Office Hours: I provide supply chain solutions from conception to delivery for companies with hundreds of stores worldwide.Featured

Hi Everyone! I’m the founder of Supply Savvy, we are an outsourced Supply Chain agency for small and medium sized beauty, CPG, and CBD brands. We help set up the Supply Chain & Operations, Manufacturing and Logistics infrastructure as well as manage the day to day Supply Chain operations for founders so they can focus on other facets of their business. Some of the companies that we have worked with include: Coty, OPI, Saint Jane, Drybar, Perricone, ZO Skin Health, Dr Kerklaan.I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and an MBA. I live in sunny Southern California with my dog Max and my favorite ice cream flavor is Cookie dough 😊 Ask me about anything that you wish you could improve within your supply chain & operations. What supply chain issues drive you nutty? From the time of product conception until the time the product gets into the customers hands, is there something that needs help?Some of the things we love to chat about are: managing vendors, vendor sourcing, supply chain infrastructure, the anatomy of the perfect PO, inventory management, master data, or anything else! We πŸ’› Supply Chain! πŸ€“
Thanks so much for joining us, @courtneyflynn. Elphas: please reply in the comments with your questions for @courtneyflynn before this Friday. She may not have time to answer every single question, so please emoji upvote the ones that interest you most. Thanks!!
Hi @courtneyflynn, thank you for offering your insights! Hope you and Max are well :)Do you have any tips on processes and systems to manage inventory? I work for an e-commerce company and we tend to fluctuate from being overstocked to out-of-stock for key products. Getting the timing right to place orders with manufacturers (taking into lead times, cashflow and MOQ's) seems to be really tricky.
Hello @daisysimonis , Thanks for the question! A couple things come to mind... How is your forecast/ demand plan? Do you feel like you have a good understanding on what you are selling? Are you reviewing frequently to refine that forecast and make sure that it is closer to being accurate? Also, If there aren't cash flow issues, do you know that your key products are and you are holding safety stock on these? Like for your top SKUs holding and always maintaining safety stock on those to ensure you don't run out? If you would like to chat more about this, please feel free to email me. [email protected]
Thank you so much @courtneyflynn - so much food for thought. I will have a think about what you've suggested!
Hey Daisy, have you heard of skubana or cin7? they do inventory management and are much more accessible than say NetSuite or channel advisor. I was also recently listening to a webinar on supply chain challenges by trinet and found it to be really helpful in regards to inventory planning and what metrics to focus on (
Ooo @michaelataylor I haven't heard of either, will check them out - thank you! Thank you as well for the webinar link, it looks great :)
Happy to help, let me know if you like any of them and happy to intro you to the founders of each.
Hi Courtney! I am super interested in ethical supply chain management in retail - both environmentally and from a labor and human rights standpoint. I wonder what trends you are seeing there, how important this is to brands and consumers, and what you do to help?
@elenabridgers I've seen a few software solutions out there. Here's one of them:
Hello @elenabridgers I love this question! I think that there has been a huge focus on sustainable packing and consumers are becoming more and more savvy. Customers are driving companies to move in that direction. I really hope that the next movement that customers demand transparency is in the ethical treatment of labor. I feel that it is imperative that companies know who is making their product and what are those working conditions. When finding a vendor, don't be afraid to ask the tough questions - How many hours a day are worked? How many days a week are worked? Brands should ask to tour the production facility.
Thanks Courtney! Completely agree. I love the transparency of brands like Everlane and hope things will move more in that direction. I try as a consumer to mostly buy from brands like this, but it’s so hard, especially when companies themselves often don’t even know where they are sourcing from!
Hello Courtney! Thank you for offering insights in your experience and expertise. I am an entrepreneur and chocolate maker in the making. I am building a bean-to-bar chocolate operation in Morocco using sustainably sourced and ethical cocoa beans from Ghana. I am hoping to export my products to the United States, because I know this product could be widely popular amongst the US market. Do you have any advice on how to find the ideal distributor to take care of our online distribution in the United States? Is there anything I should be paying close attention to when trying to find my distributor?
