Faces behind Chainbalance – The Brain of the Company: Ben Vermin
Combining a fascinating mind and competitive sailing allows you to know the brain of our company, Ben Vermin, a little better. Founder, idea machine, and industry insider, with Ben, Chainbalance has a great CEO whom we value every day. But who is Ben, and what was his motivation for starting Chainbalance? We interviewed him to catch a glimpse behind the scenes.
When Ben was a teenager, he was already aware that he wanted to start his own company one day. The dream was to have a logistics company called Chainbalance. Still, after a brief period of working in the field, Ben decided he needed to change his career and started training as a business process consultant. While learning how companies operate and improve their effectiveness, he came to work in the IT sector. It became an essential factor in the process of improvements, and after a few years, he moved to work as an IT Director for a startup in the travel industry. He aimed and tried to transform the tour operator inventory systems back then by implementing intelligent algorithms. But the industry was unprepared for his far too progressive vision, and it didn't prove easy to sell.
After his switch to the fashion industry 19 years ago, he was able to peek behind the scenes and learn the secrets behind all the allure. The vast amounts of leftover stock produced each year, pushed out through sales or outlet stores, made Ben aware that a shift was needed. After helping to integrate an intelligent replenishment algorithm into SAP, he realized there was room for improvement through SaaS models. This was the restart of the Chainbalance dream, which shifted from the physical flow of goods to the automated decision-making of putting the right products in the right locations.
“The market needs more than just eco-friendly products. Only using sustainable fabrics is not the whole solution: If you produce ten percent in the wrong size distribution and the wrong color, unnecessary waste is still the outcome.” - Ben Vermin
The fashion industry, for many people, is defined through the visual presentation of styles. Though if these people realize that consumers buy a product because of its specific attributes and in a particular size, and if that combination is not available, there will be no sale, is open for speculation. “The market needs more than just eco-friendly products. Only using sustainable fabrics is not the whole solution: If you produce ten percent in the wrong size distribution and the wrong colour, unnecessary waste is still the outcome.”, thinks Ben. “While at the same time, a high amount of hidden sales potential will come to the surface through a supply chain that reacts to the store shelf-level consumption versus a forecast-based or stock-driven buying model.”
An innovative merchandise management solution called Smart Supply® was born to optimize the process of forecasting and replenishment, operating with an advanced algorithm. Quickly, Ben was able to convince his previous employers, such as adidas and ESPRIT, to implement Smart Supply®. Since then, the algorithms and scale of the solution have evolved alongside the Company.
Besides his vision to create a more sustainable and effective fashion and sportswear industry with the Chainbalance team, Ben is a true sportsman. In his spare time he enjoys working out, whether it's CrossFit, going to the gym, biking, or sailing. When he was 16, a friend’s family owned a sailing boat, which they spent many hours sailing along the Belgium coast. They sailed from Finland to the Netherlands during university. Ben often chats about his weekend plans in our weekly stand-up meetings, including riding the waves or recounting races they competed in. Contrary to most people, Ben prefers to sail during the winter. His calendar is less busy than in the summer, allowing him more time to enjoy the saltwater, and the stronger winds increase the fun on his brother’s small racing boat. As a true outdoor enthusiast, Ben strongly believes that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
Do you want to find out more? Let’s chat!