Singapore – November 12, 2020 – Boomi™, a Dell Technologies™ business, and leading provider of cloud-based integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS), has announced it has helped Native Union automate its entire e-commerce business to seamlessly scale and support a double-digit growth in direct online sales stemming from the rise in remote work. Boomi’s AtomSphere™ Platform has also empowered Native Union to instantly connect its staff to the digital assets they need, allowing them to spend more time on delivering business value, while Boomi’s automation capabilities enabled the fully-remote deployment of a new overseas fulfilment warehouse.
Native Union designs stylish technology accessories fashioned to empower the modern work-from-anywhere lifestyle. Founded in Hong Kong in 2009, it set out to challenge the preconception that tech accessories were boring, functional, and uninspired.
Rapid Response to Pandemic Disruption
Farouk Merzougui, Chief Operating and Financial Officer at Native Union, said prior to COVID-19, the majority of its business was B2B, with its products being sold through Apple stores, major consumer electronics stores, lifestyle retailers, and department stores across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the United States.
“We did not start as an ecommerce company but had strong ambitions of increasing our e-commerce footprint,” he said. “Compared to last year, the contribution from our direct online sales has doubled.”
Merzougui said that while the business could not have predicted the emergence of COVID-19, the flexibility and scalability Native Union gained from unifying its myriad applications with the Boomi AtomSphere Platform had enabled it to rapidly adapt to changing conditions.
“With our former infrastructure, we would have supported this expansion in a labour-intensive manner,” he said.
“We had an ecosystem of more than 10 different applications, none of it connected, and each business function was working in its own silo. We had low flexibility, poor scalability, and we could not draw on our data easily to make the right decisions.”
“Previously, there was a huge amount of duplication across our teams. We felt beholden to our infrastructure.”
Connecting the Dots and Enabling Expansion
Merzougui said he selected Boomi because its low-code functionality meant the platform was simple to manage and it would enable them to get to market faster without requiring additional technical resources.
“We wanted to connect the dots to our different applications in a simple and faster way,” he said.
“We did not want to be held hostage by development companies and programmers every time there was a new release.”
Native Union first embarked on a digital transformation strategy three years ago in order to automate business processes and improve efficiency. This was to gain the scalability required to pursue an ambitious growth and expansion strategy – a strategy that has now accelerated significantly.
“Our growth has doubled over the past six years. We currently supply to 100 countries, but we want to double that in the next 12 months,” Merzougui said.
“Technology was a critical part of our expansion goals. Before Boomi, my team was obliged to run repetitive, low-value tasks spending 90 percent of their time on manual data entries, and only 10 percent on actual analysis – I wanted to invert that ratio. I wanted to create integrated experiences that would enable them to instantly connect to the apps and data they need to serve our customers.”
Previously, employees would manually process and replicate orders from Shopify, which would be compiled into a spreadsheet and emailed to the fulfilment warehouse at the end of the day.
Merzougui said this entire process has now been automated by integrating multiple applications with Boomi.
“Boomi integrates and automates everything throughout the process. Our Microsoft Dynamics ERP is now connected to both Shopify and our multi-currency payment gateway processor called Reach. Payments are reconciled and orders are received in an automated manner. We are not involved at all,” he said.
“Our warehouse management system is also integrated so as soon as we receive an order, Boomi sends the information to the warehouse and updates the status of the order every five minutes on our ERP. I now have real-time insights on the status of every single order.”
Merzougui said this level of business process automation has liberated his supply chain team from the drudgery of manual data entry.
“The automation and speed we have gained through Boomi has been a game changer,” he said.
“Previously our staff were just spending their days entering orders into a spreadsheet. What kind of a career is that? Now, because we can see across an integrated ecosystem, they have the time to analyse what we do, think about how to improve the supply chain, and really add value to the business. Their roles have transformed overnight.”
Global Growth from the Comfort of Home
As a result, order processing times have dropped from three days to one. In addition, Merzougui said he has been able to deploy a new international fulfilment warehouse completely remotely.
“We wanted to mitigate our risk by having a new regional warehouse but I could not travel and be there on site. This would have been an absolute nightmare before Boomi,” he said.
“Deploying a new warehouse typically includes several site visits, training, and onboarding a lot of procedures, but now I just provide the warehouse with our integration script and all the forms and procedures are sent to them electronically.”
“I will have a completely new warehouse up and running in another country within less than four weeks without ever having to be there. It is a revolution. Maybe I will open another one in 2021 since it has become so easy to do so.”
“Every business starts small, but no business wants to stay small,” said Lawrence Ng, General Manager South East Asia at Boomi.
“By harnessing the power of automation, Native Union has been able to not only rapidly adapt its business model in response changing circumstances, it has been able to expand during what is the most challenging economic period of our time.”
“There are more than 340,000 SMEs in Hong Kong, making up 98 percent of the total private sector. SMEs will be critical to our post-pandemic economy and Native Union is a leading example of how technology can be leveraged to pivot, scale, and succeed.”