Guru Customer Q&A: Thrasio
Tripling in size is not for the faint of heart. Lucky for Thrasio, a top-tier acquirer of Amazon third-party brands, they had Gabriel Ginorio on their side to help them navigate accelerated growth.
As Thrasio’s Learning and Development Manager, Gabriel’s responsibilities include training new hires and enabling employees. Guru is core to his strategy and efficiency is core to his values. We sat down with this process aficionado to talk through how to identify, build, and implement scalable processes in this month's Guru the Gathering session (full recap available). His knowledge hot take? Build processes, not patchwork.
Hi Gabriel! Tell us more about Thrasio.
At Thrasio, we acquire Fulfillment-by-Amazon, also known as FBA brands. For example, say you’re shopping on Amazon and purchase a spatula. While you buy through Amazon, you are actually buying from a third party — you just don't know it because you get the Amazon experience. On the back end, there is a smaller brand behind the spatula that started selling with zero reviews and slowly grew over the years. Thrasio comes in when those FBA brands start to dominate the market, but need support to get to the next level. We inject a significant amount of capital to make their processes more efficient and boost sales.
There was a significant rise in online shopping, particularly on Amazon, in 2020 because of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. How did this affect Thrasio?
Thrasio has grown three times the size we were in 2019. It’s an exciting turn of events, something we never expected to happen, but our rapid growth has led to challenges especially with a remote, distributed workforce. The more we grew, the more people we brought on to the team, and the more trouble we had with interdepartmental communication. When employees struggled to get accurate responses to their questions, they risked spending hours away from their scope of work to track down answers from the right person. We needed a better solution, one that we could implement quickly and could expand with our team as we grew.
🧠 250 full time employees + 150 contractors🌎 225 Guru users🖥️ Tech stack: Guru, Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Monday.com
How did you start addressing these challenges?
We created scalable processes using Guru to address communication breakdowns and increase efficiency.
We defined a scalable process to be a streamlined approach to solving a problem. Our mantra: repeatable processes, not patchwork. When identifying, building, implementing, and iterating on a scalable process, we knew it was critical to address our team’s true challenge so that the process could grow with us as we scaled. We also knew it was important to implement these processes both top-down and bottom-up. The more efficient your process, the less duplicative work needed, and the more accurate you can be with resourcing and hiring.
Because so much had changed at Thrasio, we felt like we had to start from scratch to reach our goals. If someone had a question, we wanted them and others with the same question to find the answer in Guru within 15 minutes or less. If a subject matter expert had to type out a response in Slack, our goal was to make sure the next time they received that same question, they could answer instead with a link to a Guru card. To make this happen, we organized a team of efficiency-driven subject matter experts, created a project managers’ roundtable, and kick-started our efforts with a plan to create processes in bulk.
How were you able to create processes in bulk for Thrasio?
We created a team of people who wanted to improve internal collaboration at Thrasio and scheduled what we called a “summit” on everyone’s calendar.
This block of time allowed us to brainstorm collectively about what areas needed to be improved. We documented those areas and organized them into categories. For example, we’d say ok, Amazon created this new rule that affects this product in this way. We would add that to the “new rules category,” and for every new rule Amazon makes, we write out how that affects our products and define a process for each of them.
Once we had most processes brainstormed, contents/categories were each assigned to subject matter experts to draft. At this point, we held ‘content jams’ to dump all relevant information in a Guru card and then format the Guru card for use.
Having SMEs spend 15-30 minutes drafting each card isn’t enough to get a perfect process, but it is enough to get a first pass. Once content is created, the lead project manager will review the content and rate each Guru card on a scale of 1-4, with 1 and 2 meaning the card is not ready to be published to the company and 3 and 4 meaning the card is in good shape to be released.
What were your results?
By following this process, we were able to engage 20 subject matter experts to knock out 150 tasks, create quality Guru cards, and deploy new processes in less than 4 weeks, with our average adoption rate hovering at 70%.
“Since I started my job remotely, Guru had a significant impact in helping ease my onboarding experience by allowing me to find all company-wide info and training resources on one platform.” Now that she’s onboarded remotely, she believes a knowledge management solution is critical to a remote team’s success, and found she spends 50% less time searching for information / shoulder tapping experts."**Maya JichiThrasio Marketing Associate**
What advice would you give to a knowledge manager that believes in the benefit of process but doesn’t know where to start?
Don't wait too long to form your project managers’ roundtable, and/or your own knowledge council. Our process would have been a lot smoother if we did this in the beginning. Find your group of people who really enjoy improving processes, workflows, and collaboration and give them the opportunity to see it happen.
Learn more on how to set up sustainable knowledge councils in this Card.
What’s next for Thrasio?
My goal is to see if, as a knowledge manager, I can get my time to be 80% consultative, so I can engage other departments, understand true breakdowns, and host content jams on a recurring basis.