Stitching Success: North 40 Supply’s Journey with Odoo Towards Streamlined Merchandise Management

Location/Region: Lafayette, CO

Industry: Apparel/Manufacturing

Apps implemented: Accounting, Sales, CRM, Knowledge, Projects, Inventory, Manufacturing, Dashboards, Website, Purchase 

Number of users: 6

Company size: 6

Hosting type (On-premise or Odoo online):

Branding is critical to any business— it gains attention from potential new customers and promotes a company’s products and services. A valuable branding tool that many businesses use is merchandising. North 40 Supply, based just outside of Boulder, Colorado, connects brands with their communities by creating custom apparel, accessories, and printed goods. 

North 40 Supply acts as an extension of a company’s marketing team, by coordinating and designing branded merchandise for a business, which includes clothing, drinkware, and accessories. Customers can work with a designer at North 40 Supply to create a logo and product they’re happy with, or can send in their own designs and have them produced using the company’s services. 

Co-founders, Tom Stead and Chris Ekx, worked together at their previous job creating promotional products for businesses— doing very similar work to what they do now. The pair was excited at the opportunity to run their own business and founded North 40 Supply in 2018. Since then, the company has found success, growing in size and customer base. As they continue to flourish, North 40 Supply recognized a need for integrated business software to help manage and automate their workflows.

North 40 Supply’s disconnected system before Odoo’s integrated software

Prior to Odoo, North 40 Supply operated the way many companies do in their early years– with multiple, disconnected software suites for different business needs. Co-founder, Tom Stead, who manages the accounting and finance side of the business, described the way their workflow used to operate, in detail:

“From an overall business standpoint, one of the challenges we’ve had [was] we were working within multiple software platforms. So for example in finance, we were working with Quickbooks, in project management, we were working with this software called Workamajig, and then you’ve got the Adobe Creative Suite, and so on and so forth. So it almost seemed, like, kind of separate job functions. The financial, sales, administration, and design teams were all working on three different [pieces of] software, and they required a lot of coordination between all the team leads to make sure that every project was finishing on time and meeting deadlines and there was no communication lost between all the systems.” 

In other words, the company’s disjointed system led to inter-team inefficiency and increased incidences of human error. While North 40 Supply managed to operate with this multi-software system for a while, the business’s success demanded a better way of doing things. For almost a year, Tom researched and experimented with a number of business software platforms, including Netsuite, before landing on Odoo. He felt that Odoo’s open-source software would give them adaptability, and as the company continued to grow, he felt confident that Odoo would grow and evolve with it.

“As we continued to grow and increase our revenue, it became difficult to do all the management throughout all those systems, and I think Odoo offers an opportunity to kind of have all of that in one spot, and also give our customers a better web interface.”
Sharper branding and smoother operations with Odoo

Since implementing Odoo, Tom has noticed a positive difference in North 40 Supply’s business management capabilities and information accuracy. In particular, user error has decreased significantly due to both manual and automatic checks set up within the system:

“By the way [Odoo is] set up and the way it’s designed, it eliminates a lot of the human error. So if anything got missed or overlooked, I can set prompts to double check or review. The other thing is it does a great job of making that data repeatable and scalable.”

If there’s one application that has been most notably useful for Tom in his day-to-day business flow, it’s Project. North 40 Supply’s employees utilize this application often, particularly when it comes to job costing. “Project has kind of been ‘home base.’ That app definitely offered us a pathway into developing this whole enterprise.”

In addition to specific workflows that have been made easier, Odoo has benefitted North 40 Supply in the bigger picture as well. Tom particularly appreciates the ability to keep all communication in-house and within one project. This is a positive change from their previous system with multiple applications that made communication across platforms difficult and error-prone. Odoo also allows Tom to make more informed business decisions based on the information the database is able to pull for him. Tom gave a specific example, detailing these insights:

“I was going to do some financial forecasting, and I wanted to see all the garments we sold in the color blue. That was previously not possible in our previous software… But now that’s possible. There’s kind of a stored value. And I think with Odoo, I create a lot of those fields like, ‘Hey, if we want to track something, you have an easy way to track it.’”

With Odoo helping to expedite the company’s daily operations and supplying Tom and Chris with a 360-degree perspective of their data, North 40 Supply can focus on supporting the creative branding ventures of businesses across the country. 

The North 40 Supply team

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