Mous’ co-founders saw a need for a rugged but well-designed and sleek phone case and took a guerilla marketing approach to appeal directly to customers. Sales took off but its siloed, multi-application financial system couldn’t scale fast enough as it added additional tech accessories. Arcus Universe implemented Acumatica for Mous, which gained a flexible, all-in-one business application that seamlessly connects to its multiple e-Commerce stores and easily scales as the company grows.
“As a business, if you don’t want to be focused on what’s the next system upgrade I need to make, what’s the next Excel I need to build, you just want a solution that can scale with your business and you want that at an affordable price, Acumatica is absolutely perfect”
– James Day, Co-Founder and Operations Director, Mous
Premium Phone Cases Instantly Successful
Mous (pronounced “mouse”) creates premium, industry-leading products with a laser focus on innovation and expansion. Founded in 2014, Mous designed a rugged, durable but stylish phone case for the iPhone, which they brought to market in 2017 after a record-breaking $2.5 million crowdfunding campaign.
Mous, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) company, launched with a memorable guerilla marketing campaign centred on videos of employees dropping new phones from helicopters, cranes, and other stunts on YouTube. The videos went viral and caught the attention of Virgin Group’s Sir Richard Branson. Branson later invited Mous to StepUp, his two-day accelerator for UK-based start-ups.
Mous sells its premium phone cases and other tech accessories directly to consumers through its various web stores, including UK and U.S.A specific sites as well as Amazon and eBay. But it used several siloed systems that needed manual data manipulation to make it all work, says James Day, Mous Co-Founder and Operations Director.
Mous used Xero, a New Zealand-based financial system like QuickBooks for accounting, multiple Shopify sites, and poor inventory visibility. In addition, it used ShipStation, but the shipping application was standalone and did not support a multi-currency environment, Day says.
“Xero kept crashing and we relied on ShipStation for needs above and beyond shipping functionality,” he says. “We managed BOM (Bill of Materials) and other manufacturing processes with spreadsheets, which was hard to do.”
Lacked Data Visibility
The patchwork system did not provide data visibility, KPI reporting, accurate Cost of Goods Sold or transparency into the supply chain, and was not audit friendly, he says. As a result, “we made mistakes because nothing was tied together.” One example: lacking inventory insight, they often over-ordered parts when they had enough in stock, tying up cash.
In addition, maintaining disparate applications and manually transferring data wasted time. “Exporting data could take ages. Transferring 100,000 lines took a long time so data wasn’t accessible,” Day says.
“Tracking taxes in the EU, UK and U.S. was a nightmare,” he adds. To make matters worse, Xero and ShipStation often crashed.
All these limitations made the executive team realise they really needed an all-in-one ERP solution.
“Arcus has a very friendly, very responsive team. Their project management is just insane and leagues above other consultants.”
– James Day, Co-Founder and Operations Director, Mous
Acumatica Distribution Edition with Commerce Connectors and Manufacturing
Mous evaluated a variety of solutions ranging from very small custom ERPs to the largest available. “The small ones couldn’t keep up with our transaction volumes,” Day says. “We narrowed our list to Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle NetSuite, and Acumatica.”
They discounted Oracle NetSuite “because they had a terrible reputation in the market,” Day says. “We’d heard from other customers that were using NetSuite, that you had to rely quite heavily on other developers to build reports, combined with surprise inflation costs every year of five, 10%, even more. These sorts of things made us realise they weren’t really the partner for us.”
“When comparing Microsoft Dynamics to Acumatica, there was quite a bit of a price difference,” he says. “And the implementation timeline we wanted was six months, which we heard could have been twice more with Dynamics.”
Acumatica partner Arcus Universe aided Mous in the decision process, ultimately deciding that Acumatica was the best fit. “Arcus’ Colin MacMillan is the most detailed CEO I’ve ever spoken to,” Day says. “They have a robust team that gave us confidence.”
One of Mous’ larger challenges, says MacMillan, was synchronising a set of online country-specific Shopify and Amazon sites, in addition to third-party logistics, with several components going live at the same time. Connecting Acumatica to disparate e-Commerce systems is an Arcus speciality.
Before Mous chose an ERP, the Arcus team put together a proof of concept that integrated Shopify into Acumatica and demonstrated how thousands of Mous orders could flow through the application. “They did that prior to us deciding on Acumatica” Day says. “Arcus assured us they could deliver in six months. We found Acumatica’s reporting functions were user-friendly and the GI (General Inquiry tool) was also easy to use. So, the combination of Acumatica’s reporting, pricing, consultants, and the confidence in them made Acumatica shine light years ahead of Microsoft Dynamics. “
Acumatica was ideal, MacMillian says because Acumatica Cloud ERP Distribution Management Edition helps companies manage all supply chain and logistics activities in one place and connects those activities to financial and sales data. It includes warehouse management, inventory management, and order management (sales and purchase orders).
For Mous, Acumatica Distribution offered a single-connected application with an open API that allows Mous to easily connect to Shopify sites, its 3PL partner, and tax application. It has automated workflows that trigger throughout the customer purchasing journey, and easily accommodates multi-currency no matter where its customers reside.
