The Marketing Store uses Netsuite to align supply chain and processes

The Marketing Store - the brains behind McDonald’s Happy Meal toys - is using NetSuite to align its supply chain and business processes

The Marketing Store, the brains behind McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, is using NetSuite to align its supply chain and business processes.

The company produces around 800 million toys each year for McDonald's, handling every part of the project – from designing to development, and manufacturing to marketing.

“It’s not just the toy but everything that goes behind it. The concept, design, development and production," says Peter Cox, senior vice-president of business process for The Marketing Store.

Each set of toys has a theme related to a licence from a new movie or even a sports event. So The Marketing Store has to balance two sets of business processes: its general marketing business and production of toys.

“How do you produce marketing solutions? And how do you manage a high-volume supply chain business? Seeking a solution for both is quite difficult," says Cox.

Selecting NetSuite

The Marketing Store chose NetSuite to solve this conundrum two years ago, using its cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool. The NetSuite platform allowed the company to replace its legacy supply chain IT with one solution that for client project management as well as the company’s financials.

“Everything, from when a client calls up and we develop an estimate using the NetSuite system to integrating with finance systems and making forecasts to what sort of size the job will be.”

The product also provides resource allocation so employees can track how much time they have spent on particular clients, and in turn so the company can assess what skill level has been used and work out how much to charge.

“It monitors the cost and project profitability – which is really crucial and ensures the project is on time and the time being spent on it is in good relation to the amount of income we’re receiving delivers profitability," says Cox.

The NetSuite platform was rolled out to Europe a year ago with 200 people using it across offices in Paris, London and Birmingham, and the company plans to roll it out to 1,000 people globally next year.

“All employees use it in one way or another,” says Cox. “Creative use it to check what resources and schedule they have and to record time and expenses; finance use it for all financial reporting and financial analysis, while project management people and account service people use it for project profitability.”

Before implementing NetSuite, the company used separate systems for different processes.

“The systems we had did not talk to each other, were mostly out of date and we hadn’t made sufficient investment in systems historically,” he adds. “And to some extent, each part of the world had developed their own system and solution and none of those spoke to each other.”

Cox says that, once the company has NetSuite running across the globe at all of its locations, it will give The Marketing Store a data system in which no information is duplicated.

“That is crucial to us as a business,” he says.

“We need to know how many clients we’ve got at one time; what we’re doing for those clients, how many staff we have, what our turnover is,” he says. “All these things, which at the moment is virtually impossible to pull together.”

Using NetSuite in the cloud means that The Marketing Store can access critical business information anywhere

Even the profitability of the Happy Meal contract is tricky to work out, because the campaign is created in more than one location – produced in Hong Kong and then distributed to McDonald's in other countries – and run on different systems.

“So trying to record or get some view of the project profitability of a global project where you’ve got people in different countries on different currencies working on the same project is impossible.”

But the NetSuite solution has been a success, mainly due to its cloud offering.

“The more and more got into it, the more we felt stronger about the cloud advantage,” explains Cox. “It wasn’t our initial objective, but certainly something that came through increasingly as we continued the project.”

Using NetSuite in the cloud means The Marketing Store can access critical business information anywhere, everywhere, all of the time, which is important to a global organsiation.

“It also removes the need for significant costs of upgrade and of infrastructure such as servers,” he explains, saying that spending on this went down to zero after implementing the product.

An agile company

Working with NetSuite over the Oracles and other large enterprise companies provides The Marketing Store with a lot more flexibility.

“We find them more agile than the big IT companies,” says Cox

“And I think also we’re interested in NetSuite as a company, one of the things we enjoy the most is working with them as a growing business who is open to learn, incredibly happy to be helpful partners to us and I think it’s been a true partnership. We’ve had our good days and our bad days, but all the way through we’ve been partners together.”

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