Supply chain as a service (SCaaS) – the ultimate guide

To quote writer and editor Stewart Brand: “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.” Wise words in this day and age when more and more aspects of manufacturing and ecommerce are being automated, computerized, and digitized.

In supply chain management, an important technological development for retailers has been the creation of supply chain as a service, or SCaaS. We’re going to unpack this concept, explaining what SCaaS is, how it works, and how it impacts businesses for the better.

 

Supply chain as a service (SCaaS) explained

An SCaaS company is basically a company that specializes in providing cloud-based, supply-chain-related software and, increasingly, other order fulfillment services. It means that instead of a manufacturing or ecommerce entity taking out subscriptions to the cloud-based software they need themselves, they’re able to access them through an SCaaS company, which they hire for that purpose. These third parties can take care of anything from inventory management and warehousing to reverse logistics, or returns. In fact, with the right SCaaS company, you’ll be able to track your entire order fulfillment process. In other words, you’ll have supply chain transparency.

SCaaS companies are great for small retailers and manufacturers, especially those that are starting out, because they save these businesses from having to pay for the software they need themselves. For more established outfits, SCaaS will become an increasingly important resource as business practices become more complex. This is especially so because SCaaS companies can also offer valuable information and advice; they can be a partner.

 

A myriad other ways an SCaaS company can be a good resource

As a manufacturer or ecommerce business owner, you can outsource your entire supply chain management or any part of it to an SCaaS provider. Almost as a bonus, these third-party providers can be useful in other, related ways. Here are a few examples:

1. Finding and getting the raw materials you need

SCaaS companies can help you get what you need at the right price because they have information about suppliers. They also know about shipping companies and shipping regulations, an expertise you can tap into to ensure getting what you need in good time.

2. Facilitating coordination between retailers and their manufacturers

To make sure retailers get their stock from the manufacturers in the right quantities and at the right time, it’s important for them to be on top of the producers’ production processes, lead times, inventory levels, and quality inspections. SCaaS companies can take care of this. They have the technology and industry expertise to provide real-time updates on the manufacturing process and lead times, ensuring that retailers are in the know at all times.

3. Warehousing

Some SCaaS providers offer warehousing. They have the technology to streamline operations from receiving and slotting to picking and packing. Add this to their inventory management capabilities and you have a more efficient and resilient supply chain altogether.

4. Shipping

In addition to being able to suggest shipping companies, an SCaaS company can work out the best logistics for you when you need to move inventory from one location to another. It can identify the kind and size of transportation you’ll need — truck, rail, or cargo ship — and the capacity of each needed. Plus, the company can work out the best routes that should be taken.

Possible challenges to implementing an SCaaS model

  • Your SCaaS’s technology might not be shared by all your partners

As good as the technology and infrastructure SCaaS companies offer is, if your internal teams and trading partners aren’t up to speed, they won’t be able to communicate with your third-party providers. You have to make sure your stakeholders’ technology can interface with the kind your SCaaS uses.

  • Not knowing how and when to use SCaaS

In the complex world that is today’s marketplace, a company has to work out what part of their supply chain it can handle itself and which sections are best outsourced to an SCaaS. Retailers and manufacturers must also be flexible enough to adapt this model as the need arises, either taking on more themselves or outsourcing more.

  • Finding a good logistics partner

This can be difficult. First you have to find a third-party provider that has the top-notch infrastructure and digital programs you need, along with the right background and expertise in your area to be a good partner. When you’ve got that down, you can figure out which areas of your business to outsource.

Benefits of using SCaaS

SCaaS can redefine supply chain management in the following ways:

  1. Agility: Access information and analytics from any Internet-enabled device and make data-driven decisions quickly.
  2. Seamless communication: Easily share information and stay connected with stakeholders through every stage of the supply chain.
  3. Scalability: Add or reduce the logistics services that are outsourced according to customer demands.
  4. Transparency: Have more control over the supply chain because information is updated consistently and available in real time.
  5. Sustainability: There’s no need for you to invest in a complex IT infrastructure.

