How Outlaw Soaps Sped Up Their Fulfillment Process By 116.7% With Merchant Plus [Case Study]

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Learn how Outlaw Soaps utilizes ShipBob’s blended fulfillment solution, Merchant Plus, in their own warehouse to maximize efficiency and minimize fulfillment times. 

“As it turned out, the new process of scanning each item for greater quality control didn’t slow us down at all. Our employees’ ability to pick, pack, and ship orders has increased two-fold since we implemented Merchant Plus. We went from fulfilling around 30 orders per person per hour to anywhere from 60-70.” 

– Jacob Skidmore, VP of Operations at Outlaw Soaps

Customer Profile

Russ and Danielle Vincent are inspired by nature and how certain smells can transport you back to a certain moment in time. And not only that, they found that science backed up that sentiment: scents rooted in real life can actually make you feel better. As a result, Outlaw Soaps focuses on creating soaps, body washes, beard oils, and other body care items to help people stay inspired.  

Key metrics

  • 116.7% increase in picking and packing speed
  • 973.5% reduction in error rate
  • 60+ orders per person per hour
  • 2 week full onboarding process 
  • 90% of orders are DTC

About Outlaw Soaps

Feeling burnt out by the Los Angeles grind, Russ and Danielle Vincent found refuge in the pleasant memories they made on their honeymoon. On their trip, they picked up a ragged-edge soap from a farm store as a souvenir. Each time Danielle sniffed the soap, it instantly transported her back to their desert getaway. This got Danielle thinking: what other scents could invoke inspiration? 

Over time, Danielle created soaps of her own, using scents that were meaningful to her: buttery leather, campfire smoke, spicy cinnamon and clove, fresh grass, earthy sandalwood, and more. As it turned out, there were plenty of like-minded people looking for items that transported them back to pleasant memories of the Wild West, glasses of fine whiskey, and the coziness of home on the range. 

As orders increased steadily, Outlaw Soaps needed a fulfillment solution that was flexible and nimble. We spoke with Outlaw Soaps’ VP of Operations, Jacob Skidmore, to learn more about the feisty fragrance and body care brand and how they utilize ShipBob’s Merchant Plus solution to quickly and efficiently fulfill orders. 

Discovering a modern warehouse management system

As told to ShipBob by Jacob Skidmore, VP of Operations at Outlaw Soaps.

We’ve changed how we handled fulfillment a few times over the years. Between supply chain issues, manufacturing delays, and other challenges, we ultimately decided to keep operations in-house for the utmost flexibility. 

As a small business, we have to be really agile. We do a lot of limited releases and will only offer a couple hundred units of those exclusive items. By handling fulfillment in-house, we could create those items really quickly, getting them produced and out the door in just a couple of days to get feedback and make product decisions fast. 

In talking with ShipBob, we heard about a new solution they were rolling out: Merchant Plus, which lets brands with their own warehouse use ShipBob’s warehouse management system along with the option for a more blended approach to tap into their fulfillment network, capacity, and carrier rates, which was very intriguing to us.

Prior to ShipBob’s Merchant Plus platform, there was no way to do a blended fulfillment approach. Either we had to completely fulfill our own orders, or have a 3PL fulfill all of our orders – they couldn’t easily be fulfilled using a mix of both. 

Around March, we got Merchant Plus implemented so we could use ShipBob’s warehouse management system (WMS) to fulfill our orders in-house at our Reno, Nevada facility. It works really well. The blended approach — while using a ShipBob fulfillment center in the Chicago area — allows us to scale. 

Having a smooth, straightforward transition to Merchant Plus 

Getting the Merchant Plus WMS implemented was a really simple process. Our implementation specialist, Daryl, walked us through the process, while we got all the equipment we needed shipped to our Reno facility. We did a virtual tour of a ShipBob location to understand the pick and pack process, and teach us the system. By the time the equipment arrived, we were familiar with the system and its functionality. 

Daryl was instrumental in getting us set up. He basically held our hands through the first couple of days. The implementation went incredibly well, as compared to other systems I’ve worked with. 

I’ve been through the implementation and usage of various WMS and ERP systems. In those cases, the planning and implementation took a long time – from 9-18 months — and if something wasn’t set up correctly, it ended up shutting down operations for several days. With ShipBob, we got the equipment, planning, and prep work all done in 2 weeks and it was very easy. 

Our employees got the hang of Merchant Plus really quickly. We’ve had no problem fulfilling orders now that we have the system down. 

Underestimating how much more efficient we’d become

In the beginning of implementing Merchant Plus, I was concerned about how it’d fit our unique processes, and if our people were going to be able to use it as quickly as our previous method. Just like the implementation of any other software or system, we had to be able to adapt our practices. 

We went from having our products out in front of the pickers, using inventory that was right there, to having bins and items that people had to scan for each pick, pack, etc.

I thought, “This is probably going to slow down fulfillment. We’re only going to be able to get half of the orders out as usual.” But after about a week, my fears about slower fulfillment disappeared.   

“As it turned out, the new process of scanning each item for greater quality control didn’t slow us down at all. Our employees’ ability to pick, pack, and ship orders has increased two-fold since we implemented Merchant Plus. We went from fulfilling around 30 orders per person per hour to anywhere from 60-70.”

– Jacob Skidmore, VP of Operations at Outlaw Soaps

Merchant Plus also helped improve our error rate. Before, when we were hand-picking products without scanning them, we averaged about 7 to 9 mispicks per week. Now we’re down to about 1 mispick every two weeks, and mispicks are only tied to items we don’t have barcodes for. Merchant Plus has been very effective, and it is a very easy system to navigate.

Improving company culture with Merchant Plus

We’re going to be working on finding a balance of redundancy and agility with the Merchant Plus system. We’ve not only been able to reduce our error rate significantly, but the time it takes us to launch items has gone from weeks to days. We even have a lot more flexibility to add extra touches like special thank you notes. 

Knowing we can still lean on ShipBob’s fulfillment center(s) if we need to and have the ability to scale up to meet demand quickly is quite reassuring. I hate having all of my eggs in one basket. If we were fulfilling orders out of one location and something catastrophic happened, it would be very concerning for us. Having the backup of the blended fulfillment approach is great peace of mind. 

“There has been a change in our team since we adopted Merchant Plus, and got it up and running. Previously, people hated being in fulfillment – that was the job they didn’t want to do for the day. Now it’s the opposite. Members of our team come to me and ask to be doing fulfillment full time. For me, that is an indication that the system is really great.” 

– Jacob Skidmore, VP of Operations at Outlaw Soaps

I’ve really liked using Merchant Plus. I’ve been with numerous other companies that didn’t have a WMS like Merchant Plus, and I really wish it had been an option. It makes the fulfillment piece much, much better. ShipBob has completely won me over with Merchant Plus. 

Outlaw Soaps’ team at ShipBob

Emily Krieger 

Emily is ShipBob’s Merchant Success Manager for Merchant Plus. Emily helped the Outlaw team get started with Merchant Plus.

Blair Britt

Blair is a Merchant Success Manager at ShipBob and helps support Outlaw.

Daryl Salyards

Daryl is a part of the Merchant Plus Implementation team. He helped Outlaw get onboarded with the Merchant Plus solution.

Get started with ShipBob

If Merchant Plus sounds like the fulfillment solution your ecommerce brand needs in order to scale, request a quote to connect with the ShipBob team.

Written By:

Meredith is a Content Marketing Specialist at ShipBob, where she writes articles, eGuides, and other resources to help growing ecommerce businesses master their logistics and fulfillment.

Read all posts written by Meredith Flora