Purchasing, Inventory Management, Order Management, Warehouse Management, Outsourced Production
Sports Nutrition - Dietary Supplements
Established in 2010, HPN Supplements is a growing family of 7 unique brands focused on helping its customers achieve their fitness and health goals. Each brand’s products are listed across multiple channels, but with a single shared inventory pool that requires careful inventory management in order to track effectively .
HPN’s team of 15 manages a complex supply chain from end to end, from the tracking of raw materials, through to working with an outsourced manufacturer, all the way to their own pick/pack/ship workflows in an owned and operated warehouse for both D2C and wholesale orders.
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.
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.
HPN came to Fulfil looking for a solution that natively supported their multi-brand workflows, without needing to resort to workarounds. They needed their data centralized into a single source of truth, so that they could remove the manual workflows from their day to day operations, and enable them to launch additional brands to fuel their growth.
“We needed to have all of our inventory in one location, and be able to cross sell it among multiple brands to separate sales channels - the way that Fulfil solves this problem using Listings is absolutely fantastic and it solves all of our problems.”
To start, Fulfil’s Listing Management capabilities natively address HPN’s exact multi-brand requirements, allowing them to track a single pooled inventory for a product while still selling under multiple brands and across different channels simultaneously. This unlocked the HPN team’s continued channel and brand expansion, by giving them the confidence of having the infrastructure in place to enable their growth.
That said, top line revenue growth is only as good as the operations team’s ability to successfully get these orders into the hands of the customer. The HPN warehouse team was able to leverage the Scan to Pick and Scan to Pack functionality of the Fulfil WMS to virtually eliminate mis-picks.
Finally, the HPN team has also been able to use Fulfil to start tracking their Outsourced Production workflow, where a 3rd party manufacturer handles the packaging and bundling of their finished goods. This means that they are able to proactively reorder packaging materials and other raw materials well in advance of a potential stock out, keeping their Outsourced Manufacturer running smoothly.
In the same way that using the wrong system for your operations can have widespread negative impacts, using the right fit system for your company can unlock a new level of efficiency and growth company-wide. Since partnering with Fulfil just 10 months ago, HPN Supplements has launched 2 additional brands and more than doubled their daily shipping volume, while also virtually eliminating mis-picks and shipping errors.
Working with Fulfil has enabled the HPN team to ‘zoom out’ - no longer are they forced to remain on the lengthy 8 week cycle of placing purchase orders based on inaccurate data. Now, they’re able to confidently place purchase orders on a much shorter 2 week cycle, giving them the flexibility necessary to navigate the uncertainty of the current global supply chain.
This is accomplished by utilizing Fulfil’s Days of Cover feature to not only have an in-depth understanding of their inventory, but also have actionable insight into what the purchasing team needs to order, from whom, and when. Fulfil’s Days of Cover takes into account incoming supplier shipments, historical sales velocity (across all brands, channels, and listings - including bundles), external forecasts such as marketing, and on-hand inventory to give the HPN team immediate visibility into when they are at risk of running out of stock.
Additionally, Fulfil’s Scan to Pick and Scan to Pack functionality acts as an additional check and balance for the warehouse team to ensure the right item is going to the right customer.
HPN Supplements has used Fulfil to:
HPN Supplements’ team, product, and fanatic customers all point in the direction of their continued growth, and Fulfil has given them the platform necessary to enable them to efficiently scale. In just 10 months almost every aspect of the HPN team’s supply chain has been optimized to ensure that the right people have access to the right data, and have the tools in place to know what to do with this information. With the uncertainty of the global supply chain, Fulfil has also given them the confidence to have a more agile purchasing workflow while continuing to expand products, channels, and brands.
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