 

In conclusion

SCaaS is a revolutionary model that’s the next iteration for supply chain management, and our Cin7 Omni system can help you determine the best ways to leverage it for your business.

How can it do this? Well, our Cin7 Omni’s inventory and order management cloud-based software seamlessly integrates with various 3PL companies, connecting your online and offline stores, warehouses, and distribution centers in one platform. Through this connection with 3PL companies, you’re able to analyze them and understand which company and services are right for you.

To find out more, click here to schedule a demo with one of our experts today.

What role does EDI play in logistics and supply chains?

Logistics was coined by the military to describe the complicated organization involved in moving troops and equipment from one place to another. Similarly within the supply chain, logistics is about getting everything from goods to equipment to people from one place to the other. Logistics is no easy matter. Things have to be in place when they’re needed, and they have to be there in the right quantity.

Vast in scope, both the supply chain and the logistics within it involve all the departments of a company and outside entities. This includes manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. A great deal of information has to be passed back and forth between all of these entities. Basically instructions, this information is about the goods and raw materials needed, the quantity they’re needed in, where they’re needed, and instructions about transportation. These instructions take the form of purchase orders (POs), invoices, shipping notifications, insurance documents, licenses, and more. For large-scale logistics operations, transmitting these documents between companies is best handled electronically, through a digital system called Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

 

What is EDI, and how does it work?

EDI enables businesses to send digitized documentation directly from the computer of one company to the computer of another company. In order to be able to do this, and to do it instantly, EDI software converts these digital documents into a standardized format that allows them to be first transmitted, and then read, by the computer system of the receiving company.

There are three stages to EDI:

  • Preparing documents, making them EDI ready.
  • Converting the EDI-ready documents into EDI documents.
  • Transmitting the converted documents to the receiving company.

Preparing in-house documents

The POs, invoices, and shipping instructions are either digitized or collected from their digital storage and converted to an electronic file that has the information needed for EDI. This makes them EDI ready.

Converting the EDI-ready documents

This is done with an EDI translator, software that puts the documents’ data into globally-recognized EDI formats. While there are quite a number of these formats, there are four that are used the most: X12, EDIFACT, TRADACOMS, and ebXML.

Transmitting the EDI documents

For this to happen, EDI messaging protocols are used. Examples of these are AS2, OFTP, and SOAP. For the EDI system to work, both sender and receiver have to be using the same protocol.

 

The role EDI plays in logistics and the supply chain

  • It saves time.

EDI software gets documentation to the relevant companies and departments within companies quickly, keeping them on the same page and the wheels of the supply chain running efficiently. This speedy communication makes it easier to forecast needs and results in better business decisions being made.

  • It makes the supply chain process more efficient.

With EDI, suppliers, distributors, shippers, and every other entity that’s part of the supply chain can communicate with each other in real time. This cuts out chances of delays happening in receiving, dispatching, warehousing, or transportation.

  • It makes it easier to monitor and track goods.

Because EDI uses a uniform format, it’s easy for relevant parties to search for information, and it’s easy to track and keep on top of purchases, orders, and bills of any kind. As a result of this, you can reduce errors in purchasing and shipping.

  • It streamlines logistics and the supply chain.

EDI is able to retrieve data from internal computer systems instantly and send it out securely. When you automate POs, invoices and the like with EDI, it speeds everything up and reduces errors, streamlining your supply chain.

EDI software integrates seamlessly with in-house systems like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), accounting software, your Warehouse Management System (WMS), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

 

How Cin7’s EDI helps supply chain management and logistics

Cin7’s EDI capabilities are robust, and the system has a large EDI network. A one-stop-shop, Cin7’s system will get you:

1. Automated workflow

Cin7 EDI automates order processing and shipping by:

  • Setting triggers for automation and reducing manual data entry.
  • Using an advanced messaging system that streamlines integrations with your trading partners and 3PL warehouses.

2. A one-stop-shop automated system

Cin7’s inventory management software has it all, inventory management, order management, and EDI. When businesses set up their EDI with Cin7, they can:

  • Seamlessly manage orders and scale up your business.
  • Reduce shipping costs and save time by optimizing cartons. Print Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) and generate Advanced Shipping Notifications (ASNs).
  • Keep their product catalogs up to date and track orders in real-time with a centralized and intuitive EDI dashboard. You’ll have absolute inventory control, and your order fulfillment will be at its optimum level.

