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Cloud ERP helps company track inventory, increase sales

John Moore | Sept. 6, 2013
Implementing cloud-based ERP software wasn't exactly a nuts-and-bolts deployment for FMW Fasteners, as the software needed specific fastener manufacturing industry functionality. Experience rolling our cloud CRM helped, as did an experienced consultant. Now FMW's cloud ERP gains are boosting the firm's ecommerce prospects.

The job of managing MTRs can become complicated for fastener companies and other manufacturers dealing with lot-based inventory. Vijay Saha, Sererra CEO, says one line item on an order could involve three separate lots for the same bolt and three separate test reports for that one product. Sererra's MTR module, bolted on to a NetSuite instance, ensures that the testing documentation remains associated with each lot of inventory.

Sererra's MTR support helped FMW avoid the cost of building such a capability on its own. "We could have spent millions building a process around that [MTR]," Baker says.

Kaplan says bolt-on modules represent one way to add vertical features to the cloud. An integrator could also tie systems together in a customized fashion, taking advantage of available APIs and other integration tools. Kaplan anticipates plenty of demand for both techniques.

'Natural Progression' From Cloud ERP to Improved Ecommerce

FMW got on board with Netsuite's cloud ERP in 2009 and followed that deployment with cloud vendor's ecommerce offering.

Baker describes ecommerce as a natural progression from ERP. Ecommerce has enabled the fastener company to expand the scope of its business. FMW had traditionally focused its sales outreach in the Houston area. As an online distributor, the company now pursues opportunities across the U.S. and international markets. "We're shipping all over the world, Baker says, adding the majority of the company's business in 2013 will come from outside Houston.

FMW first went live on Netsuite ecommerce in 2010. Since then, the company has experienced month-over-month sales growth of 25 to 30 percent, with this year's sales growth coming in slightly higher than that range.

Baker says the fastener company continues to refine its ecommerce site with assistance from Sererra. In one major project, the company is redesigning its shopping cart, moving toward one-step, or one-page, checkout.

Currently, customers attempting to check out using a traditional cart may need to navigate a number of pages: One to provide and confirm billing information, another to provide and confirm shipping information, and another to submit an order. The new cart, in contrast, will hover as a pop-out on the same page, letting the user see what's in the cart, add to the cart or modify it, and make a purchase.

In addition, FMW has started looking at its 2014 website upgrade. Baker says the company plans to undertake an annual refresh of its site, completely revamping its look and feel and layout.

As FMW's Netsuite deployment continues to evolve, Baker says the most dramatic cloud impact has been the ability to expand the company. "We're able to stop spending all our time managing the things we had to have to make the business run," Baker says, "and able to execute on things we need to have in place to make the business grow."


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