As businesses become more international, they are faced with certain challenges, such as communication and conducting business in multiple currencies. When it comes to ERP systems, companies have two options: start from scratch or update
Blue Clover Devices, an international company with offices in China and the United States, chose the latter. The original design manufacturer (ODM) produces Underwriters Laboratories-certified power and audio accessories. The company has continued to grow since it was founded in 2003, and enhancing efficiency as a means of business expansion is a top priority.
As a result of its expansion, the hodgepodge of systems Blue Clover Devices had in place was no longer sufficient. Tracking information and translating languages and currencies was handled by different systems that couldn’t communicate with each other.
“Our prior ERP system only let us use one language,” said Blue Clover Devices President and Cofounder Pete Staples.
The company needed something more comprehensive and robust to improve its business processes, so Staples and colleague Judy Wang began searching for ERP vendors in the summer of 2012. The goal was to consolidate the systems.
A number of ERP vendors offer systems geared to midmarket companies, so the selection process can seem daunting. Staples and his team considered SAP Business ByDesign, NetSuite and Epicor before deciding on Kenandy, a maker of cloud ERP based in Redwood City, Calif.
They were searching for a system that could consolidate inventory, purchase orders and internal order tracking. Previously, all of this information was stored in the cloud, but each system needed a different log-in.
Staples said Epicor was one of the top contenders, but he was concerned the platform couldn’t handle all of the company’s business processes, or that it might not be the same in 10 years. Plus, Kenandy seemed to have a lot of momentum.
Once Blue Clover began implementing the Kenandy system in October 2012, it needed to ensure what was in the system could be automatically updated, but there were no other significant changes in the business processes.
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The company was also able to integrate Salesforce for customer relationship management and HR software from Vana Workforce. Users will now see information from the three cloud-based products on the same screen, according to Staples.
A few of the challenges it faced were integration with purchase order management (POM) systems and making sure all of the information in the BOMs gets into the other parts of the ERP system.
Staples wanted the ability to implement the system without having to use a third-party provider. One of the reasons Staples and his team didn’t select NetSuite was because they didn’t want to hire outside consultants, which they said is commonplace with that vendor. Blue Clover needed a system that could be configured in-house, and Kenandy offered one that was also easy enough to maintain.
Now, after implementing Kenandy, Blue Clover has been able to add its own samples, test reports and regulatory certificates, which Staples said will help the business run more effectively. The items are connectable and searchable, and as a result have increased efficiency of the business. In addition, all customizations are protected if Kenandy does an upgrade.
In the future, Blue Clover plans to integrate financial reporting into the ERP system, and once Kenandy offers a multi-company version, will use it for accounting. Staples also noted that Kenandy is working on software for assigning serial numbers to goods.
Staples believes that to be a successful modern manufacturer, you need a reliable ERP solution.
“I can’t imagine our business without this now,” he said.
This was first published in December 2013