Reducing Marginal Costs in a B2B Wholesale Business, the Assabban Success Story

With OrderCast, Assabban SA managed to double their order volume in just one year. How? By reducing the operational costs associated with processing customer orders.
Michael Saifoudine
Michael Saifoudine
April 6, 2023
mn. read

Assabban SA was founded in 1985, a family business still run by three brothers. Closing in on 40 years of wholesale experience, the company has seen its operations go from being driven first by fax and phone, then by email, and then - just in the past few years - by e-commerce. This last push, based on OrderCast’s turnkey online ordering solution, has a host of lessons for any wholesale business looking to make their customers, employees, and owners happier thanks to the streamlining power of digital tools.

Before OrderCast

Like all wholesalers up to a certain point, and like many wholesalers still today, Assabban’s ordering process was based on a manual, error-laden workflow. Whether they were ordering large bolts of cloth or thousands of zippers, their customers would call, fax or email their needs. That meant having an Assabban employee on hand to transcribe the order and begin processing it through the warehouse to get it into the hands of the delivery company.

A typical order looked like this:

Needless to say, having that level of detail to handle for each order meant hours and hours of work on both sides, lots of opportunities for errors to appear (whether in the customer’s original message or during processing), and that it was very difficult to make any changes once an order had been placed.

The end result was frustration for all involved, and a closed circle of wholesale buying – after all, with an intensively manual ordering process, it only made sense to restrict one’s business to the biggest clients, the ones who would order the largest quantities each time, to both maximize revenues and minimize errors and hassles.

After, with OrderCast

Assabban SA had a big advantage over other wholesalers: founder Hassan Assabban’s son, Ayoub.

Ayoub Assabban, Co-Founder of OrderCast, at the ASSABBAN SA warehouse in Belgium

Ayoub is an entrepreneur, a digital native who knows that digital tools, properly built to fit the needs of real people, could now make B2B ordering more like the Amazon-like e-commerce experience that we’ve all gotten used to in our personal lives. How did he know? Because in 2020, Ayoub headed into the warehouse to help the family business face the COVID-19 crisis, and he got hands-on experience with every step of the ordering and fulfillment process.

Here’s his take on how things have changed:

“In wholesale, when a new client would arrive, you had a huge marginal cost. Accepting a new customer meant taking on a huge number of emails, faxes, spending tons of time on them. That’s why wholesalers wanted big clients only, because each individual client had an elevated cost to serving them.

So by putting in OrderCast at Assabban, it’s not that revenues doubled overnight - but they probably went up by 20% over the past two years. The key is that those revenues are coming from a much larger number of customers, because the marginal cost of accepting a new client has crashed! No more emails, no more faxes, the client selects and pays online, they follow their order online, they see that it’s been mailed… The costs within the company, in terms of time and money, are so much lower.

Assabban today has the ability to serve thousands of clients, and to do it in different countries - they’ve opened Portugal, Germany, places that they couldn’t do before, because there wasn’t anybody who could deal with faxes or emails sent in German or Portuguese.

Plus, now there’s the Stripe integration, so people pay online! No more sending bank details, sorting through errors in the reference or the total, waiting for transfers before sending the product, etc.

The marginal cost game in wholesale can absolutely change now, because with something like OrderCast, a wholesaler can deal with 1000 different clients instead of relying on a few big clients. So today my dad is much more comfortable, as a business owner, because he isn’t constantly worried about losing big chunks of the business. What I’ve seen with his business, and with most of our customers, is that OrderCast lets a wholesale business grow through diversification, which is a very good thing over the long term.”

Want OrderCast to reduce your wholesale business’s marginal costs, saving time and boosting profits? Get in touch with one of our sales team today.

Published by
Michael Saifoudine

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Michael Saifoudine, OrderCast
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