“Brightpearl powers all our operations. To be able to log in on a Monday and with a single click, see the real-time status of each order? That kind of usability is priceless.” – Nathan Woods, COO at Run Gum.
When 2x Olympic track runner Nick Symmonds, took his ‘Performance Gum’ to a meeting with mammoth US retailer, Target, they didn’t take much persuading.
“There’s something about being founded by an Olympian that makes it easy to get on board with the product,” says Nathan Woods, the brand’s COO.
“Soon Walmart wanted in on it too.”
The story behind the invention of Run Gum was simple enough. As a lauded athlete, Nick was tired of using harsh energy drinks and coffee to boost his performance, so he created a caffeine-infused chewing gum.
He launched Run Gum in 2014, and in the following three years the brand had carved an ingenious niche within the gum industry, made steady direct-to-consumer sales through their Shopify-powered website, and had grown 50% year-on-year.
Tackling major hurdles
Run Gum was selling direct to consumer (DTC) and wholesale to Target, Walmart and Amazon, along with a handful of smaller stores. Orders were coming in thick and fast.
As is often the case for fast-growing retailers using a basic Order Management Solution (OMS), managing multiple sales channels became a logistical nightmare.
Operations were conducted via numerous spreadsheets, and the team used the now sun-setted inventory software, Stitch Labs.
Run Gum soon found that Stitch Labs lacked the functionality to handle the complexities of their omnichannel growth.
“In our reports, Stitch Labs was providing values inaccurately and omitting important data — things weren’t filtering down,” Nathan explained.
“The moment an order went in, Stitch Labs took vital info out.
“It wasn’t synced with our Intacct accounts system, so invoicing was all manual, and there were errors which were affecting our financials.
“It simply didn’t seem built for multi-channel retail.”
Though a low-level OMS is often sufficient for a simple, single-channel business model, many break under the demands of increased channels, sophisticated workflows and order complexity.
This can lead to error-prone reporting, gaps in data, or an entire system lag in response to the increased volume of orders.
Staying on top of orders for each of their sales channels was particularly time-intensive for Run Gum staff, who spent hours manually transferring EDI numbers between systems.
Nathan knew they needed a more robust, integrative tech solution – but he wasn’t keen on traditional ERPs.
“The look and feel of the old-school enterprise software (ERP) was just so dated,” he said. “They also wouldn’t sync easily with Shopify Plus.
“We needed something that could manage granular reporting and offer more flexibility; something aimed at retailers that would keep up with us as we grew.”
A performance boost
With those retail-focused needs in mind, in 2019, Run Gum passed the baton to Brightpearl.
As a flexible and purpose-built retail operating system with advanced functionality, including a market-disrupting Automation Engine, best-in-class Demand Planner, inventory management, and advanced reporting, Brightpearl proved the perfect option for Run Gum.
Brightpearl was up and running in 120 days; an average setup time for Brightpearl customers, while traditional ERPs can take up to 24 months.
The benefits kicked in immediately, and Nathan was blown away by its ease-of-use.
“There’s a cleanliness to it,” he said. “Everything is presented exactly as I need to see it, and updates are in real-time, so I can just jump on and identify any issues in a single click.”
“Our accounts team can see what they need at-a-glance and trust it’s correct — so that’s been super helpful for sorting the books.
“It gave us the advanced inventory management we needed to manage DTC and wholesale, so we could fill in the gaps our previous provider had left behind.”
Run Gum’s tedious manual order processing was resolved with Brightpearl’s best-in-class Automation Engine, which automates key touch points such as orders, warehouse, shipping and fulfillment, so that key players in the team can stop focusing on the day-to-day options of the business, and instead, focus on Growing Fearlessly.
Nathan has found the difference in efficiency to be transformational.
“Whether it’s making DTC sales, sending orders through to Shipstation or getting Walmart batches out the door, the speed and intuitiveness of everything has been a game-changer,” he said.
“With Stitch Labs there was no connection, it would take a whole day to manually transfer data.
“Now we’re with Brightpearl and all that work is done for us. It has easily saved us 20 hours a week.”
Even through the logistical challenges of the pandemic, Run Gum barely broke a sweat due to the hyper scalable nature of the operating system.
Brightpearl allowed an easy shift in focus to their online channels, so while still managing their Target and Walmart orders, their DTC sales grew 75% — even as the gum industry saw a 25% decline.
Smashing a personal best
The track ahead looks clear for Run Gum. With a new anxiety gum and immunity gum in their range, the company is looking to occupy the biggest ‘functional gum’ niche next to nicotine.
Nathan is keen to see what new heights they can reach with Brightpearl’s flexible, retail-focused support system putting them on track for Olympian achievements within their industry.
“Brightpearl has allowed us to evolve as a multi-channel business by constantly developing and improving what they offer, even in the years since we joined,” he said.
“We know that whatever we want to sync, either now or in future — it’s completely connectable.
“It’s like Brightpearl was built to exactly suit our needs, both now – and in the future. They really are a gold medal partner.”
Growth year on year
Deployed in super fast time
Of time-saving after deploying Brightpearl