3. Multiple fulfillment models

Cin7 EDI supports ship-to-store and 3PL.

  • Integrate with product distributors, 3PL providers, and commerce channels.
  • Fulfill orders effortlessly with an intuitive EDI dashboard.
  • Fulfill several orders simultaneously with a cartonization feature that picks the right box for items.

4. Prebuilt-in EDI mapping and protocols

  • Map order workflow between yourself and trading partners around the world.
  • Send EDI documents with these protocols: X12 American National Standards and EDIFACT- European Standards.

 

Summing up

We’ve shown how EDI facilitates both the supply chain and the logistics that move it along by producing and transmitting documentation quickly. EDI eliminates mistakes that can be made when people input data and ensures that different players in the supply chain are kept in sync by getting the same information, at the same time.

To learn more about Cin7 EDI, book a demo.

Are you considering EDI software for your business?

If you are a business owner, you must communicate with other organizations, including your suppliers, customers, and stakeholders. Communicating in an old-fashioned way using a ton of paper is slower, less secure, and less efficient. With the world moving towards digitalization, business communication should also be digitized. This will not only improve the speed, security, and efficiency of communication but will also leave a legitimate document trail for future reference. So, if you are considering EDI software for your business, you are in the right place.

The electronic format for these basic business exchanges is called Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI.

 

What is EDI?

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is an automated system that puts documents like invoices, shipping bills, purchase orders, and payment confirmations into a standard digital format that can be read by both the senders’ and recipients’ servers and transfers the files directly from one business’s computer network to another.

 

What are the benefits of EDI?

Instantaneous communications

When you’re ranking the advantages an EDI system can provide you with, speed probably comes out on top. EDI-generated documents go from being produced to the intended destination in practically the blink of an eye. The automated system saves time, and as a consequence, money.

Greater efficiency

EDI streamlines and improves the tasks it takes care of. It also sharply decreases human intervention to make the whole process of sending and receiving documents much more efficient. What’s more, it’s the level of efficiency in communication that impacts all the other areas of an organization. With EDI, employees can do other things, like focus on activities that will grow the company; communication gaps become virtually nonexistent; and more business can be generated.

Security

Most companies that have not yet automated their business management systems, use basic spreadsheets, like Excel and Google sheets to maintain inventory records. Documents are sent to various stakeholders via emails or printed hard copies. Although this method is cheaper and simpler in some ways, it has its drawbacks.

Inventory management software, like Cin7, can offer EDI benefits by securely transporting the required data to other networks using standardized and encrypted methods. Cin7 also builds two-way connections and our experts carry out compliance testing for you.

Sustainability

Climate change isn’t something that can be ignored anymore, and any steps taken to mitigate it count. EDI can be considered one of those steps. It cuts paper use to practically zero since it does away with the need for mail or transport systems to get documentation from one company to another. This reduces the carbon footprint of the organization significantly and contributes to making it more sustainable.

 

How does EDI work?

Put very simply, a document is first put into a digital format that makes it readable by another computer system; then it’s converted into a format that will actually get it to the other computer system.

Step 1 – making documents readable:

One company might conduct business in one currency, another might use a different one; similarly, measurement systems may differ – metric vs. imperial. EDI overcomes this by giving documents a standardized format that creates uniformity. While there are several of these  formats, the rules they adhere to are recognized globally.

Called EDI standards, these formats are:

  • American National Standards Institute (ANSI): ANSI defines the standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States.
  • United Nations/Electronic data interchange for administration, commerce, and transport (UN/EDIFACT): UN/EDIFACT is a standard developed for the United Nations and approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as ISO 9735. It provides syntax rules for data structure, standardized message format between multiple countries and industries, and interactive exchange protocol (I-EDI).
  • Trading data communication standard (TRADACOMS): TRADACOMS is an older UK standard that is on the brink of being obsolete today. However, it is still in use in the UK.
  • Electronic business extensible markup language (ebXML): ebXML is an exhaustive standard for secure business communication. After a couple of upgrades, ebXML is presently in its 3.0 version.

