to, and we will.”

FH Packaging

FH Packaging is the sort of company you don’t often hear about. They quietly – and profitably – make products that everyone needs, even if not everyone realizes it. Their business is creating packaging that other companies use; primarily bottles, and other kinds of containers as well.

“The bulk of our customers are called co-packers,” explains Cayla Baluyot. “For example, if you own a beard oil company, you’ll go to a co-packer, and they’re the ones who fill your bottles. We sell to the companies who fill those bottles, and we can customise any packaging they like, any shape or size.”

Cayla is the CFO of Wolfgang Enterprises, Inc, which runs FH Packaging as a fully-owned subsidiary. The bulk of their business is business-to-business (B2B), but they also run a direct-to-consumer (D2C) online store. The business started in 2014, and Cayla is proud of the growth they’ve achieved in just over six years, with the team increasing from around five employees to more than 30.

With growth comes challenges. FH Packaging needed to manage the complexities of scaling up, operating in multiple markets, and opening new sales channels, all in an economy rocked by Covid-19. Before Cin7, they used ZarMoney to track inventory. The system was quickly overwhelmed when the pandemic began, as their Ecommerce sales went up and their customers inundated them with pre-orders. Luckily, they soon found a very capable and efficient inventory solution in Cin7.

More accurate, more efficient

FH Packaging uses Cin7 primarily for more accurate and efficient inventory management, as well as to integrate and streamline operations. Cayla works mostly in the accounting and sales modules: invoicing orders, checking that orders are being dispatched from the correct location, and syncing data with QuickBooks Online. Financial data and reports can then be sent to management, or prepared for compliance. Wolfgang’s CEO also uses Cin7 to view daily sales and inventory. Cayla says Cin7 has hugely helped streamline both their D2C online store and their warehouse operations.

“Before Cin7, we weren’t able to integrate our online store to the software we were using, so we had to manually enter invoices,” Cayla says.

“The integration between our online store and Cin7 definitely helped by automatically pushing through inventory and invoices to QuickBooks. It’s really improved the online side of the business.”

On the wholesale side of the business, FH Packaging has benefited from the operations features that allow them to perform tasks like adding bin and zone locations for products in their warehouse.

“Those features definitely help our warehouse, because we didn’t have a location feature in our old system,” Cayla says. “Now, the whole workflow process just makes sense. When you create the sales order, you dispatch the locations, and everything goes really smoothly. Instead of trying to hunt for an item, our warehouse crews can just go to that location. It makes it easier for our warehouse crews to know where they’re needed to be.”

Cayla says the implementation of Cin7 was less difficult than they’d anticipated, largely because of the excellent help they received from their Cin7 implementation manager.

“Our Cin7 implementation manager was awesome. She made it really easy for us and really took the time to understand our business.”

However, Cayla also says that her accounting knowledge also really helped, which is why she recommends accountants and CFOs take an active hand in the implementation of a new inventory system.

Making the numbers count

FH Packaging now has more confidence in the numbers that are showing in their balance sheet for stock. They’re also able to provide more insights to the directors around what parts of the business are doing well.

“The insights report in Cin7 also helps,” Cayla says. “We’re able to see whether we have overstocked or understocked products. And on the accounting side, I really enjoy having accurate data from the cost of goods sold — when you go to the sales order, it tells you your profit, which helps a lot, too.”

Wins all round the business

She says the biggest win from their Cin7 implementation has been streamlining their operations workflow, making it better and avoiding the losses previously caused by inventory errors.

“Everything is more streamlined, everything is accounted for, and that gives the opportunity for the sales people to be able to sell more, since they have the inventory available, and they see, okay, we actually have this in stock!” Cayla laughs.

When it comes to her own role as CFO, Cayla says that Cin7 has saved her an enormous amount of time and effort, allowing her to get her job done more quickly and efficiently.

