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NetSuite 2017 Panel Discussion Video

TRANSCRIPT
Rico Andrade, VP of Marketing, iCharts:

 

Thank you everyone for coming, and we’ll go ahead and get started! Welcome to our breakout session. This is “Preparing NetSuite Processes for Reporting and Analytics” and this is hosted by iCharts. My name is Rico Andrade, I’m the head of marketing over at iCharts. iCharts is a BI and analytics tool that’s built natively inside of NetSuite. We are all about making it as easy as possible for you to take your NetSuite data and be able to, right in your NetSuite dashboard, running your portlets, to be able to slice and dice that data in real time without needing to export it out of NetSuite, without needing to put it into Excel, put it into other systems. You can just set up your dashboard to once and they automatically update.

 

The interesting thing about this is that with iCharts and NetSuite, it’s  fairly easy to make that happen once you’re at that point. But often times there’s a whole other set of decisions that need to be made ahead of time, that will determine what analytics you want what sort of processes, what sort of data you want to visualize in the first place. At iCharts we do have a team that helps guide our customers through that process because it’s very new to a lot of people. And what we also have here are three iCharts customers, and also NetSuite experts who have gone through this journey of preparing NetSuite for BI and analytics – well beyond just iCharts by the way – to be able to run their particular processes.

 

So we’re going to introduce our panelists and their companies real quick, and then I’m going to just quickly introduce you to iCharts because it’s relevant to the conversation in terms of understanding what you’re going to be able to visualize, and in particular the new product that we just launched last week that is going live that perhaps many of you have already demoed downstairs. And then we’re going to go into a conversation. Forty five minutes plus Q&A is could be really short actually because there’s just a wealth of information and hard learned lessons that’s come from these gentlemen. So hopefully you can also continue the conversation afterwards and make your own process is a lot easier.

 

So we’re going to start with the Bryan Bishop to the right. Bryan is the Director of Supply Chain and Export Control Officer at Akustica/Bosch. You want talk a little bit about Akustica?

 

Bryan Bishop, Director of Supply Chain and Export Control Offices at Akustics/Bosch:

So we make little tiny microphones that go into smart phones, laptops, anything that needs a little microphone it’s with MEMS technology so it’s an IC. We’re basically a fab-less company so we’re entirely outsourced in Europe and Asia. In 2014 aside from running supply chain, i’m kind of old programming data geek, so they gave me the fun role of tearing up every IT system that we have, putting in NetSuite, we put in Dell Boomi to integrate with our vendors, we of course put in iCharts to visualize it all, we now even use Autodesk P.L.M.

 

But basically we use that to connect to our supply chain around the world even though we don’t own the sites, bring it all back into NetSuite make the transactions in NetSuite, and again iCharts to visualize it. So 2014, kind of the point of one of the big point of the discussion today is we’ve got to prep all our data, figure out how to take all our existing data structures existing systems move all the data into next week, and make it all work while not breaking the business in a year we’re massively expanding and I’m still sitting here which means we are actually successful in doing that.

 

Rico:

And then I’d like to introduce Jonathan Holley from Bailey International. He’s a Marketing Analyst and coming from Tennessee. I got to visit the operation, it’s pretty wonderful, you want to tell us a little bit about Bailey?

 

Jonathan Bailey, Marketing Analyst at Bailey International:

Bailey International as a manufacturing distributor of hydraulic equipment, mainly cylinders and hydraulic power units, but we manufacture Knoxville, Tennessee. We have a couple of 3PLs we use across the U.S. We source from China, India, Bulgaria, we have tens of thousands of SKUs that we distribute across the country, so we have engineering, we do systems integration, and then build custom units as

 

Rico:

So what’s the extent of the NetSuite implementation?

 

Jonathan :

We’ve been using NetSuite a little over three years now, my role is a marketing analyst, but I really kind of touch all things because I’ve made the mistake of learning how to use NetSuite. So we have two websites running on SuiteCommerce Advanced, we we just implemented Bronto last month actually, I’m excited about that I’ve been pushing that for that for a little bit. We use iCharts. We use SPS Commerce, we use basically every NetSuite partner there is. We have multiple subsidiaries that are all running on one world and it it’s worked pretty well so far.

 

Rico:

And then I’d like to introduce Gary Ciffate. He’s the chief technology officer at Candy.com which is pretty awesome facility as well that I got to see in Braintree. So it’s Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory there. He’s also providing all the candy at the a iCharts booth if you come and visit us downstairs. Could you tell us about Candy?

