Head of Operations and Finance
Topo Designs specializes in backpacks for hiking, travel, school and city lifestyle. The company was founded in 2008 by Jedd Rose and Mark Hansen who wanted to create their own backpacks suited for outdoor exploration. Topo Designs’ products are now sold worldwide and continue to be inspired by the Colorado outdoors.
For the past few years, Topo Designs had been experiencing double digit growth in sales. At the same time, they were beginning to encounter problems with an aging tech stack. When Matt Williams, Head of Operations and Finance joined the company, he was placed in charge of finding a more robust ERP system that would handle Topo Designs’ growth needs at the lowest cost.
One of the key challenges that drove the team at Topo Designs to seek a more robust ERP system was the lack of ability to track financial information accurately.
“We were reconciling and manually keying everything that was happening in Stitch Labs and all these other places, then trying to make sense of it in QuickBooks,” said Williams. “But when audited, we could never really tie it off to the penny, so it was really messy.”
Secondly, the team was having a difficult time with order and inventory allocation. “We were creating all these virtual locations, transferring inventory and pointing orders to virtual locations. And we had almost two people managing that, and we’re way too small to have that beefy of an admin team.”
Finally, the team had a major issue in keeping the inventory levels correct and synchronized throughout the entire returns process. The accounting team would estimate how much inventory they had based on a general cost of goods calculation which turned out to be off by over 30%. As a result, the Shopify storefront listed items incorrectly, and with an average of 500-3000 orders per day, this lack of visibility was unsustainable.
“It was a complete disaster. We couldn’t fulfill orders because the inventory just didn’t exist. The inventory was wrong,” said Williams. “We were taking 60 days to close the books and we never really knew where we were financially.”
To solve this challenge, Williams decided that he needed to introduce an ERP system that enabled adequate inventory allocation that hedges against future orders. After selecting NetSuite as the new ERP system, he was introduced to Celigo. The NetSuite sales representative that Williams worked with noted that he was using Shopify and recommended Celigo for its compatibility with Shopify, Returnly, and NetSuite.
Head of Operations and Finance
Topo Designs implemented the integrations on January 1, 2020. To reduce errors, increase efficiency, and improve the customer experience, the team first automated its order-to-cash business processes with Celigo’s Shopify-NetSuite Integration App. They experienced no business interruption or issues. Spearheading this project by himself, Williams was able to build flows and other functions quickly.
“I am not a developer, but I was technical enough to figure it out, and it was pretty intuitive,” said Williams. “I turned on the flows for Celigo and we started seeing stuff go through and thought, ‘Woo! Here we go. Orders are coming through!’”
Next, the team automated its reverse logistics process through Celigo’s Returnly-NetSuite Integration App. By integrating these applications, the customer can now answer a few questions, receive a return label, and when the product arrives in the warehouse, it is automatically processed with a credit to the customer.
“We’re control freaks in terms of wanting to manage that entire reverse logistics process by ourselves. We do a lot of returns, and want to make the returns process as easy as possible for the customer.” said Williams. “The back-end is so much better now.”
Since implementing NetSuite and Celigo to their tech stack, Topo Designs has not only cleaned up their inventory management system and improved visibility, but they’ve also seen operating expenses reduced by 30%.
“Now, we’re closing in five days and we have the right data at our fingertips to make smart decisions. Celigo is very much an out-of-the-box solution that will help you connect with literally almost any application out there.”
Williams was also impressed that he was able to do the implementation himself, without the help of a developer. “I was under the impression I would have to hire a developer to map all my data,” said Williams. “But Celigo was way cheaper than hiring a developer, and a lot easier to maintain.”
“It’s an absolute no brainer to go with Celigo because it’s just a 10 minute morning cleanup, or just checking the logs and see what aired out,” he added. “I’ve been absolutely blown away by the ease of the user interface -- from a usability standpoint, Celigo’s made it extremely easy,”
The implementation had happened just before COVID-19 brought business-as-usual to a standstill. Because retail stores were closed and international distribution was cut off for some time, the company relied on the growth of its ecommerce channels, which helped Topo Design’s continue to grow beyond pre-COVID levels.
With the integrations all set up using Celigo, William believes that it helped the company to easily transition their focus from wholesale and retail to online sales. “To have that already buttoned up and being able to handle such a large volume, it eliminated any cause for any manual intervention in that process.”
“It’s going extremely well,” concluded Williams. “I’m a big fan of Celigo.”