“When it comes to efficiency, Cin7 saves a lot of time. For me, as the CFO, it’s saved at least two hours a day. Instead of having to stay over time, or having to push back other tasks, I can get it done quickly in a day,” Cayla says.

“Everything is good. I would say it’s a great investment, definitely.”

No need to work overtime: A CFO calculates how much money they are saving

We asked Cayla to calculate how much FH Packaging’s Cin7 implementation is saving in their wholesale and Ecommerce business, on top of the hours it saves her each day. All dollar figures are in $USD and reflect average US pay rates.

For Ecommerce, Cin7 saves us at least 4 hours per day because of the integrations of our online store, inventory, and accounting. 

This is probably equivalent to half an employee’s salary (approximately $36,000), across a minimum of two people. $18,000 x 2 people = $36,000. I can add in maybe additional $10,000 worth of overtime pay for a total of $46,000. Tasks that saved time were data entry, inventory mapping, and management. 

For wholesale, it has helped a great deal in inventory management. It probably saves us at least half the time of picking orders. I’d estimate this to be equivalent to hiring an additional associate (average $36,000). 

All together, I estimate we’re saving at least $82,000 per year. I think it’s important to note that besides the money saved, the software has helped make the workflow smoother, which leads to less stress, mistakes, and better work-life balance — no need to work overtime!

Cayla’s tips for a successful Cin7 implementation

After FH Packaging’s successful Cin7 implementation, we asked Cayla what she’d tell other businesses looking to incorporate Cin7. Here’s what she had to say.

I would say that before implementing, businesses should really look hard at their workflow process. Understand exactly what your business needs are, and then set aside time to prepare for the implementation because it does take time to learn.

For us, when we first started our implementation, I think we did a weekly meeting, and I think that lasted for about a month. During that time we practiced on our own, and learned from reading other resources on Cin7, which helped.

I think the bulk of the work is really post-live, because that’s when other people will start using it and then figuring it out. “Hey, can I do this? Can I do that?” 

You also need a Cin7 Champion. There should always be one person who has full knowledge of Cin7 and how to protect the data that’s being entered, because Cin7 only works as well as the data you give it. So if your internal data is wrong and you put it in the system, obviously it won’t be accurate. Attention to detail is very important!

Childsmart

Childsmart was founded in the early 2000s to fill a gap in the market for quality and innovative children’s products in Australia. Retailers were hungry for more than just commodity goods, and Childsmart seized the opportunity to bring quality baby brands to Australian retailers.

The company quickly became a one-of-a-kind kids’ product distributor, growing its range to include toys and games, puzzles and educational DVDs, nursery gear and equipment, furniture and even drinks.

“We look at distribution as not just being focused on a particular category, but also being focused on bringing solutions to our retail partners,” says Managing Director Stanley Ichikowitz. “So over time, we’ve covered the whole gamut of products from pre-birth to about eight or nine-year-old kids. It’s amazing to sell these products that add value and bring joy to families and their kids.”

A Changing Market Reality 

Childsmart grew by building relationships with independent retailers and some national chains. Their sales team met face-to-face with 50 or so customers a month, Stanley says. But as in other markets, ecommerce, retail consolidation and a lack of consumer confidence and spending took a toll on Australia’s brick-and-mortar stores.

“Online was starting to become a player, and a lot of the independent retailers as we knew them were falling by the wayside,” Stanley says.

Sales volume increased as Childsmart’s business shifted to online stores and retail chains, but orders were now coming in for one or two items. All these changes strained how the distributor operated, from the sales team to how Childmart processed, picked, packed and shipped orders in its warehouse.

“We had to change how we engaged with the retailers, the product range we gave them and how we fulfill orders,” Stanley says. “In the past, we used to have a rep that would go out with a paper price list and take orders in the store. Now we had to ask if we had the right resources allocated correctly; if we were getting the right value out of what we were doing and how we were doing it.”

A Distributor Redefines Itself

Childsmart took a number of decisions to make-over their business model. This required they revisit how they processed orders, among other changes.

