How Pet Companies Are Leveraging the Cloud for Competitive Advantage

Posted by Ranga Bodla, Director, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing at NetSuite

According to the American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $55.53 billion on their pets in 2013. Part of this growth is driven by more people adopting pets, but a big part is coming from continued innovation in the market with new products catering to a pet lover’s every need.

In late July, NetSuite attended SuperZoo 2013, the National Show for Pet Retailers, a major event in Las Vegas that showcased many of these new innovations. NetSuite’s cloud-based business management software solutions allow these companies to gain competitive advantage in what is an increasingly difficult space to gain visibility and differentiation. 

Companies like Dog is Good, Happy Jack, Pet Lifestyle And You (P.L.A.Y.), Pup-Pee Solutions, and Ruffwear use NetSuite to differentiate their pet business

The increasing expansion of pet products into a wider range of retail outlets and direct consumer sales channels means that small companies can find themselves competing with multinational giants for shelf space and customer loyalty. The biggest brands have vertical and horizontal integration advantages that can be nearly impossible for contenders to match.

Cloud computing  levels the playing field with affordable access to detailed supply chain, warehouse management and demand planning insights previously found only in high-end on-premise ERP systems. A firm command of costs, margins and availability throughout the supply chain is what yielded a few elite companies a competitive advantage in recent decades. That same power is now being put in the hands of today's innovative pet brands through the adoption of cloud computing. 

For example, Dog is Good, a Los Alamitos, Calif.-based merchant of canine-themed t-shirts, coffee mugs, art, gifts and more for dog lovers, dramatically improved business efficiency and productivity since implementing NetSuite—increasing the number of retailers stocking Dog is Good products to several hundred in the U.S. and Canada. And NetSuite SuiteCommerce powers Dog is Good's B2C store and B2B portal, enabling retail buyers to order products and access discount pricing, saving Dog is Good at least 20 hours a month over its previous manual order management and fulfillment processes.

Additionally, NetSuite helped Happy Jack, a manufacturer of animal health products in Snow Hill, N.C., gain greater efficiency, visibility and control over a complex mix of inventory. Happy Jack has more than 800 suppliers for its products to treat fleas and ticks, worms, ear and other maladies. With NetSuite, Happy Jack can track inventory at the item level in real time and better understand costs to optimize pricing. NetSuite also improves Happy Jack's compliance with federal and state regulations governing medicines, such as strengthening product recall readiness with on-demand data on product lots, shipment dates and buyers. Happy Jack increased sales by about 40 percent since going live, and expanded its channel to 3,000 dealer locations in the U.S.

NetSuite helps pet product companies manage growth as well. Pet Lifestyle And You (P.L.A.Y.) achieved 70 percent year-over-year growth since it launched its high-quality dog beds, toys andaccessories business on NetSuite, while Pup-Pee Solutions scaled a new U.S. business unit from several thousand dollars in revenue to several million after implementing NetSuite to run operations in the U.S. and Australia.

P.L.A.Y. selected NetSuite over SAP, Oracle and Zoho, for its centralized platform and with NetSuite, it has rapidly grown to 500 retail store partners in North America and a dozen international distributor partnerships across Europe, Asia and Canada.

Pup-Pee Solutions selected NetSuite over Intacct, Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains and QuickBooks, replacing an inefficient MYOB system that offered poor visibility. Its Pet-Loo brand expanded its B2B and B2C business to 84 countries and more than 3,000 retail stores while streamlining business processes.

Greater efficiencies enabled through the cloud also enable pet goods companies to focus on what they do best. For example, Ruffwear, based in Bend, Ore., a manufacturer and merchant of dog packs, beds, toys, leashes and other gear, has been able to focus on its core competency of designing and developing innovative dog gear without worrying about servers and on-premise software since implementing NetSuite. Ruffwear has seen steady revenue while expanding sales across a direct-to-consumer webstore, international distributors in about 30 countries and a retail network that includes REI, Altrec, Bass Pro Shops and Amazon. Meanwhile, NetSuite

SuiteCommerce offers customers a visually striking and richly functional shopping experience, with a self-service portal for B2B merchants. Cloud solutions make it possible for suppliers and retailers across the world to access and update data crucial to operations, with no need for complex technology integration. Major retailers, distributors and brand partners all demand that key product information be provided in an accurate and timely fashion. Building custom data integrations is cost-prohibitive for smaller companies with on-premise software. Cloud solutions can format and deliver data at the right time, without forcing company employees to become programmers instead of pet goods experts.

Because cloud solutions are designed for the modern Web, unlike conventional on-premise software, they make it easier to grow and reach customers through new and emerging channels, all while keeping employees productive and the costs low.

Cloud technologies can help create a path to sustainable, profitable growth and limitless scalability, from the early days of grassroots awareness and reputation-building to becoming a household name. If you’d like to learn more about some of the companies that NetSuite has enabled, you can visit us here

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