How OZNaturals Built Scalable, Efficient, and Resilient Operations with Automation

With today’s changing landscape in supply chain and commerce, businesses realized one more time, the need to plan ahead and put the right processes and systems in place for streamlined operations.

In this on-demand webinar, Mike Small from OZNaturals, a manufacturer of natural skin care products with B2B and DTC sales channels, managing multiple warehouse and fulfillment operations, will share his experience on how they built resilient, scalable, and efficient operations from the ground up.

Watch to learn how this allowed them to quickly respond to sudden changes in demand, supply, and third party ecommerce marketplace policies while being able to support growth with at-hand resources and eliminate redundant tasks.

Topics include:

  • Challenges of running supply chain operations
  • How to plan for scalability, efficiency and resiliency
  • How automation helped OZNaturals to tackle obstacles and grow

 

Watch now!

Full Webinar Transcript
Good morning. Good morning, Mike. How are you? Good, how are you? I’m pretty well. Good. Yeah. Really appreciate you jumping on the call so quickly. No problem at all. No problem. Timing was good. Oh, good [laughter]. I may have also Chuck, our head of customer marketing– may join the call as well. I’m not sure. But anyway, yeah. I’ve been familiar with OZNaturals for quite a long time and certainly have heard your name. But I didn’t realize that you had been a Celigo customer on different companies for– Oh, yeah. When I first started working with Celigo, I was working directly with Carl and with John [laughter]. Way back in the day. Yeah. We actually did a– We tried launching a program together early on in the 3PL logistics world. We were working with a logistics company out of Michigan. And my company did its side, you guys did your side; the logistics failed miserably. So the two of us commiserated about a bad first impression with the other company. But I liked your company from the start. You guys were a good partner. That’s great. And where were you– And then what was– So that’s when I was with a company called– I can’t remember if it was Memory Suppliers or Buy Happier, but I’m pretty sure it was Buy Happier. And we were trying to coordinate something to do shipments when we were doing shipping with C.H. Robinson type companies like freight brokers to facilitate the tracking, and this is back in the day when we were looking at 3PLs as well, so. That’s great. Wow, that’s early history. Hi, Mike. There’s Chuck. Hi there, Chuck. How are you? Good. Yeah, I’m old. I’ve been around for a while [laughter]. Yes. Sounds good. Yeah. Yeah. So thanks for jumping on. So we have multiple requests, I think, and so I wanted to talk to you about the different requests that we have and then see what makes sense and what you’d be willing to do. And they range from a couple of things. So one is, I definitely want to learn about the story of OZNaturals and how you’re using Celigo, and maybe we can take some of that time today. The second one is, depending on the story and if you’re willing and able, we do have a couple of upcoming webinars and events that– We constantly get requests for people to be participating as subject matter experts. And specifically, we have one coming up on just supply chain fulfillment side, especially in this time of COVID, as to what should they be thinking about? What are some of the best practices and some of the changes? And we’re looking for someone who can share their own experiences as a subject matter expert, not as a rah-rah-rah Celigo– Yeah. I don’t do rah-rah-rah, by the way. Yeah, good [laughter]. So I mean, if that’s something that you’ve– It’s a possibility. I mean, I’d be happy to help you guys out. I’ll clear it with the owner of the company just to be a good corporate citizen. I’m sure she’ll say fine because I’m not going to give away anything that’s proprietary corporate. But my experience just– I’ll give you a little background on myself because you guys don’t know me yet. I’ve been in distribution– My background is – I’m a CPA, actually, but – I’ve also run operations for companies. So I’ve been doing distribution operations for about 35 years. I was, at one point, a sales VP for a 3PL. I have used 3PLs in my own warehouses for years. I started out in distribution at one point with 2 million SKUs under roof and had a paperless warehouse. And that was one of the– My company, Baker & Taylor, we were, myself and two other people, were Amazon’s first vendors, to give you an idea of background, so [laughter]. I dealt with CDNow, I dealt with Real.com; we set all those guys up. And Amazon actually modeled their first warehouses on my company’s warehouses. So I’ve been around for a little bit. I do understand logistics, and that’s kind of why I liked what you guys were doing here. And that’s kind of how I got involved with Celigo. Because when I brought on NetSuite, I wanted to do something that was more straightforward. I didn’t want to deal with EDI, and that’s why I was getting involved with you guys, just to give a little background. That’s super, super, super interesting. Yeah. And what about on the– I’m imagining you’ve done a lot on the sourcing side of materials and things like that. Yeah. I mean, when I was with Reader’s Digest, I was responsible for all the inventory management. And the procurements had a dotted line, to mean we had about an $80 million budget where we were buying out of China. Here, we do all of our supply chain and management– We use a contract manufacturer in Montreal, and we do all of our production there. And I run it through– We