MusclePharm Bulks up with Slimmed-Down IT Using NetSuite

Posted by Tony Kontzer, Guest Blogger

MusclePharm, a maker of sports nutrition products, knows something about bulking up. It has experienced meteoric revenue growth, from $3.2 million in 2010 to $110 million in 2013, and it expects to hit $150 million this year.

Its products are now available in 110 countries through a distribution network of 35,000 physical retail locations and 100 online retailers.

It has introduced ecommerce sites supporting each of three product lines, launched a call center operation, added business intelligence capabilities, started monitoring its fast-growing social media followings, and optimized its inventory processes.

Oh, and by the way, it's done all this with a one-person IT shop. That's right: One person. If that doesn't impress you, try this: it's been doing all of this on an IT budget that clocks in at less than $700,000.
And according to that one person, Kyle Gosnell, vice president of IT, it's all due to NetSuite.

"There really isn't any other tool that would have made this possible," Gosnell said during a session at SuiteWorld 2014 Tuesday.

It was a different story before the company deployed NetSuite in 2011. Up until that time, the company relied on spreadsheets and multiple disparate applications to get insight into the business.

"We sat in meetings looking at each other, hoping that some good business outcomes came from it all," said Gosnell. "It was not a good way to do business."

Today, almost everything in the company runs on NetSuite, and when it does need another tool for a specific purpose, it's almost always integrated with NetSuite. For example:

  • It has automated its sales tax processes by tying NetSuite to Avalara's cloud-based service.
  • An integration between NetSuite and Tableau Software's cloud service has put business intelligence capabilities in the hands of employees.
  • It has tied NetSuite to its growing warehouse management system, providing a 3D view of warehouses that's made it possible to optimize pick processes as well as warehouse organization.
  • By integrating NetSuite with Logility, it has enabled the latter to make real-time inventory decisions by pulling data from the former.
  • Perhaps most importantly, it has established a tight integration between NetSuite and SPS cloud-based EDI service, eliminating manual entry of order data, reducing errors, and enabling the company to churn out invoices faster.

And that doesn't even get at the numerous processes that unfold entirely in NetSuite. Gosnell uses NetSuite to spin up new call centers in days, not the weeks or months it would normally require. He also uses it to monitor social media to get a better understanding of customer sentiment.

NetSuite manages the ecommerce sites that support the company's three brands and it even uses NetSuite as a document management platform for proprietary information.

But what NetSuite has done more than anything is bring order and logic to what had been a chaotic and unpredictable inventory environment. MusclePharm no longer has to continue stealing product from one location to meet demand in another, a practice that guaranteed an unhappy customer somewhere.

"Our customer satisfaction rate is higher because we actually have product," said Gosnell. "For small companies that are growing fast and don't have any legacy systems, this is an amazing opportunity."

Read more about MusclePharm's success on their NetSuite customer testimonial.

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