 

Gary Cifatte, Chief Technology Office, Candy.com:

Well it’s a topic that I think everyone here can speak to has their own, which side they like it, do they want the sweet, do they want the sour, do they want the chewys. Candy,com started out as the online candy store, you used to be able to go on there, place some orders, but it really started developing when retail marketing got involved and wanted us to distribute for them. So when you go to a lot of the major retailers now, when you go online and you order your candy those orders come to us and we have to fulfill those orders and we do I’m on a white label so, you think you’re getting it from one location, and you are, it’s just our location.

 

We use NetSuite as the order management tool, we use it to track our RF smart, with our picking and packing Dell Boomi which we incorporated, we brought all our EDI in-house we used to have it outsourced, we brought it all in-house. We hired both the professional services that Boomi offered as well as a gentleman that’s knows more about Electronic Data Interchange, probably more than everyone in this room will ever know, we’ve been fortunate with that.

 

With iCharts, we started looking to really how to get report because I love data. Data is great. We tell people this is a common question “you can lie about the data but the data doesn’t lie” so when we started looking through the data and realizing every day of the week our order volumes were consistent with the previous same day of the week, we started what we call the “hump chart” and when we met up with iCharts we said “this is our Excel chart this is what we need to have” And my boss’ keeps wanting me to say put it on my dashboard I can’t put on there because there was nothing in NetSuite that would let me take the save search and turn it into something. And iCharts proved that you can do that so not to go into a lot of detail but we started setting up market segments we have management we have finance we have the warehouse and based upon those dashboards in your role, we expose different parts of the data, and we’ve seen huge savings in just with our resource balancing because not only do we know what day the orders coming in, but we actually know the time of the day so we can actually move our shifts around to have the people not standing around and not eating the profits but rather shipping it.

 

Rico:

And so just before we start the discussion, last year we did this discussion, I didn’t show the visual of what actually iCharts looks like, so I’m going to just to set the context, and then we’ll get into the BI.

 

This can be a fairly free flowing topic but I want to start at the very top. From a very very basic perspective what is the difference between setting up a NetSuite for like regular day to day operations versus how you got to think of it for analytics and reports and visual reporting.

 

Bryan:

So I think that I think unfortunately a lot of times and you can make the argument both ways maybe correctly so you have to take care your transactions your bills your invoices your shipping your image or a tracking I mean I have the nuts and bolts in place first and I think a lot of times analytics is looked at as an afterthought one of the big problems with that is if you’re not setting it up from the get go with analytics in mind you’re not structuring your data properly or not giving yourself the path to get those analytics easily made on the other side so I think it takes from the beginning I was recommend that people look at both options where you want to get where you want to get from an analytics perspective but obviously you have to have the nuts and bolts taking care of our client but it is in a way too different it’s kind of a diagram you need to do a little bit more to prepare for analytics but you have to have the core of the the nuts and bolts the invoices exciter room place.

 

Jonathan :

I think one of the big things that I have to do and just a quick list or I had a conversation my C.E.O. the other day because he wanted something and I had to tell him no because at the end of the day what he wanted while nice wasn’t really going to be useful for the business and so we had those discussions a lot is not just setting up your data you can analyze things all day long and the great thing about Net Suite is you have tons of data the bad thing about Net Suite is you have tons of data and so figuring out what the end goal is and what you can actually make action on at the end of the day is important and then setting up your data to be able to get to those results that you can actually grow the business with that’s important from the outset

 

Rico:

so just to add to that one of the kind of common examples that happens when someone comes comes to us and into our customer success team is that OK Great want to create this report but they’ve set up the data structure itself without thinking about the long term consequence So for example instead of using a field they might have used just a description field for people just to type in the information and so you want to parse out that information later and you can’t do it or you’re switching the status of the process and it would’ve made life so much easier for the little time stamp was added where then you can figure out how long each thing stayed in process versus just knowing where each thing is and particular process so thinking a little bit ahead about what would we want to analyze later really saves a lot of headache specially if you’ve you know may have been doing this for years and then you can’t really dig deep on that

 

Gary:

I concur with that because in the ideal world I mean doing it for thirty something years and it’s a very can do building a house I mean you can build anything when you start but when you have the foundation and someone says That’s great but it has to go up forty stories or it has to go wide I mean if you don’t have the forethought of what you’re looking for you have a problem trying to expand on it and even when you do the analytics even when you do that the analysis and everyone signs off and you do your due diligence and you deliver the product they go that’s great but it doesn’t do anything that helps us and one of the things that we’ve learned with iCharts is that we stop telling people what they needed to do the application now has filtering has the ability to go through and store and we just give them all the raw data we took out everything whoever’s worked with state s you group it you sum it, you sort it you convert it and it’s never what you’re expecting and I just came to me and said Why the heck are you doing that and I’m like well is that how you supposed that they said no just give us the data and I charge those all the grouping all the summing all the filtering and we put on the dashboard management and click the buttons and do the analysis and recalibrate and get everything so the more data you can give them to your point it’s great has data but it’s got a lot of data but the more data you can give them that they can control the better the decision making is.