don’t do a connection into them because they’re a little bit more antiquated. So I don’t do a Celigo connection to them; they’re just not ready for it yet. But with all of our other vendors, we use Celigo connectors. But I do have an abundance of experience in that space too. Okay. So, yeah. So that might be interesting for some of the things that we have coming up, for sure. So why don’t we circle back on that? And then the third request, which we can touch base later is– So we often get requests from people who, I mean, they basically– They’re looking at Celigo or they’re looking at some other products and they’ve requested, “Can we ever see a real environment in action?” And I was wondering if there may be a way at some point to– Do you ever show other people– I mean, essentially what people are asking, “Could I actually see this in action in a real environment?” So it’s kind of interesting; I’ve done that for you guys before. Oh, you have? Yeah. I’ve done references for you guys several times. And generally, when I do a reference with a company that’s similar to us but not competitive– So what I do is, especially when they’re going into a NetSuite world, Shopify world and everything else, I actually kind of walk them through and showed them how it all plays together. I’ve done that for you a few times, actually. So yeah. I don’t have a problem with that as long as they’re not a direct competitor. Yeah. And so the request specifically is, so that we don’t have to keep calling you all the time, is it ever possible to essentially do a recording of what you walked through and censor any information and put all the bounds in terms of like, okay. This can never go into a competitor or anything like that. Would you be willing to record it? I’ll get clearance with the CEO on that, but I don’t have a problem with it. And I think she won’t have a problem with it either. Because like you said, we’re not going to do anything proprietary. It won’t be for competitors. Because it’s interesting. One of the people working for us used to work at a competitor. And to put things in perspective for you, we’ll do about– Last year we did about $11 million in sales. And for all intents and purposes, we run the business with myself and one person. We have other people involved, but they’re more involved on the product development side, on the marketing side. But in terms of all the supply chain and the operations management and management of 3PLs and everything, myself and one person does it, so. So I would love to dig into that and just learn more, then, about that. So in terms of the demo, that would be great. If you can check in with the CEO, we would love to just– So ideally, this is something that we could pass on so we don’t have to keep bugging you or other people for– That’s fine. I will tell you though when we do the references, the difference between recording it and doing it where you’re talking to someone, you’re able to take them down the right path. Whereas, if you just record it, I could do something generic but it’s not going to get them to the same sense of– Now what you could do if you have a client that was willing to do it or we did it as a client call, then it might make more sense and you could piece a few of the things together. Because what’s going to happen is, if I just do it generically, you never know what questions people are going to go for. I mean, you know the general sense of it, but it’s not going to give you as compelling a story as if it’s like, “Here’s the things that people ask for.” Yep. That’s really valuable to hear, so I’ll share that. I think you know Brad on our team. He’s the one who asked if it was possible to do something like that. I can provide– I think it was Brad. I think that was Brad. I’m not sure. I’ve met so many people on your team over the years [laughter] that I can’t keep them all straight. Yeah. So I’ll ask him. And maybe in parallel, if you can check in just to see if there’s any issues, and then we can circle back and see if this makes sense. My guess is there won’t be. But yeah, we could do that. Really, really appreciate that, so. So let’s maybe jump in so we can learn more about OZNaturals. And so what I’m curious about is basically the journey as a company. And so essentially, where you started out and then where Celigo came in, and where are you today with Celigo, essentially? I’m trying to understand the big picture. Okay. So where we are– And I’ll share my screen in a moment too. But let me give a quick company background. So the company was founded in 2013 by two people: Craig Romero, Angela Irish. Craig had a digital marketing experience background, and Angela was a licensed aesthetician who had sensitive skin and was very much into the natural lifestyle. And what she found in selling products as an aesthetician and in working in retail, that mostly natural products were A, either really, really expensive or not efficacious. And it drove her a little nuts, and she and Craig partnered and said, “We want to produce a really natural product, highly efficacious, but make it affordable and accessible to everyone.” So they launched it as an Amazon-only brand, actually. And quickly became the number one seller on Amazon and held that position for a couple of years until there was some supply chain issues. I came on board about two, three years into the company’s history. I’ve been with the company for about four years now. I was brought on for a couple reasons: one, to help alleviate some of the supply chain issues, and two, to get them out of just being an Amazon-only brand that did white-label to being a more unique brand that has the capability to go into