A small company with a website designed to communicate the virtues of its product and its company mission, wanted to start selling direct to consumers online. Lacking a coherent Ecommerce strategy, it looked to “reverse engineer” shopping cart and checkout functionality and insert it into its existing website. That worked for a short period of time, as the company was not sure if selling direct would work for them. However, when the B2C business started to expand, the company realized it needed a more robust online sales platform. Working with the COO and the marketing team, we launched a multi-faceted effort, rebranding the company, updating the website’s look and feel, and building a much more robust, yet easy-to-maintain, Ecommerce platform that leveraged industry best practices while allowing the company to manage the website on its own. The result was improved SEO performance, tighter order management integration with the company’s 3rd-party fulfillment partner, increased site traffic, and a 3x growth of “Black Friday” orders year over year.
ERP Software Selection and Implementation
When smaller companies outgrow their initial business processes and corresponding software tools, they often seek to scale up without investing in new technologies designed to more tightly integrate their front office and back office functions, as well as sales channels. In these cases, their only option is to add overhead to compensate for their process and information shortfalls. CCMC has worked with a number of small but fast growing companies that have found themselves in these circumstances. We begin by identifying existing process gaps; look for business processes that can benefit from an upgrade; implement industry-specific best practices; develop an ERP software solution. These usually include: a requirements gathering exercise based on the prior gap analysis work; identification of a short list of potential ERP software solutions; generation of an RFP (Request for Proposal); software demonstrations; final vendor selection and contract management. In many cases, we then serve as the project manager on behalf of the company to ensure the successful and timely implementation of the new ERP solution, as well as confirm that the original project success metrics were achieved.
A retailer that was looking expand its consumer catalog and web channels, sought to build on that success by opening retail stores. As frequently happens in these types of scenarios, a lack of integrated software solutions and an unclear view of who its customers was made it difficult to maintain existing levels of customer service while satisfying expectations across all channels. Crest Circle was brought in to help develop and implement a long-range strategic plan. We worked closely with senior management and the in-house IT department to develop an Omni-channel strategy that allowed more seamless customer engagement across all channels by identifying an appropriate platform that would allow the client to consolidate all the selling platforms, centralize inventory visibility, and provide the critical “single view of the customer.” This multi-year project included replacing the initial ecommerce website, upgrading the in-store POS software, providing improved customer service tools, and integrating inventory availability and order management across channels, including the utilization of VMI (Vendor Managed Inventory).
PE Due Diligence and Advisory Services
After a business entered into a partnership with a private equity firm, which installed new management, Crest Circle was called in to develop a tactical and strategic IT plan that would support the PE firm’s investment thesis and business strategy. We started by conducting an IT due diligence effort, which helped identify some pressing needs related to information processing and data management shortfalls, including a lack of reliable customer information, poor customer retention, inconsistent brand messaging, and too many “siloed” systems, including seven unique websites. The IT plan, which covered a one- to three-year timeline, helped target systems to eliminate, replace, or consolidate, while helping address the key business goals of better customer management, more efficient inventory management, and a more coherent brand management strategy. This plan helped the company better capture timely, actionable information to order to address the its most critical KPIs.
Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Selection and Migration
Shortly after closing a new round of financing, a fast-growing consumer product firm identified a number of growth inhibiting factors to their three-year business plan. One significant factor was the constraints around their distribution and logistics capabilities. It was perceived that their small, mostly manual, warehouse, which was attached to their corporate offices, would not scale to meet their growing product portfolio and increasing customer demand. CCMC was engaged to validate the operational assumptions with business facts and to evaluate their current operations vs. industry best practices, as well as determine the level of internal investment in infrastructure and systems that would be needed vs. outsourcing their operation. After making the decision to go with a 3PL to gain operating efficiencies and reduce costs, CCMC served as project manager through the full lifecycle of the project - from 3PL identification and selection, through to implementation, including the coordination of multiple vendors representing the company’s ERP software, EDI gateway, and 3PL operations. The successful migration to the new 3PL resulted in the company’s largest shipping month in their history during the 1st month after go-live, hitting all customer delivery requirements and the company’s aggressive revenue targets.