Sometimes, of course, the company sending a document may use a different standard than the one receiving it. For cases like that there’s EDI translator software. This puts the document into an EDI standard that allows it to be transmitted; the computer that receives it is able to convert it into the format it uses and recognizes.

EDI follows an envelope structure. Rather like paper envelopes, this structuring of the data puts one piece of information inside another. A design that has security in mind, the outer envelope shows the sender and receiver along with general information about what’s inside.

Typically, there are three types of envelopes: interchange, functional group, and transaction set. The first contains several documents; the second several of the same type of document, like associated invoices; and the third has something transactional inside.

Step 2 – Getting one computer system to speak to another

This is done with what’s called EDI protocols. The most popular of these protocols are:

  •  SFTP – secure file transfer protocol
  •  SOAP – simple object access protocol
  •  AS2 – applicability statement 2

For the interchange to work, both systems have to use the same protocol.

 

Transmitting documents with EDI

EDI uses the Internet to transmit documents. It does this in two basic ways:

  • Direct connection: This is a point-to-point connection. Put simply, a document goes from a computer in one company to a computer in another. The secure protocols described above are in place during this.
  • Value-added network (VAN):  VAN is a third-party intermediary, an EDI broker that converts the original document into EDI data and then routes it to the receiver. Again, a secure protocol is used.

 

How to make your business EDI compliant

In essence, this means adopting an EDI system that lets you communicate digitally with your trading partners. Trading partners include all the organizations you exchange data and documents with: your suppliers, customers, and contractors. Many large corporations have specific EDI requirements for their trading partners, and if you want to do business with them, you’re going to have to comply.

Did you know Cin7 inventory management software is equipped with built-in EDI that’s EDIFACT and X12 of ANSI compatible?

 

To sum it all up…

If you are considering EDI software for your business, you are not alone. When you’re aware of the speed, efficiency, transparency, and security digital gives you, you’ll wonder what took you so long to convert.

Cin7 can be the right stepping stone for you. Book a call with one of our experts by clicking here.

 

 

 

Everything you need to know to prevent deadstock from accumulating

It’s common practice for retailers to have a bit more inventory than they think they’ll need. It’s for contingency, and it’s called safety stock. The reason for doing it is sound: it means never having to turn a customer away.

But sometimes miscalculations are made. Items may go out of style or something in the market may change. Either one of these instances will result in a business being stuck with the extra inventory, and when that happens the goods turn from safety stock to deadstock.

In this blog, we’re going to look at deadstock in detail – how you end up with it, how to deal with it, and how to avoid prevent deadstock in the first place.

 

Deadstock – the definition

If you have inventory in stock that’s been gathering dust on a warehouse shelf for a long time, you’re holding deadstock. It’s stuff you can’t sell and are probably never going to sell.

 

How good stock becomes deadstock

1. Not enough demand

An item was selling like hotcakes before it wasn’t, or items you thought would do well didn’t. Alternatively, outside forces like extreme weather or a downturn in the economy could have impacted your sales.

2. Too much competition

You’ve stocked up on the same products that everyone else has. Maybe you’re a small player that can’t beat the prices of larger competitors, or maybe the market has become too flooded with those particular items.

3. Slow reactions to the market

You waited too long to react to slow sales and didn’t offer discounts when you should have.

4. Not getting customer input/not doing research

Someone didn’t put enough effort into getting feedback from your customer base through methods like emails or online reviews, so you weren’t aware of the kind of products customers wanted to buy.

5. Low-quality products

Some of your products were of low quality, customers were not happy, and they returned them. Or maybe the low quality resulted in bad word of mouth.

6. Predictions weren’t right

Maybe data and research told you that particular items would be good sellers, but the information didn’t take everything into account.

 

Good reasons to do something about deadstock

Deadstock can have negative effects on your business. Here are a few of them:

  • It occupies space you can and should be using for items that move.
  • It stops you from buying new items.
  • It ties up your cash flow – money you could to buy more popular products.
  • It increases your warehouse costs, like cost for employees and storage space.

