E-commerce & FulfillmentModern ShipperNewsRecent NewsTechnology

As e-commerce ramped up, Sauder Woodworking sought technology solution

Ready-to-assemble furniture maker found e-commerce and omnichannel answer with Cleo

Customers of Sauder Woodworking are accustomed to finding their ready-to-assemble furniture products in traditional brick-and-mortar stores such as Walmart, Target, Ikea and Office Depot.

But as e-commerce has grown in recent years, the Archbold, Ohio-based company has found it is shipping more items direct to consumers, taking advantage of the omnichannel capabilities of its retail partners as well as e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Wayfair.

“We rely on supply chain agility, end-to-end process visibility and real-time data insights to understand our customers,” Jan Arvay, vice president of IT at Sauder Woodworking, said. “Because providing a personalized customer experience — for all types of customers — both drives us and gives us competitive advantage.”

Prior to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, Sauder recognized the need to upgrade its technology platform to give it the flexibility it needed to address the omnichannel needs of its 170 global partners. The company processes more than 200,000 transactions each month, necessitating improved technology integration.

Arvay told Modern Shipper that Sauder was deliberate in investigating the proper solution for its needs, eventually settling on Cleo’s ecosystem integration platform, Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC).

The platform allows businesses to self-service their business-to-business integration strategy, use Cleo’s managed services or take a blended approach, which is what Sauder is taking advantage of.

“We looked at all the major players before we made a decision,” she said. “It took us about a year to make a decision. [Cleo offered a hybrid solution where] “we could choose to have their team do customer setups or we could do the setups.”

CIC offers Sauder the chance to continue utilizing electronic data interchanges (EDI), which over 90% of its customers use to send through transactions, but added an application programming interface (API) option, which more and more customers and suppliers are transitioning to.

“With Cleo Integration Cloud we have one cloud-based platform that offers every type of transaction processing that we need, whatever our customers are asking for. We don’t have to build custom solutions or find a different tool,” Arvay said.

Cleo said its CIC platform offers “end-to-end integration visibility across API, EDI and non-EDI integrations that gives users the confidence to rapidly onboard trading partners, enable integration between applications and accelerate revenue-generating business processes.”

Arvay said the e-commerce side of Sauder is really taking off as its retail partners grow that side of their business, and with that came same-day shipping demands.

“We really needed a reliable [and fast] system,” she said. “The Cleo solution was very helpful there.”

Using CIC and its easy-to-use API functionality is also helping Sauder improve data sharing with vendors.

“It was important that we found a vendor platform that offered that,” Arvay added, noting that Cleo’s solution offers full coverage of the data movement within systems, both internal and external, and came with a suite of secure connections to make the entire system operate seamlessly. The result has been improved visibility, better data capture and a single source of information.

Arvay said Sauder benefited because it had already started the deployment of CIC prior to the pandemic, so as shoppers shifted from in-store to online shopping, the company was ready for the surge.

“I’m glad we had it in place,” she said.

Click for more articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at bstraight@freightwaves.com.