Next Gen Nicotine Delivery Conference Recap with Saadiq

VanGo’s CEO, Saadiq Daya, comes by his business intelligence honestly. Before starting VanGo in 2014, Saadiq worked as a consultant with a focus on improving processes and productivity through technology. He's always been fascinated by the possibilities that exist in this "Cyber Age." With VanGo, Saadiq had an opportunity to put his passion to practice. The integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system he built has allowed the company to reach new heights of efficiency and take their passion for flavor to the international stage.  

Saadiq's background as a business consultant and present-day role as a leader in the vape industry earned him an invitation to speak at this year's Next Generation Nicotine Delivery Conference in London, UK. The conference, held this past November 13th and 14th, welcomed leaders from across the industry, and Saadiq was honored to be numbered alongside speakers from Germany, US, India and Denmark – to name a few!

Saadiq took to the stage on the 13th to deliver a speech on the impact of ERP systems in the vaping industry. Here are some highlights from his talk:

The History of ERPs

  • The term ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning was coined in the 90s and referred to the systems that were replacing the old Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) systems that started mid-century.  
  • ERPs were born from a rising demand for manufactured goods, and thus a need to better manage those goods and gain a competitive advantage.  
  • For a growing business, better margins mean the ability to take more risks, reinvest and offer competitive pricing.  
  • As the computer age ramped up, this type of software became increasingly common, and today nearly every business you interact with is using some kind of ERP system. Today, software has seen another evolution, as the cloud-based era is in full swing.  
  • The cloud-based era has changed the software landscape drastically and has given rise to what Saadiq calls the Cyborg Age.  
  • Why the Cyborg Age? Because today we are seeing a merging of the biological and computer worlds.  The Cyborg Age started a while ago, and as we continue to immerse ourselves in technology, we become more “capable” than ever before.  
  • As a society, we can remember anything, communicate across the world, answer any question and solve any equation.  

What Do ERPs Do Exactly? 

  • In brief, a company’s ERP system is the software that facilitates the flow of information between departments. 
  • ERPs manage everything from Human Resources processes like pay and time management to Material processes like production schedules and stock information. Capital resources, operational efficiency, all these things can be managed by an ERP.  
  • The biggest impact of an effective ERP system is on scalability. Basically, ERPs allow a company to make the best use of their resources while mitigating losses incurred through variable factors.  
  • Things like fraud are a lot harder to pull off thanks to these systems.  

The Business Components of ERPs 

  • An ERP is the keeper of all a company’s information. It allows for full transparency and easy collaboration between members of different departments.  
  • The business components of an ERP include: finance, ecommerce, project management, manufacturing, CRM, supply chain, compliance, HR and management.  
  • What this means is a salesperson can easily access customer recorders, backorders, invoices and so on... Just as a production worker is always aware of upcoming products and promotions.  

Key Considerations 

  • An effective ERP system should allow you to access information from any part of your company. It should give you real time, accurate information on what’s happening in your company. It should enable you to make decision on the fly based on a valid source of information.  
  • When choosing an ERP, it’s important to consider the following:  
    • Budget — Is your company ready to make the necessary investments of both time and money? 
    • Timeline — Choose a realistic implementation timeline with achievable milestones. 
    • Objectives — Always keep your objectives in mind, test for ROI, and eliminate processes that do not add value.  
    • Professional advice — Make sure you get input from experienced professionals so that your project doesn’t go sideways!  

VanGo’s Journey 

  • When Saadiq started VanGo, there weren’t a lot of ERP options out there for such a new industry. The biggest challenge VanGo encountered was trying to manage and sell so many skus in an efficient way.  
  • VanGo’s goal was to be the e-liquid source for true vape connoisseurs and to open up the doors to the flaving market.  
  • VanGo made a name for themselves making flavors that no one else was making like coffees, heavy menthols and pipes.  
  • But with all these flavors, complexities arose.  
  • That’s where software came in to play.  
  • As VanGo’s operations grew in complexity, so too did their software.  
  • Saadiq was instrumental in the creation of a backend system to analyze trends and patterns within the company and across Canada. 
  • He also figured out how to tie manufacturing and fulfilment together in a way that the company could efficiently utilize the capital at its disposal.  
  • The other major challenge was navigating all the issues that came with offering so many SKUs. 
  • In 2017, VanGo finalized the foundations of their ERP system. This coincided with the company’s expansion to the UK!  

The Fishbowl Core 

  • After looking at many options, VanGo opted for a Fishbowl Core system as it provided the best ROI and integrated well with their custom software. 
  • The name “Fishbowl” comes from the way the system flows with all the data from all the software consolidated and reconciled in a central database.  
  • The central database allows VanGo to generate operational reports, KPIs, budgets, sales maps, etc. 
  • This centralized information allows the company to make better decisions and saves the team from having to worry about potential issues. As Saadiq puts it, “Our computerized self takes care of it!” 
  • This internal efficiency has given VanGo incredible freedom to innovate in the industry and spend years crafting flavors before releasing them. 
  • This software also facilitates communications with everyone from influencers to retailers.  
  • Our ERP system allows us to be both scalable and to transcend many restrictions of the physical world.  
  • Like Saadiq hoped, VanGo’s success in the world of flavor has elevated nicotine delivery. Vaping a VanGo flavor is an experience in and of itself. VanGo calls this flaving.  

The New Age of ERP Systems 

  • In summary, ERP systems and the Cyborg Age are here now and here to stay. 
  • These systems help to ensure a scalable and sustainable future, and we must continue to look for ways that technology can complement and enhance our abilities.  
  • The definition of an ERP is constantly changing, adapting and improving as technology advances.  
  • Just as society has moved from burning to vaping, it must also move from mechanical systems to computerized ones.  

As a company, VanGo has always prided itself on its business acumen, and with a CEO like Saadiq, it’s easy to see why.  

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