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NetSuite Lets Global Surf Industries be ‘the Biggest Small Company’

Posted by Jason Toshack, GM ANZ, Oracle NetSuite

Flexible working has become more popular across the globe – and for good reason. Flexible working can empower employees to manage their own time, achieve a better work/life balance and it contributes to an inclusive company culture. Technology plays a big role in enabling companies to roll out flexible working policies, as cloud-based computing can seamlessly connect employees across the globe.

From humble start-up to a $15 million-a-year revenue business, the team at Global Surf Industries has been practicing a flexible working approach enabled by NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP.

Founded in 2002 and with a portfolio of some of the most well-known brands in the Surf and Stand Up Paddle Industry, the team lives by the mantra, ‘Life is better when you surf®’ and this attitude clearly shows in the way the team operates.

All employees are encouraged to work flexibly and in a way that best suits their lifestyle. For example, CEO, Mark Kelly, has been known to spend up to half the year running the business from a yacht.

"The most remote land-based location I've worked from is a small fishing village in Mexico called San Juanico, which is five hours from the nearest airport. But even sailing up the coast, if you're off the side of the land you'll still get a good enough signal that you can connect up pretty easily,” he said.

All of this is made possible with NetSuite ERP, because it brings together all aspects of the business in one place. As it runs in the cloud, the team can manage the business from anywhere.

With no physical office, employees have the flexibility to work from a location that best suits them, using NetSuite as a single source of truth for all operations. GSI uses NetSuite for real-time inventory management with distribution partners across Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and Africa. The team are able to easily manage subsidiaries in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the U.S. with just a few clicks.

"The amount of time people spend commuting is unnecessary. Not having an office and working from home is irrelevant to our customers because of the service levels we provide,” Kelly said. “Our focus is on driving growth and providing an excellent customer experience.

"We have a 'biggest small company' mindset and it allows you to see what the business actually needs and often it doesn't need people. It just needs better processes and that's where we're going with EDI (electronic data exchange) and automation, where we have scripts running through NetSuite. We're eliminating data entry all together and we're making all accounts payable electronic from our third-party logistics providers within a year.”

With a team of just 17 employees, Global Surf Industries is certainly on its way to becoming the ‘biggest small company.’ It now sells in 74 countries and is in the process of expanding to Europe. After all, life is better when you surf.

“NetSuite has allowed our team to focus on customers and work towards our main goal—becoming the biggest small company we can possibly be. We don’t feel encumbered by anything and there is really nothing we can’t do, it’s more about what we want to do,” concluded Mark.

Do you want to learn how to better balance your work and personal life? Read a special report on  How to Run Your Business Without Burning Out

Quotes in this blog were originally featured in The Australian Financial Review.