2020 brought a host of new challenges for the rapidly growing brand, Winky Lux, a Glow Concepts brand. In addition to navigating the universally shared challenge of COVID-19, Winky Lux also scored a huge placement with Target and decided to upgrade their systems and adopt NetSuite and SourceDay at the same time. Suffice it to say, the Winky Lux team had a lot on their plates.
We sat down with two members of the Winky Lux team, COO, Nate Newman, and Supply Chain Manager, Gianna Tarpey, in a recent webinar. We were also joined by Go Kamiyama, the Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives at Netsuite. To catch the full webinar, click here, and keep reading for some of the highlights.
Adopting NetSuite & SourceDay Together
At the beginning of 2020, Winky Lux relied on a series of software solutions to help with demand planning and finances. They used Fishbowl for inventory management, a solution that sat on top of their accounting file in QuickBooks. They had another internal site that housed most of their reporting, and this still doesn’t account for the emails, spreadsheets, and other forms of communication they used to collaborate with suppliers.
Before SourceDay, we had emails, text messages, spreadsheets, WeChats, WeTransfers—basically all the different kinds of communication. Things would get lost a lot. And then certain people wouldn’t be on a text message or an email.
Luckily, the process for adopting both NetSuite and SourceDay, which the team elected to implement concurrently, was pretty painless. As a cloud-based ERP solution, NetSuite was ready to handle a remote implementation, and they got it up and running in a matter of weeks. SourceDay’s implementation was an even lighter lift, requiring only a few hours of development work, in addition to training sessions for the team and suppliers.
How the “Old Ways” Cost Winky Lux
As COO, Nate Newman was well aware of how the old way of doing things was costing their business. He and Gianna highlighted a few areas that drove them to adopt NetSuite and SourceDay.
Even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, the Winky Lux team occasionally found themselves shipping products that typically travelled by boat via air. Whether the supplier mixed up the artwork and put them behind schedule or order updates sent via text message were missed, they found themselves eating the cost of air travel in order to keep up with customer commitments.
“It might be a couple of thousand dollars to ship by boat. And that same shipment might be $15,000 to go by air. So, that is a huge tangible cost that definitely comes up,” Nate Newman explained.
Impacts on Customer Relationships
The Winky Lux team was determined to keep their customer relationships in tact after some early feedback from retailers that carried their products.
Nate Newman explained, “We also don’t want to be that company, which we actually experienced early in our lifecycle. We were with a smaller, big-box retailer. And they kept saying, ‘You guys can’t be late on things. You can’t be late on things.’ And somehow, we were just so unlucky with that one customer…It just went wrong here; it went wrong there. So, you can’t get it wrong. You have to be on time, especially in today’s world.”
Winky Lux also produces a wide variety of seasonal products, and they found those products to carry significant financial risk if they were late.
“If it was for a season or for a time period that you’re on a shelf, and you deliver late, now you’ve delivered, let’s say 20,000 units, and they don’t have time to sell all 20,000. They sell 10,000, and now you’re getting back 10,000 units that you thought were going to sell through that you had to pay for. So there’s always reverberations that come from things being late,” Nate Newman said.
Watch the full webinar.
Working with several Chinese suppliers, Winky Lux felt the impact of COVID-19 early on. Luckily, the retailers they worked with were understanding.
“I think everybody was dealing with it, which is different from some of the other problems that might arise when you try to explain it to the retailer and they don’t want to hear excuses,” Newman explained. “But that doesn’t help financially. It doesn’t help with sales. It doesn’t help with growth.”
And growth was exactly what Winky Lux was focused on. Having landed their products in most Target stores in the country, they then dealt with the challenge of sales far outpacing expectations.
“Not only did we have to get our normal replenishment order, we had to figure out a way to order more than we anticipated to cover those sales that were beating expectations. So, it was very exciting. Very scary, very difficult to navigate,” said Newman.
Looking Forward to 2021
As Winky Lux looks to the future, they’re keeping their focus on growth, and they credit SourceDay and NetSuite for laying the foundation to meet that growth.
We are in place for the next doubling of our company. We’re not going to have to worry about implementing any new systems. We’re going to be able to scale from where we’re at now, which is a really important thing as a COO to make sure your company’s ready to go to that next, next level.
Go Kamiyama of NetSuite stressed the importance of good data to growing companies, saying, “Data is number one. Being able to understand how your company is doing, where things are, is really important, not only from just a supply chain perspective, but financially.”
In uncertain times, companies need to keep a close eye on their cash flow and general financial position. Having an ERP like NetSuite that’s constantly updated with good data from SourceDay makes that possible for high-growth companies like Winky Lux.
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