iAutomation Runs Its Business Like a Machine with NetSuite

Posted by Ranga Bodla, Senior Director of Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing

In industrial machinery, many complex moving parts and electronics need to come together for a machine to fulfill its mission, be it in manufacturing, packaging, custom tooling or other areas. The same is true for corporate mergers and acquisitions—to maximize value; disparate systems and processes need to be integrated and streamlined.

iAutomation, a leading supplier of machine automation products and services headquartered in North Attleboro, Mass., has successfully turned two acquisitions into business value with NetSuite as a unified platform to first facilitate integration of companies—and then to power growth.

The seeds of success were sown 10 years ago, in 2004, when a Greensboro, N.C. company called Integrated Motion upgraded from an on-premise Sage MAS 90 system to NetSuite’s cloud ERP platform. Integrated Motion was acquired in 2007 by what was then called AutomationSolutions, with the merged company later renamed iAutomation.

The acquisition was compelling not just for Integrated Motion’s manufacturing operations and machine components distribution, but the NetSuite platform. Automation Solutions had been struggling with an unruly snarl of Sage Peachtree, Goldmine and other on-premise applications.

“NetSuite was one of the attractive elements of the acquisition,” said Al Morrison, iAutomation vice president of manufacturing. “It was very clear to us from the beginning that NetSuite could give us everything we needed with tremendous ability to mine data. Everything was all in one platform, and that total integration was huge.”

iAutomation is among a handful of successful companies celebrating their 10th year on the NetSuite platform, including Data Physics, RedBuilt and Mountz Inc.

A “Great Springboard” for Growth

The merged company abandoned its in-house software to standardize in the NetSuite cloud in 2008, and that provided a “great springboard” for a second acquisition in July 2011, of Action Automation and Controls of Massachusetts. That company had been running 18 in-house servers and Epicor Prophet 21, which was replaced by NetSuite within months.

Across its two acquisitions, with NetSuite supporting core financials, manufacturing, inventory management, and sales and CRM processes, iAutomation has realized double-digit revenue gains to more than $70 million in 2013 while improving customer service and capitalizing on cross-sell opportunities to its expanded base of approximately 5,000 customers.

Just as importantly, iAutomation has gained the capacity to channel resources into innovation and highly focused expert customer service, rather than spending money and time on costly on-premise IT systems and personnel. About one-half of iAutomation’s nearly 150-person workforce are field service engineers routinely at work at client sites, using NetSuite to help deliver the machine control and automation solutions that customers need.

“With over 280,000 individual items in our catalog and 40,000 assembly types, access to that information in the field is absolutely critical,” Morrison said. “NetSuite has proven to be a tremendous platform to do that.”

Driving Customer-Focused Innovations

As engineers and software technicians, iAutomation personnel take full advantage of the SuiteCloud development platform to customize NetSuite to the company’s unique needs. It’s running about 240 scripts and Suitelets supporting transactions, pricing, consolidated purchasing, work orders and more.

NetSuite also supported a sales force restructuring to enhance technical service delivery, a customer-focused innovation that’s paying off in client satisfaction and repeat business. NetSuite has enabled greater collaboration across engineering, manufacturing, sales and service personnel across 11 offices, while manufacturing capabilities help iAutomation manage complex subassemblies for certain products.

“Innovation really drives the marketplace, and we’ve built our company around that fact and solving our customers’ most difficult problems,” said Josh Walters, iAutomation Marketing Manager. “NetSuite is a core component of the business that we’ve customized to meet our unique processes and align with the strategy of the company.”

Learn More

Learn more about iAutomation and NetSuite at an on-demand webinar, “Maximize Business Value with Cloud ERP.” This webinar features speakers from iAutomation and the streaming entertainment provider Roku, as well as IDC Group Vice President Mike Fauscette discussing how companies are unlocking significant business value by moving to cloud business software.

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