“We found that our inventory management systems and the way we were running our business with our own warehouse facility and our own teams just was not providing the returns that we required,” Stanley says.

The company had relied for years on spreadsheets to process and track orders while using MYOB Exo for accounting and inventory management. Neither made sense anymore as Childsmart’s business shifted increasingly online.

“We were touching pieces of paper too many times, handling orders way too many times for it to be profitable or efficient for the business,” Stanley says. “We needed to move to a 21st-century world where everything was integrated.”

Cin7: The Agility to Adapt

Childsmart’s emerging business model included shifting to a more productive model where warehousing was outsourced to a 3PL warehouse and increasing efficiency by shifting to handling orders electronically. To do that, the company moved from spreadsheets and MYOB Exo to Cin7 and Xero in early 2018.

“Our business had changed drastically and without Cin7 and the integrations it brings with both national retailers through EDI and online channels, we probably wouldn’t have been able to do that,” Stanley says. “We’ve become a much more efficient, leaner organization, focusing our attention on the retail channels that actually were driving growth opportunities and profitability.”

As a small, family-run company, Childsmart needed integrated processes at a lower cost than other solutions. Cin7’s pricing and its integrations to Xero, 3PLs and big retailers (with built-in EDI) ticked all of Childsmart’s boxes.

“It all boils down to efficiency and productivity,” Stanley says. “Today we’re reviewing an order once. It doesn’t matter what channel it’s coming from, we review them and then push them through to our warehouse, and they pick, pack and ship the product and it all flows through the system.”

Their strategy helped Childsmart to “face the reality of market dynamics”, Stanley says. Cin7 helped make that pivot possible.

“Cin7 has enabled us to become a lean, efficient business with a much tighter range of products for a much more specific audience,” Stanley says.

Peta + Jain

“I love Cin7,” she says.

Peta + Jain are an ethical (and certified vegan) fashion company. Specializing in handbags, wallets, travel bags, belts, and jewellery, the Australia-based brand bills itself as “affordable luxury”.

Named after founders Jain Da Silva and Peta Wessell, Peta + Jain was a near-instant success, becoming one of Australia’s most popular handbag brands in under two years. After starting operations in their home workspace, Instagram and social media-fuelled growth saw them move to a new warehouse and office space in south Sydney.

Only three years later, Peta + Jain are one of the fastest-growing fashion brands in Australia, and they’re now expanding rapidly into the lucrative North American market.

But this rapid growth and international success brought new challenges. Opening up channels in new countries to online and bricks-and-mortar retailers, as well as running their own direct-to-consumer website — all while operating their own warehouse and fulfilment systems — brought Peta + Jain’s inventory processes near to breaking point. Their old system, a mix of MYOB and spreadsheets, “just didn’t cut it for inventory management,” Jennifer says.

It was time to try something new.

Hours of painful manual work replaced by Cin7

For a while, Jennifer was able to manage Peta + Jain’s inventory requirements with their existing MYOB and spreadsheet-based system.

“When we had MYOB, it was a long process. For example, we would have to key in all our orders from Iconic and Shopify, then download and upload spreadsheets into Australia Post, just to print shipping labels and other assets,” Jennifer says.

It took her and the team many hours of manual labor each week. But as the business grew, the system became more and more unsustainable. Errors became more frequent. Jennifer had a decision to make: either hire more employees to work with the existing system, or try a fresh approach.

While she did consider other ERP solutions, Jennifer knew that the cost of implementing a large system would be prohibitive and the process would be long, which is when she came across Cin7.

“Prior to that, I’d never really heard of the Cin7 system,” Jennifer says. “I looked at the functionality and noticed there’s a lot more growth and flexibility in this than there is in a high-end ERP.”

From her research, she decided to try a demo, and was immediately sold on it.