distribution, b2b, and everything else they wanted to do. So when I first came to the company, it was a small entrepreneurial company running QuickBooks. Typical entrepreneurs didn’t really focus on infrastructure at all. And when you’re growing exponentially, it’s very easy to hide warts. When I came on board, one of the things we did was, I immediately said, “We can’t run this business. We have inventory managed business with like over a million dollars in inventory, and we’re not tracking inventory. That’s a problem.” So I got them to switch and implement NetSuite. And at that point, we didn’t have our own website, but we were still dealing with Amazon. But once I started getting involved, I wanted to move us onto a website our own so we could have our own channel, not depend on Amazon, and also started using warehousing. But I didn’t build our own warehouse; I wanted to go the 3PL route because I didn’t want to have to adjust the capital to build a warehouse. Make sense so far? Yep, absolutely. So what we did is over the last four years, we’ve taken the company from being 100% Amazon to about 20% Amazon, 80% B2B and international. And we’ve changed the complexion of the company, made it a lot stronger because we’re not depending on one channel anymore. But we did it in a very scalable manner. I was talking to the person I was telling you about that worked at a competitor– told me that our competitor has over 100 employees doing what we’re doing with two people. Wow. Wow [laughter]. Well, because if you think about it, they’re not– And this is the comparison I don’t want to find out about what we’re doing [laughter]. They’re not doing any of the smart things. They’re not running an ERP. They’re not doing inventory management. They’re manually having to re-key orders and get them over to warehouse. They’re having to manually process POs. I mean, it’s like the 1970’s all over again. It just doesn’t make any sense. So the way we built the business was extremely scaleable. And to do that– We started as an e-commerce company, right? Mm-hmm. Tell me any reason that we would want to do something that didn’t utilize e-commerce, either XML or some version of that, APIs or whatever it might be. And that’s where you guys came in. So the way we have utilized you is from the very beginning, I brought– The initial connector was the Amazon, NetSuite connector. So I didn’t have to record all the sales manually. That’s also– And by the way, what was the type of volume that was being entered manually? Well, they weren’t entering the data. They weren’t entering at all because you didn’t have to– No. There was like, no records, so to speak. And that’s typical of an entrepreneur, you know? It’s not surprising. Give me one second, please. I’m sorry. Yeah. No problem. Anyway. So they weren’t doing anything, and then in order to run the business right, you got a business– They wanted to position it for sale. And I’m like, “You can’t sell a business if you have no records.” So we did all the right things, we got the company in place, recreated the old records, and put everything else online and started selling. But like I said, we immediately started with the Amazon– The number of transactions at that point– We were doing at that point about 7 or $8 million a year on Amazon, with an average order size of about 20 bucks. So that gives you an idea about magnitude of transactions. So lots of transactions, tens of thousands. And just on one channel, right? So– Right. I mean, with one of the connectors we have with you guys now, one of the owners, Craig, opened a second division. And that one right now that’s only transactions, we run into API [traveling?] issues with you guys sometimes. That happens. It might be the [fact sheet?], but that gives an idea of magnitude. In our system right now, I think we have over 350,000 customers and a couple million transactions, probably. So does that give you an idea of magnitude? Yeah [laughter]. And so then you did– So you started with the Amazon connector, so specifically from the marketplace to the RP and then– Correct. And then we decided to do our own website. We started building a website; we went the Shopify route. We ended up with a Shopify connector, and that’s when we brought in a 3PL as well. And so I also had you build the 3PLs, actually two 3PL connectors for me, one to a warehouse in Canada, one to the warehouse in the US. And the beauty of that, once we did that, that gave us another capability with Amazon. So if Amazon took down their RSPA listing to do a BIN check, we would flip it to merchants [filled in?] to stay in business without having to have like 10 people teeing orders and babysitting. So that’s kind of the beauty of it. So what it gives you the ability to do is, you manage the exceptions, not the minutia. So are you using Shopify for B2C? We’ve used it for B2C, and we’ve also set up a B2B site now, too. Okay. And who are the B2B customers, then? So the B2B customers are spas and retailers and some of our international distributors. So what we do is, we’ve used an app available on Shopify that lets us set wholesale pricing. So then you can use group codes, basically, with tags to create the pricing. Then that brings them to NetSuite where they place their order. It goes into our system; we manage it, do all the right things just like you do in every other connector. Difference is instead of being onesie-twosies, it’s anywhere from like 500 units to 10,000 units. So that’s kind of magnitude. So the way we make this work, though, is Celigo’s our middleware, right? Mm-hmm. And the nice thing about it is with the dashboard: you manage the exceptions; you see what’s wrong; you find