Integral Group - Vanilla Studio Case Study

Elizabeth Alexandre, COO at Vanilla Studio:

"I’m thankful for our relationship with Integral Group. When I took on the role of COO, my number one concern was moving the company forward to where we could grow without adding another person every time we took on a new account.

Without [Integral's] Commerce Desktop, we wouldn’t have been able to do that. Commerce Desktop has enabled us to grow, stay competitive, reduce operational costs, and have accuracy and reliability across all systems. That is an excellent outcome.

We’ve had such a positive experience with Integral Group. We are very happy to recommend the team. Now Integral works with our Mardel division as well."

About Our Customer
Vanilla Studio is a furniture and home furnishings manufacturer, importer, and wholesaler with a fresh and contemporary approach to home decor. All products are designed by their specialized in-house creative team. Vanilla sells primarily to big box retail, bringing in over 500+ containers/year to quickly source and stock items.

The Issues To Resolve
Vanilla Studio needed to address growing order levels, productivity, and scalability requirements. And to find an EDI provider that could connect all their business applications to create an overarching, integrated and automated system.

The first hurdle was staffing
During COVID, Vanilla’s order volumes increased significantly with an emphasis on the online ordering side of the business. The workload without automated EDI was such that it became apparent that for each new account, they would need to hire additional staff.

The second hurdle was timing to get updated information
Especially with eCommerce, Vanilla’s SLAs required orders to be fulfilled and shipped within three days. With the EDI vendor at the time, their customer likely received an order up to two weeks before the information got to Vanilla’s accounting department. There was also a lag in inventory levels being updated.

The critical issue with their former provider was that EDI data transmission did not provide a closed circle: The information came in, and then it was up to Vanilla to manually move it through accounting, inventory, and throughout the company.

The Integral Group Solutions
Integrating with Vanilla’s inventory system (Unleashed) and accounting (Xero), and Mintsoft (WMS) meant that functions that once consumed a full-time inventory manager's time became automated.

With Integral’s Commerce Desktop, live inventory numbers could be shared across all of Vanilla’s customer platforms simultaneously:, and all show accurate availability of inventory units. That has pushed up Vanilla's ranking with their customers as they can now show consistently high stock levels.

Vanilla no longer needs a person to manage inventory. Additionally, integrated EDI automation has removed the human errors inherent in manually entering data multiple times across platforms and done slightly differently by each person. Their two data entry positions have changed from clerical roles to higher-value work managing the products and overseeing new item uploads.

Vanilla asked for help from the Integral team to deal with old, rejected invoices that predated this integration project. The goal was to discover the reason for the rejections and resubmit the invoices through the newly integrated EDI process. Due to Integral's efforts, Vanilla recouped 50% of old invoices valued at over $50,000. The recouped amount increases over time as additional old, rejected invoices are uncovered and resubmitted.

The Vanilla Studio integration had its challenges. All their clients were uploaded simultaneously, which meant a massive amount of concentrated work was required as quickly as possible, stretching the Integral team. Connecting EDI, eCommerce (Shopify, HBC Marketplace), Unleashed (inventory), Mintsoft (WMS), and shipping systems were all happening at the same time, and there was a steep learning curve.

With much effort, dedication, and a true partnership between Integral and Vanilla, the EDI integration has had a substantial and positive impact, and Vanilla lauds its success. Vanilla Studio continues investing in technology and automation and has four new integration projects with Integral.