Sweden’s Newbody Family provides clothing and household items to children’s sports teams, which can then resell the items to earn money towards class trips, training camps, and tournament visits. Newbody Family needed a single system to manage the entire logistics chain, which includes multiple suppliers, and improve supplier communication and inventory management. The business also wanted better integration between its various backend business applications. Newbody Family asked AWS Partner Enfo to develop a web portal for its logistics processes and an integration system built using AWS.
Founded in 1987, Newbody Family’s mission is to help children in Sweden reach their dreams through sport. Kids’ teams are able to earn money towards trips, training camps, and tournament visits by reselling quality clothing and other products provided by Newbody Family.
The company faced logistical challenges dealing with multiple suppliers. It needed a good overview of the whole order process, from a placed order to a product delivered to the end customer. “When it comes to our logistics chain, the whole process—from design to production, to order, to delivery—is quite complicated and we need to have accurate documentation and communication,” says Gunnar Stenberg, chief information officer at Newbody Family.
Newbody Family’s existing process of manual communication, using email, Word, and Excel documents, led to frequent mistakes, with partners and staff often working from different versions of the data.
Newbody Family needed one place where it could manage the entire logistics chain—from product design, forecasting, and planning, through to customers placing orders. The company also wanted control of customer data, supplier communication, and inventory management in one customizable application.
In addition, it wanted to improve the integration between its various backend business applications. “Our logistics chains involve the exchange of a lot of data and we needed a system to integrate all these things,” says Stenberg.
Newbody Family asked AWS Advanced Consulting Partner Enfo, a managed service provider based in Sweden, to develop a web portal for its logistics processes and to integrate its systems (including enterprise resource planning and data analytics). Both the web portal and integration system were built using Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Newbody Family had been working with Enfo for several years before this project. With its strong technical competence and good understanding of Newbody Family’s business, Enfo was the natural choice for rearchitecting its integration system. “From a digitalization and innovation perspective, AWS is right at the front of the queue in terms of new services and interoperability between services. The solutions we had imagined could be easily realized given the tools available to us at AWS. So it was a natural choice,” says Tom Lehane, manager at Enfo CODE West.
Enfo and Newbody Family collaborated to develop the NOCSi web portal. The portal is user-friendly, with no need to consider file formats or software updates. “The web portal simplifies working with multiple suppliers, by standardizing communication and offering a shared workspace for Newbody Family staff and suppliers,” says Lehane.
With the system, Newbody Family can speak to its manufacturers and suppliers can communicate with each other. For example, using NOCSi, a designer in Sweden can now talk to a manufacturer in China, reducing the risk of misunderstandings.
NOCSi has also improved Newbody Family’s ability to forecast what stock it will need to meet customer demand while running a lean operation.
With two peak periods of spring and autumn accounting for 70 percent of annual demand, it is important for the company to forecast inventory needed to meet its promise to customers — if a product is in the catalog or on the website, it can be ordered. At the same time, Newbody Family does not want excess inventory because it costs money to store.
The portal means the forecasting process no longer needs to be manual. A set of inputs can be entered, with an algorithm automatically suggesting order quantities based on past trends and purchase history. The means staff can focus on work of more value. “The web portal helps us accurately forecast based upon order history and understanding the market at the moment,” says Stenberg. “The better forecast we have, the less stock needed.”
The serverless integration system built by Enfo facilitates the exchange of business-critical data in a customizable environment. Thanks to the use of serverless technology, Newbody Family will be able to take advantage of cost savings on future integrations.
The system uses multiple AWS services. It connects different applications using business logic built in AWS Lambda and shared using Amazon API Gateway, which controls security, access, and authentication.
Building the integration system using AWS provides greater flexibility to respond to constantly changing business conditions. Data is stored in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) buckets, depending on how it will be used in the future, with Amazon DynamoDB used for data that needs to be accessed more quickly.
The pay-as-you-go consumption model offered by AWS means Newbody Family can scale systems to the seasonal demand for its products in a cost-effective manner.
By utilizing cloud services from AWS, Newbody Family has saved on capital investments and benefited from flexible operational expenses. This setup also makes it easier to bring new product lines to market, something which has helped Newbody Family as it expands beyond clothing to home products and spices.
The system also uses Amazon CloudWatch. Dashboards show how information and files are handled as they move from A to B, including what steps are taken and identifying the cause of any issues if they occur.
With its web portal and integration system, Newbody Family has a solution that is tailored to the unique needs of its business. The project has also addressed the historical problem of integration. “The main challenge we have faced over the years is related to the hybrid architecture we employ, especially communication from on premises to AWS,” says Stenberg. “Enfo’s cloud operation team and expertise in networking has been invaluable in tackling these areas.”
Enfo is continually making functionality improvements, with a new design module due to go live that should more clearly visualize products for suppliers. The collaboration between Enfo and Newbody Family enables both parties to have an in-depth understanding of how the other operates.
Enfo is able to use its understanding of Newbody Family’s business to proactively suggest solutions to drive the business forward. “We have a very good understanding of the whole business,” says Lehane. “This means that we can help them to make the right decisions based on their strategy, regardless of who does the work.”
Newbody Family is talking to the company about migrating all of its infrastructure to AWS from its current hosted data center setup. This should bring benefits around reliability, security, and cost (through the ability to only pay for the services it uses). It would also give Newbody Family access to other AWS services—such as those around ecommerce, for example.
“Enfo is helping our IT environment move forwards in the right way,” says Stenberg.
Sweden-based Newbody Family provides quality clothing and household items to children's sports teams, which they then sell to earn money towards trips, training camps, and tournament visits. The company's mission is to help children in Sweden reach their dreams through sport.