 

Ways to prevent deadstock

If you’re in the business of sales, you know that getting inventory planning right is important. What to order, when to order, how much to order, the list goes on. If you get any of these areas wrong, you’re in danger of ending up with deadstock. It can happen to anyone, but there are steps that can be taken to make it less likely.

1. Invest in inventory management software.

Ditch your spreadsheets. They’re not only old school, they’re time consuming and prone to error. Automating your buying decisions with the data inventory management software (IMS) gives you is efficient and much more accurate.

The precise data, reports, and advanced analytics you get from IMS software does more than help you identify best-selling items, it will also separate out those that aren’t selling quickly. When you have that information, abra cadabra, no more deadstock.

2. Improve your forecasting.

Product forecasting analyzes competitors, works out pricing strategies, studies market trends, and “learns” customer preferences. Put together, this information gives you an invaluable forecast on your market, and when you have this information, you’re much more likely to acquire inventory that’s going to sell.

3. Use your buyback option.

If you have an agreement that allows you to sell unsold items back to the supplier, this is a good time to use it. If you don’t have such an agreement in place, try to get one. Of course, you should always check to see if buyback is even an option during early negotiations with your suppliers.

Keep in mind that those manufacturers and suppliers that do offer buyback are usually the more reputable ones, and that the products they handle are usually high quality.

 

How do you get rid of deadstock?

If you do find yourself saddled with things you can’t sell at their standard price, there are things you can do:

1. Have a clearance sale.

This is the time-honored method for reducing unsold stock. You don’t want these goods tying up your storage space for years, so anything that has been hanging around for six months should be discounted. You could start this at 20% off and increase that amount if you have to.

Advertising clearance sales and other discounts on your website and social media is the best way to get the word out. Sending emails about the event to your mailing list should also get good results. And depending on the size of your company and the market you operate in, you could consider investing in local radio and television advertising.

While this strategy should help you clear out a lot of deadstock, it’s still way better to avoid having it in the first place. If bad inventory management has been the cause, it’s time you consider a good automated inventory management system like Cin7.

2. Take advantage of the fear of missing out.

There is a marketing term called “Fear of Missing Out.” It’s about creating a sense of urgency in shoppers, letting them think that if they don’t buy something right there and then, they’ll be missing out.

Marketing strategies for this usually boil down to putting limits on offers. These could be in the form of an end date to a sale, or letting customers know that there’s only a limited number of items on offer. In other words, you could advertise an “end of sale by Thursday,” or “50% off this week only,” or offer “last (x number) of products left.”

When it comes to presenting deadstock as a deal in this way, the underlying point is that you’re appealing to customers who are more interested in getting a bargain than the product. That doesn’t matter, though; you’ll still be offloading your old, otherwise unwanted, goods.

3. Bundle.

This option is about grouping similar products together and offering them at a special price.

By using this technique, you could combine something in your deadstock with top-selling items. You won’t get top-dollar for everything, but you will greatly minimize your losses.

 

Wrapping up

Deadstock is a drag in more ways than one, and it’s important to minimize it. Technology is the best and most reliable way of doing this. So why not invest in a robust inventory management system like Cin7?

Cin7 inventory management software is an ideal choice for businesses of any size.  By automating workflows and stock levels in real time, you’ll always know what you have and can ensure you’re stocking the right amount of the right product. That means an end to deadstock. And if that’s not enough to streamline your business and improve your bottom line, the software also connects all your storage locations and marketplaces – online and offline – into one system.

If you’d like to know more, contact our Cin7 team and arrange a demo today.

The strategic importance of order processing in supply chain management

For an online sales business or a manufacturing company, it’s all about the supply chain. It covers everything from the procurement of items for sale, or raw materials for the production process, to delivery of the items or products. Controlling the supply chain and keeping oversight on it is, as would be expected, supply chain management (SCM). Order processing is the central pillar of SCM; in a way, it’s the heart of the whole fulfillment process.

In this blog, we’re going to take a close look at how order processing works, and explore its importance to supply chain management.

