Sidekick specialises in supplying ‘scraping’ tools to athletes who struggle with injury or who are actively trying to prevent injury. Hin and his team conduct most of their sales online with the majority coming through Sidekick’s website.

Problem:

Inventory management had always been an issue for Sidekick and they needed a better view on the value on inventory (including landed costs), as well as the movement of inventory. With the use of multiple distribution methods, such as Amazon FBA and an American fulfilment service provider, tracking inventory was tricky business.

There was no centralised system in place to provide a holistic view on inventories and Sidekick had long delayed implementing any solution as it was difficult to source a system which could marry Shopify, Amazon and their 3PL provider.

Solution:

Cin7 was implemented to get rid of all of these headaches and we did manage to integrate Shopify, Amazon and the 3PL. With Cin7 as the central inventory management system Sidekick could view their entire business network in one place.

As no native integration existed to connect the 3PL to Cin7 the Shipstation module was used to capture order data from the fulfilment service provider. Getting this working properly proved to be a great challenge as the flow of orders between systems is quite complex (Shopify -> Cin7 -> 3PL -> Cin7 -> QBO).

One of the let downs of integrating the 3PL this way was that we were not able to get all of the fulfilment data back into Cin7. For example, there are 2 3PL warehouses in use, on either coast of America, and we could not get the location, which the order was shipped out of, to appear in the system. To pass this, Sidekick decided to use one combined 3PL warehouse in Cin7 and monitor 3PL stock levels on the fulfilment service provider’s website.

Tax rates have also been an ongoing problem as there are a variety of provincial tax rates in Canada which Cin7 struggles to deal with, however, we also managed to find a workaround here using ‘blended rates’.

Final thoughts:

What initially looked to be a simplistic implementation ended up being a long project with new issues coming out of the woodwork as we moved along. Connecting a variety of different systems can be difficult and workarounds or workflow changes may be required.

Sometimes we have to make adjustments to work within the boundaries of the system but overall, having a central place to manage inventories through purchases, production and sales bring clearer visibility to the business owner.