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Leveraging the power of NetSuite
“We can access NetSuite through apps, or directly from a browser, on any device – the flexibility is phenomenal. When I go overseas for trade shows or to catch up with colleagues, I know my business is always with me.”Stuart Barnaby, Owner, DVT
Digital Video Technologies (DVT) was formed by Stuart Barnaby in 1996. Today, DVT is New Zealand’s leading provider of integrated high-tech systems to the production, editing and visual effects industry. Their range of world-leading equipment is behind many locally-made feature and short films, documentaries, commercials and corporate videos.
DVT runs a lean team. With just three sales staff and a support person, they depend on NetSuite, their cloud-based integrated business solution, to streamline processes and enable the team to work efficiently.
There must be a better solution out there
Like most start-ups, DVT used an assortment of applications to run the business in the beginning, which caused frustrations. “We were using around 20 applications including MYOB, Outlook, Microsoft CRM, Access and a range of other databases,” recalls Barnaby. “We had minimal integration between them, and the only way I could extract the data I needed for analysis was by implementing a connector to MYOB. The processes we had to follow for simple transactions, like ordering a replacement part for a client, were painful and convoluted. I could see that even for a small business like ours, there must be a better solution out there.”
Barnaby spent 2008 evaluating his options. Dismissing systems out of the price-range of a small business, briefly considering a custom-made solution - but realising it would be ‘overkill', he then took a good look at NetSuite.
“It was obvious that NetSuite’s integrated approach would enable us to manage our website and inventory management, provide us with traditional ERP accounting functionality, provide sales force and case management, and handle essential processes like returned goods authorisations.”
Converted to the cloud
Given the state of broadband connectivity experienced by most businesses back then, Barnaby’s fears about the speed of a cloud solution were soon allayed. “After a short period of testing we found it to be very responsive and very quick.”
And any concerns about data safety were quickly dispelled. “We’ve never had a problem,” says Barnaby. “NetSuite is a very robust system, and none of our data has ever been corrupted, lost or damaged.”
Despite the spate of natural disasters in New Zealand over the last few years, Barnaby knows his business is secure. “If our premises were written off tomorrow we’d still have our business systems, all of our data, and up-to-the-minute inventory for insurance purposes. We could have a complete disaster, go and buy a couple of laptops down the road, fire them up, log into NetSuite and we’d be back in business the next day.”
Easy, expert and flexible partnership
DVT engaged with BPR, New Zealand’s first NetSuite partner, for the implementation. By early 2009 DVT were up and running, and with the help of their in-house developers, have been largely self-sufficient since then.
BPR joined forces with Fusion5 in 2016 to form what is now the largest NetSuite practice in New Zealand and Australia. An experienced businessman, Barnaby was unfazed by the change. “BPR’s key people are part of the Fusion5 NetSuite team, and Fusion5 are completely customer-focused and experts in the field. So, it’s been business as usual.”
Keen to keep costs down, Barnaby appreciates the availability of Fusion5’s resources. “They’ve got a great model where if we don’t have time to make changes ourselves, or we have a special project, we can use them on an ad hoc basis. That works really well for us.”
Real-time metrics for better decision making
DVT uses NetSuite across all its business operations, including the company’s eCommerce website. Stock is loaded into NetSuite as it’s received from suppliers and shared on the website.
“Our stock levels are always 100% accurate,” says Barnaby. “With NetSuite, everything is real-time. The dashboards are live, so there’s no need for weekly or monthly reporting. The same goes for our financial reporting. I have a customised balance sheet so I can see a snapshot of exactly where the business is at, at any time, and I can drill down in great detail. The sales staff have their own dashboards to show them how they’re tracking against their sales targets compared with the previous month, quarter or year. It keeps them accountable, and they love it – especially when they close a big deal and it shows up on their dashboard immediately.”
“Having up-to-date and permanently accurate information is just the smart way to run your business.” You don’t have to wait until the end of the month to know how your business is running. I know exactly how each product or sales person is performing, every day. And I can create any report I want on the fly, in less than a minute.”
And NetSuite’s bi-annual upgrades are stress-free, according to Barnaby. “You get lots of pre-warning, and a test account every time they do an upgrade. And as a part of the NetSuite community, you get to vote on what features you want to see in the future.”
An automated future
The DVT sales process is now largely automated. Customer enquiries are turned into quotes, and then sales orders. Purchase orders can be instantly converted into bills, and clients invoiced. The system even places orders with DVT suppliers for items as they go out of stock. “The process is so simple, but you can report on open opportunities, the likelihood of conversion into a sale and the potential value. It gives any sales manager an immediate and real-time snapshot of what’s in the pipeline. That information’s just so valuable.”
Streamlining business processes meant DVT grew sales volumes without adding more staff, while making the team more pro-active. “They don’t need to go back to administrators to check on sales or purchase orders, or check when stock will arrive. They can easily get this information out of NetSuite for themselves. This means we can run a tight ship.”
And with the advent of ultra-fast broadband, things are better than ever. “We can access NetSuite through apps, or directly from a browser, on any device – the flexibility is phenomenal. When I go overseas for trade shows or to catch up with colleagues, I know my business is always with me.”
The next step for Barnaby and DVT is automating the accounts receivable process. This will enable them to post data from supplier invoices directly to NetSuite without human handling, and reduce the errors and complexity that comes with foreign account transactions. “NetSuite allows us to integrate with our suppliers and develop a degree of supply chain management that would normally only be used by larger companies.”
And that, according to Barnaby, is good for business.
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