Flexport Helps NA-KD Revamp Global Closets with Data Driven Decision Making
business growth in 2020 supported by improved supply chain management
day delay in inbounding goods at warehouse addressed by better visibility into stock in transit
As one of Europe’s fastest growing e-commerce companies, NA-KD was faced with managing an increasingly complex global supplier network and was coming under constant pressure to fulfil customer orders on short delivery timelines. The business turned to Flexport’s platform to help it manage and gather critical shipment data in one place while providing the visibility needed to manage shipments, properly forecast, communicate with global suppliers and make data driven decisions.
Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, NA-KD was founded in 2015 and is an online fashion brand currently taking Europe by storm. The organisation offers trend-led styles that are influenced by its online communities and focused on helping its customers express themselves through fashion. Working together closely with brand ambassadors and content creators from all over the world, NA-KD strives to show the most updated, on-trend styles on all channels, selling its products to two million customers from over ninety countries. As one of Europe’s fastest growing fashion brands, NA-KD is constantly challenged to keep up with the product volumes required to support a rapidly growing customer base.
Operating in online fashion commerce, NA-KD’s business is extremely fast-paced and highly globalised, with a wide network of suppliers and manufacturers working to get goods dispatched to customers across the globe.
This complexity is increasing all the time as the business grows and introduces new designs and suppliers, with NA-KD having to meet demands to distribute merchandise with short cycles. As such, lead times, accuracy, availability, and reliability are all of critical importance for NA-KD to acquire and retain loyal customers.
"NA-KD has a business model that requires a high standard of freight forwarding, especially since we have ambitious goals when it comes to the lead time from design to offer a sellable product.” says Julia Assarsson, Head of Inbound and Customs.
Prior to working with Flexport, the NA-KD logistics team had to manage large volumes of products manually via spreadsheets and emails, meaning they had limited visibility of where their stock was within the supply chain which presented a major challenge to their forecasting and planning.
Iman Abdallah, Operations and Business Development at NA-KD, explains: “We’re in a fast paced business so we need to constantly know what’s happening with the movement of our products. In the early days, visibility was a major pain point, to the extent that our inbound shipments would sometimes just turn up at our warehouses unexpectedly. This had significant consequences across our business, for example with warehouses not being ready for shipments or having enough staff to unload containers.”
As the business embarked on its rapid growth journey, it was clear that something had to change. They needed a digital solution that could manage and gather critical shipment data in one place while providing the visibility needed to manage shipments, properly forecast, and communicate with global suppliers.
Smooth Supplier Management With Improved Transparency
Seamless communication is a key success factor when managing a global supplier network. In addition to improving communications with each of these suppliers, NA-KD also wanted to ensure that it was offering the same level of service to every key contact regardless of size.
With Flexport, NA-KD has been able to onboard its suppliers onto the platform directly, providing them with a shared workspace to collaborate and manage orders, with reporting and analytics to bring accountability to each of its supplier relationships. Additionally, NA-KD uses the Flexport Platform to track their purchase orders (POs). This means that all NA-KD’s suppliers now receive the exact same communications, updates and data as and when they need it.
Better Decisions With Data Driven Planning
Having better data availability was another key driver for NA-KD partnering with Flexport.
“We needed real-time access to our data so our teams could understand what was happening with our shipments and make better judgments. Historical data was another important factor for strategic planning, understanding how volumes or lead times had developed over time, gave us vital information for our decision making and marketing campaigns”, explains Iman.
With Flexport, NA-KD now has access to analytics that can help unlock its supply chain data to make better business decisions. This includes the ability to evaluate landed costs, container utilisation, or build custom reports to quickly answer any pressing questions. To further increase reporting effectiveness, NA-KD has API integrations with the Flexport Platform so any data is easily integrated with its own internal systems and processes.
“Ultimately what Flexport brought to us was the ability to analyse and make smarter decisions, through a more holistic view of our supply chain. It meant we could focus on actually managing logistics rather than putting all energy into sorting and handling excel sheets,” says Julia.
Working as an Extended Team
Since starting to work with Flexport in Spring 2018, NA-KD has had a dedicated Flexport team of operations and data experts working as their extended team. Support is available 24/7 to help NA-KD navigate exceptions or answer any shipment queries.
“The whole Flexport team is very service minded and in tune with what our own team wants,” says Iman. “They feel more like an extension of our own team rather than an outsourced partner; we can pose ideas to them, and they’ll quickly come back to us and advise with their expertise.”
Since the start of the pandemic, this way of working has proved to be a critical resource for NA-KD as it navigated its business through the crisis. With the support from the Flexport team, the organisation made an early decision to prioritise its goods based on different shipment criteria and price levels, also splitting shipments and looking at different routings or transport modes.
“Throughout Covid-19, there has been complete transparency between both teams, constant communication and no sugar coating of the situation. Crucially, the teams were continually focused on finding solutions to issues as they arose,” Iman concluded.
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