When the pandemic first rattled global supply chains 20 months ago, the visibility Zonkd had into its supply chain quickly showed its value. The maker of mattress covers and other furniture textiles could see the status of every order and, per the request of customers, pause them.
In just four hours, the company was able to do this for its entire order list. A few weeks later, the manufacturer was able to restart production just as easily. It was an agility competitors couldn’t match and demonstrates why Zonkd is quickly becoming a force in its industry.
Ryan Graven founded Zonkd 12 years ago when he spotted an unmet need for cut-and-sewn textiles used in mattresses while working in the industry. Specifically, mattress makers needed zipper covers that encase the outside of the mattress.
Graven had the connections to both source the fabric and have it turned into finished goods. So, while still living and working in China, he launched Dolven Enterprises, a kind of trading operation that worked with third-party suppliers and manufacturers to create these goods, then distribute them to mattress makers.
Home called, and Graven moved the business to North Carolina in 2013, renaming it Zonkd in 2021. Not long after the move to the U.S., Zonkd started bringing more pieces of the operation in-house and opened a factory in El Salvador. Building a supply chain closer to home allows the company to get products to its customers faster.
“They don’t want to get into the business of shipping goods,” said Zonkd COO Ankur Sanghi, who met Graven when both were in Duke’s MBA program. “They just want the goods to produce the product and to sell to their customers.”
Expansion Leads to Struggles with QuickBooks, Spreadsheets
Delivering quality products at a reasonable price with a lead time of six weeks or less is a tremendous challenge for any company, but it was made even more difficult by Zonkd not having one place to monitor its financials and inventory. Running the business on QuickBooks and spreadsheets left leaders without an up-to-date picture of the company’s performance.
That only became a bigger problem as Zonkd grew and expanded into more countries.
“The best analogy I can come up with is you’re driving down and you’re in your vehicle and you have no dials at all,” Sanghi said. “Well how do you know if you’re complying with the laws, complying with the rules, how fast or slow you’re going, and if the systems are working OK?”
By 2013, Zonkd had a presence in China, Hong Kong, El Salvador and the U.S., but had no way to view total revenue or cash across those subsidiaries. The time and language barriers that come with teams working across the globe were exacerbated by everyone not operating on the same platform and looking at the information.
It was time for a change.
Simplifying Consolidated Financials, Reporting
To support its fast-growing global operations, Zonkd moved to NetSuite OneWorld in the spring of 2014. It initially used the system for basic processes like order-to-cash and procure-to-pay. The latter was previously handled with color-coded folders in the office — the accounting team would print bills and put them in a folder for the designated approver to sign, then input that data back into QuickBooks.
With a global business management solution in NetSuite OneWorld, Zonkd finally had the comprehensive view of all entities it needed. Executives could see not only basic — and critical — financial metrics, but key numbers like landed costs.
OneWorld simplified the complexities that come with managing five subsidiaries in different countries with multiple currencies. It does the heavy lifting behind the scenes without an employee working through these complexities.
“We’re not afraid of opening up another plant in a different country anymore because we know we can actually do it,” Sanghi said.
Transparency into a Global Supply Chain
The visibility the manufacturer and distributor has gained into its complex supply chain since moving to NetSuite is even more impressive. Simply having access to real-time inventory was a major improvement, but its tracking capabilities go far beyond that. Zonkd sources raw materials from the U.S., Mexico, Turkey and multiple countries in Asia, then turns them into finished goods at plants in Asia and El Salvador, and finally distributes them out of a warehouse in North Carolina.
Employees can see exactly where an order stands at any stage in that network at any time.
“In our industry, no other competitor is able to provide an entire order list of a customer and show them exactly when all their different stuff across all the different orders is going to arrive,” Sanghi said.
The textiles company more recently added the NetSuite warehouse management system (WMS)(opens in new tab) to move inventory in and out of its warehouse more efficiently. It also now uses the material requirements planning (MRP) module to plan raw materials and production and work orders.
“To be able to really paint a picture where people making decisions can quickly look at something and say, ‘Oh, actually, I can make and deliver this order with a great deal of certainty by this time, including all the different legs of the supply chain,’ in a really agile way, is huge,” he said.
Zonkd can even see the contents of different containers sitting in its yard without physically opening them. That allows the company to avoid the time and costs that come with sorting through goods not yet in the factory.
Measuring the Success of Every Team
Over the last year, Zonkd has zeroed in on becoming a more data-driven business. Departmental leaders have determined key metrics for every role and set up dashboards in NetSuite to track them, along with related alerts.
For example, if Zonkd receives a customer order and the customer service team does not confirm it within 48 hours, it’s flagged. If it’s still not addressed, that alert then reaches the planning team and eventually the executive team. As another example, the transportation manager’s dashboard tracks the status of every request for a shipping container and the dashboard shows which requests are due for follow up (especially important when there’s a global shortage of containers).
The business also uses SuiteAnalytics to open up new analysis possibilities with all the data it collects. It’s also interested in adding the recently announced NetSuite Analytics Warehouse(opens in new tab) solution, which Sanghi sees as the “final mile in getting best-in-class business intelligence.”
Indeed, data collection and reporting capabilities are at the very root of Zonkd’s plans for the near future. At the end of 2020, executives launched a plan to grow “manyfold” over the next three-to-four years, and identifying new ways to manipulate data is critical to realizing that goal. History suggests they can make it happen — the business has gone from 30 to 750 employees in just the last five years.
“We have not really utilized the true power of all that data that we have in our NetSuite system and other systems; we definitely want to start using that,” Sanghi said. “We know that that’s going to unlock a lot of business value.”
Becoming a Force in the Textiles Industry
To enable its aggressive growth plan, Zonkd plans to further verticalize and double down on nearshoring with new factories closer to America, establishing a supply chain no competitor can match. As part of that verticalization plan, Zonkd is dedicating more resources to developing its own products instead of just finding cheaper ways to manufacture and deliver products its customers developed. Its product catalog has already expanded beyond mattress covers to include furniture covers, pillow covers, mattress toppers and pet beds, among other items.
Sanghi believes the flexibility NetSuite provides his organization can help make those ambitious goals a reality.
“Businesspeople are looking to get certainty back so that they can actually look ahead and say, ‘OK, if I made this decision today, I can see what’s going to happen tomorrow,’” he said. “So our company is going to focus on delivering that.”