 

What is order processing?

Order processing goes into effect the minute customers select and pay for goods online and continues until those goods are received. Broad in scope, it follows defined steps to get to that end point.

Here’s how the process breaks down:

Step 1: Orders are received

As soon as customers have filled their online carts and paid for their goods, their orders are transmitted to the warehouse or fulfillment center. Here they’re broken down into their component parts, which means product, quantity, size/color (if relevant), etc.

If the sales or fulfillment company is large enough, these order details are processed by an automated inventory management system (IMS). This sophisticated software will know if customers’ goods are in stock, and if so where they are. In essence, the system is able to determine the best warehouse to route the order to; and if some items aren’t available right away, it will give instructions to send them as, and when, they are. In addition, if a customer has put in more than one order, the IMS can consolidate them into one package.

Step 2: Items are picked

Picking describes the actual job of collecting items for an order from their storage spaces. Pickers do the job. Warehouses can be large—some are gargantuan—so getting organization into this process can be complicated. Picking can either be done on an individual-order basis, by warehouse zone, or in bulk – which means picking for several orders at the same time.

Irrespective of the method used, the whole process starts with a picking list that itemizes everything according to its storage location and sets out a route round the warehouse for the pickers to take. The aim, of course, is to cut down the picking time.

Step 3: Orders are sorted out

After picking, items are taken to a sorting area. If they were picked in bulk or by warehouse zone, this is the area where they’ll be sorted into their individual orders. This is also the time when items are checked against the original orders to make sure everything is there, is in good order, and of high quality.

Step 4: Order are packed up

Making sure the appropriate packaging is used is trickier than might be thought. The box itself should be the right size for the items and strong enough to hold them during shipping, and the padding inside should be enough to protect the contents, but light enough to keep transportation costs down. Sometimes this padding has to be specialized. If food is being packed, for instance, it might have to be kept cool with gel packs or dry ice.

After being packed up, shipping labels are attached.

Step 5: Orders are shipped

We’re now near the end of order processing. After boxing and labeling, shipments are organized by geographical location and assigned to their respective delivery trucks. Size and weight might also be a consideration when selecting transport: extra heavy items, or those that need refrigeration, will need specialized trucks. At this stage, the type of delivery a customer paid for also has to be taken into consideration. Expedited delivery, for example, will be given priority. The point is that it’s important to deliver an item at the time the customer expects it.

Step 6: Orders are delivered

Order delivery is the last step of the order processing system. The customer can choose a particular time to have their order delivered, or they can leave special instructions, like having the package be left with a neighbor. If a customer has opted for Cash on Delivery (COD), the delivery drive will be the one who collects the payment.

 

The importance of order processing in supply chain management

Order processing is the core, the beating heart at the center of the supply chain system that everything else more or less has to service. In essence, for any sales, fulfillment, or manufacturing entity, processing orders – getting them together and getting them to the right customer in time – is what they’re about. It’s true that without proper management in any area of the supply chain businesses won’t perform at their best, but when it comes to order processing, its efficiency, speed, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness are actually the determining factors of success and, ultimately, profit.

Whatever way you look at it, though, supply chain management is a complex operation. That’s why it’s a good idea to automate it.

The upsides of automation are:

  • maximized profits,
  • minimized costs,
  • improved customer satisfaction,
  • increased market share,
  • reduced workload for employees, and
  • an overall boost to the company’s brand and reputation.

 

Final thoughts on order processing and its importance to the system as a whole

Having looked closely at the complete supply chain, we can see that everything centers on the order processing part. Putting orders together and getting them to customers is, in effect, the commercial activity that reasons for the company’s existence.

Automating all or some of the areas of supply chain management with an inventory management system can be of great benefit to a company, both logistically and financially. Cin7 is one of the best.

To learn more about how Cin7 can help your business, you can book a demo from one of our experts by clicking here.

Lockabox®

Like a lot of the best product ideas, Lockabox® grew out of a simple day-to-day frustration.

