OCG Products is a wholesale distributor of two products, Stretchy Shapes (silicone bracelets in fun shapes) and Tech Candy (designer case sets for Apple’s iPhone and iPad). Partners April Mraz and Cherie Stine got their first taste of the product design and production world with their highly successful Stretchy Shapes line. This boutique line of the highest-trending children’s silicone bracelets launched at the New York Toy Fair in February 2010 and sold nationally in hundreds of stores, including Nordstrom and Hallmark, in 2010 alone.
April and Cherie had two stores in Birmingham, Alabama and success came early with the Stretchy Shapes product. Their product sales in the first year were more than they ever expected, totaling about 42,000 packs of product. April and Cherie believed their product was more of a fad and wasn’t sure of its longevity, so they pushed through the holidays and then closed their two retail stores in Alabama. Once they closed, they realized the high demand for Stretchy Shapes, so they attended the Toy Fair in New York City (the largest Toy Business Show in the Western Hemisphere where buyers for toy stores come to see what is new and trendy). The interest at the show grew quickly and they proceeded with manufacturing and distribution of their first wholesale product, selling to stores such as Nordstrom and Hallmark.
The New York Toy Fair took place in February, 2010 and by March they had a two month waiting list for their product. It ramped up much quicker than they expected and they were scrambling to keep up. April and Cherie tracked inventory with Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, manually subtracting once orders came through. With their large waiting list, they attempted to update their clients on product availability, never really knowing for certain if it was accurate or not.
The order process was extremely time consuming, which was frustrating for OCG Products, as well as their clients. Orders were faxed or emailed in, confirmations were manually emailed out. They were using multiple disparate systems to see the order through; such as creating shipping labels through Fedex.com and charging credit cards on Authorize.net.
Both April and Cherie knew they needed a faster, more efficient way to run their business. Cherie explains, “You can’t change a tire while you’re moving 70 miles an hour. We felt we needed to stop in order to find a solution, but were forced to keep going because of the high demand.”
April knew someone at 2B Solutions and asked if they could possibly help them out. They also were looking at Salesforce.com at the time. April explains, “Salesforce.com was customizable, but it had so many disparate solution providers to make it meet our needs.” She continues, “With Salesforce.com, we felt no one company would be responsible to support our solution, and that made us nervous.” 2B Solutions was able to provide a fully customized solution that met the needs of OCG. Microsoft Dynamics® 365 was the answer to April and Cherie’s problems.
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the support of 2B Solutions, April and Cherie now have one system that manages every step of their order process and even cuts the order entry process time by half. It used to take them 20-25 minutes per order and now only takes them 10 minutes.
2B Solutions was able to customize Microsoft Dynamics 365 so it seamlessly integrates with OCG’s field order entry solution, Brandwise. Their field representatives throughout the country create orders in Brandwise and Microsoft Dynamics 365 manages the order through the fulfillment process. It automatically updates inventory and sends status updates to the field representatives, helping them provide exceptional customer service to their clients.
2B Solutions was also able to customize integrations with FedEx and Authorize.net, which ensures proper tracking of shipments and revenue. Cherie says, “Having every step of the process in one central place saves us so much time and stress. We also now trust the data we get out of 365, making business decisions easier.”
In January of 2011, OCG added another product to their line, called Tech Candy. Tech Candy is a 3 piece designer case set for iPhone and iPad. April and Cherie created a list of alterations for their new product, but with Microsoft Dynamics 365 in place, it was much easier to launch the new product than expected. Microsoft Dynamics 365 scales to meet their needs, growing and migrating with them as their business changes. For example, Tech Candy now makes up 99% of their inventory, while Stretchy Shapes has dropped to only 1%. The warehouse transition was not a painful process and it gives April and Cherie confidence in the future of their company.
Tech Candy also brought about new pricing structures and different shipping needs. The pricing structure of Stretchy Shapes is tiered, so once clients reach a level of purchase history, the pricing changes. Tech Candy only has one pricing structure. Microsoft Dynamics 365 recognizes the unique needs and prices them accordingly.
Although Stretchy Shapes has a complex pricing structure, the product is much easier to ship. They go out in packs of large quantities, whereas Tech Candy has to be sold in smaller units. 2B Solutions created a new feature for them in Microsoft Dynamics 365 to accurately process these kits. For example, for new Tech Candy orders, the client receives a display and offset product to cover the cost of the display and the 365 system knows to remove these items from inventory levels. The customized kitting feature within Microsoft Dynamics 365 developed by 2B Solutions will look into inventory and add what should be included for new clients.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 and 2B Solutions is helping OCG Products run their business smoothly and efficiently while product demands change. A scalable solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 is exactly what April and Cherie needed to manage their successful product launches and prepare their company for consistent growth.