out when your 3PLs had extra carrier codes very easily because you get an error message; it takes you about five minutes to fix it, and away you go. So there’s a lot of good things you guys are doing. Jack’s one of my coworkers, and we have a couple people that we’ve been training now just to do customer support and everything. And we were explaining to them that without the connectors and everything else, we’d probably have 10 or 15 more people, at least, doing all this work with us. So, yeah [laughter]. That’s mind-boggling. And by the way, I mean, we get– It sounds to me like one of the differences between your company versus a lot of companies that we work with is that a lot of companies come to us at the point where they have the 15 people working, and it’s not scaleable. And so that’s where they bring in the integration and the automation. And then things– Progress from there. Yeah, exactly. And then they redistribute the resources elsewhere. But it sounds like you came into a place before it got to that point because records weren’t even– You weren’t even bothering with that, but all of a sudden it opened the possibility for scale. Correct. And then did the scale come, basically? So I’m imagining– Yeah. Well, if I were to guess, your volume on Amazon didn’t go down; you just opened up all these other channels. So our volume on Amazon actually did go down, but not because of anything that was within our control. Unfortunately, we had a major supply chain issue where we had to scuttle a manufacturer and basically pull all our products for a year because of some problems we found. So when we pulled the products for a year, we lost a lot of traction. So the good thing is because of the ability to go to multiple channels, we were able to survive quickly; we rebounded from that very quickly. So I’ll share with you numbers that I don’t want you sharing with anyone else. Yep. In the off-year, we lost about $800,000. In the following year, we made about half a million. The year after that, we made about 2 million. And that’s not to be shared, please. Yeah, yeah. No. That’s not something I would put in. But that gives you the concept of what you could do if you scale a business and run it right. You know, Mike, what I love about your story is you were very proactive. I mean, you had a vision because of your early career in operations and warehouse and distribution. You already knew where you needed to be, and you proactively got your company there. Just as a side note, you would be an excellent expert panelist because so many of our customers, they’re not so planful, right, in terms of, “Where do I need to be a year from now in terms of automating my business processes around distribution?” and you did it. Congratulations. Thanks. Thanks. Now keep in mind, though. It’s a lot of headaches [laughter] getting there. Yeah [laughter]. You learned the hard way [laughter]. So when I first started, my company was– When I was at Baker & Taylor– And I don’t want to sound immodest; I don’t, so please don’t take it that way. And Jack’s heard me talk about this too much and he can outdo me [laughter]. Probably going to make fun of me. But at Baker & Taylor, we were distributing. We had 2 million SKUs. We were the biggest distributor of books, video, and audio to the libraries, schools, and other institutions in the country, privately held companies. And no one wanted to touch B2C. Everyone wanted large orders. Everything we did was painful, especially on the video side. The book side, we were a little bit more advanced just because we were dealing with schools and governments. So they forced us into the EDI world, there. But in the other world, when people start wanting to go to B2C and started doing onesie-twosie orders, that’s widened the face of distribution companies. Because you’re of the economies. You’re selling something for 15 bucks, and you’re not covering your costs of overhead. That’s why we got– Myself and a couple of other people got the company to do a fulfillment model where we charged for the handling fees and had pure marginals and they saw it blow up. We took a business from zero to 48 million bucks in about 18 months. So it was the right time at the right place. That included Amazon. That included CDnow, Real.com, Kmart in the early days. It was Sears, Paramount Pictures. Like everyone under the sun was coming to us to get– So it was right place at the right time. No one else was [crosstalk]– So that’s why since that point, everything I did, I always forced the issue with automation and trying to go to exception management so you could manage large volumes of transactions, which is what you’re talking about doing with your people. Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly in line with what a lot of our customers and prospective customers are trying to learn more about. And in particular around this time with COVID, we’ve seen two extremes. We’ve seen the companies who all of a sudden have either seen an increase in demand because their products are– PTE or whatever. Yeah, exactly, that this is the time where they needed the increase of demand, or they’ve been hit with the challenges, obviously. So they have two things. Either they need to find new channels all of the sudden because they were just selling brick-and-mortar and they have to get an e-commerce channel going, or in other cases, which is also more frequent, is that they just have to be more efficient. Every lead that comes in is gold, and so they’ve had to automate. Whether the demand has gone up or down, they’ve had to be able to handle that with less. And so we’re seeing a lot of customers trying to scramble, basically, to try to