High-Growth Paint Manufacturer Brings Its Operations Onto a Single Platform With NetSuite

Spectrum Color implements NetSuite’s cloud ERP within 90 days and optimizes its investment over time with Paapri’s industry and implementation expertise.

When Racquel Gregory joined Spectrum Color as Operations Manager in 2018, she immediately noticed room for improvement in the paint maker’s manufacturing productivity, efficiency levels and inventory management approach.

Founded in the 1990s, this maker of gel coats for boats, airplanes and other vehicles got its start in a garage in Washington and now runs its operations from two warehouse facilities in St. Augustine, Fla. With 14 employees, the company had long relied on disparate technology solutions to run its operations.

“The train had gone down the tracks without a conductor for a while. We wanted a new business system that could give us all of the options we needed in one place and that would be quick and easy to learn.” Racquel Gregory, Operations Manager, Spectrum Color

 

For example, it was using QuickBooks for accounting and various other applications to manage its business. Spectrum Color was also utilizing Salesforce to build a rep network that never got off the ground to log team projects.

These disconnected systems were creating major challenges for the company as it expanded, added new customers and hired additional staff members. “No one could wrap their heads around going from this platform to the next to the next,” said Gregory.

Leveling Up Quickly

From its new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, Spectrum Color knew it wanted a solution that would replace QuickBooks and Salesforce, offer productivity-enhancing features and meet its budget. It found all of those things and more in NetSuite, which offered inventory tracking through the entire sales order lifecycle plus the additional accountability, flexibility in reporting and raw material tracking that the company needed.

“When we discovered NetSuite we said to ourselves, ‘Aha. That’s it right here,’” said Gregory.

At the time, the company was about three months out from its busiest season of the year and looking for an implementation partner that could get NetSuite live quickly. Paapri came highly recommended, so Spectrum Color hired the company to manage the implementation. “That wound up being a great recommendation,” said Gregory. “Paapri has been our knight in shining armor, especially because we were moving off such a rudimentary platform.”

Paapri assisted Spectrum Color throughout the design, implementation and go-live processes, helping the company tackle challenges and meet its three-month implementation timeframe. “Paapri understood our goals and challenges very well,” said Gregory, “and kind of rolled with the punches. We really enjoyed working with them.”

Gaining Efficiencies and Enhancing Productivity

With NetSuite as its central business system, Spectrum Color has increased its revenues by 10%-15% in certain product categories without having to hire additional staff. Communications have improved across the enterprise, employees no longer work in fear of their systems crashing and inventory levels are accurate and dependable.

“Prior to switching to NetSuite, I walked into a crumbling, sad affair,” said Gregory. “We’ve since become more efficient and have more time to focus on more important tasks.” In the past, for example, the company had a four-person customer service team answering phones throughout the day, with Gregory providing additional phone support as needed.

“I don’t need to get on the phone anymore,” she said. “That’s opened up an additional position for an employee who is now going to start a commission-based rep network in the Southeast, a project our company’s owner has been trying to launch for the last 15 years.”

Now, when a new order comes in via phone or email, NetSuite transfers the information directly to the company’s manufacturing plant, where all of its products are made in-house using a bill of materials (BOM) and/or a work order that’s generated by the ERP. The order is then transferred to the company’s shipping department, which is alerted as soon as the items are completed and ready to ship.

Eliminating the Burdens

NetSuite has eliminated the burden of managing small items that have to be completed in order to move larger projects forward. For example, the company uses NetSuite to see what tasks are on the agendas of individual departments and/or users (i.e. work orders to complete, purchase orders to approve and vendor bills to pay).

“NetSuite helps lay out a lot of information and reminds us along the way about issues like supply chain disruption, which everyone has to keep in mind,” said Gregory, who adds that the company is leveraging even more of the ERP’s native functionalities every day.

Most recently, team members began using NetSuite’s built-in email capabilities. “It sounds like a minor thing, but we’ve almost completely abandoned Microsoft Word so that we can align employees on the same platform,” said Gregory. “Now, everyone can see every email and order communication. It’s all logged within the same system, so it’s super easy to find.”

What’s Ahead?

Soon, Spectrum Color will begin using NetSuite’s Planning and Budgeting module, which automates labor-intensive planning and budgeting processes so companies can quickly and easily produce budgets and forecasts, model what-if scenarios and generate reports. Gregory would also like to upgrade the company’s website and integrate its Shopify storefront directly into NetSuite.

“This will take the headaches out of managing our web store,” said Gregory. “We’re just now diving into that project with Paapri and it already looks like it’s going to be just as great of an experience as our ERP implementation.”

One year after implementing NetSuite, Gregory said she’s still in regular touch with Paapri to help her optimize the company’s ERP investment. “They give me a lot of advice which is great; I really enjoy that,” she added. “We’ll likely have a long-term partnership with them. If I have an issue, I always go to Paapri first.”

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