COMPANY: Full Compass Systems 
INDUSTRY: Distribution, Retail, Ecommerce / Commercial Audio Video Lighting Equipment
JOHN GALT SOLUTION: Atlas Planning Platform


Full Compass Systems is a leading national distributor and retailer of professional audio, video, and lighting equipment, as well as musical instruments. Founded in 1977 with a business model encompassing ecommerce, distribution, and retail channels, the company today offers 100,000 catalog items spanning more than 800 equipment brands. The company’s sales model is primarily online direct-toconsumer in addition to a brick-and-mortar store at its headquarters location. In addition, an internal sales team serves customers implementing larger projects such as studios, event houses, and other venues.


The Covid-19 pandemic caused a sea change in the events industry. Practically overnight, large in-person events became virtual. Offices closed leading to a spike in demand for home office audio and video equipment. For Full Compass, the shift in communication style had a major impact on its demand signal.  

Some traditional top-selling SKUs suddenly became slow-movers, while certain slow-movers turned into top sellers almost overnight. The flip occurred as demand exploded in the video sector and swung away from large-event format audio.  

This swing created a significant challenge for a business that prided itself on its rapid reaction to customer needs and superior response time. Aligning to the new sales pattern meant acquiring sufficient video inventory to serve the market. For a distributor like Full Compass, where inventory is by far the biggest cost, the most crucial priority was ensuring that $100 million of inventory was positioned at the right place at the right time to maximize customer service and optimize revenue. 

With Finance responsible for cash management and the supply chain team in charge of inventory, the Full Compass team doubled down, ensuring constant communication between cross functional teams including finance, supply chain, sales and marketing to collaborate like a well-oiled machine. To do so they needed to model the key drivers of financial impact, take advantage of new sales opportunities, and reduce overall business risk.  

The question was, could the cross-functional collaboration drive more effective identification and allocation of products to profitable customers while maintaining margin and cash flow. Could they acquire the needed new inventory while at the same time minimizing inventory items experiencing lower demand?


Using the Atlas Planning Platform to unify all stakeholders ensured constant communication between finance and supply chain planners performing a delicate balancing act. For instance, some suppliers couldn’t deliver, and often couldn’t project when they would be able to deliver. Many semiconductors used in video products increased in price by five hundred percent or greater. Strong collaboration on a single platform kept the finance function aware of these and other unexpected sourcing minefields.  

Financial success is about more than just looking at money flows. It requires an understanding of when the revenue is coming in, what inventory is sitting on the shelves, and what the cash flow implications are. 

Using Atlas, sales, finance, supply chain, and marketing functions interacted around “one shared version of the truth.” Sales and Operations Planning meetings gave executives the solid information they needed to transform the challenges impacting the industry into opportunities for differentiation.  

Planners worked with marketing to execute demand shaping activities and focus on specific high margin product categories in support of achievable sales goals. The cross-functional collaboration helped Full Compass marry long-term strategic thinking with smart short-term operational decisions to mitigate supply chain disruptions and shocks.


Stronger collaboration between finance and supply chain planning teams facilitated by the Atlas Planning Platform has delivered a range of benefits, including clearer supply chain visibility, confident, data-driven decision making, margin optimization through demand shaping and scenario planning, and proactive initiatives to close supply-demand gaps faster.  

Supply chain planners are working with other functions to combat supply shortages, allocate inventory to key customers, and identify new growth opportunities. 

Using Atlas has helped the management team concentrate on the 20% of SKUs that create 80% of the business while also supporting their most valuable customers.  

When the business world decided to communicate through sight as well as sound, Atlas helped give Full Compass the planning prowess it needed to stay in the picture.

“The pressure release was incredible – at the end of the day, supply chain and finance don’t worry about the inventory. 

Our team trusts the solution. Atlas enables us to quickly respond to ensure we have the right inventory position during the seismic shifts in our product portfolio due to changing consumer behaviors.” 

Rebecca Haerter, Vice President of Supply Chain. Full Compass Systems