adjust. Yeah. And the tricky part is they don’t know what they need, and then it becomes painful to get them there. Yep. So are you seeing it? How has the demand shifted with COVID? So we had a couple months of down, but since then, we’ve been rebounding nicely. The one thing that helps us is we’re in multiple countries, so it came and went in waves for us. If certain countries started closing down, other countries were still picking up and vice versa. The US picked up a little bit on eCommerce. There’s a spike in some eCommerce. The summer months, those months weren’t as bad as usual, but it’s impacted us. But the nice thing about it, because we’re a business, we didn’t have to lay anyone off. We kept everyone working. And we have a retail store now which has a couple more employees, and we didn’t lay them off; we had them to some other work to keep them going. I imagine that your product specifically is something that is– People are going to want it regardless and that you probably– Yeah. I mean, it helps that we’re affordable. Right now if you look at our serums, our serums are priced anywhere from $18 to $25, whereas if you go to get comparable serums, they could be anywhere from 50 to $100. So I think we’re going to start seeing a shift from people that were spending a lot of money on serums before, looking for alternatives that are more affordable. So I’m hoping that we can bank on that a little bit. And you probably have a fairly loyal, repeatable user base, I guess. We do. We do. That helps as well. And did you have to– I mean, it sounds to me like you were already set up as best as you could for the changes in the environment. Did you have to make adjustments in terms of your infrastructure or anything like that? None. None. No. We just kept on going [laughter]. Literally, it’s like we just kept on– For a period of time, we worked from home. But now the good thing about the way we set up the business, we’re 100% virtual. Well, not virtual, but internet-based. So our ERP, our phone system, our data storage, our Celigo connector, Shopify, everything we do is basically online. And yeah, we have some customers; we have some physical distribution issues, but our warehouse never closed down in the US. They were considered essential, so they kept going. And we never slowed down in being able to ship product or anything, really. In Canada, we had to shut our warehouse down just because they were a little bit more stringent than the US. But the nice thing about the connector with you guys– Here’s one thing we had to do. We turned off the script that moves product to our Canadian warehouse and moved it all to US warehouse only. So other than that, we kept going. Yeah. That’s amazing and very different from what we’re seeing on the ground right now with the companies scrambling. What about– [crosstalk]. Yeah [laughter]. What about prior to when the orders weren’t being recorded? How did fulfillment happen? I imagine before you brought in the 3PLs and before there’s any sort of integrations with them, were there issues with delays or with– So early on in the company, they didn’t do anything but Amazon fulfillments. So you were limited. So if they tried to do wholesale, they’d have to do it from Amazon. I don’t know if you know how Amazon ships, but if you order 100 units from Amazon, you could end up with 100 packages. So it doesn’t work for distribution. But that blows up in your face. But they didn’t do any distribution; the owners literally would hand-pack products and ship it to Amazon. And then they got past that point where they used contract manufacturers to ship to Amazon, but then you had all sorts of errors with making sure the cartons were marked right and all that other good stuff. But it has to happen to [go around the sun?]. So believe me, the company was– because it was an SBA company– If you’re an Amazon-only company, you could run a business without doing anything. You just hope for the best and throw everything up there, list it, and run the whole thing through Amazon. You just don’t have any records of your business and no way to know if they’re cheating you or not. Because Amazon has a lot of variants with the inventory. What do they have, 95 warehouses? Yeah. It’s pretty easy for product to get lost in 95 warehouses, especially when they move it warehouse to warehouse. And you’re using EDI specifically, right? Pardon me? You’re using EDI? No. Oh, you’re not? No. We don’t use any EDI. No EDI. Okay. No. So everything we’ve done now, we’ve done through Celigo connectors. So with the 3PL, some of it’s really old-school, but we worked with you guys– Our 3PL connectives are custom, right? Mm-hmm. So you guys knew how to do the integrations with NetSuite. It did the transformations out of NetSuite into their format for them. You built the format for what our 3PLs needed. And I think one of them uses FTP to transmit the files. And the other one might have an API, but I think it’s even that old-school. So it’s not using EDI happily. I hate dealing with EDI. With the Amazon connectors, you guys have them built-in. We’re just using your connectors; same with Shopify. Early on, we were trying Wal-Mart. You guys actually built the Wal-Mart connector when we were first launching with them. We were your clients that first got you into Wal-Mart through that connector. Yeah. And that’s growing, by the way. Wal-Mart is– Yeah. I dropped off there. You did? Yeah. It just wasn’t the right platform for us. It didn’t give us the capabilities we needed and it was more a bother than it was worth. And how long ago was that? I dropped off there about a year, year and a half ago. I mean, they’ve asked me to come back, but