Summer Star Ltd is a men’s clothing company specializing in suits and formal wear. They’re a well-established player in the Australian and New Zealand apparel industry, with a focus on pure B2B sales to around 100 retailers across both countries.
The complicated thing about selling suits is there’s a particularly wide range of customers. If you’re buying a t-shirt, there are typically only five or so size options from S to XXL. But in men’s suits, there are around 30 different size options per fabric. Retailers can’t stock all the size options for any given style or fabric, so when a customer visits and needs a particular cut — but doesn’t want bespoke tailoring — the suit’s wholesaler has to act fast. As a pure B2B operator, Summer Star must be ready to supply stock to any retailer who needs it, at the drop of a hat (or suit).
“We supply close to around 100 customers in both Australia and New Zealand, and they expect us to keep stock,” says Summer Star Director David Jaikumar.
“Being able to do that is a key advantage in our industry, and it’s where a wholesaler like us can play an important role. Stock control is critical, and the complication of requiring a variety of sizes and and color options is very key. And that’s where we found Cin7 very useful for our business.”
Summer Star started operations just over a decade ago, and over the years, they tried using many different inventory solutions, from spreadsheets to other inventory management software products. But nothing suited their specific needs. Nothing, that is, until they discovered Cin7.
“That is what Cin7 does. It’s a big deal for us, and that's how we came on board,” David says.
David and the Summer Star team had their worries about getting set up with Cin7. They could see that the software was perfect for the apparel industry, but they didn’t know for sure how it would work for them or if the onboarding support would be sufficient.
“Implementing any new software is a daunting task,” David says. “Especially when it's a small company, and you have to allocate two or three full days for the setup. But the onboarding support was fantastic.”
Cin7 opens doors to growth — almost by accident
“Let me be very honest with you,” David says. “When we started with Cin7 in 2016, we were a small operator. Our goal was only to do X number of units, or Y amount of dollar value, and we were scaling based on that. But once Cin7 came on board and we started using the B2B online ordering functionality, the whole dynamic changed.”
Before Cin7, in 2015, Summer Star were typically only shipping 50 suits a day. “We were happy with that,” David says. “But these days, when we get to work in the morning, there’s already a 200-unit order there. We never thought we’d grow so big.”
David cites one of the reasons for such rapid growth as the realization that Summer Star were able to offer their customers a level of service that, until Cin7, only a much bigger company could offer. They quickly realized that, as well as growing their sales, Cin7 meant they could be seen as a serious operator by bigger retailers.
“All we wanted when we started was a software that could handle stock, inventory, just basic operations. That’s all we were expecting when we moved to Cin7,” David says. “But we’re very, very pleased with the big jump we’ve made.”
Making a bespoke B2B service possible
Typically, up to 80 percent of Summer Star’s orders need to be turned around within 24 hours. Summer Star’s order processors receive those orders, check stock availability in Cin7, and process accordingly. Then orders are released to one of Summer Star’s warehouses — either their own warehouse in New Zealand or a 3PL warehouse in Sydney — and the order is shipped. It’s all done in Cin7.
In his role as Director of Summer Star, most of David’s energy is spent dealing with product sourcing and manufacturing around the world. He doesn’t have time to get deep into the day-to-day operations. But he does need to stay across them, and Cin7 gives him that capability.
“Any time, I can quickly check Cin7 for a dashboard that just gives me a snapshot of what's happening. And at the end of the day, I just again log in and check what's going on.”
Results: Summer Star uses Cin7 to increase sales and productivity
Thanks to their Cin7 implementation, Summer Star has saved plenty of time by becoming more efficient — equivalent to one full-time job, each week. However, David says that he’d initially been very focused on the costs of the software, rather than how much time it saved. As the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the men’s fashion industry, he talked to Cin7 support, asking if they could shave off $200 or $300 off the monthly bill.
“One of your staff mentioned something that was very powerful. He said, ‘Look, David, if you can save even two hours a week, you’d save a lot more than $300. Can you focus on that?’ And he helped us implement some automations, and by the following week, we could see we were saving two or three hours, every day. That was a real eye-opener for me,” David says.
He realized that focusing on using Cin7’s capabilities to increase both sales and productivity was one of the best uses of his time. It’s helped him set his sights on continuing to grow the business, possibly even taking it global.
“Now, with Cin7, I think we can grow much bigger than anything we thought or hoped for,” David says. “Cin7 has made such a difference in my life, and in our business.”
Summer Star Factsheet:
Summer Star Ltd is a men’s clothing company specializing in suits and formal wear, selling purely business-to-business.
Employees: 1 - 5
Revenue: $1m - $5m AUD per year
Sales order volume: 500 - 999 items/SKUs sold per month
Summer Star uses Cin7:
- To have better demand planning
- For more efficiency in inventory operations
- For more accurate inventory management
Cin7 helps with the following areas of the business:
- Demand forecasting / purchasing
Accounting integration: Xero
Payment provider integration: PayPal
Shipping integration: GoSweetSpot
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