“Acumatica is the best reasonably priced option on the market and arguably as good as or better than the big dogs in the market, and you don’t have to spend the world to get all the benefits,” Day says, adding he liked Acumatica’s unique, growth-friendly pricing model since Mous is not slowing down any time soon.
Data Centralized in Single Solution
With the move to Acumatica, Mous instantly had its data in one centralised place, allowing employees to instantly see what was happening in the business in real-time rather than learning about it three weeks later.
“All of our data is now centralised in one place,” Day says. “All of our supply chain data is linked, so there are no gaps in our data. We know the second we go from a purchase and invoice to needing to transfer an SKU to a different warehouse, to its receipt at a warehouse, when it’s shipped to the customer, and even the shipping and tracking data. It’s all in one place so there’s no risk for any data integrity issues.”
Increased Data Analysis
“The open API and ease of building reports are brilliant,” he adds. “Using General Inquiry, we can see what is going on right now and most of the operations team can access the data and facilitate their own reporting needs. We now have accurate COGS (cost of goods sold), visibility end-to-end into the supply chain, and we can manage inventory better.”
With easy access to its data, Mous has improved and streamlined operations. The company has reliable management reports showing COGS accurately, orders and revenue from third-party websites such as Amazon, and they view month-end data just a day later – not in three weeks, which was the time frame previously, Day says.
“Pulling data from different systems just took ages, before,” he says. “Now the tool supports calculations on the fly and in theory, I can know what happened an hour ago if I wanted to. It’s just awesome.”
Any growing business needs a platform that delivers KPIs and provides easy-to-use reports and can scale easily, Day says. With Acumatica, employees can build their own reports with KPIs specific to them. “It’s a flexible solution that can handle a
mass scale of transactions, the user interface is really nice and it’s easily personalized to our business,” he says. “It’s pleasant to look at, easy to search for reports, invoices, or bank transactions, and you can find what you need rapidly. “
More Data Unlocks Opportunities
The Mous team has gained more specified data to drill into to view items by order, SKU, repeat purchase rates, and country. “We can do really complicated analysis that has unlocked new opportunities for us,” he says. Executives learned a lot about repeat purchase rates and habits and how they vary by SKU, by country, and how shipping rates vary among countries.
“Having this kind of granular data has allowed us to learn a lot about our business, about finding efficiencies, areas for savings, and opportunities,” Day says.
Mous can perform sophisticated analysis without needing a development staff or IT team devoted to infrastructure maintenance. “Acumatica being cloud-based and having an open API was great because we don’t have to maintain our own servers and we don’t need a host of data engineers,” Day says. “Our consultants maintain our platform in the cloud, and we have a couple of people who write SQL, but no data engineers.”
Easy to Add New and Improved Business Processes
Acumatica is also highly customisable, and offers low-code, no-code tools to modify the business platform to the way Mous operates, Day says.
“Acumatica allows you to do business the way you want and can work around your unique requirements,” he says. “It does make you reflect and identify where it will help you straight out of the box, but is also flexible and agile, allowing you to reflect on your processes and make slight changes as you see fit.”
After its implementation, Arcus helped Mous streamline how the customer service team processes replacements, eliminating several steps and screens, streamlining the process to automatically link to the original order, and a replacement screen and simply adding the appropriate message they need to send to the customer.
While Mous mapped the workflows to accomplish various tasks, Arcus utilised the customisation capabilities of Acumatica to modify standard screens so the specific efficiencies Mous was looking for could be realised, which is an example of the powerful flexibility of the system, MacMillan says.
Continued International Growth, New Product Development
Mous plans to launch new premium tech accessories for tech lovers and thrill-seekers everywhere and will continue to enter more international markets. Acumatica’s multicurrency functionality makes it easier for Mous to expand to new countries. “We already operate in GDP, USD, and Euros and are exploring accepting more local currencies,” Day says. “Acumatica can take in data and translate it into GBP, and we have visibility into taxes by country. Having accurate data is powerful and important because we can’t make decisions from faulty data.”
Acumatica continually invests in the platform, adopting customer suggestions and continually fostering a growing community of third-party application creators. It is a platform built for the future, which for Mous means the company won’t have to think about moving to a new system, and, because it’s also robust, the operations team can focus on building for longevity, Day says.
“We have confidence that the platform can scale with us doubling, tripling or quadrupling,” he says. “Acumatica can handle that and is built to scale, which is really good. It’s also a business application that we can build from other processes. It’s not a patchwork, and once it’s built (Mous’ internal program), there’s no limit to what we can do – it’s something we can be on forever. Just like our products, the only limit is our imagination.”
At a time when supply chains are still in flux, inflation is rapidly rising, the world economies are teetering on a recession and the war for Ukraine continues, Day has one less worry as he guides Mous’ future.
“I go home and sleep not worrying about my system falling apart, where the next data may have been missed, and where a formula wasn’t correct in Excel,” he says. “Now data is systemised and in one place, which gives me greater security and reassurance. It’s much more relaxing.“
In addition, he can rely on Arcus to help him navigate the multiple technology challenges that come with much larger transaction volumes and double-digit growth. “Arcus has a very friendly, very responsive team,” Day says. “Their project management is just insane and leagues above other consultants. They really understood our business and delivered on the schedule we needed.”