Getting integration and onboarding right the first time, in the middle of a pandemic 

Peta + Jain went live with their Cin7 implementation on January 1, 2020. Using Cin7’s Xero integration, they took care of accounting first, moving balances across from MYOB, and doing a stocktake. Then they spent a month moving slowly to make sure things were working, while simultaneously training the staff on the new system. A month later, they turned on the Shopify integration.

Then, in March, the world turned upside down.

“When the pandemic started, we had one bad month, which was April. But straight after that we were absolutely flat out as the world embraced online shopping,” Jennifer says.

“As soon as we came back from Covid, we implemented Starshipit and turned on the Iconic Marketplace integration. I’m now looking to implement barcode scanners, so we can do stocktakes easily,” she says.

“With Cin7, all our orders come in automatically. We just download and print the picking list. With Starshipit integrated, it automatically creates the consignments and prints shipping labels, which has saved hours.”

Another positive from moving to Cin7 is that company management now has access to high-quality analytics and reporting, allowing them to instantly place inventory in any of the company’s multiple channels.

“It gives us a good indication of what aged stock we have. Plus, the chart graphics are great because you can see all your sales throughout different countries. We can see what is growing and where,” Jennifer says.

Cin7 saves Peta + Jain hundreds of hours and over 130k per year

With a number of integrations now up and running seamlessly (and more planned), Jennifer says that Cin7 is now saving Peta + Jain several hours every day.

“It definitely saves time. It’s all live, it’s real time. Everything’s there to reconcile [in Xero] easily,” Jennifer says.

With future marketplace expansions and continued global growth, Jennifer says that without Cin7, the company would need one to two extra full-time employees, at minimum. Jennifer says that this was the key factor when she calculated how much money Cin7 has saved the company. She also added that when the cost of implementing traditional ERP software is taken into account, the saving is even more apparent.

“Cin7’s very well priced in the market. Other ERP systems are far more expensive, and the implementation is also more expensive. With Cin7, the onboarding costs are really low too, which is a big benefit.”

Jennifer says all these benefits combined add up to an unhesitating recommendation for other mid-market companies in the online B2B and B2C space to go with Cin7.

“I would recommend Cin7 to anyone. The flexibility of it, and the ease of integration will benefit anyone who’s in online selling, or B2B.”

Megan Salmon

Megan Salmon was exhibiting her paintings and making a name for herself but still faced a problem common to many artists.

“I had a burgeoning art career, but it really didn’t pay the bills,” Megan says. “So I needed something on the side, and I was always interested in fashion, so I kind of organically morphed into being a fashion designer and I started very small.”

Launching a fashion brand, particularly before social media, required patience. From her home in Perth, she telephoned independent retailers around Australia, then attended trade shows in Sydney and personally visited hundreds of boutiques as far away as New Zealand.

Her original designs, persistence, and word-of-mouth marketing over the next decade established Megan Salmon as a brand for women more interested in the unusual and exciting than the label.

Dispatch Days Are Hell

For years, Megan ran her business using spreadsheets. This made life unbearable every February and August, as she and her two staffers rushed to dispatch more than 7,000 units in time for the upcoming season.

“Fashion is relentless, and in my business, dispatch days are hell,” Megan says. “You have to get your products out as soon as possible because you have to give your customers as much time to sell in that season at full margin.”

Megan includes with every shipment, an unwieldy process when she came across an inevitable problem.

“It was a really clunky thing to go back and change the invoice in Excel, print it out again, then make sure the order was correct, and it would always be just a really stressful time,” Megan says.

“But now, with Cin7, if we have to make a change, we just reload the order, print it out again and it’s just a dream to change it,” Megan says. “We also email the invoice to the customer at the same time, put the paper in the box, and there’s no chasing things around anymore. It’s just all right there. It’s just brilliant.”

In fact, that was just one of the things that surprised Megan about Cin7 when she became a customer in early 2016.

Relief Comes From The Cloud

Megan used MYOB for accounting and every month, her bookkeeper would find huge discrepancies between her spreadsheets and her accounts. Because “things were not talking to each other,” Megan would spend hours with the bookkeeper to reconcile her sales.

