Where Cloud Fits Into OZNaturals’ Growth Curve

Lisa Johnston
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Digital native OZNaturals is finding success in its goal to provide affordable, natural skincare products to consumers thanks to investments in its inventory operations. 

Founded by Angela Irish, a former esthetician, and her partner, the company got its roots as an Amazon-only brand beginning in 2013. It’s since extended distribution through both direct-to-consumer and B2B, and, as it’s scaled, has sought to reduce dependency upon a single retailer and thus required a more robust and owned inventory management and transaction system. 

They needed one that not only didn’t require them to use a third-party system, but also one that connected to its ERP and accounting system, Mike Small, OZNaturals chief financial officer,  tells CGT, and so they teamed with cloud integration provider Celigo to automate standard transactions. 

The investment has enabled them to be much more nimble, he notes, freeing up resources to focus on higher-value efforts, and improved product availability — all table stakes for small but growing consumer goods companies. 

The modestly-staffed company — it counts just five employees among its ranks — manages to operate so leanly thanks to having cloud-based systems that are fully integrated so they can manage transactions by focusing on exceptions only, according to the exec.  

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 “If Amazon takes down an FBA listing to do a BIN check, we easily flip it to Fulfilled by Merchant to stay in business,”  he says, “without having 10 people doing data entry to set up new customers, pull orders from Amazon, send them to the warehouse and manually fulfill orders.” 

The investment is what in part enabled them to enter its new distribution channels, as well as respond to warehouse closures during the pandemic and ensuing market disruption without missing orders, says Small. It also subsequently reduced the costs of migrating OZNaturals’ ERP to Microsoft Dynamics 365. 

Investing in one’s infrastructure is often ignored by companies in their early growth stage, notes Small, who fail to properly build scalable and responsive systems. “In the early days, they depend upon throwing more labor at an issue, and in explosive growth periods, the companies don’t think they need to invest.”

The problem with that, of course, is that any downturn forces a fire drill to find a solution. When that happens, “there will be a significant data issue in the business — dependent upon third parties to make decisions or data on disparate spreadsheets within the business — and integration becomes more difficult.” 

For OZNaturals, Small and team remain focused on building in efficiencies from the start through automation, in turn enabling employees to be proactive toward challenges vs. reacting and responding. In doing so, the company expects to extend into additional channels as well as better manage increased sales. 

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