Who Are They?
When Delk, a consumer product company based in Nashville, TN. Delk has multiple retail and distribution companies under their brand, distributing products across 4 continents. They went searching the web for inventory software at the beginning of 2021, they found Flowtrac.
Delk was experiencing rapid growth. This presented Delk with certain challenges. These challenges were welcomed, but challenges nonetheless.
For one, the rapid movement of inventory in different directions became increasingly complex. For example, Delk was selling products on not just one but multiple e-commerce sites. Meanwhile, another main avenue of sales was seeing continued growth: direct sales of mass merchandise to large retail stores. Together, the combination of sales yielded substantial profit, but it also complicated the inventory counting and tracking process.
The trouble comes in the fact that there needs to be a program that can connect all the product movement between the separate e-commerce sites and also the direct sales to other merchants. Without an accurate and efficient way of tracking inventory, companies risk failing to meet agreed upon deadlines for the execution and delivery of customer orders, getting orders wrong altogether, and not matching their own POs with the amount of inventory needed to fulfill customer orders.
In today’s evolving market structure, Flowtrac has been seeing this situation more and more frequently. Essentially, as the versatility of sales directions multiply for a company, the individual software programs being used to manage different parts of the sales, accounting, product counting, and inventory organizing simply fall short. Companies need a robust inventory management approach that can be a centralized, go-to point of tracking products, orders, and warehouse processes. For instance, in Delk’s case, they were already using programs like QuickBooks for managing the sales of inventory, and Shipstation to organize the movement of that inventory. Yet, these two programs don’t talk to each other. Not to mention, as Flowtrac knows this better than most, whereas QuickBooks is a great tool for accountants, it’s not designed to dually serve as a full scale warehouse management system. Likewise, Shipstation can print shipping labels for orders, but it isn’t designed to do all the backend work of organizing how, what, and when to get the products to the point of shipment. Delk was discovering that these programs were extremely helpful and necessary, but also insufficient for the kind of integrated inventory tracking system they desired moving forward.
Furthermore, in order for maximum productivity, warehouse management on the ground level need their methods and routines to be honored while also adapted to the best way to receive, prepare, and retrieve products. Without the proper software, the managers and warehouse workers are forced to facilitate operations through a constant tsunami of paperwork, which changes hands between order pickers, truck drivers, and throughout other departments. It just gets to be too much. Delk had this challenge as their orders grew and grew. One of their top managers found herself spending more and more time with stacks of paperwork and having to take handwritten notes to keep all the orders straight. Needless to say, this was burning up countless hours of labor just to prepare the orders.
Another aspect of Delk’s circumstance also needed attention, and fast: they were reopening up another one of their warehouses that had been damaged from a tornado. Opening more warehouses were on the way. This made it imperative that Delk keep their warehouses running uniformly yet also independently without any confusion. Shopify can help with order placements, QuickBooks can log it, and Shipstation can ship them, but it was going to take something more dynamic than a spreadsheet to keep track of these fast moving boxes.
Again, these were good challenges, which are common enough for many of today’s growing consumer product businesses. The only fact that made Delk different was that they were a step ahead because they were keen enough to know what they needed. They knew the next level for them would entail a purchase of some specific software to manage their inventory and to integrate with the other necessary software. In short, Delk had an ask.
Is there a management software that will track our customer orders as well as our purchase orders, adapt to our specific products, barcodes, and all our warehouses, can intuitively adjust to our unique operations, can simplify and organize the orders from our e-commerce as well as direct sales to retailers, and can integrate with Shopify, QuickBooks, and Shipstation?
Through partnering with Flowtrac, Delk was able to find their answers. At the beginning of the project, Flowtrac assigned a carefully selected team made up of a Flowtrac consultant, project manager, and lead software developer. Delk met with their Flowtrac team via zoom. Together, they came up with the perfect Answer to Delk’s Ask:
Having now fully implemented Flowtrac, Delk controls and tracks inventory while integrating with Shopify and Shipstation, which are other applications they already used to manage their orders from ecommerce as well as orders for retailers. On one end, Flowtrac keeps track of all customer orders, and on the other end, Flowtrac uses that information to predict the inventory they need to purchase from suppliers. On the warehouse floor, they use mobile scanners to receive and pull orders accordingly. Bulk orders to retailers following a picking process that stages the orders on serialized pallets awaiting to be scanned out when the trucks arrive to take them away. Additionally, the hundreds of small orders coming in from online shoppers are consolidating into one efficient picking orders, so warehouse managers can complete these orders in the most efficient manner possible. They also now even have a process in which the sales team can turn some products into samples without skewing the inventory count. In short, their inventory management system has streamlined the process of sending and receiving products, and coordinating across their multiple warehouses.
Moreover, Delk took advantage of the Flowtrac software’s adaptableness by renaming fields with their own terminology, and by taking advantage of user-definable fields to track products by additional categories and unique product details. For example, out of the box, Flowtrac has a module called “Pick Orders” that tracks the process of outgoing inventory. Delk uses the term “Customer Orders” instead of “Pick Orders,” so this module was quickly and easily changed to reflect the Delk terminology. That’s because Flowtrac believes that part of any company’s answer to inventory management must entail a software that adapts to each company, not the other way around. Too many software packages out there offer customers a rigid, near-fit; Flowtrac software serves clients by its ability to adjust and evolve.
Another specific answer to Delk’s was the scan-to-verify within Flowtrac, which integrated with Shopify and ShipStation. The scan-to-verify feature is a favorite feature among ShipStation users. The pick list feature on the mobile scanners provided a better way for the warehouse to pick many orders at a time, grouped by similarity. They have serialized bulk order too.
Delk collaborated with Flowtrac and found their answer. Their Flowtrac software package tracks now enables them to track the purchase orders as well as customer orders. They sell both to online shoppers and to retailers. Each type of order has a specialized picking and packing process. Their solution included integration with Shopify and Shipstation. Warehouse workers are equipped with mobile scanning devices to operate.
Delk’s new inventory management software is currently being implemented throughout their business.