This drove Megan to consult with Patrick Verryn of Move2Cloud, a software integrator, and Cin7 partner. With decades of accounting and technology experience, Patrick recognized how both Xero and Cin7 would help Megan improve her business.

“I get a kick out of using technology in a smart way that makes people’s lives better,” Patrick says. “I like going getting to know their business and their particular needs and I like coming up with solutions that make their lives easier with technology.”

Patrick set Megan up with Xero and Cin7 to integrate her accounting and stock management with sales processing for her B2B customers and her direct-to-consumer ecommerce channel using WooCommerce.

“I quite like working with creative people and Megan’s lighthearted and sees the humor in life and is not too serious. For me, it’s very much about the personal relationship and developing that trust so she knows I am doing the right thing for her business.”

Patrick has found the support and customer contact a key differentiator for Cin7, along with its extensive features.

“Cin7 is functionally richer than many applications and being an accountant I don’t know how someone would do that without having that knowledge that Cin7 gives to business,” he says.

Working Like a Dream

Thanks to Cin7 cloud inventory management and Move2Cloud, Megan has discovered how much easier life is now that she has that control and visibility of her inventory and sales.

“It really helps to have that inventory connected because when you go to write up an invoice, and you try to sell something you don’t really have, it tells you,” she says. “And I like the way the dashboard tells you what your biggest seller is, and I’ve just never been aware of anything like that before, it’s just been anecdotal.”

Generally speaking, Cin7 has given Megan Salmon greater efficiency, control and visibility for everything from instantly finding credit notes and invoices to, at some point soon, processing online orders using Cin7’s B2B Ecommerce module.

“Any time you do anything in Cin7, it’s instant and it’s a dream,” Megan says. “For a company my size to have this level of technology on my side, it’s just brilliant.”

New Horizon Wines

Love drew Evelyn and Allan Burns to Mauritius the first time. The couple, originally from Aberdeen Scotland, were married there in 2004. They fell head-over-heels with the island-nation.

Who could blame them? Mauritius rises from the Indian Ocean 500 miles east of Madagascar in abundant, year-round warmth and sunshine.

“It’s a beautiful tropical island and the people there are really, genuinely, very friendly,” says Evelyn. “It really captured a place in our hearts.”

The couple settled in Perth a few months later, where over the years, they cultivated another love for Australian wine. They toured vineyards, met winemakers seemingly everywhere, from the nearby Margaret River region to Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia.

Could they combine all these loves, leave their office jobs behind, and live and work together in paradise?

Bye-Bye, Nine-to-Five

As it turns out, they could. By the time they returned to Mauritius for their tenth anniversary, Evelyn and Allan had built up an impressive personal cellar from their favorite vineyards.

“We kept going back to Mauritius for holidays and we could never find Australian wines there,” Evelyn says. “We could only find French and South African wines, so we saw an opportunity.”

That’s how the couple’s business, New Horizon Wines, began to take shape.

“We were looking for a change in lifestyle, combining a place we love with a product we love and market that in Mauritius,” Evelyn said. “We wanted to get into a better lifestyle and out of the nine-to-five thing.”

They launched New Horizon Wines in early 2016, a wine import and distribution business catering to Mauritius’ hospitality sector.

Not Just Your Garden Variety

New Horizon Wines fills a niche in a market once exclusive to European wines. About 1.2 million people visit Mauritius every year (roughly equivalent to the permanent population) offering Evelyn and Allan a steady stream of potential business, especially through the busy months from November to April.

New Horizon Wines provides wine and a small selection of spirits from Australia to 20 or so hotels, luxury resorts and restaurants.

“We’re not just selling the wine but our experience,” Evelyn says. “We wanted to sell wine that we already knew, the wines that we’ve enjoyed over the past 12 years that are in our own collection.”

