Better Nature is an Australian wellness brand that designs and manufactures 100% naturally sourced products to help relieve everyday aches and pains. Their pain relief products are sourced from well-known active herbal ingredients with clinically proven therapeutic effects. The company is passionate about making affordable, high-quality natural medicine more accessible to everyday people. We spoke with CFO/COO Ange Dudney to discuss how she was able to get this small start-up business up and running successfully with the integration of inventory platforms such as Unleashed.
Hi Ange, Would you mind introducing yourself and a bit about Better Nature?
I am the CFO/COO for Better Nature, a brand of a top wellness company called Netura. We sell 100% naturally sourced topical analgesic pain relief creams, which are vegan and vegetarian. Our creams were developed after our Founder, Vel Pajic, a Physiotherapist, found that many of his clients were allergic to the regular pain relief creams sold in pharmacies, so he developed a solution with no harmful chemicals. When we first launched, it was very topical at the time because people were starting to look for wellness products that were vegan and vegetarian, so it was one of the first of its kind, which was very exciting to work with when that all started happening. At the start, we didn’t have many international requests but definitely Australia wide; since then, we’ve received FDA approval to sell our products in the United States. We’ve also sold our products in Serbia, and we’re now looking to sell in the UK in the future.
I worked at IKEA as the finance manager there, so I went from working at a massive business to then working at a small start-up. Essentially, I went from a well-established company where everything was already set up to doing it all myself. We had no accounting system, no inventory system, and nothing had been set up at all, so when I came in at the very beginning, I had to start searching how to get the business running.
I realised the inventory system in Xero didn’t have the right level of inventory features our business requires, so I started looking around. I joined a bookkeepers forum on Facebook, and they talked quite a lot about Unleashed, and it came up a few times as being a cloud-based software. So I started looking into Unleashed primarily because our products must be batch tracked and have expiry dates, so we needed a software system to record all of that information if we ever needed to do a product recall. I needed advice because I had come across a few different software systems but wasn’t sure which one was best suited for Better Nature. Fortunately, someone on the bookkeepers’ forum mentioned Business Continuum as a company that provided advice on inventory platforms, so I contacted the company, and that’s how I met Minal. Since then, we’ve been getting guidance not only for that platform but also for other platforms in our business, so it’s been extremely beneficial.
What are some of the features of Unleashed that you know are massive time savers for scaling?
With the stock on hand report and batch tracking, it’s so easy to quickly check what we have in inventory in just one click, which I find has been a huge time saver. Also, doing sales orders is so simple now; it’s just a few clicks in Unleashed. The month-end is now straightforward as well as the inventory report is integrated with Xero; we never have any issues with our stock counts. Previously, we used to do the monthly stock takes before we sent it to a 3PL, and now it’s clicking a button, typing it in, and it will say your stock levels, so it’s easy to see where the problems are.
Is Unleashed still a platform that will help you in the foreseeable future? Do you see it as a robust system that will grow with the needs of your business?
Yes, definitely, I think, particularly with the US and UK, that’s where we see the growth being in the future; we’re also now focusing solely on Healthcare professionals. We’ve also just launched a new product which we’re hopefully going to get from our manufacturer, so that is quite exciting. So I don’t see us moving away from Unleashed as it does everything we need.
What were you looking for in a partner? What were some of the change management hurdles you felt you needed specific attention?
We were looking for someone that understood not only inventory but also accounting software. Our aim was to ensure that it worked with Xero and get all the inventory recorded correctly. I wanted someone to be able to advise the inventory side and the accounting side and explain the strengths and weaknesses between different inventory software.
We have a couple of stages in our production process where we need to purchase and supply the packaging to our co-manufacturer. Even though we know all the steps involved, no one within our business had any experience using the inventory system to manage our component stock and the production process in an inventory system environment. So we needed someone to teach us the exact way to construct a product from components and manage our production in an inventory system environment.
Was there anything you felt was different or unique from a consulting perspective that you weren’t expecting in terms of knowledge or experience?
Yes, for me, it was Minal’s understanding of both the accounting and inventory sides of a business. You can get a software expert that knows everything about inventory but might not know exactly how a journal works. However, Minal understood the bookkeeping side of things as well, which was good for me because that’s how my brain works; it doesn’t work on the inventory side, it works on the accounting side. Having someone that understands both sides and business needs as a whole is great because he brought up solutions that we had never thought about. He also helped us the whole way through; if something wasn’t working, he was able to help us troubleshoot and explain, “okay, this is why it isn’t working, you have to do it this way”, so that was very valuable. It wasn’t just Unleashed and Xero that he understood; he had a lot of knowledge on other software such as Stripe and business processes such as payments and billing.
Regarding the journey and the experience, were there any aspects that you reflect on that worked well or that you would do differently next time?
Business Continuum provided us with a lot of hands-on experience with the new system. It was through playing around with the application during the walkthrough and demonstration phase that we were able to get familiarised with the system. The hands-on experience meant we were able to learn exactly what we needed to know and what we didn’t need to know, which guided the training for the rest of the team. Also having the training period two weeks before the launch date was super beneficial as we were able to ask questions in the weeks that followed without having a huge gap. I would definitely recommend anyone taking on a new inventory system to do the training as close as possible to the launch date.
What would you say are the key reasons businesses shouldn’t delay evaluating software or contacting Business Continuum.
In terms of the software, I’d say Unleashed has definitely made my life significantly easier from using it; it makes the month-end a breeze in terms of inventory and stock counting. Xero does not have those capabilities, particularly if your business requires batch tracking, expiry date tracking, and building components of a product to get a finished product. So I definitely find Unleashed very easy to use for assembling goods. If you’re a business that is currently trying to track inventory manually, it’s not worth it, it’s a lot easier to use a platform, and it doesn’t cost that much to integrate it, saving you a lot of money in the long run.
In terms of Business Continuum, we have been using their services since 2018 numerous times throughout the years, every time we’ve rolled out a new product, so I would have no hesitance in recommending their services. I’ve tried to find something local here in WA, but I couldn’t find anyone who offers the guidance Business Continuum does. In terms of working with Minal, he’s been so helpful, and there’s never a question that he hasn’t been able to answer or resolve; he also has contacts with people from other platforms. Whenever things are not working, he’s able to resolve it if I can’t do it myself, so I would highly recommend going ahead with Business Continuum.
If you are looking for the best suitable inventory management system for your business, then please contact us to book a time to match your needs and objectives.