K9 Natural

Snapping at the heels of the big boys with NetSuite

“Since we implemented NetSuite we’ve grown well over 30%, but we haven’t had to add more hours or people to our accounts function."

K9 Natural Food Ltd combines the best New Zealand wholefood ingredients to create high-meat, grain-free, energy-packed diets for dogs and cats around the world. Every wholefood ingredient in the K9 Natural range of premium freeze-dried, frozen and canned products is sourced by the company and can be traced directly back to the farm. The final products are manufactured under contract by leading New Zealand meat processors.

The K9 Natural group is made up of five companies including the sales and marketing global head office which is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, and subsidiaries in the USA and Australia, an associate company in Japan, and staff in Canada and China.

K9 Natural products are sold in 23 countries, and 85% of their business is built on exporting.

On a short leash with QuickBooks

The business ran all five companies on a small-business accounting software package called QuickBooks. As the organisation continued to grow, so did the level of frustration at the software’s limitations.

“The main issue was the inefficiency caused by needing multiple separate logins for each company,” says James Jorgensen, K9’s CFO. “QuickBooks didn’t support intercompany elimination or group financial consolidation. These transactions had to be processed manually, which chewed up a lot of time. However, the driving force to change was that QuickBooks only had one inventory location – and we had thirteen locations.”

"We liked what Fusion5 were saying to us, and we knew we had to take that leap to get further ahead."

A need for new tricks

K9 Natural wanted a lean administrative headcount, while focusing on expanding into new markets and countries to achieve rapid revenue growth. They knew that improving efficiency and controlling costs would maintain their competitive edge.

The company needed to make quick business decisions with more clarity to protect and improve their gross profit, which made access to real-time Sales and Marketing analysis and insights critical.

Jorgensen insisted on seamless multi-book tenancy from any new system.  K9 Natural needed to produce timely, and reliable, consolidated group financial reports, minimising wasted time and effort.

A best of breed solution

In 2016, Jorgensen took to Google to find the solution which would simplify life and run the books for five companies effectively.

From a shortlist which included Sage, ACCPAC, Greentree, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and SAP Business One, K9 chose NetSuite as their new ERP, and Fusion5 as their partner.

“We were impressed with Fusion5 and how well regarded they are. Initially we thought that NetSuite was a step too far, and that financially we were at least a year off making that level of investment. But we liked what Fusion5 were saying to us, and we knew we had to take that leap to get further ahead. 

We also felt that the other solutions we considered were still trying to get cloud-based offerings together, whereas NetSuite is a fully-fledged cloud solution, so we’d only have to do this once.”

A veteran of several ERP projects, Jorgensen appreciated Fusion5’s methodical approach to implementation.

“Fusion5 were more structured than any partner I’d worked with before. The behind-the-scenes work they put in to understanding our business was well justified, and gave us control of the outcome of our implementation process.”

“Fusion5 were more structured than any partner I’d worked with before.”

James Jorgensen, Chief Financial Officer, K9 Natural

An ERP with real bite

NetSuite supports K9 Natural’s multi-company, multi-country and multi-currency needs. And of course, it supports multi-location inventory.

Managing financial and group consolidation is no longer a manual process, and CRM and Marketing functions are embedded in the solution.

“NetSuite’s BI, analysis and reporting functions allow the team to generate their own reports,” says Jorgensen. “We can see what our subsidiaries are doing and check their sales on real-time dashboards. We’ve suddenly got a lot more flexibility with a lot of things that used to be a struggle for us.”

Jorgensen says that within a month of using NetSuite, he and the operations manager looked at each other and said ‘You know what? With this level of efficiency, we’re easily going to save hiring another person out of this.’

“Since we implemented NetSuite we’ve grown well over 30%, but we haven’t had to add more hours or people to our accounts function.

“The thing that has really pleasantly surprised us with NetSuite is how responsive it is. We used to take a long time running reports, especially balance sheets and profit and loss accounts. Now, we can generate reports in about three or four seconds. Fully consolidated, by market, whatever you want. And NetSuite’s reliability and uptime has been excellent, so we are really happy with that.”

As NetSuite is a native cloud solution, the business no longer has the IT administration costs typically associated with installed business software. And the K9 Natural’s team regularly use the in-built tools to build searches and queries without the need for external support.

Leader of the pack

Jorgensen describes K9 Natural as the ‘unconventional disruptor’ in the pet food space. “We’re a small team and we’re taking a brand to the world in a fairly new category. Even though we only have 27 staff to cover New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada, and China, we’re are growing at close to 30% per annum.

“We’re playing against the big boys and need to be fleet footed. We need a tool that will work from anywhere in the world, and quickly and efficiently give us the information we need to manage our business well. NetSuite is providing that.”

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