Wholesale Distribution Companies Find Success in the Cloud

Every week, we hear from more and more wholesale distributors interested in what cloud business management can do for their companies. That’s in line with results from our recent survey, “The Outlook for Wholesale Distribution in 2012,” which found that 42 percent of wholesale distributors would be sizing up cloud technologies in the near term as a way to increase efficiency.

Naturally, some wholesale distributors are apprehensive about transitioning from the on-premise systems they’ve used for years. Typically business and IT managers at these companies recognize that standalone, unintegrated applications limit their productivity and growth potential. What they don’t recognize is just how inefficiently these applications run, how transformative a move to the cloud can be and the resources that it can free up. At a recent Modern Distribution Management webinar, we had the opportunity to hear first-hand from executives at wholesale distribution companies that run NetSuite for core business processes—financials, inventory and order management, warehousing and distribution, demand planning, ecommerce, manufacturing, CRM and sales force automation. What was especially striking was the diversity of benefits realized.

One company is beating the competition by having its field sales force run NetSuite on mobile devices. Another has scaled from two to 25 employees by launching its business on NetSuite, avoiding the need to upgrade when it hit the limits of QuickBooks-caliber systems. A third ensures business continuity and eliminated the risk of reliving a catastrophic server failure that derailed the company in 2009.

Tune in to the on-demand replay to hear executives of Allied Valve, Monterey Lighting and Filter Services outline what cloud business management has done for their business, and in the meantime I’ll offer these snapshots:

Monterey Lighting Solutions

Monterey Lighting (www.montereycorp.com), a distributor of energy-efficient lighting solutions in Southern California, has grown from two to 25 employees since deploying NetSuite upon its launch in 2006, largely because its president, Steve Spitzer, had an IT background and was painfully aware of difficulties and expense of trying to integrate disparate applications once a company had reached a certain size. “We didn’t want to have to try to change the engine in the car while it’s running down the track,” Spitzer said. “And as a small company, we’re able to use the same depth of capabilities in NetSuite that larger companies use. We’re very confident we can grow to 300 or 400 employees or more and never have to switch out our IT platform.”

Filter Services Illinois

Filter Services, a distributor of HVAC filters as well as industry filtration products for air, liquid, paint booth, compressor and dust collection systems in the greater Chicago area, turned to NetSuite in February 2009 after a catastrophic server crash and the loss of critical business information. “Ultimately, the biggest benefit is the reliability and not having the fear of the same nightmare we had in 2009,” said Filter Services President Jeff Gradek. “We’ll be successful in business when we can focus on what we’re good at—selling and servicing filtration-related products—not maintaining an IT staff and server room.”

- - Director, Industry Marketing, Wholesale Distribution and Manufacturing

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