As the old saying goes, home is where the heart is. Our passion for our homes is largely seen in how we decorate them – the colours we choose for the walls, the potted plants we pick out, and the ornaments and memories we display on our shelves.

And then there’s the one thing that really ties it all together – the furniture.

When it comes to furniture, we all look for different things. Whether it’s comfort, style or accessibility, we want it to be a reflection of our own diverse personalities. Castlery – a Singapore-based digital first furniture lifestyle brand has made it their ambition to ensure they tick all these boxes for their customers.

The birth of a global vision

Since the day the company was founded in 2013, Castlery has had one simple mission – to make quality designer furniture accessible to everyone. From humble beginnings with just a basement space, Castlery was able to expand quickly and establish a strong retail presence in Singapore, Australia and the USA.

This resounding success naturally led to greater growth ambitions. Castlery reached American shores in 2019 and the company is now focused on further strengthening its international presence.

Maersk’s partnership with Castlery began in 2021. We believe Castlery’s mission perfectly complements our own purpose to improve life for all by integrating the world. And in the short time since then, we’ve been able to provide strategic support that has helped overcome various supply chain pain points and sustain their rapid regional and international growth.

However, the exponential growth has not been without its fair share of challenges.

Declan Ee, Co-Founder and President of Castlery

Bumps in the road

In early 2020, the world changed forever. It’s been well-established by now how much the pandemic has affected the global supply chain. And for fast-growing companies like Castlery in particular, supply chain reliability was of supreme importance.

However, attaining the desired level of reliability before and after the pandemic was like night and day. Widespread lockdowns and restrictions due to Covid-19 flare-ups inevitably led to uncertainty across Castlery’s entire value chain. Furthermore, their logistics infrastructure was not yet equipped to sustain their growth strategy.

A decentralised supply chain management structure further impacted Castlery’s efficiency, adding extra workload to their overall operational flow. It required their team to coordinate with a number of different vendors across multiple geographies, which led to numerous inefficiencies across the entire supply chain. To top it all, there was a dearth of clear visibility, making it difficult to ensure timely deliveries, in turn impacting Castlery’s omnichannel sales strategy.

To further add on to the challenges, Singapore and Australia’s highly demanding markets only served to make things more complicated. There was a need to be more adaptable and agile to cater to consumer priorities that proved to be extremely fluid as the pandemic situation progressed.

People in warehousing

Building a successful supply chain together

The fragmented nature of the customer’s logistics setup posed a significant challenge. In Maersk’s capacity as a true end-to-end logistics integrator, our team’s first order of business was to identify the steps that could help streamline their operations and set the tone for steady success moving forward.

Constant care is not just a value we hold dear as a company, but also the foundation of a successful partnership. And so our team began by creating customised solutions that would ensure consistent, end-to-end support for the Castlery team from a single logistics partner. This helped reduce lead times and mitigated the need to navigate conversations with multiple parties across the network.

Agility and flexibility are constant asks that have been observed across just about every global brand we work with, and Castlery is certainly no exception. Our team was able to implement a well-integrated transportation network along with suitable alternatives, covering everything from ocean to last-mile delivery, that helped both us and the Castlery team be fully prepared for any potential disruptions, whether on land or at sea.

We also believe that good communication is at the heart of any successful partnership. The new structure our team put in place allowed us to engage more freely with Castlery stakeholders, fostering a new sense of trust between both parties. This sense of trust also gave both teams the ability to cater to the dynamic marketplace with a greater sense of agility and immediacy.

And perhaps the most important step has been maximising Maersk’s digital capabilities to their fullest extent. Castlery is every bit as committed to forward-focused technology and digitisation as we are. As a result, we were able to get their complete buy-in on our digital solutions, which enabled better cargo tracking and unprecedented visibility across their regional and global networks.

The transparency and communication between both parties has been integral to strengthening our strategic partnership in just about a year and a half and helping us take great strides towards helping Castlery realise their ultimate global vision.

Women with writing pad

The story so far, and what the future holds

When two teams come together to work efficiently in tandem, positive results are bound to follow. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in the short duration of our partnership with Castlery, and their business progression in the last 18 months or so has been significant.

By establishing better connectivity between their manufacturing locations and destination markets, we have helped Castlery ship numerous containers to their physical stores and distribution centres, ensuring a steady supply of inventory for their customers in Singapore, as well as seamless last-mile delivery.

Speed and efficiency are crucial in any fast-moving industry. Our team has been able to achieve that quite emphatically, through seamless inland connectivity from Castlery’s distribution centre in Tanjung Pelepas to Maersk’s cross-docking facility in Singapore.

Castlery store furniture

We’ve touched upon both companies’ mutual commitment to better digital solutions, and this is already playing out in the e-commerce arena. Since the beginning of the partnership, Castlery’s online order volumes have gone up by over 200%, and currently caters to a consumer base of roughly 400,000 worldwide. Better operational efficiency has also helped bring lead times down to just around 1 or 2 months – a tremendous improvement compared to the 3 to 6-month industry standard.

However, we’re never content to focus solely on the present. With one eye towards the future, our team is already looking for ways to leverage Maersk’s recent LF Logistics acquisition to help Castlery create an even stronger runway for growth. With imminent improvements in last-mile and white glove capabilities, as well as a 3PL control tower, Castlery will be well placed to service their ever-expanding global consumer base with ease in the months and years to come.

We’re delighted to have been able to help Castlery overcome their recent logistical obstacles, but we’re still very much at the start of the journey. Our strategic partnership is already proving to be a strong foundation from which to work towards serving their global growth ambitions. We look forward to being a part of Castlery’s growth story for a long time and helping them fuel their consumers’ passion for their homes all around the world.

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