quite frankly, Wal-Mart’s not where we want the product positioned right now. Amazon’s okay because everyone has to be on Amazon. But Wal-Mart’s not really– If we’re trying to scale the spas and aestheticians, they don’t want to see their product at Wal-Mart. Yep. I totally get it. Totally get it. So you’re saying you’ve done these calls where you speak directly with– Prospective customers? –our prospective customers. So what do you tell them? What do they typically– What are the questions that they’re asking you, and what advice do you give? So the typical questions center around why did you end up going with Celigo? How good was the integration? Did they understand what you needed? Those are the main types of questions. How hard is it to manage? Do you have to be really heavily skilled in programming to do this or very technical? And what I generally do is– I’ve done this with a few of the different customers because they use the same platforms as us: Shopify, Amazon, and NetSuite. So sometimes I’ll literally take them into the portal like you said. I’ll do a screen share. If they seem like they’re really interested and worthwhile, I’ll take them through that. But I’ve probably done that about half a dozen times with customers. And then you end up talking about just distribution and business in general sometimes. It almost becomes a consulting call; sometimes I feel like I should charge them [laughter]. But they’re just trying to get a sense of what are the things to look for in integration. And one of the things I always tell them is, “You have to have someone that really understands how your business operates and the concept of saved searches in NetSuite and where the information lies. And yes, to be able to tell Celigo clearly how you want to operate. You want to be able to tell them, “Why do I want to do cash sales versus an invoice? Why do I want to do this type of fulfillment? Why am I using this timing?” You have to understand your business because it’s all configuration; it’s not coding. And what I always tell them is, “Make sure when you deal with NetSuite– When you’re integrating NetSuite and you’re working with Celigo, that you really clearly defined what your business needs are and that you understand what you’re trying to do and you work with them. And you need someone from Celigo that understands that as well, by the way. If it’s someone who doesn’t understand your business, especially on a custom-built integration like the 3PL, it could blow up in your face. Yeah. In your previous experience, to be able to do some of the stuff– I mean, you’ve been with Celigo for a long time, so this may not have been the case. But did you require a lot of technical staff, custom code, and things like that? Did I? Or did– In your past life or maybe your [crosstalk] with other people or– So the first integration I did with NetSuite, I hired a company to do it. The second and third integrations, I just – NetSuite – I did it myself. The first integrations I did with you guys and Celigo, I had you guys do it. You helped me build one Amazon store; I built the rest. Shopify, same thing. Like right now when we add a store on Shopify, I basically had you guys turn it on and then I integrate it myself. So the reality is once you understand the concept of your connectors, especially once they’re pre-built, it’s pretty easy to manage. I might be a little bit more technical than your standard customer. But to me, if you do this right when you’re training the customers, they’ll understand the flow and they’ll start seeing the power. So usually if I have to go to your help desk, by the way, it’s something that’s funky. And it’s just like, okay, we got to figure this out. And I usually turn to Dan or one of your other guys and have to try and figure it out. Okay. Yeah. Jack’s making fun of me now. I knew it [laughter]. I’m talking to Celigo, by the way, Jack [laughter]. Yeah. You’re welcome. Pardon me? Nothing. Okay [laughter]. He said you’re welcome [laughter]. Jack often tells me I should consult for you guys too [laughter]. I’ll give you an example. I helped you guys build out the Amazon settlement. You know the new Amazon settlement? I worked with your team. I was one of the people driving you nuts when I worked your team building that out. So I’m a fan of your company, by the way. I do tell people that. Because people ask me about Pure Commerce and other companies; I don’t like working with them. What I like about your company is you build specific platforms, you do them well, they don’t go down, and if they go down, you see it, you fix it quickly and you respond. I like that. My only negative about you guys – and I tell your team this all the time – I hate when you guys improve a module and you don’t add it in automatically to the customers and you do it as add-ons. Or you do this big cost improvement, but I’ll usually pass on that. Here’s an example. I just passed on the Shopify deposit record. I’m just like, I’m not paying you guys $3,000, which is almost the same price as Shopify, to do something that I could do as an import manually in an hour or so a month. Yeah. I get it. And you guys are sometimes slow in communicating when you guys build out a new module. When you did the new Amazon module, I found out about it after the fact. And then they’re like, “Well, we switched the .IO. You should’ve been on that.” I’m like, “Guys. I was helping you build the settlement [laughter] and you didn’t tell me you changed.” So that’s my only pet peeve. Yeah. I’m going to pass this on directly to– You’ve probably worked with Rohit, then, I imagine, if you were– Yeah, I did work with Rohit. Rohit your developer, you