Anyone who is involved in the cosmetics industry knows about the joys, but also about the challenges of running a successful business. Logistics plays a crucial role in day-to-day operations, ensuring that everything gets delivered on time to the right person and in top condition, from the often expensive and delicate raw materials all the way through to the final product.
Su-Man Skincare Ltd. is renowned for offering skin care products of the highest quality, combining oriental with Western philosophy and using only the most exquisite ingredients. Su-Man’s Co-Founder and Director Farooq Chaudhry explains why he trusts Seabourne Supply Chain with all logistics for his company and how their working relationship helps grow Su-Man’s business (www.su-man.com).
1) First impressions are key when embarking on a new business relationship. Can you describe your first impression of Seabourne when you met them?When we first met Seabourne, the company was just starting to offer its services to businesses within the cosmetics industry, and we could tell that they had a real desire to grow with their clients. They were ambitious like us, and they were flexible to adapt to our needs. Also I trusted the people I met at Seabourne. They truly cared about us and had a real commitment to our business.
2) How has this commitment made a difference to your business? Would you say that working with Seabourne had an impact on your bottom line?Working with them definitely had a positive impact on our bottom line. They help us run Su-Man efficiently and make sure that we don’t have to worry about our logistics. In short, we know we can rely on them.
3) You mentioned that Seabourne had just started working within the cosmetics sector when you first met them. What made you want to work with them over other logistics suppliers that might have had more experience in your industry?We did look at two other companies who had more experience working with cosmetics brands. But they were much more expensive, which makes a real difference - especially to a small brand like ours that is just starting out. Seabourne’s proposal was very competitive and well thought-through. I decided to take a risk on them, and I’m glad I did! I even visited their warehouse, and to see their ways of working and meet their team gave me a lot of confidence.
4) Can you tell us a bit more about what your business situation was like when you first started working with Seabourne? Being an up-and-coming company yourself, did you ever consider handling your own logistics?We were a completely new brand and just getting started within the cosmetics industry, so handling our own logistics just wasn’t an option for us. We have neither a warehouse nor a distribution centre, so right from the start we had to rely on an external supplier for our logistics.
We just had to put our faith in Seabourne and trust that they were able to deliver. The most important aspect was that we couldn’t let down our customers, and Seabourne gave us that reassurance.
5) You are saying that the success of your business heavily relies on your external logistics partner. With Su-Man being a very young company, how did you feel at the time when you decided you needed external support for your supply chain?When you start out as a new business, you inevitably feel very vulnerable. You want to make sure that your product gets to your customers without delays or damages. So if you don’t have any good third party support, you can easily crash as young business, especially within the first few months. If you let down your customers, your reputation will get damaged.
6) That third party support you mentioned has to be solid and reliable, but at the same time can’t come as a one-size-fits-all solution. No two businesses are the same, each has its own individual requirements. Can you tell us a bit more about what Seabourne did to meet your specific needs at Su-Man?Seabourne streamlined our whole logistics process. They worked very patiently with our web team to link up the back end of our ordering system. For a company with relatively low volume like ours, the dispatch requirements can vary considerably, and Seabourne handles this with ease and efficiency. They provide the best courier service, report regularly on inventory and also work really well with returns. All processes are very easy and transparent.
7) We touched on the importance of flexibility and efficiency. As a business, are there any other particular aspects about Seabourne that you stand out for you?Having a good relationship with our logistics provider is imperative to the success of the operational side of our business. Seabourne has been extremely accommodating to our specific needs and provides us with a tailor-made service. I would say that the team’s greatest strengths are their attention to detail, their reliability, and their rapid response times. The team at Seabourne consistently demonstrates that they fundamentally understand our brand and, more importantly, our budget!
We are also impressed with the level of personal dedication they provide. We regularly speak to Matt, who is our main point of contact, and he is absolutely fantastic. When we had a few minor teething problems in the beginning, he made sure those were sorted right out. Matt has got a real interest in Su-Man, and the fact that we know we can always speak to him personally makes the world of a difference. With some other suppliers, you can feel like you are a number on a warehouse shelf, but with Seabourne, you get the personal touch.
8) Thinking back to what your expectations were before working with them, and the way things are going now, what do you think the next steps will be regarding your working relationship with Seabourne?Seabourne definitely exceeds any expectation we might have had. Such is my confidence in their work that in the not-too-distant future, we are looking to increase the functions they offer to us, adding on even more pick, pack and wrap services.
9) Can you sum up in a nutshell what working with Seabourne has done for you?The greatest thing they offer me is peace of mind. With Seabourne, I know we are in safe hands. And if I don’t hear from them, I know I can assume that everything is working perfectly.
10) We’ve spoken about Seabourne’s tailor-made approach to supporting Su-Man and the way that they adapt to your individual requirements. With this in mind, would you recommend Seabourne to other cosmetics businesses?Without a shadow of a doubt. Seabourne has the unique ability to understand the nuances of a small start-up like us. They listen to our specific needs and then act on those and deliver.
11) It sounds like there are exciting times ahead for Su-Man. Can you tell us a bit about your growth plans for the future?We have got some new product launches planned in the future, which we are very excited about. We are also looking to grow our retail accounts, which will inevitably lead to increased volume. With this in mind, we are looking forward to growing together with Seabourne.
To find out more, visit www.seabourne-group.com/cosmetics
If you would like to discuss your logistics requirements, please contact Seabourne’s business development team on 01604 – 490590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, quoting the reference CLC15.