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TVOne, a hardware firm that manufactures and distributes audio visual (AV) products, recently announced it has adopted NetSuite's enterprise resource planning (ERP) application.
The management buyout in 2015 inherited the firm's old ERP system, which TVOne's CFO David Van Horn admits is not fit for purpose because of its focus on distribution.
As a manufacturer as well as a business-to-business (B2B) distributor of hardware, TVOne needed a system to consolidate its data from siloed systems and help the business to grow.
"We were spending too much time doing things in spreadsheets and multiple systems that didn't talk to each other. It didn't make us very efficient. We were doing things two or three times and nobody knew where it was going wrong," said Van Horn.
Since its management buyout, the company set goals to double its business by 2020, and double by 2025. To do this, Van Horn says the migration to NetSuite was essential.
"For us to get to that first milestone in five years, we had to do something about our ERP system. To get us to doubling our business in a year we need to have processes and procedures in place that will allow us to replicate and expand," he says.
TVOne realised it had a total of 29 siloed systems, such as Microsoft Office, a product lifecycle management system, a customer relationship management system and a bug tracking system -- all of which were separate and did not communicate.
In addition to using NetSuite to consolidate the systems, TVOne hopes to use its current and future data to properly scale, identify sales patterns, pinpoint appropriate investments and identify products that need dropping due to poor performance.
"None of us had that core competency of bringing everyone together, so we went out and hired a new president and CEO -- and she is extremely data-centric," says Van Horn.
"She looks at the data and the systems and wants to pull it all together to put it in KPIs [key performance indicators] and the business metrics that will allow us to make those decisions towards strategic growth."
The importance of transparent data
TVOne has some "disjointed" data from its 30-year legacy but, in many cases, the data it had only recorded what orders were made and for whom.
According to Van Horn, the firm's CEO Denise Nemchev is "used to getting data, using that data and making decisions based on data".
"We're bringing it all together with NetSuite so we can run the reports that we need and get the business intelligence to drive the growth of the company," he says.
The firm's aim is to use the NetSuite system to create a "single score card" for its customers and suppliers to provide a "snapshot" of what has been sold to each customer and TVOne's margins -- a system that can be updated and queried in real time by anyone in the business.
"Having that central repository of data that we can mine is so valuable for us. What we don't know right now is down to us never being in the situation where we can ask the question and expect an answer," says Van Horn.
This will allow the firm to make decisions "on the fly" rather than reacting two months later, with the associated loss of profit.
Driving sales through better data
In the current way of working, a lot of the firm's intelligence comes from the sales team's estimates; trying to use data from the old siloed systems is considered a waste of time.
Andy Fliss, vice-president of sales, says: "It takes a lot of time and effort it takes to get intelligence out of our current way of doing things. The NetSuite system will transform us."
Admitting a lot of the data the firm currently has was collected "by accident", Fliss says having a single repository will help teams to determine what products are making profit and what methods of sales and marketing are working.
Fliss says there is already potential to develop its email and online campaigns to attract and retain customers.
"We send out emails, but it's like throwing paper off the roof of a building," says Fliss.
"I can tell how many were opened, but with pre-viewers emails can be read a million times and look like they've never been opened."
With NetSuite's system, TVOne will be able to monitor how well email campaigns are doing. It will also use the single data repository to tie email marketing to online adverts, and track click-throughs from particular campaigns.
"We don't have to guess anymore, we'll know what worked and what didn't work," says Fliss.
The firm is currently looking for an ERP analyst and administrator to assist the NetSuite team in the implementation of the new NetSuite platform.