mean. Right? He’s the product manager [crosstalk]– Yeah, I think he was involved in it. Let me take a look and see if it was Rohit. I remember that name. So he wouldn’t be the developer himself, but he’s the manager of that whole program and project and the communication and– Rohit Gupta? Yep. That’s him. Yep. Yep. Yeah. That’s what we were talking– In fact, he actually helped me with another one we did where we were developing for Shopify a tool to help us manage the multiple warehouses because Shopify doesn’t have that built-in. So I had someone work with your team, like a Shopify developer, and we built a control that will let us toggle the buy button based on inventory, based on some tags we put in the records. You know about that, right? Yeah. I’ll definitely pass this feedback on to him. I think that’s more of a sales issue, to be honest with you. Because the sales team– On the communication and the– Yes. Okay. Yeah, because Rohit sends the developer roadmap, right? Mm-hmm. And he’s going to say, “Here’s our plan.” But to me, it’s up to the sales team to think through, “Okay how does this affect our existing customers? How do we make them aware of this? How do we make sure they migrate?” I mean, I found out in one case that the module I was using wasn’t even supported anymore. I’m like, “Guys. Come on.” Yeah. So actually, Rohit, he coordinates the different teams since he heads that product and everything. So then with him and with product marketing which we’ll also send this feedback to, they coordinate together the questions of, “How is it going to impact migration? How do we communicate it with the customer?” all of that. But I [crosstalk]– Right. But that’s my only negative about you guys, by the way, which is not a big negative. Oh. I really appreciate that. And so just to close things out, well, first off, are there any– I mean, it sounds like you guys are pretty set for a while. Are there any upcoming infrastructure updates or changes, adding more warehouses, going international? No, not at the moment. Well, we’re already international. We’re in 80 countries. Yeah, yeah, yeah [laughter]. Yeah. And our biggest markets are actually international, not US. Right now, I don’t see a lot of additional changes infrastructure-wise. It’s more tweaking things and just improving process flow. So what we’re doing right now is looking at our processes and looking at working with NetSuite to make ourselves more efficient, looking for ways where we do something that’s redundant or we have an external system. How could we bring that inside and do it within the NetSuite system? Just trying to marry everything together and make it all under one roof, so to speak. And so one of the things that I’m kind of picking up on here is– So not only was it more really kind of a big difference in terms of generally– Your automation approach was about scale, but where do you think– Could a company like OZNaturals, could they have survived the way that things were doing before? Or it’s simply they wouldn’t have scaled? Because I’m getting the sense that– We wouldn’t have been able to scale the way we did. But do you think even– Was the way that it was working so outdated that it would’ve kind of stayed behind the new competitors and things like that and gone out of business? Well, it may not have gone out of business. It would have just stayed an Amazon-only brand. And when you just become dependent, then when you’re at the mercy of Amazon – anyone that sells on Amazon will tell you that – sometimes it’s not a fun place to be. They’re the devil you know. That’s because their customer base is so huge and the sales potential is so large there. But you’re at their whim. I mean, if you have a competitor, someone who’s unfit who does unethical things that sends an email into customer support and says, “Hey. I got this product and it stung my face,” they take down your listing. So you’re kind of at the mercy when you’re an Amazon-only brand of Amazon, which is not a great place to be. So there’s many big companies that are Amazon-only, but you suffer that possibility. Mike, maybe another version of what Rico’s asking is, was there an economic benefit that you would associate with your decision and your vision to switch to– Yes. –iPaaS solution like Celigo that allowed you to break out of Amazon and go other places and making things more efficient? Well, with iPaaS solution like Celigo that allowed you to break out of Amazon and go other places and making things more efficient And in terms of the– With the two people that are managing this today, what’s, generally speaking, the amount of time that is spent? Are you in Celigo products every day multiple times a day, or–? Who’s doing what? Well, Jack and I take turns, but for the most part, I manage the dashboards. And I might take half an hour a day doing it. And other than that, we let it go. And then we watch for things, used saved searches to let me know when orders are shipped or late. There’s really no need to babysit. I mean, what you have to look for is if orders aren’t going through and you’re not paying attention, your 3PL will call you and say, “Hey. We haven’t seen the orders today. What’s going on?” And invariably, what we find out is we actually turned something off when we were looking at something. It’s generally that simple. Yeah, we see several people when they come to us where they– We had one customer out of Chicago who, I mean, he basically was spending eight hours a day just managing, waiting for everything to– Just checking, making sure that the orders were going through multiple– That’s not running a business. That’s a business running you. Yeah [laughter]. That’s a great