Sports gear manufacturer reorganizes software stack with a view to streamlining communication & expansion

Introduction

Gear Up Sports, Inc. is an expanding e-commerce platform that enables mass micro customization of uniforms and spirit gear for youth and high school sports teams. Based in Hillsboro, Oregon, they are a Nike Authorized Team Dealer with close to 200 employees spread across Oregon.

 

As they grew, Gear Up realized the need to integrate. Their disparate systems made it difficult and time consuming to extract data for management reports, which compounded the fact that their accounting system did not support their manufacturing operations. After extensive evaluation, they hired SSNW to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. Employing the Waterfall implementation methodology, we built and customized the Dynamics platform to integrate and smooth out existing knots in Gear Up’s workflow.

 

Since most of Gear Up’s existing SaaS (for ecommerce, shipping, etc.) could be integrated into D365, we worked to ensure a smooth transition, replacing systems only where necessary. This transition onto D365 allowed Gear Up to pivot their core clientele quickly and efficiently once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Challenges

  • Implement a new ERP platform with a primary focus on integrating existing software

  • Provide a flexible, scalable infrastructure for growing segments with limited need for supplemental systems and customizations

  • Develop new supply chain management

  • Perform transformation while maintaining current operations

 

Solutions

  • Implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations as cloud-based ERP platform

  • Customize and redirect existing third-party software through the D365 hub

  • In-person training for core managerial team (train-the-trainer)

 

 

Results

  • Realized significant acceleration of business processes

  • Infrastructure allowed business to pivot operations toward new partners when COVID-19 altered customer base

  • Through training, provided a competitive structural advantage for all employees

History

Gear Up Sports’ accounting system (Xero) was not integrated with their manufacturing operations. Compounding this, they used different softwares for each of their departments, forcing employees to manually translate information from one department to the other. The unintegrated nature of their workflow caused significant bottlenecks to growth.

Software Plan

Primary

Microsoft Dynamics 365 F&O

  • Provides a strong financial foundation and supply chain management capabilities 

  • Provides a robust platform for future enhancements and partnerships.

  • Microsoft’s One Version services application and platform updates remove significant burden from IT resources.

Third-party integrations

Xero (accounting) and Finale (inventory tracking) systems were removed and replaced by D365’s inbuilt systems. Gear Up was already using the following softwares; SSNW integrated them into D365.

Tax solution (AvaTax) from Avalara

  • Integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics platform.

  • Automates tax calculation and filing 

OpenCart

  • Integrated a heavily customized version with the Microsoft Dynamics platform

  • Relatively low-cost option, works well for start-ups

ShopVox

  • Integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics platform.

  • Includes a configuration platform for staff

  • Aids as a record and fulfillment tracker for custom orders

ShipStation

  • Logistics platform integrated with an interface for Microsoft Dynamics

  • Relatively low cost, simple to use; works well for startups

Game Plan

SSNW’s team was kept small and organized around a waterfall implementation methodology. This allowed for a clear, staggered timeline gated along well-defined stages. Within these stages, elements of the Conference Room Pilot (CRP) methodology were used, involving users in the tooling process. The following chart provides a simplified view of SSNW’s timeline for the project.

 

It was decided that D365 would be implemented in one phase. The project was completed with ShopVox requiring highly complex tooling, and despite key personnel changes at Gear Up that required SSNW to resource additional staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. A second phase was discussed, with possible enhancements to be considered once the first was complete.

COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these enhancements were put on hold. As of this writing, SSNW is providing continued support post go-live. Following are the enhancements discussed for Phase 2.

  1. A professional product configurator. ShopVox functions as a light configurator, but cannot provide a bill of materials sufficient for D365’s manufacturing module. 

  2. Establishment of an EDI. Currently, data interchange between Gear Up and their partners still requires employees to manually onboard data. EDI would automate this process for trusted partners.

Despite this phase being put on hold due to the pandemic, Gear Up was able to leverage their new integrated management and pivot their business toward any client looking for customized uniforms, supplying companies in the x, y, and z sectors.