NetSuite ERP - Case Study - HBX Natural Living NetSuite ERP - Case Study - HBX Natural Living
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Peak with NetSuite: How HBX Natural Living started with NetSuite just before the peak season

hbx natural living netsuite erp

Dutch family business HBX Natural Living, part of the Floral Trade Group, imports the most beautiful home and lifestyle items from about 20 different countries. The company has showrooms in Noordwijk, Brühl (Germany) and Bergamo (Italy) and presents its decorative items that meet the latest trends at seven trade fairs a year. Switching to NetSuite, implemented by Cadran, has given the organization much better insight into the supply chain, reduced errors, saved time and improved traceability of data.

HBX Natural Living has experienced explosive growth in a very short time; from an annual turnover of 8 million we have grown to 25 million euros,” says Chantal Tanis-de Mooij, Operational Manager at HBX and daughter of founder Cees de Mooij. The combination of rapid growth and the “old” ERP system, which was actually designed specifically for floriculture and not for decorative items, made HBX decide to look for a future-proof alternative. “So many errors were appearing in the system, and the faster we grew, the more they became,” Chantal says. “We’re going on strike if you don’t do something about it,” employees even jokingly said at one point.” July through October is the delivery season for HBX, so everything had to be done to have a new system up and running before then.

Choice for NetSuite

HBX engaged Skopos, an independent consulting partner, to guide the family business in choosing a new ERP system. Although Microsoft Dynamics was also in the race for a while, NetSuite won because of the amount of features it offered HBX. After a demo from Cadran, HBX was immediately convinced. “That suits our entrepreneurial mentality: make quick decisions and follow through,” Chantal says.

Getting started

The implementation went quickly. Chantal: “In the beginning, we still used sticky notes according to the Scrum method, but we quickly abandoned that. We just went too fast for that. It clicked immediately with Cadran, they are people who are also in the field and bring a lot of experience. Decision-making was very direct and the whole project ran naturally. We got off to a fast start and we never stopped running.”

After implementation the peak period

To keep up the speed, the initial focus was on key users from the purchasing, warehouse, inside sales, finance, sales and category management departments. They wrote down how things were running in the system. “Because the go-live of our previous system didn’t go well, the users were quite nervous. We were confident because we had thorough manuals and prepared the key users very well. And fortunately, it also went very smoothly! The big advantage was that after the implementation we entered the busiest period of the year; the delivery season. This is the fastest way to learn how to work with a new system. Just like a test at school: only when it really matters you really start working hard.”

A listening ear

Cadran’s active participation along the entire way was very useful. “We came from a situation with very limited possibilities and therefore we thought in limitations with NetSuite as well. It was very nice that Cadran took us by the hand and showed us what was possible. They were a good listener and I think it was amazing how quickly they understood how HBX works. We worked together very intensively for four months, which was not only very successful but also really fun.”

Tracing errors easily

Meanwhile, the use of NetSuite is already leading to significant time savings. Chantal: “Just processing orders is a lot faster. Previously, the back office spent an average of fifteen minutes getting an order into the system properly; now it only takes five minutes! Because the old system was focused on floriculture and because we are already selling in January for Christmas we needed a lot of workarounds. This made the data unreliable. Now with NetSuite we have a much better insight, we can trace errors easily and we have better overview.”

Financial package in NetSuite

Chantal continues: “Previously our finance was separate from the ERP system, now it’s in NetSuite. We can close all the separate Excel files and reports, because in NetSuite you click on ‘reports’ and then you get what you need. These may be basic ERP functionalities, but we were not used to this. So we’ve really taken steps forward in a lot of areas.”

Smarter procurement

Cadran has implemented a module at HBX that enables smarter purchasing. Chantal: “The big advantage of this module is that we can use it to research what we need to buy. It helps us determine which products are most critical to HBX’s financial success. We have 9,000 different items and this module helps us determine the value of these items based on their importance to the company. This gives us many insights and makes purchasing choices easier. Although the module is made for very regular purchasing and we buy on average 3 times a year, it still works very well for us. Right now we are still taking a critical look, but after next year we want to start using it fully.”

Restructuring to hit the ground running

These have been stormy years for HBX. The company has grown extremely fast and invested heavily. Chantal: “In the coming year, we want to restructure and get back to normal; take a break and make sure everything is in place. Then we want to look at what else we can do with NetSuite and which interesting modules we can still deploy. If we take a step back for a moment, we can hit the ground running again later!”

marcel van es

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