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Transforming B2B manufacturing to Highly scalable D2C

Re-inventing the company's admin to reduce overheads by 95%

Setting the scene

Our client, a high-end pet fashion manufacturer, desires to become the market leader in their segment. However, as a 3rd generation company, they must keep pushing forward.

In recent history, they have transitioned from a white-label B2B company to a D2C company shipping to over five countries.

The initial workflow of the company was simple: everyone knew everything. All details of products and orders are kept in a labyrinth of word and excel documents, in combination with a lot of paper notes. This approach has worked fine for B2B, where there are few large orders. But for a high rotation D2C activity, this is no longer workable and would very quickly flood the entire team.

The Challenge(s)

Transitioning from B2B into D2C comes with challenges, significant challenges. Instead of 40ft containers, you're shipping parcels. Instead of a 4-week lead-time, you get 12 hours; instead of 10's of customers, you deal with 1000's.  

Such a transition leads to challenges in almost any layer of your organisation. How do you go about this? Which layers need adjusting:

  • customer service
  • product-updates
  • stock-keeping
  • manufacturing
  • purchasing
  • fulfilment

If we summarised the goal in 1 sentence, it would be:

"Time spent from order to shipped to invoiced should be less than 3 minutes."

To attempt this complete change of company DNA, it was essential to:

  • Streamline all processes to keep the volume of orders manageable and scalable without overwhelming the team
  • Keep stock of finished products low to help stock investment be low and quickly adjust to the seasonality of products. 
  • Always have materials in stock for any product. We always need the source materials in stock to keep the shipping tempo. But not finished products.
  • Automate purchasing of materials; the system needs to calculate the required materials and prepare the PO to manufacture any product at any time.
  • Auto-update five websites and three marketplaces with the latest products, images and (live) stock.  
  • Integrate all process touchpoints, as there cannot be copy-pasting or manual input of orders and shipments. 

How did we solve it?

To transition the business, we built a custom ERP/PIM (Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software system that helps organizations automate and manage core business processes for optimal performance. PIM Product information management is the process of managing all the information required to market and sell products through distribution channels)that allows the team members to focus on their actual jobs:

  • launching product lines
  • manufacturing products
  • helping customers

And stay away from the admin, the copy-pasting, the manually counting.  

You need to understand that at Tweave, we believe that software should work for you. Software should make your life easier, not just store more data for you to manage. Therefore, our tools maximally leverage the software's capability to automate the day-to-day to that you can focus on what matters. This project was no different from that perspective. 

Essentially, the tooling we built lets the team know what to do and when. It also keeps track of all details related to the products, from bill of materials through to images and SEO content. This tooling's workflow operated like this:

  1. Update all seven sales channels with the latest products
  2. Take orders from all seven sales channels 
  3. Prep shipping labels for in-stock orders
  4. Create production orders for out-of-stock orders
  5. Create material purchase orders when materials run low

What are the results?

No longer did they need to worry about how to run the business; instead allowed them to focus on scaling the actual manufacturing and sales.

The tweaved platform allowed the team to re-focus on what matters and helped them drive revenue 12.5x in 2 years. In addition, our efforts have reduced their administrative load by 95% while supercharging their scaling abilities. This transformation allowed for a massive reduction in operating expenses and to handle much more volume with a much smaller team. Such spectacular growth would not have been possible without tweaving.

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