The Problem with Antiquated ERP

Posted by Gavin Davidson, Manufacturing Vertical Industry Lead

Succeeding in any business, but particularly in the competitive outdoor retail business, is difficult enough without your financial system of record holding you back.

That’s what Point6, a clothing manufacturer in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, discovered when it sought to expand a successful business that had already placed its products in hundreds of US retail outlets, as well as in New Zealand, Mexico and Canada. Its founders, husband and wife team Peter and Patty Duke, quickly learned that their old-fashioned client-server ERP system wasn’t equipped to deal with today's business challenges. The Dukes ultimately made the decision to upgrade its ERP when the existing Microsoft Dynamics Great Plains (GP) ERP system became more of a hindrance than a help to the company's growth plans.

About a year ago, Point6, which makes and distributes high-end Merino wool socks for outdoor sports enthusiasts, was struggling to access and analyze its financial data even as it was poised to expand into other markets. Microsoft Dynamics GP couldn't provide the visibility into data and processes that Point6 required. Moreover, there were constant problems accessing key business data and delays in financial and operational processes—which in turn hindered Point6’s flexibility when facing new challenges and opportunities. Additionally, the cost of maintaining the system was taking a chunk out of the corporate budget.

Point6 also needed a system that could scale as the company grew; could provide integration between the various parts of the business—accounting, order management, inventory management, fulfillment and warehouse management—and that could be accessed from a single browser interface from any location—even on the road. COO Drew Williams had used NetSuite at a prior retail firm, so he suggested they investigate NetSuite's cloud-based business suite—ultimately selecting it as Point6's new ERP solution.

In August 2014, Point6 went live on the NetSuite platform. The benefits showed themselves fairly quickly thereafter. The company has already experienced significant improvements in reporting and general financial tasks, such as the time needed to close the monthly books. Because it's a software-as-a-service, there is no longer any need for labor-intensive software and hardware updates, so IT staff can focus on strategic projects instead of trouble-shooting the servers.

The real-time inventory management enables orders to be filled more efficiently, to both its B2B partners and ecommerce customers. The CRM component provides a unified view of customer data, which, coupled with the analytics tools, gives managers in customer service, sales, marketing and product development more accurate insights into customers' needs and purchasing motivations.

The move to cloud ERP has essentially equipped Point6 with the functionality, scalability and business insights that it needs for its future expansion, says Williams. "It has put the company in a position to reach its aggressive growth targets over the next five years."

Of course, Point6 isn’t the only business to benefit by moving from Microsoft Dynamics to NetSuite.

 

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