Early investment in innovative technology key to rapid growth and success
Where European retailers have struggled over the past decade, Belgium-based Mamzel has thrived since it was founded in 2007 – increasing its revenue by an impressive 500%.
Focused on providing trendy, creative and unique gifts, Mamzel has greatly expanded its business throughout the years, selling across a number of channels, including its webshop, customized business portals, home parties, social media, live events and more. Kim Severy, CEO and Co-owner of Mamzel, credits the company's early investment in innovative technology as key to their rapid growth and success. Since 2011, Mamzel has relied on the Continuans Supply Chain Management (SCM) system from Progress partner Continuans to run every aspect of its business, from back office logistics, like inventory management and accounting, to warehouse management activities, like picking and shipping.
Based on the Progress OpenEdge platform, Continuans is a cloud-based solution suite for the automation of best practices in supply chain management and business administration. Serving a variety of industries, including Food and Beverage, Healthcare and Pharma and E-commerce and Retail, the suite offers control over sourcing, inventory management, order fulfillment and manufacturing, as well as business administration management for accounting and finance, marketing and sales, legal and compliance, and management reporting and business intelligence.
From the start, Mamzel engaged Continuans based on a referral from its webshop vendor. At the time, the company's only retail outlet was through its webshop. With only ten salespeople and a single point of sale, the company was able to manage its processes manually using spreadsheets. But with plans to expand across new sales channels, hire more sales reps and target B2B customers, the company realized it needed a far more sophisticated approach for managing its business; one that would enable the company to:
- Unify different business rules for B2C, home parties and B2B
- Manage a dynamic product catalog across values like images and content, sizes and colors, pricing and promotions, and availability
- Implement an automated warehouse
- Integrate its entire supply chain across all of its sales channels, back office operations, logistics, shipment tracking, customer notification and reverse logistics
- Improve real-time visibility across its operations to increase product revenue, improve sales channel performance, and maximize its investment in stock capital
"We chose to work with Continuans because they truly understood the intricacies of our business. They took the time to listen to our requirements and collaborated with us and our webshop vendor to develop a solution customized to suit our needs," explains Severy. "Our time to market and cost savings were impressive. We implemented with the Continuans and Progress platform four times faster than if we had gone with an alternative solution, and Continuans and Progress cost four times less." The retailer initially implemented Continuans on premise and later moved to the cloud-based version of the solution.
Continuans has revolutionized the way Mamzel conducts business. With automated inventory management, employees and sales reps now know exactly what items are in stock or need to be restocked, where items are located within the warehouse, and they can analyze what items are most popular to better manage inventory and reduce costs. "The majority of our working capital goes into our stock, so it is critical that we are able to manage inventory as efficiently and accurately as possible," says Severy. "This increased visibility and control have enabled us to increase sales and offer competitive services, like one-day shipping."
Since then, the retailer has grown its sales force by 600% and scaled its inventory by 800. Where the company once shipped 100 packages per month, it now averages 500 per month, and Mamzel was able to scale to over 2,500 shipments in December to meet holiday demand. The company's revenue has soared by over 500%. Despite this incredible rate of growth, Mamzel has only added two people to manage its back office logistics. "Continuans requires very little investment when it comes to infrastructure and resources," says Severy. "We are able to invest that cost savings back into our business and keep more items in stock."
With Continuans, the company has been able to take advantage of new sales channels. For example, they now offer B2B clients access to customized portals to support their needs for corporate gifts. And Mamzel has the flexibility to implement new "green" programs. For example the company reuses the boxes it receives from its 100+ suppliers to send products to customers. And their success is enabling them to give back to the community by donating part of the revenue they receive at special events, like fairs, to charity initiatives.
Continuans Stays Ahead of the Competition with the Progress OpenEdge Platform
Continuans got its start in the late 1990s developing tracking and traceability software for the healthcare industry. Over the years, the company realized many of the issues facing healthcare also impacted the food & beverage sector, so Continuans evolved its solution into a full ERP system serving both industries. By 2008, the company recognized the tremendous potential of the cloud and developed their first cloud-based ERP system. Since then, Continuans has maintained its dedication to innovation, continuously transforming its solution to meet the evolving needs of "The New Economy", including anytime, anywhere access via the web and mobile devices. Today, the Continuans solution is a cloud-based suite for the automation of best practices in Supply Chain Management and business administration. The system offers:
- Real-time track and trace from raw material to finished product
- Advanced system integration with scanning devices, point-of-sales terminals and label printers
- Advanced desktop integration for office automation
- Web services for e-business, e-commerce and more
Continuans delivers a number of benefits to its customers, including increased efficiency, productivity, customer satisfaction and quality; reduced risk; cost control and scalability.
Since its inception, Continuans has relied on Progress OpenEdge to power its solution. "We worked with Progress in the past, so we knew it was an incredibly flexible, reliable and scalable system," explains Alex Bodson, Owner and Founder of Continuans. "We also required rapid time to market, which Progress OpenEdge could deliver over other solutions like Oracle. And the system is incredibly easy to use. With only five people -- one developer and four economists -- we have been able to build a robust application that is very competitive with other ERP and SCM systems on the market. And Progress has been a very stable platform, providing us with a 99% uptime rate."
Progress OpenEdge has enabled the company to continuously modernize its solution over the years to keep up with market and customer demand. "Progress OpenEdge made it very easy to move our application to the cloud – years before any of our competitors made the jump,"says Bodson. "That change enabled us to grow and expand our business across new industries and lines of business."
"The implementation time for our solution using Progress OpenEdge is two to five days. I have been in this industry for over 15 years and I have never seen implementations involving systems like Oracle or SAP being successfully delivered in such a short amount of time. Most of our competitors are taking six months to a year or more. This is a huge cost savings to our customers and it frees our resources to focus on driving more sales," says Bodson. "We have been able to address every challenge and market opportunity that has come our way with Progress. It has never let us down. "
Founded in 2007, Mamzel is a Belgian, privately owned retail company that sells trendy gifts across a number of channels, including its webshop, customized business portals, home parties, social media, live events and more. www.mamzel.eu
Continuans aims to provide small and medium sized organizations with business technology designed to participate and collaborate in the supply chains of the 21st century. Based on the Progress Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Continuans is a cloud-based solution suite for the automation of best practices in supply chain management and business administration. www.continuans.com/nl