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Short of cash-flow issues, there’s no excuse for retailers to run low on supply.

Case manufacturer Sena sells fine designer accessories for iPads, iPods and several other personal technology gadgets. Suffice it to say, these products are in high demand, but human eyes only go so far when tracking online and bricks-and-mortar inventories. Sena needed an on-demand inventory tracking solution, and tapped provider NetSuite to help meet demand at Apple’s regional hubs and gain real-time inventory visibility.

Roman Bukary, senior director of WD and manufacturing verticals, says NetSuite’s system can create on-demand and forecast dynamics based on sales and reverse logistics.

“We can do dynamic allocation of inventories,” he says, adding that anywhere, anytime access is becoming an important retailer priority. “We have customers that talk about being at 40,000 ft., logged in ... and doing payroll.”

If offices are inaccessible or users are on vacation, NetSuite customers can access their systems via the cloud on any device, Bukary says.

They “will be on a cruise ship in Europe and want to access our system and be able to do that from the ... Internet café without having to install anything,” Bukary says. “We hear this over and over again.”

In addition to providing real-time visibility, NetSuite’s solution tightens stock levels and increases operational efficiencies while improving product margins.

The inventory management software includes bin and lot management, landed cost, demand-based replenishment, customer and volume pricing and multi-location inventory.

Money saved
Sena installed NetSuite’s software in 2007. Since then the company has grown 583 percent, from revenues of $1 million to $14 million, with one part-time IT person.

Prior to the software adoption, Sena lacked process integration and real-time inventory visibility, preventing the company from making wholesale commitments to big box retailers. The NetSuite solution helped managers nail real-time customer service and inventory management, and also increased invoice processing and accounts receivables.

Using this NetSuite solutions suite, Sena saved $1 million a year in capital and maintenance costs while reducing stock-outs by 100 percent. These figures are similar to other companies’ results: Canadian furniture retailer casalife has said it saved $120,000 using NetSuite solutions, while online Kitchenware Direct saved $100,000 costs in manual data labor.

Ranga Bodla, director of industry marketing for NetSuite, says these figures are really a result of cloud-based, real-time access from any device.

“From Sena to Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, [real-time access] lets them innovate and create new business models they couldn’t before,” Bodla says.

Bodla says NetSuite adoption often results from small- to mid-size companies not wanting an IT staff.

“They don’t want to maintain servers and software,” Bodla says. “They want to focus on what runs their business, and we hear this from companies [ranging from] just a few guys starting off to 1,000 people.”