Hello @fzhakam, congrats on starting this company! Have you thought of not using a distributor and managing this business yourself to cut out the middle man? There are tons of great 3PLs that could ship your orders for you and would not require a distributor. If you need any 3PL recommendations, please email me and I can send you some.
Thank you for stopping by!1. What is your advice for finding a new vendor/manufacturer, specifically in the beauty and wellness space? Do you find that referrals work best or cold calling (emailing)? And I imagine it gets harder when you are looking for alignment around values, ethics, and sustainably sourced ingredients.2. Follow-up question: What are the biggest challenges and advice for launching a CPG or beauty product where there's a large upfront investment with developing a real product?Thank you!
Hello @alina2020 Thank you for the question. I find that a lot of brands find vendors through referrals or at trade shows. Trade shows are nice because you can meet several at once and get a good understanding of who is a good fit. For now, that might be hard, so I think cold emailing totally works. I think that if you have a list in advance of questions that are important to you, you can definitely find a good partner. Also, I always would suggest to go to the production facility before working with anyone. Its a really big investment... Some of the most successful founders I have worked with haven't started with a ton of capital, they were just really wise with how they spent it. Try to question every cost, I have seen some many founders spend money on things that weren't needed. Try to be as lean and scrappy as possible.
Hi Courtney! I'm the founder of GoFlyy, a delivery and return service for fashion retailers. I'm in the process of acquiring my first retail clients. How do you go about getting large brands to use your service?
Hello @joresab Thanks for the question! I have found that my business has been a lot more word of mouth and referrals. I would suggest to talk to as many people as possible and get the word out about GoFlyy
First of all, thank you so much @courtneyflynn for taking the time to share your knowledge and smarts with the Elpha community! I am working a software security company. It would be wonderful if you could share your thoughts around the pros/cons of how businesses currently reduce risk when it comes to managing vendor network access. Are there particular pain points you commonly see? Aspects that work/don't work for you and/or the companies you work with? Thanks in advance for any insights you can provide around my research!
Hello @sharan191 Thank you for the question. I think that for the most part, in the smaller businesses that I work with, Vendors do not have network access.
Hi Courtney, Thank you for sharing your insights on supply chain, it's great to have some advice on the operations end of things!I'm working as a consultant for an independent beauty brand and we are having trouble with one of their vendors' performance. At what point does it make sense to cut ties and find a new vendor? Do you have any advice on verbiage that you find effective in managing these types of relationships? And also, what are a couple of things you'd look for when seeking out a new vendor partnership?Thanks again!
Hello @aliahhusain Thanks for the question! Vendor management is such a huge component of supply chain management, Its almost like being in a marriage! Sometimes it really takes work to make a relationship run smoothly. What I have found is that establishing expectations is the key. I have found that when I talk to founders, they say things like, "my vendor doesn't deliver on time" or "they aren't responsive". Then the goal is to establish what is expected. - We will have a call every Thursday at 1pm- We need to have an open order report by Wednesday at 5pm- If a delivery date moves by more than a day, There needs to be a phone callI find that about 90% of vendors will start to preform once they have expectations. Before going to the trouble of finding a new vendor, I would say put some guidelines in place first and see how that works
Hi @courtneyflynn! Thanks for joining.Curious question for you - How are you using your psychology degree in your business?
Hello @rachelbell I love this question, I don't know that I use it per se. I love Psychology and learning about it was super interesting, but I don't think I use it a ton.
Hi Courtney! Thanks so much for sharing your insight and knowledge! I am working on a start-up and we lost one of our vendors due to covid-19 they, unfortunately, had to close doors for good. In our haste to launch we didn't dual-path this particular project and are now looking to wuci8kly source new ones. Would love insight on how many vendors you have working on projects at a time and best ways to decide when to make a commitment. Thanks!
Hi Courtney - Would love to know what kinds of software solutions out there you really like for various pain points. Is there a great end to end solution yet? Anything specifically targeting vendor management and sourcing? Thank you!