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❄ What makes Emma, the Sleep Company, and Scotch & Soda so interesting? (Part one)

Last year, at the beginning of autumn at the height of my research into Supply Chain and Warehouse Management solutions, my attention was drawn to the Amsterdam-based lifestyle fashion brand Scotch & Soda.

I had just taken a deep dive into Emma, the Sleep Company, one of the fastest growing sleep innovation companies in the world, which is/was on a beautiful digital business transformation.


What makes Emma and Scotch & Soda so interesting?

Two things stand out:

๐Ÿ“Œ First of all, their 'Composable Architecture' approach grounded on MACH principles (Microservices based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS and Headless), based on a platform concept of Cloud solutions.

The idea, my belief, that in the world of business solutions, MACH only works by connecting solutions and not functionalities from different solution providers.

๐Ÿ“Œ And just as interesting is the Unified Commerce idea, the step after Omnichannel, where ERP becomes subordinate to the eCommerce OMS and the Supply Chain Management platform. All customer and supplier channels are united in one central place - actually two: the commercial and supply & distribution chain, which are strongly interconnected.


Emma – The Sleep Company implemented D365 FSCM with on top of it Pulpo WMS, Fluent Commerce OMS and the Toolsgroup SCM.

☛ Emma did not choose to implement the WMS and SCM functionalities of Microsoft D365, perhaps partly due to timing.


Scotch & Soda, implements the Unified Commerce Platform EVA from New Black and the WMS and SCM solutions of Manhattan Associates.

☛ Scotch & Soda has not chosen to replace its outdated ERP solution with D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.


but What is Unified Commerce?

Unified Commerce, the step after Omnichannel

Unified Commerce, a term that has gained popularity in recent years, is about the customer experience.

The better and easier the employees of an organization have access to all customer channels and information, the better the service they can offer customers, the more satisfied the customers.

While retailers all aim to deliver a consistent and seamless customer experience at every stage of the customer journey, they need to understand that omnichannel services and unified commerce solutions are very different.

Omnichannel Commerce focuses on creating front-end consistency, which is what customers see across all customer channels or touchpoints. Whether a customer is shopping on Instagram on mobile, on a laptop on your e-commerce website, or in person at your physical store, omnichannel commerce ensures that they encounter the same messaging, branding, and purchase process.

Omnichannel Commerce cannot always tell customers who are looking for a particular product in real time whether and where items are in stock.

To customers, it looks like channels are working together in real time, but in reality, several standalone systems, with different functionality and different data, talk to each other in the background, so the customer experience is not always seamless, at best cross-channel.

Unified Commerce goes one step further and unifies all channels, all back-end systems, and consolidates data into one centralized platform, allowing one version of the truth to exist at any time, anywhere.

When store associates have real-time product, inventory, customer, and order information, they can provide customers with even better service, sell or reserve products from any store or distribution center, convert returns into exchanges, and leverage the power of upselling algorithms.

Unified commerce addresses one of the challenges of omnichannel commerce, which is reconciling incomplete, conflicting, or duplicated customer data across multiple systems.

With unified commerce, all channels of a retailer, mobile, website and the physical stores, are linked in real time. The result is a smooth, transparent funnel for the retailer and a seamless shopping experience for the customer.

Emma, the Sleep Company

A tightly managed process in which various Cloud-based solutions and platforms form the engine of Emma today.

Emma, to lift a corner of the veil, was working on the implementation of the Supply Chain Management solution of the Toolsgroup around the autumn period 2022, after Emma a year earlier made a crazy but well-considered leap by putting D365 Business Central aside for the big brother D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

The ToolsGroup's SCM solution is listed as a Niche Player in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Supply Chain Planning Solutions - Edition 2022, together with the solution of Manhattan Associates (Scotch & Soda).

[See references: "Emma – The Sleep Company Selects ToolsGroup Supply Chain Planning Software to Support Growth"]


In the summer of 2021, with roll-out in 2022, Emma implemented the eCommerce Cloud platform of commercetools. On top of the platform the Distributed Order Management (DOM) solution of Fluent Commerce.

[See references: "Fluent Commerce - Case Study: Emma - The Sleep Company"]

“In this partnership, we share a high degree of strategic principles and practices in software engineering to maintain the highest level of agility in our fast-growing business. commercetools is the first eCommerce platform that was designed to be headless and cloud-native from the start and that has excellent developer tooling at its disposal. We are pleased to have found the perfect partner for Emma's eCommerce platform of the future.”Andreas Westendรถrpf, CTO, EMMA

[See references: "commercetools - How the innovative D2C sleep brand Emma is building an eCommerce solution to fit their rapid business growth."]


In addition, the WMS solution of PULPO WMS was implemented.

[See references: "Pulpo WMS - Case Study: Emma - The Sleep Company"]


the truth of Emma is in the vision, strategy and approach of the leadership team

I could tell a nice story about the entire application landscape, but the real truth - the strength - lies in the vision, strategy and approach of the leadership team.

I can't emphasize it often enough 'in the preparation, in the thinking, and in the will to succeed through trial and error, lies the success'.

Guts, courage, openness, cooperation, leadership, selflessness.

[See references: "The 5 Must Dos most Leaders fail at"]

Scotch & Soda

Some announcements in the online press prompted a deep-dive into the world and history of Scotch & Soda.

The deep dive revealed an interesting and compelling journey of a Dutch wholesaler, that grew into a leading international player in the fashion and clothing sector.

A roadmap, like the one from Emma, for companies that want to grow, take the steering wheel and start a successful digital business transformation together with partners - 'a roadmap for a well-considered growth'.