Allan and Evelyn currently source products from 15 vineyards, along with a small sampling of Australian whiskeys and gin. They know the majority of the winemakers/owners personally.

“We have a personal relationship that we’re selling. It’s not ‘here’s a bunch of wines,’ it’s wines that we have a personal experience and relationship with that we want to share.”

The Perfect Landing with Landed Costs

Evelyn and Allan chose Cin7 not long after launching New Horizon Wines. Evelyn knew her way around spreadsheets, which she used to track stock at the start, but New Horizon Wines would need a more robust solution sooner or later.

“It was ok at first because the amount of inventory wasn’t very hard to manage,” Evelyn says. “But I knew that as soon as we started selling in volume, it was going to become a very manual, very time-consuming exercise to deal with stock. I’m an accountant by trade and I’ve experienced plenty of death-by-spreadsheet and I didn’t want to have to deal with that.”

Cin7’s integration with Xero and Shopify sealed the deal. And, as an importer, New Horizon Wines relies heavily on Cin7’s ability to track landed costs. New Horizon Wines uses Cin7 to manage stock in two warehouses and to process online wholesale orders with Cin7’s built-in B2B website.

The young business is also on the verge of opening a retail location, which means Evelyn and Allan will be using Cin7’s POS module, and their existing Shopify channel for online B2C sales.

Finally, Evelyn uses the perpetual inventory method with Cin7 to automatically update stock value to her Xero integration for an up-to-the-second view of the company’s bottom line.

“Cin7 is not a difficult system to pick up and learn how to use, and with all its integrations, with Shopify, with Xero, it does just make things easier,” she says.

New Horizon Wines is still a growing company, but Evelyn says that within a year or two, they plan to turn over day-to-day operations to someone else, to enjoy more of the Mauritius lifestyle they’ve dreamed of for years.

 

Playtech

Paul Kao describes Playtech as a typical family-run New Zealand small business. His parents launched the company under another form in 1993, a PC and component distributor and wholesaler.

Over the years, however, technology got cheaper and cheaper, and PCs became commodities. By the time Paul was ready to take over the business, he knew things needed to change.

“The distribution wholesale market started getting squeezed,” Paul says. “We really wanted to become a direct-to-consumer business, using our knowledge and our existing relationships with vendors to bring technology to New Zealand more cost-effectively and to make it more fun for the customers.”

By 2007, Paul had successfully pivoted Playtech to become a multichannel company with a heavy emphasis on custom PC builds, an experiential boutique store, and a robust ecommerce channel that could handle the bulk of their transactions.

A Neighborhood Store With National Reach

The transition from pure wholesale didn’t happen overnight.

“We wanted our business to run as much online as we could make it,” Paul says. “We also wanted our store to be a boutique, where walk-ins and loyal customers could both come and have a great customer experience.”

Through its “pedigree and word-of-mouth” growth, Playtech gained a reputation for being a “cool neighborhood store that knows how to build PCs,” Paul says. They started to sell everything from gadgets, keyboards, tablets to kitted-out PCs for their “bread-and-butter” market: PC gamers.

Today, Playtech does the majority of its business online, selling to both individuals and some retailers everywhere in New Zealand through its Magento-based online store.

Old Inventory Management Couldn’t Cut It

Paul soon discovered that Playtech’s inventory management software, Exchequer Enterprise, was severely inadequate to the new business model.

The company manages thousands of products in its warehouse. It had to track those products from supplier to customer (and sometimes back again for returns). Finally, Playtech had to create price quotes for custom PC builds based on variable components.

Exchequer made this very difficult. First, it was geared to wholesale and bulk distribution, not retail. More critically, it required Playtech to create a code number for every product in its inventory and to use those codes for everything from stock intake to product searches, instead of using product serial numbers.

“It was just a beast to run reports, to understand where a product came from and who we sold it to how it came back into the system if there was a return,” Paul says. “It just wasn’t fit for the model and it had some major issues that caused it to crash badly a lot.”

