LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When the pandemic hit the global economy full force, few predicted the sudden rise in consumer demand for items not normally in hot demand. That included StoreBound, which produces products in both kitchen and furniture lines. Among its brands are Dash, Sobro and Zakarian.
“What do all these things have in common? People were buying them like crazy during the pandemic,” said Jim Schreiber, vice president of operations for the 7-year-old company.
The product lines can be found online on Amazon, but also in major retailers such as Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and many more.
StoreBound was able to meet the demand for its products because it shifted to a drop-shipping method for the retailers. Speaking at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/XPO 2022 conference at Walt Disney World’s Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Schreiber said that would not have been possible without a rethinking of its technology.
“In 2020, we were using the same tools we were using in 2017 but we had completely outgrown them,” he said.
StoreBound has now moved to a technology platform from ToolsGroup. That has allowed the company to continue to grow and better manage its operations without implied biases seeping through.
“We realized the person that was creating the forecast was also writing the purchase orders, so that same bias was being passed along,” Schreiber said.
What StoreBound found with the new insights was that its inventory was creeping up, but its fill rate was dropping.
“We didn’t want Band-Aids,” he said.
The new technology from ToolsGroup includes demand forecasting and planning, inventory optimization and replenishment planning. Schreiber said additional benefits have been found in warehousing, where better direct-to-consumer forecasting is allowing the company to more accurately stock inventory, and logistics, where StoreBound is able to better forecast capacity needs.
ToolsGroup grows through acquisition
Founded nearly 25 years ago, ToolsGroup is putting renewed focus on the retail supply chain. In November, it acquired Mi9 Retail’s Demand Management business, and on Tuesday, announced the acquisition of Onera, a provider of real-time inventory and fulfillment software solutions.
San Francisco-based Onera provides retail technology that connects inventory across siloed systems and transforms the data into a single, real-time source of inventory truth. ToolsGroup said this enables real-time tracking and the ability to make inventory available to any sales channel. Further, customers can leverage machine learning in Onera’s technology to optimize omnichannel fulfillment and ensure inventory is where it will be needed.
“Amid today’s demand and supply crises, retailers need flexible and resilient supply chains to keep customer satisfaction high and minimize costs,” said ToolsGroup CEO Inna Kuznetsova. “Onera is an excellent complement to ToolsGroup’s strong retail and supply chain planning capabilities, and we are delighted to welcome this innovative team as part of our company.”
Kuznetsova herself is new to the company, having been named CEO just last week. She replaced Joe Shamir, who retired. Kutnetsova joins ToolsGroup from 1010data, where she served as CEO.
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