Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Roy Avidor, CEO of B2B automation platform Cymbio, discusses why all companies should think like startups and why retailers need to treat employees well.
Name: Roy Avidor
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
I think that we all can and should learn from multiple other industries’ leading companies, as there are stars and gems in every industry. Utilizing another vertical’s best practice to your own industry could sometimes be more beneficial, time saving or growth generating than inventing completely new methods.
I’ve seen a retailer implementing an accountant’s method of storing books in the retailer’s triple A retail locations, thus saving 30 percent on stock room size and reducing sales associates’ time away from consumers on the sales floor. Simple implementation in a retail environment of a very standard technique from a different industry that makes a whole lot of difference.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
Simple. In store: appreciative of great customer service and enthusiastic sales associates. Online: appreciative of simple processes and keeping up to the retailer’s promise on delivery and service.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
Customer service is key. I mostly appreciate loyalty, love and empathy for the company from its employees. If they treat their team right, I want to support them, and I’m confident they will treat me right when needed.
What’s your typical work uniform?
Since all my business travel has been halted, my work uniform has altered to jeans or jeans shorts, a black or white T-shirt and sandals. Always from brands we work with.
Which fashion era is your favorite?
I like all eras of fashion as it expresses a mood or the vibe of the era. If I had to choose one, I would go with ’90s grunge. Nothing beats simple jeans, T-shirt paired with either a pair of Birkenstock or Dr. Martens.
Who’s your style icon?
Michael Jordan. It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. I think Jordan’s leadership, confidence, drive, hard work, dedication and “all in” mentality is the ultimate (style) icon.
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
Offering brands a holistic hub to automate all of their dropship and marketplace work with all retailers and partners. We decided to take on all processes, from integrations, set up with each retailer including all the small details like imagery, taxonomy, mapping, etc., daily operations, and all the way through billing, cancelations and returns. This allows any organization to start dropshipping and selling on marketplaces, and for us to support all businesses from SMBs to enterprise. This was about four years ago, however the past 12 months made us feel like we made a good decision a few years ago, and we doubled down on this strategy.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
Our biggest pride is the team we’ve built, the team’s commitment to one another and to our brands and partners. We are a highly motivated, passionate and committed team with the agility of a jet ski. Our team’s common denominator is our mentality of doing whatever is needed to make our brands and partners happy. We usually have fun while doing so.
What can companies learn from COVID-19?
Move fast and constantly better your best, as you go.
Adding a dash of startup mentality is crucial for organizations. We’ve seen so much innovation in five months, in so many ways and areas, that I think we can finally say it is now scientifically proven: Innovation doesn’t have to take years. Being innovative, agile and adaptive is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
Setting up and increasing sales channels, with an emphasis on online channels and the ability to logistically support it. With brick-and-mortar being closed on and off for the next 12 months or more, I think every brand should establish a wider online presence; having your own e-comm site is one thing—you should also make sure to be where your consumers are. We see dropshipping and marketplaces becoming more and more significant in brands’ and retailers’ revenue streams, and I believe this will be significantly increasing in the coming years.
What keeps you up at night?
Global increasing unemployment rates and the long-term implications that the global community will experience post this crisis.
What makes you most optimistic?
People. Society. I love seeing people and communities unite, helping each other. It feels like this is being emphasized in times of need and crisis, and I think empathy and solidarity show the most beautiful side of human beings.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
Cymbio’s dropship and marketplace automation platform seamlessly connects and automates all processes for brands, retailers and vendors. Since COVID, we added tens of new supported retailers and systems. We can now easily connect any brand, wholesaler and supplier to any retailer. From big box, department stores, medium-large retailers to boutiques and independents no matter which systems they use: ERPs, OMS, IMS, WMS, 3PLs e-comm platforms, PIMs, no matter what data structures or vehicles they use: EDI, API, Json, FTP, Files, cloud services, etc. From a trendy small brand to iconic brands, Cymbio now takes care of everything with everyone for the brand. From integration and retailer set up, product data, imagery, mapping, taxonomy, inventory syncing, orders, billing, tracking, returns.