Going with Cin7 Inventory Control

Playtech was Cin7’s first client and a key collaborator in the development of its core modules. Playtech had worked with Danny Ing’s web development business before, so when Danny launched Cin7, Paul seized the opportunity to switch solutions.

“The biggest kicker for us was Cin7’s support for serial number tracking of every item and it was a God-send,” Paul says. “We can pick up an item, scan the serial number, and know everything we need to know about that product: where it came from, how much it cost, if it was sold or returned. The serial number holds that whole paper trail.”

Benefits of Cin7 for Inventory Management

Playtech today uses Cin7’s inventory management software to pick orders in the warehouse, price and kit-out custom PCs, process sales in its store and through its integrated Magento ecommerce website, and sell at tech and gaming expos all with a dramatically reduced amount of administration and data entry.

For example, prior to Cin7, a stocktake required Playtech to shut down its warehouse for a day as staff members walked through the shelves with reams of paper printouts. Using  Cin7’s Pick’n’Pack module, the process is much easier, quicker and leads to no operational downtime.

“We don’t have to print out a whole stack of papers now and say go and find this item on the shelf and hopefully it’s there,” Paul says. “Now we just go through the shelf, scan every item, and the system tells us if we have extra of one thing or if we’re missing something else. Now we just do a stocktake on-the-fly.”

Cin7’s level of inventory control is crucial to keep costs down in an industry in which a business makes $20 on a $1,000 item. Cin7 helped Playtech reduce costs, lower inventory shrinkage, and increase the bottom line.

“The key thing is that we are now very clear about where our inventory items sit,” Paul says. “It’s much easier to utilize than any other inventory system that we’ve seen. And because it’s in the cloud, we’re no longer tied to an umbilical cord to a software server. We can do our business on the road and still have full visibility no matter where we are.”

ONEBYONE

Matt Newman was a graphic designer with a passion for printmaking when he “kind of just fell into” the fashion trade in 2008.

“I had a lot of good friends who were paid extreme sports athletes getting sponsorship,” Matt says. “I started making clothes for them, and they would be seen wearing it. That’s how it started.”

Surfing and wakeboarding athletes and fans quickly took notice of Matt’s custom-designed board shorts and T-shirts. Matt saw the potential of marrying his design passion with a new fashion brand, ONEBYONE.

From board shorts to a broader market

But Matt didn’t limit himself to sportswear. ONEBYONE soon developed a broad casual streetwear line with a fresh, distinct style governing each season’s release.

The brand’s early focus on brick-and-mortar and beach-side pop-up retail helped establish and build a brand reputation for quality clothes and timeless design.

“There are people that are still wearing a shirt from six years ago, and it’s still holding together,” Matt says. “That’s pretty cool: we’ve made something that the quality is good enough and the fashion current enough that they’re still comfortable wearing it.”

Messy processes, lost customers

ONEBYONE runs its own warehouse, and the way his small team managed orders and stock for their pop-ups, website and wholesale channels created serious issues, especially when they began selling on The Iconic marketplace.

“We managed all our stock using spreadsheets, and it was pretty messy,” Matt says. “We had orders being picked for retail partners, orders being picked for our pop-ups, and stock in the warehouse, and it was hard to know what stock there really was in the warehouse.”

Spreadsheets didn’t give them the real-time visibility and control they needed to keep up with their growth. They sometimes double-sold an item because they didn’t know they’d received orders from different channels for the same product. And that cost ONEBYONE customers.

“We definitely would have lost some customers along the way from not having stock,” Matt says. “They would have thought, ‘Well, I’m probably not going to buy from them again because they didn’t have it the first time.’”

Matt needed a better way to manage his business.

“Our system just wasn’t going to be sustainable for our growth,” he says. “Spending time updating spreadsheets, sorting out where our stock was: it was costing us a ton of time and money to do that.”