When he was living with hungry roommates, founder Peter Morris found himself asking that question a lot more than he’d have liked. After a long night, Peter would wake up and shuffle to the refrigerator looking for a slice of last night’s pizza for breakfast — only to find that someone had gotten there before him.

“Who stole my lunch?”

The solution Peter came up with was simple: a combination of a simple three-digit combination lock with strong polycarbonate construction. In short, a lockable storage container. Manufactured in the UK, these portable, lightweight boxes are today used for much more than food storage. Their primary product, Lockabox One®, is used by elder care facilities to store patient medications, and office admins are putting desk sensors in Lockaboxes® to gauge office traffic and optimize floor plans.

With annual sales of £2M GBP, Lockabox® expects to grow from a small product seller into a major player by investing in R&D over the next 12 months and expanding the Lockabox® product range. They’re moving from success to success — all with the help of Cin7.

Cin7 and Xero provide a single source of truth

Lockabox® Operations Specialist Rory Fitz-Gerald says he’s “relieved” to have put Cin7 into action in early 2021, especially as the company creates new SKUs and sales increase. Their old system, Rory, says, simply wasn’t up to the task.

“Our previous system was very inaccurate. We could never really trust the information we were working with,” Rory says. “I feel like we can trust what Cin7 is telling us on stock. Which obviously, for a small business like ours, is quite a big advantage.”

Lockabox® relies on Cin7 to help them to reconcile their weekly inventory counts (stocktakes). Without Cin7, coordinating stock between 10 warehouses across the globe could be an incredibly complex task. Luckily, Cin7 makes everything much simpler. Rory easily runs weekly stock and sales reports from Cin7 to facilitate stock audits and reconcile any discrepancies. He says the software acts as the single source of truth against which he can compare manual counts, and that Cin7 on side, Lockabox® needs far fewer people than it would otherwise need to manage operations.

The efficiency boost from Cin7 is multiplied by its powerful integration with Xero accounting software, with invoicing and sales data shared between Xero and Cin7 in real-time.

“Cin7 gives us that extra accountability because all sales go through it,” Rory says. “With the reporting coming out of it too, we know where stock has gone, and we can better manage distribution.”

On the B2B side of the business, Rory credits Cin7 for expediting wholesale orders. Once a quote is generated, “having the ‘accept now’ button on the quote automatically flips the quote to a sales order, so our wholesale customer can make immediate payment.”

Cin7 helps avoid financial setbacks

Lockabox® leverages Cin7 to manage their multiple Amazon and WooCommerce sales channels, as well as third-party logistics (3PL) and fourth-party logistics (4PL) partners who are directly integrated with Cin7. The system proved its value when the operations team suffered a mishap that could easily have become a costly catastrophe.

One of Lockabox’s® 4PL partners failed to log a shipment of 700 units with a retail value of £30,000. Fortunately, Cin7 exposed the discrepancy during a weekly reconciliation, and Rory was able to investigate and determine what had happened.

Without Cin7, Rory explains, the operations team would have assumed that the warehouse had 700 more SKUs of one particular product than was actually being held. The warehouse would have run out of stock prematurely and Lockabox® would have suffered a temporary outage of product to sell.

“Cin7 is our failsafe system,” says Rory. “We were able to pin the 3PL to the wall and say ‘no, our stock numbers are correct – you have made the mistake.’ Having Cin7 alongside gives us the ability to keep accurate branch transfer data to catch human errors.”

Cin7 is the key to product business growth

Lockabox® says that Cin7’s flexibility is key to the future growth of the brand, and they’re already gearing up for expansion, with the introduction of a new and improved version of Lockabox One™ Shelf Packs which help to organize and partition contents. With their expansion into accessories, Rory says the team is looking forward to leveraging Cin7’s ability to support product bundles.

Here at Cin7, we’re excited to have Lockabox® join a family of over 8,000 businesses that rely on Cin7 to manage their inventory and online sales. Lockabox® is currently building a manufacturing facility in the US, and with Cin7 as their foundation, we’re going to enjoy watching them grow.

If your business could benefit from the extraordinary inventory visibility and increased efficiency that Cin7 brings, don’t miss out — book a demo with one of our brilliant sales staff today.