“Since we started using Optiply, we have no more lost sales.”

Bart Latenstein – Founder of Phone Factory
Header Image Customer Case Phone Factory

Phone Factory – you can read this in this case:

  • An e-commerce adventure originated from a school assignment
  • In four years, Phone Factory has grown from three to 56 employees
  • Optiply ensures that a stock with 17,000 SKUs performs optimally
  • Smartwatchstraps.co.uk and xoxoWildhearts.com are the other active shops
  • Phone Factory is aiming for further expansion abroad

Meet Phone Factory

Phone Factory sees the light of day when Bart Latenstein has to start a company for his studies. He decides to involve his childhood friend Jan Willem van der Knoop. Together they start trading in phone cases. What starts via social media and bingo evenings quickly grows into an online shop.

Foto 2 Customer Success Case Phone Factory
Bart: “From the start in 2014, things went fast. In 2015 I built a website myself, and we handled all orders from Jan Willem’s attic room. Paste stamps yourself and then go to the mailbox to mail the orders. It motivated us enormously that every hour we spent on Phone Factory paid off in orders.”

After two years, Bart and Jan Willem take a break to prioritise their studies and full-time jobs. This brought the number of orders per day down by 50%. However, things changed when Jeffrey van Battum joined Bart and Jan Willem at the end of 2017. Bart: “With Jeffrey there, our business approach turned completely.” The three decide to approach the project a lot more professionally.

Bart continues: “We did everything ourselves. Packing orders, customer service, site construction and maintenance. And, of course, the purchasing operations.” Now, six years later, the three partners still do a lot themselves, but the division is clear. Bart: “Jan Willem takes care of purchasing, Jeffrey is responsible for marketing and I am on the technical side and manage the social media.”

“We really focused on growth. Every euro earned went – and goes – back into the company. In this way, we could expand quickly and hire more staff.”

Bart Latenstein

Founder, Phone Factory

Rapid growth and challenges

Finally, the three entrepreneurs decided in April 2020 – at the start of the corona pandemic – to quit their ‘jobs’. Their full-time focus goes to Phone Factory. Bart: “And then it went really fast.”

“We really focused on growth. Every euro earned went – and goes – back into the company. In this way, we could expand quickly and hire more staff.”

Jan Willem jumps in to indicate that challenges also arose with the growth. “We went from a bedroom to an office in a garage box. Our stock grew with the size of the space. When we moved into a 60 m2 building, picking orders became more difficult. The number of products also grew. Trying to remember where everything was, became harder day by day.”

Jan Willem continues: “We worked with excel sheets. Due to the growing number of SKUs, we lost the overview completely at one point. This resulted in many ‘lost sales’. Really annoying if a customer had already ordered a product before we discovered that a product was not in stock.”

“Something we did not find out until after we started with Optiply was the dead stock and excess stock we had. Optiply helped us a lot to make that visible.”

Phone Factory chooses Optiply

Jan Willem: “Eventually we started looking for a solution for our purchasing process and stock management. That is how we ended up with Optiply. The fact that Optiply was also a start-up company itself at the time convinced us.” Bart adds: “Optiply was really one of the first software we started working with, next to Lightspeed – with which our website runs.”

3 things
Phone Factory

abandoned

  1. Purchasing based on gut feel
  2. Ship purchase orders via air freight
  3. Working with an uncategorised inventory

“When we moved to a bigger building, we also started using Picqer as warehouse software. With the arrival of new employees, it was impossible to continue working ‘without a system’.”

Jan Willem: “Jeffrey, our third partner, was initially sceptical about Optiply. If you do everything yourself, you often think – only you know best. Until he started checking products himself and saw that everything was suddenly in stock, then he was quickly convinced.”

Beauty Plaza is another online beauty business that accelerated its growth by saving 30% on stock. Want to read their success story?

The benefits of purchasing automation

Jan Willem: “Our way of working is to just start with things. Often we find out along the way that we need to change something. Of course, we should have started with software much earlier but growth sometimes comes unexpectedly. Now, I can say that if we had not had Optiply, the purchasing operations would not have been possible in terms of time. In our branch, orders run continuously. Because of the time I save with Optiply, I can also focus on product management, maintaining the relationship with suppliers and checking product throughput time.”

Bart: “Optiply also helped us enormously with the step abroad. Germany in particular has grown quickly in a short time and Optiply picks up on that. The app sees that we are selling more and need to purchase more to fulfil all customer orders. In fact, we have no more ‘lost sales’ since we use Optiply.”

Bart also points out another change in their purchasing approach.”We switched from air freight to container freight. This allows us to limit the number of transport flows and purchasing costs. Where once a cargo came in every month. Now, a container arrives every quarter. Optiply also helped us with this change.”

Less excess stock

Phone Factory’s stock level has decreased – by 59% – in the last year. In addition, lost sales have been reduced by 41%. Jan Willem about Phone Factory’s stock management: “When I look at our stock, we always want to stock our A products. We look at the B and C categories together with Meine Brueker, our customer success manager, what the right stock size should be.” Read more about the ABC categorisation.

Chart Customer Success Case Phone Factory

“The time I save with Optiply allows me to focus on product management, maintaining the relationship with suppliers and checking product throughput time.”

Jan Willem van der Knoop

Founder, Phone Factory

Foreign focus

With enormous growth over the last three years, the question arises: what are the plans for the near future? Jan Willem: “This year we aim to be ahead of the growth and to get the organisation in order.” Bart adds that there are also plans to expand Phone Factory this year. “We started a month ago in the UK with Smartwatch-straps.co.uk. The only point that works against us, for now, is the long delivery time. For example, in Germany we can guarantee a ‘next-day-delivery’ with orders placed before 13:00, but for the UK the delivery time is still one week.”

3 reasons why
Phone Factory

loves Optiply

  1. Time savings in the purchasing process
  2. Direct integration with source systems
  3. No more lost sales
“In addition, the goal is to expand to Poland and then move towards the Nordics. We really want to keep expanding with the number of shops in other countries with the same range and domain structure that we have also applied in the Benelux, Germany, France and Spain. The only exception to this is the project set up by Jan Willem’s girlfriend: xoxoWildhearts.com. Through this website, we offer custom-made phone cases for women. It is a unique brand name with which we want to serve the whole of Europe from one domain.”

Phone Factory achieved with Optiply

%

Fewer Lost Sales

%

Stock Savings

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