Cin7 Puts ONEBYONE on track for growth

ONEBYONE began using Cin7 in 2017. Its real-time stock visibility, integrated WooCommerce and The Iconic order processing, warehouse functionality and reporting give Matt the data he needs to efficiently manage stock and orders and eliminate double-selling.

“It talks to our website, talks to The Iconic, and that means the job of updating the quantities has been reduced a lot,” Matt says. “We don’t spend as much time worrying about where our stock is. Cin7 has helped our business to be streamlined and accountable.”

Matt and his team have also gone through a complete barcode labeling process that will let them do more pop-ups and run future warehouse sales.

“Now, if anyone was to purchase from our warehouse or a future pop up store, all we have to do is scan it,” Matt says.

And with Cin7’s reports, Matt has quick access to vital data about current stock.

“With the reports section, I can see what is selling, know what we’re running low of, all at a couple clicks of the button,” Matt says. “We could always get it from spreadsheets, but it wasn’t transparent, so Cin7 has saved us time every day.”

And Cin7 helps set the stage for future growth.

“The platform has made us feel comfortable enough to launch a sister brand and to set that up from the start with the right costs, the right landed costs, and to have it integrated right away with The Iconic.”

Waddle & Friends

Andrew Mull had a retail customer looking for infants’ socks with rattle attachments that wouldn’t come off and pose a choking hazard. With his experience sourcing well-made products for big box retailers, Andrew saw an opportunity to fill a niche. He launched Waddle & Friends in 2013, wholesaling quality rattle socks, apparel, toys and gifts for new-borns.

“I love that Waddle’s products are unique,” says Stacy Able, VP sales and marketing for the California-based company. “They’re original designs, very hip and on trend, and particularly great gift items that parents love.”

Feet on the Street

Retailers loved Waddle’s products, too. The company’s customer base grew to 1500 specialty and big box retailers around the US and overseas in under five years. Stacy attributes the growth to “feet on the street”, with Waddle attending trade shows and dispatching sales reps around the country. While Waddle has a direct-to-consumer business, its primary focus was wholesale, and over time, the more they sold, the more difficult it became to manage all the orders.

Inadequate Processes

Waddle had trouble keeping customers happy as the order volume increased. The company used Shopify to process payments and another software program for inventory and fulfillment. “We had to do a lot of workarounds,” Stacy says. “It wasn’t that it stopped us from doing what we needed to do, it was just that we knew it wasn’t going to grow with our business.”

“Imagine getting 100 orders and putting them into Shopify,” Stacy says. “Unless the orders were paid for at the time of order entry they didn’t go anywhere: they just sat in Shopify. So the only way to check the orders was to go back and review each one, contact the customer and then process the order, which was very time-consuming.”

Orders came in, but inventory levels remained the same, leading to overselling the same products. “We had unhappy customers, unhappy financials; there was a lot of unhappiness,” Stacy says. The inventory software Waddle used couldn’t be updated easily, and Shopify didn’t communicate with inventory to keep orders aligned with actual stock in Waddle’s 3PL warehouse.

Cin7 and the Cin7 Payment Portal

Waddle switched to Cin7 in 2016. Stacy says one of the most important things for the company was to have accurate, real-time inventory that eliminates the risk of overselling. Cin7 gave them all of these. “Cin7 has improved the happiness of our customers, and of our warehouse and our customer service team,” Stacy says.

“We don’t have to call people who have already paid for products and tell them that we have to give them a credit or a refund because the product they ordered was sold to someone else.”

Cin7 allows Waddle to integrate its sales channels with its 3PL for accurate fulfilment, to gain insight into trends with its reports library, and to manage back orders. And with the Payment Portal, Cin7 gives Waddle something they wanted from the start: an integrated and centralized merchant payment processing system. “We get orders through different channels: we enter those orders in Cin7 and push out order confirmations, each with a Pay Now button in it,” Stacy says. “It just makes it easier for our customers to pay and it lets us see all our invoices in one place.”