Futures Fins Australia is a subsidiary of a highly innovative surfboard fin manufacturer based in California. It’s a brand known for exceptional performance and favoured by more than 50% of participants in the World Surf League Championship Tour.
Based in Sydney, Futures Fins Australia was established 13 years ago and Operations Manager Josh Kwanten has been invovled with the company for most of that time.
He manages inventory forecasting and national distribution of just over 500 SKUs, a number that’s growing year by year. Each month Josh orders between $500,000 and $750,000 worth of product to sell to about 500 clients; a mix of retailers and board builders and manufacturers.
Futures Fins started using StockTrim in mid-2022 with the goal of improving forecasting accuracy. The company was previously using its accounting and inventory management programs, supplemented by spreadsheets, to calculate order quantities. With three factories based in the US and China each working to lead times of several months, mistakes could take a long time to put right.
“We sometimes got it wrong, either under-ordering product, leading to stockouts and missing sales, or over-predicting,” Josh says.
“The product lifecycle per SKU is around three years so at least if we over-order we’ve got another two years to sell the extra stock - but it would be tying up capital in the meantime.”
Josh discovered StockTrim through the integration page of the inventory management provider Futures Fins were using.
“When I started searching for a demand forecasting program, I wanted something that integrated natively, as I’m not a fan of double-handling anything.
“StockTrim seemed extremely simple to set up, which was part of the appeal. And we’ve found it easy to learn and simple to use.”
Because Futures Fins only order monthly, StockTrim extended its standard 14-day trial period to three months, giving the company time to build up trust in the numbers they were receiving. StockTrim’s fast response times (same or next day) provided further reassurance.
Being unwilling to trust entirely in an automated forecasting program, Futures Fins chose to retain the spreadsheet system as a kind of double-check. This allows Josh to refer back to his manual predictions to compare them with StockTrim’s and check their respective stock numbers against actual sales.
“We’re finding StockTrim to be surprisingly accurate compared to what we’re predicting. We’re building confidence in the program and eventually we’ll use the spreadsheet less, which will save a lot of time.”
The manual process – which includes compiling reports of all sales and manually entering them into a spreadsheet – could take up to a week each month. StockTrim is significantly reducing the time spent on demand forecasting and freeing staff to focus on other key tasks such as supply chain management.
Josh can now complete an order in a day, and that will reduce further as the company refers less to the spreadsheets. Eventually, the process will be “one click and done”.
In addition to the time savings, Josh appreciates the ease with which StockTrim can identify slow-moving stock.
“We had no way of identifying that before unless we went through everything line by line. StockTrim gives us over or under-stocked and slow-moving product on the dashboard.
“That allows us to identify products we have too much of and then formulate a plan to move that product, and the right avenues to do it.”
This might involve moving product to stores where it’s more likely to sell. For example, surfers in Western Australia are more likely to want stronger, stiffer fins to handle the region’s bigger, more powerful waves.
At a strategic level, StockTrim is giving Futures Fins the ability to predict what they will sell 12 months out.
“We can create a report for the next 12 months and being able to eyeball where things are trending helps us get a better idea of where we’re at with product lifecycle month to month.
“It’s validated our previous forecasts and gives us confidence in knowing we’re ordering the right things.”
For Josh, the cherry on top is StockTrim’s low subscription cost, which he describes as “fantastic value for money”.
“We’ve looked at a few other systems with similar results at 17 or 18 times the price. StockTrim is saving us time and money and from where I’m sitting, that’s exactly what needs to happen.”
Trial StockTrim today for 14 days FREE, with no credit card required.