Eager to automate, but conscious of the costs
When your store sales more than double in a single year, there are bound to be some growing pains.
That’s something Kunal Kohli, Co-founder of BOU Brands, knows firsthand.
Within just three years of launching their breakthrough bouillon range, BOU Brands was already distributing nationwide. Leading retailers like Whole Foods, Kroger and Walmart had been quick to jump on board.
From 2017 to 2018 alone, growth shot up 150%. But while BOU Brands had a growth curve to envy, they also had a problem.
The labor-intensive spreadsheets and manual processes Kunal and his team were using to manage their daily operations simply couldn’t keep up, and it was only getting worse.
The small team had to hunt through faxes and emails just to find orders, then log them in spreadsheets by hand. Without a centralized way to track inventory and the progress of orders, they were forced to rely on distributors’ emails to share stock levels and status updates.
And once a delivery was fulfilled, the team had to email their accountant to give the go-ahead to send an invoice.
Every step was agonizingly tedious, and with so many different people, touchpoints, and systems, mistakes were being made.
Some sales orders were being missed, while occasional mistypes in quantities and customer addresses were leading to costly delays and costs that could’ve been avoided.
As store orders continued to soar, Kunal felt anxious that their existing systems might crack under all the extra weight.
He knew the time had come to invest in software that would make his supply chain click. But he didn’t know where or what to prioritize, and the costs involved in implementing traditional ERPs made him nervous.
Then he found Unioncrate.
“Being a startup, our supply chain processes were very manually intensive. It was becoming very challenging, and with all of our growth and the number of distribution points we were now in, mistakes were starting to be made.”
Cost-effective automation, tailored to them
Kunal was introduced to Unioncrate by a consultant who was working with the business. Unlike traditional ERPs, which are ‘fat’ with extraneous features, Unioncrate’s modular options allowed Kunal to start with just the features he needed.
He could choose to grow into other aspects of the platform if and when he needed them.
One of the main attractions for Kunal was Unioncrate’s proprietary EDI interface. This provided BOU Brands with EDI connections with all its vendors for a fraction of the cost he’d previously encountered.
And while traditional platforms are notoriously complicated to implement, Kunal was relieved to see how serious Unioncrate was about making implementation easy and disruption-free.
Right off the bat, Unioncrate provided hands-on support in setting up EDI connections with his key customers. They cleaned up and filled in the gaps in his data trail and walked him through every function of the software. And all with no added costs.
With the platform fully implemented, BOU Brands’ day-to-day operations have been transformed, thanks to:
- Simplified and centralized sales order process.
Orders from every customer are received into a single platform, meaning Kunal and his team can process and track them in just a few clicks. No more email ping pong. No more data entry errors. No more spreadsheets.
- One reliable picture of all inventory, and stock levels adjusted automatically.
Because Unioncrate integrates with BOU Brands’ multiple distribution centers, the BOU team knows exactly how much they have of everything—and where it is—immediately. Inventory levels automatically update, so the company can manage their overall working capital much easier than before.
Thanks to Unioncrate, BOU Brands can run its supply chain seamlessly and efficiently. Functions that were frustrating and error-prone before are now fast and unfailingly accurate.
“With the ordering and supply chain side of things more automated and seamless, we can put more focus on moving more products off the shelf.”
$120k recovered to invest right back into the business
The time and cost efficiencies delivered by Unioncrate have eclipsed anything the BOU team had expected.
He estimates that using the platform to streamline his sales and inventory management is saving the business a mind-blowing $120,000 every year.
These cost efficiencies include:
- $80k+ a year saved, because the platform fulfills the equivalent workload of a senior supply chain manager
- $25k+ a year saved establishing 12 EDI connections with Unioncrate, instead of traditional ERPs.
As BOU Brands’ growth continues to surge (300% growth in 2018 alone), those savings will continue to multiply.
With Unioncrate doing virtually all the work of processing and managing orders, Kunal and his team save 15 hours a week.
Those time efficiencies are more than just a number. They give the team priceless hours back to focus on product development, and sales and marketing strategies that directly move more product off the shelves.
Thanks to the reliable, real-time view of the company’s sales and inventory that Unioncrate provides, Kunal and his team have the tools to optimize BOU’s manufacturing process and improve sales and demand predictions. All of this helps BOU deliver items on-time and create the five-star customer service that’s critical to brand success.
Kunal says scaling the business would have been a “nightmare” without Unioncrate. Now, he and his team have a supply chain infrastructure that they can trust 100% to meet any explosion in their order book head-on.
Even better, BOU has six-figure cost savings and substantial time efficiencies to invest back into the company and ensure their bouillon business doesn’t just simmer, but stays firmly on the boil.