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Crafter’s Companion Selects NetSuite to Fuel Growth

By Emily Peagram 19 Jan 2021

Perhaps one of the more unlikely trends served up in the last year has been the ‘crafting revolution’. Faced with less time at the office, school or travelling, new beginners are taking up hobbies such as papercraft and sewing & needlework, while more experienced crafters are embarking on even more elaborate creative projects. Crafting has even been found to offer a useful mental distraction.

Bedroom startup to global sales growth

Crafter’s Companion was established in a university bedroom in 2005 by Sara Davies MBE, who spotted a gap in the market for a tool that could create bespoke envelopes for handmade cards. After a slot on shopping channel Ideal World, the product became a big hit and led Sara to expand further into the craft market.

Fast-forward 16 years and Crafter’s Companion is now a fast-growing global, multi-channel craft retailer. It stocks 20,000 products across 100 brands, sells to over 30 countries, and has headquarters and warehouse operations in both the UK and California. Its products are sold direct-to-consumer from its website, through bricks-and-mortar presence in retail outlets such as The Range, TK Maxx and Hobby Craft, and TV shopping channels QVC and HSN.

With the recent rise in crafting, Crafter’s Companion is reportedly on track for its best ever year financially, stating that increased sales are contributing to a 20 percent year-over-year boost in revenue.

Continued growth presents operational challenges

But the sales boon has exacerbated some of the data gaps and efficiency challenges that meant Crafter’s Companion needed to adapt, fast. The reason for these challenges? Crafter’s Companion was running its operations across three isolated systems – Brightpearl for managing stock and inventory, and Sage and QuickBooks for financials.

“Because we’d hit the limits of those systems, and the fact they were patched together, getting information wasn’t easy,” said Max Lyne, head of IT, Crafter’s Companion. “There was a lot of duplication of tasks and trying to recognise data from one system in another. Information wasn’t readily available and reporting capabilities weren’t really there, which obviously causes problems as a growing business operating across multiple channels, experiencing high demand, and with big plans for the future”.

After considering further investment to uplevel its use of Sage, Crafter’s Companion selected Oracle NetSuite SuiteSuccess for Wholesale Distributors to deliver a single, unified view across inventory, finance, planning, logistics and operations. And thanks in part to close collaboration with the NetSuite Professional Services team, Crafter’s Companion implemented its new system – remotely – in just 90 days. And the results have been clear.

Month-end is quicker than before, as its financial operations are now connected with the organisation’s vast inventory management requirements, with over 25,000 (and counting) active SKUs. With NetSuite, information can flow across the department teams that are critical to delivering an excellent customer experience and shipping orders promptly. Our work orders and assemblies help enable Crafter’s Companion to both manage its complex supply chain and stock levels, as well as gather demand planning insights that feed into decision-making on inventory forecasting.

NetSuite is also integrated into Crafter’s Companion’s Magento ecommerce platform, as well as three separate US shipping carriers – UPS, FedEx and USPS, and DG International in the UK, for continuous order fulfilment. 60 staff across multiple departments, including the company’s UK and U.S. headquarters, are interacting with NetSuite and improving operations and processes as a result.

“Information is more streamlined and readily available. As an organisation, our efficiency has improved by 30 percent as we are no longer duplicating tasks across disconnected systems. The impact on our ability to report and analyse what is happening across the business has been huge. NetSuite is already achieving everything we hoped it would, and we now have a system that will help us reach the next level in our growth journey” said Lyne.

In 2021, Crafter’s Companion’s aim is to maintain the upward trajectory that has seen the company regularly deliver strong annual growth. Key to this sustained performance, according to Lyne, will be direct-to-consumer sales through the Crafter’s Companion website, and further integration of CRM and warehouse data. Fortunately, now, NetSuite will provide the canvas.

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