Cora Accelerates their Mission of Female Empowerment through streamlined Production and Fulfillment in Fulfil

Leveraging Fulfil as a tracking tool to track our costs and forecasts is really important right now, especially when there is so much uncertainty in the supply chain.

Janaye Pohl
Director of Operations


Meet Molly Hayward - the Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Cora Life. Hayward has always believed that every body deserves comfort and wellbeing. In 2016, she was inspired to build the Cora brand after realizing how many women and girls around the world deprioritize their education because they can’t afford access to feminine hygiene products.

Molly Hayward. founder of Cora

Cora launched in 2016, with a single product to work towards ending period poverty. In the last six years, it has grown beyond period care to include a full suite of products that support the entire spectrum of health and well-being for female bodies. During this time, Hayward’s purpose-driven company has grown to a team of 29 employees, and for the last 6 years, they have experienced an average growth rate of 200% each year.

A display of Cora products

What makes Cora unique is their giving model. With every purchase made, Cora provides period products and body literacy resources to people who might otherwise go without. This has not only built loyalty and trust with their subscribers, but also attracted a dedicated team that shares in the mission.

“I love how our mission and the success of our business go hand-in-hand, because our ability to sell more products means we can give back more.”
- Janaye Pohl, Director of Operations

Regardless of where Cora’s customers purchase their products, Cora users are empowered and supported throughout their bodies’ cycles and are proud to be part of the Cora brand.

Much of Cora’s growth has been fueled through building a robust omnichannel strategy, which required an early, organized approach to inventory management. While they started out only selling directly to consumers through a subscription model, Cora quickly added significant wholesale retail channels into their distribution efforts, including retail partnerships with Target and Walmart, and selling on Amazon.

The Challenge

As Cora grew, the complexity and challenges of their business operations grew as well. In order to deliver products to customers within a two to three day timeframe, they expanded their fulfillment network to include partnerships with three different 3PLs, for a total of four fulfillment centers across the country. However, each fulfillment center adds some level of operational risk and error to merchants, and requires clear visibility into sales, inventory, and order management.

Sales, inventory, and order management were all managed for Cora in Stitch Labs - an order management tool that has since been sunset, while their Finance team used Quickbooks, and production was done manually in-house.

While most Cora products are turnkey finished-goods, approximately 10% of their SKUs require in-house production. All of this was done through manual effort, as the Cora team ordered specific components and assembled them, prior to fulfillment. A major challenge became trying to keep track of all these moving parts, as their previous system had no way of doing inventory reconciliation or tracking production efforts, leading to inaccurate inventory data and no way to properly track COGS or Labor inputs.

To ensure they managed all their operations from a single source of truth, Cora worked hard to find the perfect technology solution to manage their operations at scale. In their six years in business, the company tried three different solutions and implementations, all of which were lacking in some shape or form. A major challenge - in addition to not having a production solution - was that the systems they were on couldn’t match the pace at which Cora was scaling.

“We needed a system that we could grow with. Our older system was okay for the time that we brought it on, but it became clear that it wasn’t going to scale with us and we needed something that could be flexible with us through our growth - which was happening very quickly.”
- Janaye Pohl, Director of Operations

As their latest order management system announced that it was going to sunset within a half year, the transition to a replacement system accelerated. Luckily, this is when Pohl came across Fulfil.

The Solution

Particularly aware of the flexible nature from which Cora operated, Pohl was impressed by how often Fulfil was shipping new features and functionality to the platform. Not only that, Pohl and team could contribute regular feedback and direction around prioritizing new capabilities.

Fulfil was able to get Cora set up on Fulfil in less than 16 weeks, with ample time to spare before losing access to their old system.

Setting up all of Cora’s omnichannel connections in Fulfil was a quick and simple task.

“The Channel wizard was really easy to use and super helpful - we didn’t need a technical background to get all our primary channels integrated - which is big for us as a lean team with no in-house developers.”
- Janaye Pohl, Director of Operations

Not only did Fulfil replace their order management system and inventory management requirements, but it also was able to equip Pohl’s team with a built-in Production app. This was a major win for Cora, as they suddenly could track, reconcile, and manage inventory for their non-finished goods products alongside the rest of their inventory.

The Finance team at Cora was also happy with the switch to Fulfil, as Fulfil’s native integration to Quickbooks allowed them to maintain their well established processes for financial management, despite moving on to a new ERP system, many of which don’t integrate with Quickbooks.

“We are super omnichannel. Having a partner like Fulfil that allowed us to handle all our sales channels easily out of the box, without a bunch of custom development being required, was really important for us.”
- Janaye Pohl, Director of Operations

The Results

Since using Fulfil, Cora has seen the following results:

  • Reduced Production Times: Fulfil equipped Cora with the ability to automatically track and manage their production capabilities; saving Operations hours each week/month doing manual cycle counts and reconciliation.
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction: Through simple, out-of-the-box integrations to all of Cora’s omnichannel sales strategies, Cora was able to easily show up for their consumers where they wanted to purchase Cora products.
  • Increased Distribution and Channel Diversification: Cora was able to easily integrate with their existing as well as new channels, including Walmart marketplace, Fulfilled By Walmart, Amazon (FBA and FBM), DTC (via Shopify), Wholesale via EDI, and more.
  • Stable Headcount: Fulfil’s strong Customer Success model, detailed documentation, and user-driven interface has given the Cora team the ability to implement and operate their ERP without needing to hire additional consulting or development capacity.
  • Empowered Female Bodies: Cora has seen strong sales growth since bringing on Fulfil in April of 2021, allowing them to pay forward thousands of period products and body literacy resources.

Looking Ahead

When thinking about the future, Pohl pointed out that cost management continues to be a critical responsibility of Operations. This is especially a focus for common packaging material like corrugated board, which has seen a large increase in cost. “We’re constantly seeing increases from our raw materials suppliers, it seems like every month now we get a note from suppliers saying pricing will go up in three months,” explains Pohl.

“We’re putting those anticipated cost increases into our models and then we’re able to use Fulfil to gut-check those models when those things actually happen,” Pohl goes on to say.

This allows Cora to actually track what they anticipated costs to be against reality, understand the comparison, and then dig into differences and take proactive steps, if needed.

“Leveraging Fulfil as a tracking tool to track our costs and forecasts is really important right now, especially when there is so much uncertainty in the supply chain.”
- Janaye Pohl, Director of Operations

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