Narrowing the gap between back-end and front-end of the supply chain with Irina Rosca


Irina Rosca is the Senior Director of Global Supply Chain Operations at SKLZ. She has been working on supply chain operation for about 15 years, on various products from wine, spirit, food to textile, and now sporting goods at SKLZ, San Diego, California. Irina oversees an end to end global supply chain operations and strategy including inventory procurement and optimization at various locations, global logistics, and transportation, contract negotiations, systems implementation, customer service, reverse logistics and warehouse operations. Irina’s website covers high-quality articles on e-planning or e-commerce planning.



What does the backend of a seven-figure e-commerce business look like?

Today’s guest is Irina Rosca, the Senior Director of Global Supply Chain Operations at SKLZ. She strategizes and oversees e-commerce operations, from development process to shipment. As a global supply chain expert, Irina has found the business formula that leads to e-commerce success.


In this episode, Irina explains the basics of supply chain operation, how to create pre-orders before product launch and the strategy to thrive on Amazon. She walks us through the new model warehouse system and how to strategize a kickstarter campaign.


This is the Lean Commerce Podcast.



  •         The first thing you consider for supply chain optimization?

03:07 Narrowing the gap between back-end and front-end of the supply chain, the most common operation mistake seen in e-commerce companies.


  •         What’s the common mistakes e-commerce companies are making?

04:42 Drawback is not having many schemes of supply chain procedure, but the inability to forecast correctly.   

05:45 Understanding who the customer really is and looking at trends are the main challenge in making correct forecasts and ensuring inventory is sold

  •         What is the overall process Irina goes through to build the supply chain for the company?

08:00 It’s a three step process: analyze the product, find the best opportunity for manufacturing, and identify the impact it can have on the market.

08:53 Irina showcases a real life example of the process behind selling sunglassess

10:03 Why aggregating production for similar products is important to the process

10:49 The key items to start with are: do you understand the consumer, the trends, the marketplace and the acceptable price. Irina also explains pre-order product kickstarters.


  •         What are the benefits of sourcing internationally v/s sourcing domestically?

13:20 International sourcing has a lower cost.

14:26 Sourcing in the United States is less negotiable, specifically for minimum order quantities.


  •         How do you go about finding competitive vendors?

16:08 Use Alibaba marketplace as a starting point and ask for referrals from a sourcing agent or local resources.

19:30 NOTE: You as the importer have full responsibility for what you bring into this country and you should be ensuring it’s a quality product.


  •         How do you approach the negotiation part, when you are trying to scale up?

21:00 Share forecasts with suppliers and make product components visible.

23:45 Understand cost components, create forecasts and cut the costs across the supply chain.


  •         What’s the best ways to start co-branding?

25:05: Visit your vendor to personally check the line and get as many details about the product as you can.


26:55 Avoid the mistake of promising something you can’t deliver.

27:40 How to visit an international factory through sourcing agents.

29:00 Ensure a collaborative management between you, sourcing agent and suppliers and utilize data to educate everybody involved.


30:00  A sourcing agent wants two things, their compensation and fee

31:48 How to create symbiotic collaborative work between manufacturer, sourcing agent and your company.

35:09 Collaborative work as it applies to high engineering or molding equipment managed by a certain factory or a sourcing team.


36:19 How to manage supply chain in cohesion with product lifecycle, shelf life, and market trends.


39:21 Part Two: The transportation and delivery side of the supply chain.

40:33 Why it’s important to outsource delivery service when you don’t have the core competence in distribution and an example of a case study from the San Diego Company.

43:15 How a good delivery system impacts the entire brand perception

46:37 What to look for when finding a partner to handle the delivery.


50:50 The benefits and disadvantages of launching your product on your site before listing it on Amazon.

54:00 The importance of having product strategy before launching any product on and how it will control the data around our products making sure the extra cost of Amazon is covered.


MENTIONED PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND RESOURCES  Transportation company recommended for small-medium businesses.  Transportation company recommended for small-medium businesses. : Irina’s website where she writes about Last Mile Delivery  A detailed overview of supply chain  An organization providing education that connects supply chain professionals


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