Scotch & Soda is a leading designer, marketer, wholesaler and retailer of contemporary casual apparel for men, women and children.

Sun European Partners, LLP, the European adviser to U.S.-based Sun Capital Partners, Inc.

Scotch & Soda, the originally Dutch wholesaler, founded in 1985 and since 2011 part of the American clothing group Kellwood Company, has been in the news in recent years.

๐Ÿ˜Ž In June 2022, the European distribution center (20,000m2) was delivered and commissioned

๐Ÿ˜Ž In July 2022, the roll-out of Ayden's 'Tap to Pay' solution was initiated

๐Ÿ˜Ž In November 2022, Scotch & Soda launched its Blockchain NFT (Non-Fungible Tokes) based loyalty program: Club Soda 3.0 | 2022

๐Ÿ˜Ž In September 2022, Scotch & Soda published its Environmental Profit & Loss Impact Report | 2021/2022

๐Ÿ˜Ž In February 2023, the implementation of Manhattan Active® Allocation and Warehouse Management will be completed

The reason for the digital business transformation

For many years, business operations at Scotch & Soda ran on a highly modified version of Microsoft Dynamics AX (AX2012) with the Warehousing for AX (WAX) solution from Blue Horse Shoe on top.

[See references: "Implementation Microsoft AX2012 R3 (incl. WAX) at Scotch & Soda"]

By the way, Blue Horseshoe is also the basis of the current Warehouse Management solution from D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

By the way, the supplier Blue Horseshoe, now part of Accenture, is at the basis of the current Warehouse Management solution from D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

[See references: "Are Microsoft, NetSuite, and Epicor in your WMS Leaders Quadrant?"]


In 2019, Scotch & Soda reached the limits of their system, which resulted in quite a few disruptions during peak season.

Scotch & Soda wanted to grow, but their outdated ERP prevented that.

In 2020 it was decided to gradually replace the system with a combination of specialized software solutions - you could say the beginning of a composable-oriented approach.

The initiatives at Scotch & Soda show a textbook example of how business and technology shape a company, how business and technology go hand-in-hand.

Building a house starts with a solid foundation

The strength and ultimately the success lie in the preparation, in the research, the thinking and the foresight to the future.

But it should not be forgotten that Scotch & Soda had already laid a foundation much earlier with the introduction of Bynder Digital Asset Manager (DAM) in 2013 and Centric Software PLM Software for Retail and Apparel Industry in 2014.

๐ŸŒ„ Bynder Digital Asset Manager (DAM) | 2013

Seeing means selling for Scotch & Soda. Visual imagery is a key driver of selling their unique brand identity, with most of the product images captured in a studio on the canals of Amsterdam.

Their commercial teams depend on Bynder's digital asset management (DAM) solution on a daily basis to ensure all marketing efforts run smoothly and see it as an essential tool to generate revenue through their B2C web store and B2B applications.

Having so much value tied to their visual materials, Scotch & Soda’s partners, buyers, and distributors need round-the-clock, instant access to the latest content.

“Bynder is the most business-critical tool we use in the photo studio because it’s the closest to sales. Without Bynder, we don’t have images and ultimately products won’t sell.” — Niels van de Vorst, Photo Studio Manager at Scotch & Soda

Read the full story of how Scotch & Soda deploys Bynder's DAM solution on the Bynder website.

[See references: "How Scotch & Soda run high volume e‑commerce with DAM by Bynder"]

๐ŸŒ„ PLM Software for Retail & Apparel Industry of Centric Software | 2014

Intended goals:

☛ Support the growth of the growth and geographical expansion

“Scotch & Soda will use the Centric PLM software to support the growth and geographical expansion of its retail, apparel and footwear companies.”Duco Habbema, head of sourcing, Scotch & Soda

☛ Streamline the product development process

“Centric PLM will help to expand the product range, streamline the product development process, increase productivity, and improve collaboration within and between internal and external teams.”Duco Habbema, head of sourcing, Scotch & Soda

☛ Increase the insigth of buyers and production teams into collections

“Centric provides a solution that allows the design staff to remain creative while providing improved insight into the upcoming collection for buying and production teams”Duco Habbema, head of sourcing, Scotch & Soda

☛ Improve collaboration between internal and external teams

“The ability to achieve greater alignment between the company’s development and buying teams in Amsterdam, and its agents and suppliers in Asia, with allow Scotch & Soda to move forward confidently.”Chris Groves, president and CEO of Centric

Read the full story about the selection of the PLM Software on the Centric Software website.

[See references: "Scotch & Soda Selects Centric Software Product Lifecycle Management"]


The steps towards a composable digital business landscape

More in Part two

Scotch & Soda does not choose to replace its outdated ERP solution with D365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

The platforms and solutions of NEW BLACK and Manhattan Associates are introduced while the value chain runs on the newest RFID-tags of Checkpoint Systems and the Nedap iD Cloud platform.

References

What makes Scotch & Soda so interesting? (Part two)

Emma – The Sleep Company Selects ToolsGroup Supply Chain Planning Software to Support Growth

Fluent Commerce - Case Study: Emma - The Sleep Company

commercetools - How the innovative D2C sleep brand Emma is building an eCommerce solution to fit their rapid business growth

Pulpo WMS - Case Study: Emma - The Sleep Company

The 5 Must Dos most Leaders fail at

Implementation Microsoft AX2012 R3 (incl. WAX) at Scotch & Soda

How Scotch & Soda run high volume e‑commerce with DAM by Bynder

Are Microsoft, NetSuite and Epicor in your WMS Leaders Quadrant?

Scotch & Soda Selects Centric Software Product Lifecycle Management

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