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Learn how the brand behind the world’s #1 roundnet game saved over $400,000 on shipping costs annually by utilising ShipBob’s WMS and global fulfilment network.
“Not only is the ShipBob WMS a lot less expensive than other ones I was looking at, but it is also more intuitive and user-friendly. ShipBob’s WMS was really appealing because it was so easy to learn and cost-effective.”Adam LaGesse, Global Warehousing Director at Spikeball
Spikeball describes their game as a “volleyball and foursquare hybrid.” The sport is played with 4 people, 1 ball, and 1 roundnet (think: small trampoline) and the goal is to score points by serving the ball into the net. Initially a hit with grade school P.E. classes, youth groups, and Ultimate Frisbee players, Spikeball has morphed into a global phenomenon that is both easy and fun to play. The game has even become an official sport and tournaments are played all over the world…and maybe soon in the Olympics!
- 1 Spikeball-operated warehouse in the US with ShipBob WMS
- 2 ShipBob outsourced fulfilment centres in Canada and Europe
- 3 countries of fulfilment (US, Canada, Poland)
- $400,000+ annual cost-savings on shipping alone
- 80% faster packing efficiency
While the game of Spikeball might have worldwide acclaim now, that hasn’t always been the case. A little-known fact about the sport is that it originated over 30 years ago and was briefly sold by Toys-R-Us in the 1980s.
Spikeball CEO, Chris Ruder, preserved his set from the 80s using duct tape, and despite it being held together by adhesive, Chris and his friends enthusiastically played whenever they could. When they played at the beach, onlookers would often approach them asking what the game was, how to play, and where they could get a set of their own.
The only problem: that iteration of Spikeball was only sold for two short years in the late 80s.
Knowing how much fun he and his friends had playing Spikeball, Chris had the idea to revive the game and bring it into the 21st century. Chris worked tirelessly to create the product and introduce Spikeball as a legitimate sport. Quickly, Spikeball caught on and the company reached $1 million in revenue in 2013 by selling their product online.
Shortly after, major retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI began carrying the product, and Spikeball was featured on Shark Tank. This exposure launched them into a new realm of popularity. As a result, Spikeball was on the global stage, and customers all over the world were interested in playing the sport.
In 2022, Spikeball tapped ShipBob to help them with their global supply chain strategy by utilising a hybrid approach: 1) ShipBob’s warehouse management system (WMS) in their owned US facility and 2) ShipBob’s global fulfilment network in Canada and Europe. This provided Spikeball the ability to send sets to their customers efficiently and cost-effectively, regardless of where they lived.
Learn more about how Spikeball has partnered with ShipBob to achieve warehouse efficiency and reduce shipping and operational costs.
Discovering an all-in-one WMS and outsourced fulfilment solution in ShipBob
As told to ShipBob by Adam LaGesse, Global Warehousing Director at Spikeball.
In early 2022, we started searching for a new fulfilment partner. Our previous 3PL was expensive and they didn’t offer us the customer support we needed. We were a small fish in a big pond.
We initially began looking for fulfilment partners in Europe. We thought we’d use a different 3PL for each region we wanted to be in and we’d operate out of our own warehouse in the United States.
It just so happened that around the time we were looking for a new partner, ShipBob reached out to us. As we did our research, we saw ShipBob had fulfilment centres in all of the areas we wanted to be in, and they were still growing quickly. Choosing to partner with ShipBob for our global fulfilment was easy – ShipBob had exactly what we were looking for.
Canada is our biggest market outside of the US. We were shipping from our Chicago area warehouse to Canada for a long time. We were missing out on revenue by taking on import fees and taxes. We wanted to outsource fulfilment there to reclaim some of that. We also wanted to help improve customer satisfaction by speeding up their order delivery time and avoiding those frustrating customs hold-ups.
Being in ShipBob’s Canadian fulfilment centre has been great for us.
When we decided to look for a WMS, we were mostly looking at systems that were native through our ERP. But since we were already using a ShipBob fulfilment centre in Europe, Anthony Watson from ShipBob told us about ShipBob’s WMS.
“It turns out that ShipBob’s WMS was exactly what we needed. The beautiful thing about it is everything was connected. I could log on to our ShipBob account and see everything in one place, no matter if I’m looking at our facility in Kankakee, IL, or the ShipBob fulfilment centres in Canada or Europe. It was all the same system. I didn’t have to learn various different platforms or deal with support representatives at different companies.”Adam LaGesse, Global Warehousing Director at Spikeball
Plus, if we experience any issues with syncing orders between systems, there’s one place we go to reconcile it. ShipBob is connected to our ERP, NetSuite, which is our single source of truth. Now we only have one place to troubleshoot and resolve potential issues across all logistics.
The hybrid fulfilment solution is a connected web. The interconnectedness is why we chose ShipBob.
Plus, not only is the ShipBob WMS a lot less expensive than other ones I was looking at, but it is also more intuitive and user-friendly. ShipBob’s WMS was really appealing because it was cost-effective and so easy to learn.
