“By scaling up, we have been able to make our specialist product range profitable”

Bart Bouter – CEO of Knivesandtools
Header image Knivesandtools client case

“Knivesandtools started in 1999 as a pure online business that focuses on people passionate about quality knives.” That is how CEO Bart Bouter introduces his internationally operating e-tailer Knivesandtools. ”Only by scaling up and expanding business activities across borders was it possible for us to make a specialist product range profitable. This is how Knivesandtools has grown from a webshop started in an attic room to an international name in the knife market.”

Scaling up to be able to hold a wide range of stock

“We sell almost every knife brand. We have a wide range of up to 15,000 products, spread over 244 brands that we purchase from around 280 suppliers.” It was precisely because of this wide range that it was necessary for Knivesandtools to scale up. Bart states: “Scaling up and expanding the business activities across borders was necessary to be able to continue working with a wide range of specialist products.”

Spiru team
The necessity of a large stock with specialist products, different brands and suppliers made it difficult for Knivesandtools to control their stock. “The purchasing process was quite complex. Because we only had static data available, we could not see which products were doing well and had the most impact on our revenue.”

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No wholesaler, but an ecommerce business

“When Frans Wiersma started Knivesandtools in the late nineties, he had to build and design all systems himself, from his attic. Ultimately, in 2018, we decided to completely replace that self-built backend, because we no longer wanted to be dependent on a central system. Our goal was to find expertise partners – point solutions – to join forces. We also started looking at a purchasing tool to improve our stock management and make the purchasing process less time-consuming.”

“Frustratingly enough, everyone saw Knivesandtools as a wholesaler and started talking about min/max stock levels. Well, that is just not how you work in ecommerce and certainly not if you want to optimise your stock.” In the end Bart found a flexible partner in Optiply who approached Knivesandtools as an ecommerce business and who gladly accepted the challenging combination of a wide range and a large supplier base.

Categorise the stock

“Within our stock we also have products that sell sporadically – our ‘longtail’ range. It is especially important for those products to know what we need to have in stock.”

3 threats for
the purchasing of


  1. No insight in products with the highest margin
  2. Limited data available
  3. Time-consuming purchasing process and non-transferable work

Since Knivesandtools uses Optiply as their purchasing tool, the stock has not decreased, but more balance has been created within the stock. The ABC-analysis that Optiply uses to classify the stock into A, B and C categories looks like this for Knivesandtools: “We mainly invested in our important A category and reduced the stock of the less impactful B and C categories.”

The purchasers of Knivesandtools are saving a lot of time because of the dynamic purchasing agenda of Optiply. Bart clarifies: “Optiply describes it as purchasing on autopilot, but do not think that makes you as a purchaser redundant. It means that as a purchaser you can order reliable products almost blindly and spend more time on the exceptions, new products and the relationship with suppliers.”

“Purchasing on the autopilot does not make you redundant as a purchaser, but ensures that you have more time for the exceptions.”

Bart Bouter

CEO, Knivesandtools

Service level increased

Since partnering with Optiply the stock has increased by 67% to ensure product availability. The stock increased in the A category, showing that they stock more products with a big impact on the gross margin. Equally they hold less products in the categories B and C. The stock is more balanced, while service levels have increased by 30% and lost-sales decreased by 63%.

Stock difference Graph Beauty Plaza

Multi-Supplier feature

Having the flexibility to switch between suppliers makes you less dependent on a single supplier and you can better cope with changes in the supply chain.

Image dynamic agenda and purchasing advice for Customer Success Case

Dynamic purchasing agenda

For Knivesandtools, setting backorders and lost sales is of great importance in order to be able to meet customer demand for longtail products.

Image dynamic agenda and purchasing advice for Customer Success Case

Knivesandtools is ready for sustainable growth

Bart points out the leaps forward that have been made since 2018. “What we now see is that our most important products are hardly ever out-of-stock. This is because we have been able to proactively manage obstacles such as the current supply chain problems. In addition, the purchasing tasks are now more transferable. Taking care of holiday leave for our employees or training of new staff has improved a lot.”

3 results of the

with Optiply

  1. Better communication with suppliers
  2. More time available for own labels
  3. Extend the range of products
“Finally, working with data has given us more insight into seasonal patterns and supplier performance. Optiply’s system is based on AI – it learns continuously and gets better every day. This allows us to further grow the range, focus on our own labels and intensify cooperation with suppliers.”

With Optiply Knivesandtools achieved


Growth in stock


Higher service level


Fewer lost sales

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