Reveel’s relationship with Natural Partners began with a cold call. I reached out to Tim Engvall, COO of Natural Partners, on a whim, and he invited me to reach out to his newly hired director of distribution and VP of finance. When neither one of them were receptive to my outreach, I tried to get back in touch with Tim. He didn’t call me back.
So on a Friday before the Fourth of July, I walked into the Natural Partners office. Everything I was wearing screamed “salesperson,” but I recognized Tim ascending the stairs just to the left of the receptionist.
Instead of engaging the receptionist and missing out on my chance to get Tim’s attention, I addressed him directly, saying, “Hey, Tim!”
Fortunately, he recognized my name and invited me to come upstairs with him and chat in his office.
Natural Partners had just decided to reinvent itself. They sell nutritional supplements, vitamins, homeopathic products, supplies for alternative healthcare providers, and other wellness products. They had brought in Zappos to help mentor them as they developed a new culture strategy, and as it turned out, they felt I fit right in with that culture.
It turned out that Tim had just hired a new director of distribution logistics. Natural Partners had been shipping with FedEx for years, but never thought much about the contracts they were renegotiating. Only when they hired Reveel did they really get transparency into their shipping costs and start finding ways to strategically cut cost.
Tim, his Director of Distribution, VP of Finance and I met in their break room. At the end of our conversation, Tim handed me a copy of Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.
“You’re part of the family now; I want you to have this,” he told me. I read it a few months later on vacation, and it shaped a lot of the beliefs I now put into practice within our community at Reveel.
From the beginning, our relationship with Natural Partners has been grounded in shared values. Both of us believe that every conversation doesn’t have to be transactional — we can talk about our families, hobbies, and ourselves as individuals — in doing that, we’ve developed an incredible amount of trust and transparency.
Personally, I value the way Tim says what he thinks. He’s honest and transparent, which is one of our core values at Reveel. We want to have trusting relationships like that with all of our clients.
Right away, Complete Consulting (the former name of Reveel) was able to help Natural Partners separate out costs for different sides of the business and different product lines. That data gave them a much better understanding of what their costs looked like.
Reveel also helped Natural Partners better see the workings of its end-to-end supply chain. Tracking shipping costs as products move through the supply chain has revealed new opportunities for savings.
Years later and after another project delivered by Reveel, Natural Partners had a three-day due diligence session with a potential investor.
Natural Partners announced to the investor during that meeting that UPS was going to sign a shipping contract with them, with projected savings of $1.5 million. Tim informed the investment group, and the deal put Natural Partners in a superior fiscal position with their largest vendor.
Why Natural Partners Left Reveel — and Came Back
As Tim and I began working together, Natural Partners was in the midst of a transformation. The family-owned company was professionalizing and bringing in more experts.
Complete Consulting was a small company at the time, and Natural Partners chose to switch to a larger firm who had a bigger brand name in the industry and more presence in media outlets. They also offered a higher projected savings number than we could.
Within a week, though, Tim says he started to regret it. Their new team asked him to cancel meetings and exclude their longtime UPS rep from various discussions. Additionally, they had four or five consultants managing the client relationship rather than one or two, so information would get lost in cross-talk.
The relationship did save Natural Partners some money, but it left a bad taste for Tim. Meanwhile, he and I maintained our friendship. One day when we were having lunch, he asked how we could find a way to work together again.
That two-year gap gave Reveel time to grow, too. We hired a director of analytics who became our director of client operations, solely focused on keeping our clients, like Natural Partners happy. We’ve expanded our technology offerings, including a secure and intuitive online dashboard that allows clients to see package-level data and generate reports in real time. These shipping analytics and intelligence tools increase supply chain visibility and offer actionable insights.
We re-established our business relationship with Natural Partners in January, and so far, we couldn’t be happier. We love helping the growth and performance of a local family-owned company.
In an industry full of fast-evolving technology — should we have an app? Should we experiment with blockchain? — Reveel is on the cutting edge. But our clients are and will always be the center of our business. We help them adapt to these changes, taking what they need and adapting solutions in ways that make sense for them. And we’ll always make time to have lunch.