Adopting warehouse processes that improve efficiency & accuracy
Our ShipBob Implementation Specialist helped us tremendously during the WMS onboarding. Structurally, the way we had our warehouse set up was fine. We didn’t need to move racks or pack tables, but our processes needed to be reworked.
Luckily, we had a lot of support. ShipBob sent our Implementation Specialist out to our site to help us get our warehouse up and running. He basically set the system up for us. When he was done, he gave us the greenlight to start using it and it worked perfectly.
The hands-on onboarding from ShipBob taught us how to create efficient pick paths. Prior to ShipBob, we had our most popular products at the front. Through the implementation process we learned that if you’re commonly picking certain items, they should be stored in the back so you aren’t carrying them around while you’re picking other items. Our best sellers are at the end of the pick path now, so once we’ve picked those, we’re already back at the pack stations.
We even changed the way we stowed products. For example, we would have similar items in the same area — take shirts, for instance. Because they were so close together, there was a high likelihood that we picked the wrong size or the wrong colour because all of our shirts looked similar and were physically right beside each other. Once we set up ShipBob’s system, we were putting those similar items (that weren’t ordered together) in all different places in the warehouse. After that, our pick accuracy went way up.
Getting out of our own way of thinking was eye-opening.
Shifting from tribal knowledge that’s prone to error to a precise system
Prior to ShipBob, we were using a label-generation software in our warehouse. We didn’t even have pick locations or a computer at the packing table. Our manager would have to print labels order by order. She had to rely on her own knowledge to know what a certain order would weigh and what type of box it would need, and then she would select the shipping carrier based on what she thought would be the cheapest option.
It took months of experience in picking products and printing labels for employees to know how much something would cost to ship or what kind of box it would need. If it was incorrect, then we’d get a bill from the carrier saying we had miscalculated and we owed them more money. What we were spending on postage wasn’t always accurate. Our old way of doing things caused compounding inefficiencies.
But now the process for picking and packing with ShipBob is very straightforward. All our manager has to do is pick the orders, bring them back to the pack station, pack them up, and send them out. Boom, done.
Now she doesn’t have to worry about selecting carriers and putting weights and dimensions in herself, because the ShipBob WMS does that for her.
“We went from 3-4 people spending all day packing orders, and now we have our manager doing everything herself. She picks and packs orders from 7:00 am to noon, and then she’s done with DTC orders for the day. And now our team doesn’t have to rely on tribal knowledge for anything!”Adam LaGesse, Global Warehousing Director at Spikeball
We can rely on the automated system. All we have to do is scan the order, go where the system tells us, pick the item, then pack it. It’s way less stressful than our previous system. ShipBob has saved us time and labour costs.
Saving money on shipping via ShipBob’s carrier relationships
We were hesitant about leveraging ShipBob’s transportation management system at first – but it’s actually been really great. Before we were manually choosing rates for orders coming out of our warehouse, but now ShipBob’s WMS automatically selects the best delivery method for us so it costs us less and our customers get faster shipping.
We’re saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, just in postage. When we first got started, we estimated over $400,000 in savings.
Finding a like-minded partner to grow with
The people at ShipBob are really curious and they want honest feedback about how we’re using the system, what we like, and what we don’t like.
We went to ShipBob’s merchant event, FULFILLED 2022, last year and we got to talk with leadership about what we wanted to see from ShipBob. Within a couple of months, we saw our list of items actually get launched or on the product roadmap, which is guided by our needs and actual merchants’ requests. It is a drastic difference from our last 3PL. They listen and quickly get their customers’ needs live in their software.
I like that ShipBob is a young company. Spikeball is a young company too. We both have a lot of growing to do, so it’s cool that we get to grow together. ShipBob is trying something that other 3PLs haven’t done – offering the tools they’ve built and actually use in their fulfilment centres — to us, their customer. It feels like a really honest and fruitful relationship. ShipBob is always introducing new products and listening to our feedback. That’s an important consideration when you’re a customer.
The future of Spikeball
At Spikeball, we’re coming out with new products all of the time. There are tons of people who don’t own our product – or have even heard about Spikeball! It feels like an endless market, even though we sell millions of sets worldwide each year.
We’re very dedicated to the sport of roundnet. We want to make that our priority. Our heart is in it. Last year, we had the very first world championship, which was a huge milestone. An international governing body was created for roundnet that we helped create but we keep our hands off of it to make it a legitimate organisation.
In our eyes, the most legitimate thing a sport can do is be in the Olympics. That’s where roundnet is headed…the Olympics!
Spikeball’s team at ShipBob
Mary Kate Durkin
Mary Kate is the Account Executive that brought Spikeball onboard with ShipBob.
Blair is a Merchant Success Manager at ShipBob and supports the Spikeball team along with other ShipBob WMS customers.
As ShipBob’s VP of Strategy, Anthony oversees many aspects of the ShipBob WMS and acts as Spikeball’s Executive Sponsor.
Get started with ShipBob
Does ShipBob’s WMS sound like the fulfilment solution your brand needs to scale? Contact our team to learn more and start shipping from your own warehouse.