way to put it. Well, this is incredibly helpful for us to understand what you’re doing. So, yeah. We absolutely would love your expertise in these panels. The first opportunity that we need to– I need to double-check with my team to see if this is correct, but it would be really as September 3rd for a possible– And the topic would be–? What would the topic be? It would be about automation and efficiency in supply chain, so really why it’s important to– The story you’ve laid out is incredibly relevant in terms of why it’s important to set up the systems, automate as much as you can for scale, and then how to think about it. How do you even think about approaching a problem like that? Because a lot of people, they don’t even know where to start. “Where do I start? Do I start with–” You said you added the RP and then you added the storefront and then you added the 3PL and the integration. If I was going to sum up where to start, I would sum it up in the following way. Look at the task that takes the most amount of your time. That is the most competitive. And you look at that, and that’s the first thing you look to automate. You look at all the things that are taking all your time, repetitive work, manual, that– Instead of looking at– You’re looking at every transaction when you don’t need to. You look at anything where you have to look at a lot of transactions over and over again. And it’s really just the logic applied to how you’re doing it; that’s what you automate. Yeah. Yep. And so that’s the basic message, and it sounds like you live it. So if you’d be willing to be a panelist, I just need to confirm if that’s the day. But I think it’s September 3rd. I’d probably be fine with it if you guys wanted me to. I’ll be honest with you. One-on-one I talk– This is probably going to be virtual anyways, right? It would be virtual. Yeah. Good. All right. As long as it’s virtual, I guess no one’s going be doing anything but virtual right now. Yeah [laughter], exactly. Everything’s virtual, and it would be like– It’d be a combination of presentation and discussion. So it’s not like– A lot of it should feel kind of like the conversation we just had where it’s kind of prompted into– Conversational? Yeah, exactly. It’s much better when it’s that storytelling versus, “Let me lecture you on something,” and then the questions come and it becomes more interactive, so. That’s why I said that I felt we worked better one-on-one rather than pre-recording the other session. That’s my concern because you don’t know which way the road’s going to turn. Yeah. So, yeah. We usually do these live so they– Exactly. So if there’s an audience question or something like that, then it goes whatever direction the conversation goes. Yeah. And then the second thing, then, is, I mean, this is really great information. Do you mind if we type up a summary of your discussion for you to look at and might be something that we– Of course not. I wouldn’t have agreed to do this if I had wanted you to keep it secret [laughter]. Yeah. Well, I really do appreciate it, and I hope it’s a nice way for us to just put your own brand out there and get some visibility to what you’re doing, so. Thanks. So that was it for me. Chuck, do you have anything? No, just we’re always here to help, right. You’re an expert and you have a lot of experience with Celigo, but just consider Rico or myself as– Anytime you want to reach out, we don’t mind getting out of our marketing swimlane to go help a customer. In fact, we love it. So we’re here to help. Yeah. I appreciate that. On a very positive note, I don’t often need help from your team, which is really good. That’s a good sign, in my opinion. But I do appreciate that. And anytime, vice versa. If you guys want to brainstorm anything or need a sounding board, I’m always happy to help friends that have helped me. Yeah. No, that’s great. And, yeah. We absolutely are here. And that reminds me too, I think Chuck is likely going to launch a customer advocacy board at some point. I would be happy to participate in that. I like being on those things. Awesome. Actually, I’ve done that for a couple other companies as well already. It benefits me. Great. Yeah, it does. And then what I like is your spirit of that, right. You see it as being able to steer the Celigo ship a little bit because it helps you. So that’s what we want to do. So, great. Perfect. Hey, I got one for ya. Here’s one you could help with. So I just got an email. We were just named the second US seller to be allowed to go FBA in Saudia Arabia Amazon. They just bought Amazon. They bought Zoom. And you guys still know a connector that can– I’ve got some people on your team. If you could help me push you guys to get a connector to Saudi Arabia, it would be wonderful. I’m on it. Because I think you guys needed someone to take care of some credentials, so we’re literally the second US seller to be approved right now. There you go. I will push it, and if you forward that information to the team– I think Dan and Heather are aware of it already. So I think they’re trying to help. But if you give them an additional push, I’d take advantage of it. I will. I will do this right after this call, here. Perfect. I will talk to you shortly, okay? Okay. Thank you so much. We really appreciate your time. Thanks, Mike. Thank you. Bye, guys.

About the speakers

Mike Small

Ebru Saglam

Ebru has a diverse background with over a decade of combined experience in marketing, technical sales and customer services roles across startups and enterprises. She also has hands-on experience in the e-commerce landscape, she has spent more than 5 years running her DTC multi-channel e-commerce business.