June 27, 2023

Boll & Branch Customer Success Story

boll-branch-case-study

Authors

Andrea Lechner-Becker
Head of Marketing

Table of Contents

Exec Summary

  1. Boll & Branch implemented Toolio to build a best-in-class planning organization and overcome the limitations of Excel and legacy planning solutions.
  2. Boll & Branch achieved robust sales growth in 2022 with 30% fewer inventory units, thanks to forecasting improvements facilitated by Toolio.
  3. Efficiency gains were realized through streamlined workflows, eliminating complex planning files, and standardizing processes, saving the team 20 hours per month.
  4. A mentality shift occurred as the team transitioned from bottoms-up to top-down planning, enabled by Toolio's data presentation and reconciliation capabilities.
  5. Toolio's agility and scale allowed for advanced forecasting, resulting in improved inventory management and a reduction of out-of-stocks.

About Boll & Branch

Boll & Branch is a leading designer and retailer of luxury home textiles. Founded in 2014, Boll & Branch became the first bedding brand to be Fair Trade Certified. All products are expertly crafted from the finest sustainable materials, 100% traceable, and made free from toxins – so everyone can sleep better at night.

Building a Best-in-Class Planning Organization

Planning, like the bedding industry, is a little behind on innovation. But Mike Carrozza, SVP of Product Strategy took the job at Boll & Branch, not only because he believed in their mission, but because he wanted to build out a best-in-class, modern planning organization that would ensure great inventory decisions supported getting a great product into more homes. As Mike saw it, “Excel would’ve been fine if we weren’t innovating, but with our growth goals to expand beyond our flagship categories, Excel would fail to scale with us.”

On one end of the spectrum, Mike knew Excel wouldn’t scale and on the other he had experienced legacy planning solutions throughout his career that were far too big and cumbersome for the team. When he saw Toolio, he believed he’d found the most flexible, modern solution for a fast-growing company and team.

Building a Best-in-Class Planning Team Stepping Stone 1: Start with Efficiency

When we spoke with Mike about the benefits of implementing Toolio, he began with the efficiency gains they’ve seen. In one anecdote, he recalled a two-hour meeting early in his tenure at Boll & Branch. The objective of the meeting was to calculate future margins based on cost changes the teams were anticipating. Fast forward to today and that workflow is no longer a room of people working side-by-side for two hours, but as simple as the production team updating their anticipated future cost impacts, which then actualize in Toolio and allow the planning team to roll different margin scenarios against. 

In addition, their planning files had ballooned in complexity to where just loading the file would take an hour… and then crash. The files required 4-5 hours per month of Individual planners’ time to simply manage and keep them updated with accurate data. In addition, all these files presented a standardization challenge, where individuals were planning differently. With the cumbersome tasks eliminated and processes standardized, planners could reinvest that time into far more impactful projects and that’s the next benefit: mentality shift.

Best-in-Class Stepping Stone 2: Mentality Shift

Is the glass half empty or half full? Although it may seem conceptual or even rhetorical, to move a team’s mentality has a big impact on the organization. Mike wanted to show through his leadership an emphasis on seeing the forest and the trees. 

Like many teams before they invested in Toolio, the Boll & Branch team was primarily focused on bottoms-up planning. Looking at each SKU and determining how much to buy. But, especially as they looked to evolve their product strategy into new categories (like sleepwear), top-down planning became increasingly important to guide and guardrail those SKU-level decisions. 

As Mike put it, “Some of the Excel issues, the long load time or crashing, we could’ve fixed. But when I talked to my CFO about enabling the team to think differently, that’s where I couldn’t make the case that Excel would work for us. We needed a more modern, versatile solution.”

With the way Toolio presents data and enables reconciliation, it changed the way the team saw the business and encouraged them to ask bigger picture questions. For example, “If we change how we market next year, how do we account for that in the topline and what product category shifts should we anticipate?”

Best-in-Class Stepping Stone 3: Agility & Scale

With the right tooling and right mentality, Mike and his team are able to operate at an extremely high level. Forecasting improvements were an advanced benefit. With all their actualized data at their fingertips, they can perform advanced forecasting functions using Toolio’s out-of-the-box suggestions or customized attribute-based or seasonality-based trends. They can also retrend in a snap, create new POs quickly, cancel others or explore different vendor fulfillment based on those results. These quick reactions to the data aren’t just about time; these decisions are saving Boll & Branch hard dollars on inventory spend. 

These forecasting improvements helped the company achieve robust sales growth in 2022 on -30% less inventory units than the previous year.

In Conclusion

With these changes, Mike, his team, his boss and everyone at Boll & Branch can certainly sleep much easier knowing their decisions are backed by the best, real-time data and decision-making technology on the market today.

Implementing the planning solution, Toolio, has enabled Boll & Branch to build a best-in-class planning organization. By moving away from cumbersome legacy planning solutions and Excel spreadsheets, Boll & Branch has experienced significant improvements in efficiency, standardization, and decision-making. The adoption of Toolio has resulted in time savings, improved buying decisions, reduced out-of-stocks, and increased sales.

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