Some of the most fashion-forward, outdoor & adventure-seeking & action sports-performance lifestyle clothing brands trek to Timebomb Trading when they want to better reach the Canadian consumer market. The company has built a stellar reputation for not only distributing apparel but operating Canadian-based online stores and promoting the items with savvy marketing programs and social media campaigns. Timebomb further brings to the table expertise in sales, brick-and-mortar retail, e-Commerce strengths, marketing, event Planning, third party logistics, customer service, and manufacturing capabilities.
Timebomb Trading holds exclusive distribution agreements with its apparel brands, many of whom are sought after by millennials or those with a thirst for adventure, such as Stance socks, Roark apparel, Rumple blankets, and Topo Designs, among others. Distributing and servicing such a wide variety of exclusive brands requires agility, exceptional customer service, and the flexibility to react quickly in the fast-moving, ever-changing performance apparel and fashion industry.
For decades, Timebomb Trading ran its operations using a legacy, on-premises Sage ERP system that struggled to keep up with the times. Its trusted IT partner had created a multitude of customizations over the years to bridge the gap of disconnected software applications the company used to operate the business.
Those systems included Shopify an eCommerce solution it used to run its nine branded e-commerce sites; Elastic, a B2B platform it used so that 500 Canadian retailers could pre-order the branded apparel as new lines were released; and EasyPost, its shipping software. But those third-party applications were not connected to its financial system and data had to be manually imported and exported between systems.
In addition, as transactions scaled, the legacy system wasn’t stable, often crashed, and at times took days to restore, which meant the online stores were closed, says Lester Yuen, vice president. “It was a good system for us in the beginning, but it was not cloud-based, and we learned that the legacy Sage product was being discontinued and they would no longer be servicing it.”
“There was no service if anything happened so we couldn’t fix it, and we had to buy and maintain additional servers when it ran slowly,” he adds. “There was no more customization we could do, and we still had to upload tracking numbers manually.”
Inventory was only updated hourly, which was problematic when high-demand items ran out of stock within that timeframe. Company employees also had to manually enter thousands of new SKUs every three to four weeks ahead of each upcoming season and fashion line release only to change them out as they became discontinued.
In addition, it was hard to track orders appropriately. Timebomb sells and distributes the branded products in three ways:
- Retailers pre-book orders through Elastic, a B2B platform that comes with its own proprietary data formatting requirement
- Consumers in Canada make purchases through its numerous branded Shopify webstore sites
- Orders flow through Timebomb’s own limited online store
Because it had only purchased a limited number of per-seat licenses for the legacy ERP, executives had to manage users in the system, asking some to log out so others could perform their work, which wasted time and disrupted employees’ workdays.