Cali Bamboo Finds a Solid Foundation

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Cali Bamboo Finds a Solid Foundation

By Alarice Rajagopal and Jamie Grill-Goodman - 10/11/2016
Cali Bamboo is a leading provider of sustainable, high-quality building materials, including bamboo flooring, fencing, plywood, poles, and recycled composite decking. The company services residential and commercial building projects across North America through various retailers and distributors, and also sells directly to contractors and “do it yourself” customers via its website.

Cali Bamboo is passionate about conceptualizing and producing innovative, modern design alternatives built on principles of durability and environmental integrity. Founded in 2004, the company has built a strong national presence and recognizable brand with a steady current of sales growth. In 2012 they introduced their GreenClaimed brand, debuting sustainably-sourced products such as cork, eucalyptus and recycled/reclaimed decking, which further spiked growth trends and increased potential for dynamic expansion.

Then the company ran into a bottleneck: an underperforming EDI system. According to Chad Coffman, director of Business Systems/IT, and Mitch West, Business Systems specialist, the legacy solution was lacking seamless integration with big box retailers.

“One of our key EDI integrations is with Lowe’s, which requires many different transaction types and many different triggers per transaction type,” West explains. “Meeting Lowe’s EDI requirements, which are well known to be some of the most demanding in the industry, was something our previous EDI vendor just could not complete.”

Another hurdle was slow reaction time and poor service.

“A big issue with the EDI provider we had before was that their support was very unresponsive,” recalls West. “It took anywhere from three to four days just to get an answer back from them on anything.”

So, the Cali Bamboo team made a strategic decision to go with TrueCommerce in early in 2015.

According to West, “It took less than a month to get everything set up; then another week or so to iron out all the little details and sync up EDI with NetSuite.”

An integration team worked alongside Cali Bamboo all the way through the implementation process.

“TrueCommerce has been great at making adjustments on-the-fly for us,” West adds. “Just after getting EDI set up with Lowe’s, our business relationship changed and expanded significantly and we had to make a lot of changes to our systems integration very quickly. Getting that done so efficiently was a big boost for our business.”

The new solution, along with cloud-based NetSuite, has proved to be a winning combo. Cali Bamboo has made the Internet Retailer Top 500 and Inc. 5000 lists of the fastest-growing U.S. businesses multiple times.

“But especially since we started innovating our sustainable flooring products, we’ve just been growing like crazy,” West observes. “Then once we picked up Lowe’s, our transaction volume really started to blow up.”

Besides transacting with Lowe’s, Cali Bamboo uses the TrueCommerce solution to communicate with its two third-party logistics (3PL) providers, one on the east coast and one on the west coast. They also use EDI to transact with freight vendors.

“Every sales order or customer order that comes through our system goes to one of our two 3PLs,” says West. “We send orders to them and they send order fulfillments back.”

Coffman adds, “For us, the biggest benefit is scalability. We’re growing at a very fast rate. As you scale up transaction volume, if you have a challenged EDI system and don’t have a lot of people to throw at order fulfillment, you can get yourself into trouble really fast.”

The EDI deployment has allowed Cali Bamboo to gain better control over growth-driven headcount.

“It’s not just an ROI for our team or the headcount saved — EDI is really supporting the whole company,” says Coffman. “It’s enabling us to continue to grow and still maintain on-time SLAs with our strategic customers and partners … And it’s freeing us up to focus strategically on additional relationships that will allow even greater growth in coming years.”