COVID-19 shelter in place orders meant more people hanging out at home this past winter. Limited air travel meant more family camping trips. For Duraflame, Inc., such lifestyle adjustments meant a significant spike in demand for their popular manufactured firelog products during their peak fall 2020 selling season, as the company saw a 40% increase in B2B transactions from big box stores like Walmart and Costco, as well as from thousands of other, smaller retailers across North America and beyond.
In managing such sudden, accelerated growth in their business, Duraflame’s Director of IT John Hwee was thankful that a year earlier he had decided to consolidate his company’s disparate integration solutions by migrating them to Cleo’s more flexible, single-platform solution, Cleo Integration Cloud (CIC). Cleo is the industry’s only provider of ecosystem integration at scale, offering API and EDI integration on a single, cloud-based platform, with service model flexibility and end-to-end business process visibility.
Prior to consolidating on CIC, Duraflame was using four different integration solutions: Cleo LexiCom for AS2 connectivity and file transfers with large retailers; IBM Gentran for on-premise EDI transactions; SPS Commerce to accommodate a few specialty retail customer requirements; and Edict Systems for a handful of partners that came through a previous company acquisition.
All these systems were managed by an internal EDI team, supported by external EDI consultants. This mix yielded limited visibility and no proactive control, added unnecessary hardware, software, maintenance, and staffing costs, but mostly was simply too rigid to accommodate supply chain disruption or unforeseen demand spikes. The company also struggled with timely and accurate processing of purchase orders and resolving issues within their desired 24-hour internal SLA. This directly impacted inventory accuracy, which led to delayed shipments of customer orders and potential losses in revenue.
Having implemented and run Cleo LexiCom for more than a decade to transact business with one of their largest retail customers, Hwee and his team had confidence in Cleo’s integration expertise and technical capabilities. The company elected to partner exclusively with Cleo in late 2019. And now, with the Cleo Integration Cloud platform up and running, Duraflame can process purchase orders and ship customer orders efficiently, quickly, and accurately, even as item numbers change constantly due to inventory constraints. CIC’s ability to automate reference table updates means Duraflame saves hours of work by not having to manually fix EDI order processing issues, bringing far greater continuity into their critical business relationships.
“The Cleo Integration Cloud platform is secure, easy to use, and highly flexible to meet our business requirements. Today, more than 98% of our B2B transactions are running through CIC, and we can see everything that’s going on. Cleo’s ecosystem integration platform and their unique blend of self-service and managed services, plus their team’s drive, commitment, and attention to detail all made our migration easy and successful—we experienced zero problems or issues even though we implemented their solution during our peak business time,” Hwee said.
CIC is also now supporting the company’s strategic expansion into the charcoal business. Duraflame recently acquired B&B Charcoal and consolidated that business ecosystem onto CIC – bringing two separate business streams together into a single system.
Today, Hwee and his team enjoy a high level of confidence that all EDI transactions are being processed timely and accurately. “We’ve greatly reduced our time spent resolving issues and it’s comforting to know our systems are being looked after 24 X 7, so that if something does come up, we know about it immediately, and can usually take care of that customer’s issue in less than 24 hours.”