In discussion with CIO Applications, Brendan Heegan, CEO, talks about how Boxzooka’s technology ensures that their clients can leave the operational heavy-lifting to Boxzooka while they focus on their core competencies.
Give us an overview of your company and what factors spurred its inception?
Boxzooka started out as a software company, facilitating cross-border sales for online retailers. We further developed our software into a full-blown warehouse management system software (WMS) that manages our Secaucus, NJ fulfillment center as well satellite operations in several other locations around the world. We made the WMS’s interfaces intuitive and cloud-based so it’s easily able to manage the operations of any size 3PL or retailer. Moreover, since we use the WMS as the core of our own fulfillment business, we are constantly making enhancements and building in efficiencies that also benefit our customers in a variety of new ways every day. We have developed numerous unique features within the WMS, for example customizations for more swiftly reconciling purchase orders, processing returns and some really cool client specific cross-docking efficiencies.
While we’ve prebuilt many integrations for the top ecommerce platforms out there, we are constantly developing new 3rd party software integrations. As savvy retailers are “going multi-channel” and taking advantage of the opportunities for exposure amongst multiple marketplaces we are enabling them with additional turnkey plugin solutions related to order flow and inventory allocation.
What are some of the challenges faced by retailers and how do you mitigate those challenges through the solutions you provide?
Online retailers both large and small share one thing in common, i.e., they tend to be very light on internal resources, and they don’t have a lot of bandwidth. We focus heavily on account management and developed an internal desk system process, integrated within our WMS, that gives our clients direct access to not only their account manager, but also folks on the warehouse floor. Taking out some of the layers of communication on the smaller issues, we’ve found frees up the time of both our management resources and those our clients as well. We want our customers focused on selling their product, not on trying to find answers…at the end of the day, if they do well, we do well.
Could you elaborate on the solutions you provide, its features and functionalities and how does it benefit your clients?
We provide ecommerce and B2B fulfillment as well as international landed-cost checkout services to consumer retailers in fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. Our clients are typically focused on either selling on their own website or additionally leveraging the selling capabilities across multiple marketplaces and need a central point for both physical and virtual inventory management that they can call their own.
We want our customers focused on selling their product, not on trying to find answers…at the end of the day, if they do well, we do well
Our WMS is the backbone of our business and that of our clients as well. Some of our clients use our API to send and receive information via their ERP system and others run their entire business via our WMS’ web portals. We invested greatly into building a robust, yet intuitive interface that provides the tools we need to be successful and the data back that our customers need to be successful.
Clients provide us the product, order and forecasting data we need, and in return, we provide back shipment advice and inventory accuracy along with comprehensive data analytics, trends, and results. Executives get dashboards and graphs, ops people get raw data exports and CS has a central resource for complete visibility showing on a single page order fulfillment status, carrier tracking details and returns tracking and final disposition.
What are the differentiating factors that stir you ahead of your competitors?
The fact we own our WMS and have a team of engineers on-site puts us light years ahead of most 3PL’s out there. IT is everything and as retailers constantly pivot and change their direction to adjust to an increasingly competitive landscape, we have the ability accommodate their needs better than anyone else. We built our WMS, and continue to expand our overall IT infrastructure, knowing that someone is going to ask us to modify something for them. Many of the updates we make are client-specific but if it makes sense to deploy an update globally, we will, and then everyone benefits. At the end of the day, when you know up front that change is always on the horizon you can plan ahead for it in the software’s architecture, which is something we’ve been very successful in doing.
When a retailer realizes the growth potential in selling internationally, we are ready to take them there with our integrated international checkout solution. There’s only a handful of fulfillment 3PL’s in the country that can not only provide B2B and ecommerce fulfillment, but also launch a retailer globally with fraud screening, local currencies, pre-calculated duties and taxes and economical shipping options all under one roof and we’re one of those select few.
How has Boxzooka helped a client overcome business challenges and attained desired outcomes with its solutions?
One of our clients launched their business with a small fulfillment center on the west coast which they outgrew its operational capabilities at a rapid pace. They were looking for a provider that could handle the overall volume as their primary fulfillment warehouse, who had the ability to further scale to meet their aggressive forecasts and was also willing and coexist with their west coast warehouse for bicoastal distribution.
We analyzed the incumbent provider’s operational process and IT capabilities and determined the best approach for all parties would be to offer the Boxzooka WMS to the other 3PL for use in their facility in managing our mutual client’s business. Today our customer elated to have complete visibility of both operations on a single platform and so is the other warehouse having received an upgrade in technology for better managing one of their top customers’ business.
A lot of 3PL fulfillment companies are in the “no” business and will make clients fit into whatever is their process. We’re really good at thinking outside of the box and ultimately adjusting to the needs and requirements of our customers.
How does the future look regarding the company’s offerings and geographical expansion?
Our headquarters and primary fulfillment center is located 10 minutes from Manhattan and we see the future happening now of “Urban Logistics.” We are tapping into our own city fulfillment expertise, along with our relationships around the country and world, to offer fulfillment services for luxury brands next to major metropolitan areas for same day fulfillment without them having to sell on a marketplace that will tap into their margin too greatly.
From an IT perspective we’re leveraging all the processes and efficiencies we’ve furnished into building a best in class WMS for ourselves on to a SaaS WMS platform available by license to other fulfillment 3PL’s and to retailers. We’re rolling out the licensed products September 1st.