Co-Founder & CFO Sternglas
STERNGLAS: timepieces for discerning purists
We have at least one thing in common – it is time that drives what we do. While Xentral works hard to provide everyone with more of it, the STERNGLAS team designs and develops the tools to help you keep track of it in style. The brand’s timepieces and accessories impress with their high quality and fittingly timeless design.
The beautiful watches are affordable, in spite of their high-quality appeal. Dustin Fontaine, who founded the startup back in 2016 via a Kickstarter campaign, says good design and high quality don’t have to be expensive. The designers take inspiration from Bauhaus in meeting this objective. They focus on what matters – without losing sight of the details. The young company also works as closely as possible with its customers in the development of its automatic and quartz watches and attaches great importance to honesty and transparency.
Never losing track of time or the things that matter and backed by a strong community – STERNGLAS and Xentral have a few things in common. With all these similarities, it was only a matter of time before the two companies’ paths would cross and a collaboration would be born.
The challenge: Lists, lists, and more lists
The story of STERNGLAS began in a small watch manufacturer in Münster, where founder Dustin Fontaine worked as an intern. He is still putting a lot of craftsmanship into the watches made by his startup today.
That said, a lot of laborious manual work also went into background processes. Data increasingly got lost in Google Sheets and became ever harder to manage. The result was not only a loss of flexibility – it also cost the creative watch designers a lot of time.
The biggest pain points for STERNGLAS
Warehouse management and invoicing were managed using billbee, while shipping was handled via the Sendcloud app in Shopify. Then there were the lists. Numerous lists, shared in the form of google sheets and annotated with a plethora of comments. This setup presented countless problems.
- The team had to continuously build workarounds, which kept leading to more problems.
- So much time was being wasted on maintaining data and process handling.
- Information such as item master data had to be transferred manually, resulting in duplicates and errors.
- Shipping was not directly linked with the warehouse management system.
- Warehousing was suboptimal – processes such as reserving goods or mapping JIT bills of materials couldn’t be implemented.
New business sector, new problems
There was also the issue that the existing infrastructure was set up exclusively for B2C trading. But B2B trading has played an increasingly major role for STERNGLAS since mid-2019 onwards. The company’s timepieces are sold by more than 300 jewelers internationally, including Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Combining the processing of B2C and B2B orders within one system led to ongoing problems.
“Payment deadlines, payment conditions, or commission payments were a real pain,” says Henning, recalling a chapter that is now fortunately very much done with.
xentral ERP gave the watchmaker more time
If it wasn’t already clear enough, this was the point when it was crystal clear that the company’s existing systems were no longer able to provide the functions STERNGLAS needed. In their search for a solution to resolve their numerous issues, the STERNGLAS team came across xentral.
An initial test of the ERP software and the first steps into the system soon made it clear what value Xentral could add for the watchmaker: “Fortunately, many functions that we used to have to spend a lot of time mapping manually are already set up as standard options in Xentral,” Henning enthuses. “We’ve been able to bring together and simplify many different steps using Xentral.”
One of the first and most important steps was getting away from lists. “A lot of these tables don’t even exist any longer,” says Henning, visibly relieved. “There is now a master data set containing all items along with all the important information. We no longer have to manually compile everything.”
Growth report: What has changed for STERNGLAS since switching to Xentral?
Thanks to Xentral, STERNGLAS was able to centralize the management of item and address data very quickly, and the new system is now saving time, increasing the reliability of processes, and boosting product quality. The company is saving around 20 hours every week, while the number of orders per month has gone up from 1,500 to 2,000. These are areas in which the watchmaker has particularly benefitted from the boost to business provided by Xentral.
As regards accounting, Xentral performs semi-automated reconciliation of payments across all of the company’s accounts, such as Klarna or Shopify Payments. To support B2B trading, xentral automates outgoing direct debits and uploads these to the banking interface.
The goods receipt process is now more structured. Various logistics processes can also be completed more efficiently thanks to proper separation of processes. An inventory can be taken at the push of a button.
The biggest advantage is an additional step in quality control: Thanks to Xentral, warehouse staff now have a simple tool that enables them to check specific goods. This avoids any watches getting damaged on their way to their buyers. The result is a significant reduction in the number of returns.
Transparency is important to STERNGLAS – and not just in terms of external communication. Internal data and processes also need to be as transparent as possible. Xentral allows the team to perform SQL database queries with ease and present the data in individual reports – with preset filters and at the click of a button. This also saves significant time in day-to-day business.
The STERNGLAS team’s favorite tools:
- Order overview
- Dispatch center
- Payment receipt/Dunning
- Fast-lane shipping
Ready for new markets with Xentral
Henning already knows where STERNGLAS is headed: “We want to continue to inspire as many people as possible with classic, handcrafted watches – not just in Germany and Austria, but worldwide.”
The young company is currently most strongly positioned in Germany and neighboring Austria. The team also uses Xentral to manage its cross-border e-commerce: “We use Xentral’s delivery threshold app to ensure our compliance with local tax regulations and the OSS EU-wide tax reporting system, so we can report our tax declaration correctly in the EU,” says the CFO.
With this setup, going from serving the EU to the international market is just one Xentral app away.
2016 in Hamburg
Shopify Shopify Plus
Where Xentral helped most
Saving 20 hours per week, additional step in quality control, fewer returns, 33% increase in orders