Prior to working with Fulfil, HPN was using a combination of spreadsheets and point solutions to track their inventory and get orders out the door and into the hands of their customers. However, the software they were using was not designed for multi-brand merchants, which required them to use a separate instance for each of their brands.
Because there was no single source of truth for inventory management, HPN was also using complex spreadsheets to complete their forecasting and purchasing workflows. These spreadsheets needed manual updates based on data from a variety of different sources, and therefore limited the purchasing team to a lengthy 8 week purchasing cycle. With the uncertainty of the global supply chain, and the required manual aggregation of inventory data, the procurement team was in a difficult position.
Once the inventory had actually been received in the warehouse from their suppliers, there was yet another challenge to overcome. The warehouse team bulk printed packing slips and didn’t have the ability to enforce a scan to pick/pack requirement, which led to frequent human error in the pick/pack/ship process. This was just one of the many downstream impacts that the HPN team faced when outgrowing their previous software, which led to a degraded customer experience.
Finally, without the ability to track the Outsourced Production of their manufactured goods, they had no visibility into their packaging raw materials. This meant they would often not realize they were out of stock until it was far too late to reorder more, bringing the entire production process grinding to a halt.
Overall, the previous best shipping day for the HPN warehouse team was around 300 orders per day, which was not enough to keep up with the forecasted growth when onboarding additional brands.
The Ripple Effects of the Wrong System
Attempting to put the square peg of HPN’s operations into the round hole of their previous software, led to a variety of operational complexities that decreased the overall efficiency of their team. Specifically, just to manage the shared inventory between their multiple brands, the team would have to place ‘fake’ wholesale purchase orders in order to move the same inventory from one brand to another.
However, one team outgrowing a legacy system not only impacts that team directly, but also has ripple effects to other areas of the organization. When the HPN inventory management team used their workaround wholesale order workflow to transfer inventory between their brands, it also had a downstream impact on the warehouse and purchasing team.
Because this inventory was all located in the same physical warehouse location, it was extremely difficult to track this inventory being transferred between brands. It was a common occurrence for the ‘wrong’ inventory to be used to fulfill an inter-brand inventory transfer, which meant inaccurate inventory counts, and sometimes even the wrong product being sent to the customer.
Additionally, these artificial wholesale orders added noise to the order volume and sales velocity calculations, which the purchasing team had to remember to manually adjust for when creating forecasts. To further complicate the situation, their previous system also did not accurately track bundled items, which skewed the purchasing team’s data even more.
All of these challenges led the HPN team to the conclusion that they needed to look for a solution that was specifically designed for multi-brand ecommerce merchants, and one that could enable them to continue to scale their business in a more sustainable way.