 

Rico:

So probably the brightest question of all is and this happens a lot you get the sense of I know that analytics real time analytics makes sense for my company but where do I start and all of you have gotten fairly far in that process and continually see continually evolving but what is is there how do you think about it what do you prioritize what is the first thing that what is the what is the plan that you make towards knowing what eventually you want to show.

 

Bryan:

So a couple things. So in our business when we when we started we put in that suite our old systems didn’t connect that well to our factories we’re thinking our books about once a month we are financially responsible across our entire supply chain for the I’m a Tory So we have to step back and say OK would be great to know what our factories we own the inventory we don’t own the factories so what did they start what do they output what’s their yields and these are great questions but then you have to go back a step and say well what’s the foundation required to actually make that and that was where as I said we went down the road of putting in Boomi to connect to all the data and and once we started connecting to each factory he said which transactions are in there it was kind of financially driven is a lot of you are probably going into what we’re doing. Actually want to cost the goods and then we kind of step back to say this is the stuff that would be nice to have for everyone this is the stuff we need for finance and then we turn back around and said OK now again what was that list of stuff up front where we said OK we want to know starts and outs from each stage, we want to know what’s our warehouse we want to know what’s in transit and that kind of set down the road to say these are the end data sets and graphs that we’d like to see do we have the supporting data with our data design from the beginning so it’s kind of an iterative process of going back and forth, now I told in this recent story did I get to the meat of your question?

 

Rico:

Where do you start?

 

Bryan:

I think the start of it was both financially what does finance need to run their operation, sales team, what do they need and then myself I’m an ops guy, what do I want out of the factories is nice to have, and in reality even though it was me leading the project I ended up not getting all of my wishes because I determined we actually didn’t need them to get to the end visualization that we needed so starting point is talking to your functional groups taking down that first list of what they need to do their jobs and that’s the best starting point.

Rico:

So let’s dig deeper on that specifically because this comes up a lot for us and it’s that idea of company buy in. the participation and so talk a little bit about the importance of that and how you reach out to the group and make sure that everyone is in agreement on the single source of truth

 

Gary:

Well you have a big company and you never have agreement so what you have is the person who writes the check and they get the first graph. So we were given an initiative of bringing the product in and in six months having it up and running and with the pivot table where we were working, we knew that’s that’s the first one and I say “we” and that was the iCharts support team and myself because I do the NetSuite development so when we put the chart in place and we put it on the dashboard and they went “wow”. This is exactly what we wanted and they say “what you can do with the next five months in three weeks” so what we do is we figure out where is the money coming from the money is coming from the warehouse and we started doing all reports on the warehouse, we knew that we were getting orders on a daily basis we knew how many things were being picked but we didn’t have any visibility and when you have twenty five, thirty, forty workers on a shift— the the final numbers are good, you have no transparency down to the level so we said all right. I know where you are and you and you and I’m going to put you on the chart and we know how many orders you picked how many items per quarter you picked and then we had an average and we maintained team goals the day shift will ship so many items and I ship will ship so many items the individuals will have a goal we’ve turned into a positive with incentives employee of the month became a great motivational tool. There was a little fear factor because those weren’t doing well couldn’t hide behind the numbers on the strong shift but it also became so competitive and they’d say “how could he be ten orders ahead of me, I’m seeing a bit longer to catch up on everything” because nobody likes to be number two so the key for buy and it’s whoever writes the check give them something and then say don’t worry about it and then they go away and then you do everything else and then when they need something you’re like “yeah I can do that don’t worry about it” and you go “Hey Rico what’s what’s Eric doing it was that I really need this next week.” So we get it done.

 

Jonathan:

I said I told you I told my save No no no we don’t we don’t do that now I think to illustrate a great project we’re working on right now is reworking our our quote workflow throughout our business and sitting down like you mentioned with all the functional teams and what’s necessary for them to get out of it obviously huge you got to get that buy in from from them but then figuring out what are ways that you can maximize NetSuite and maybe have to change our business a little bit and that’s something that or an employee owned company that started out as a small family business and it’s been difficult for people that have been there for forty years to change their processes. But moving that and being able to shift people and realize how they they can better do their jobs and then get the pieces of information they need out of it and then the actionable items because of that and it’s a slow process but if you if you really truly show people the light I think they’re they’re happy to come around eventually.

 

Bryan:

I’ll add one more thing and Rico and I talked a little about this before part of it is picking your team but also picking the people for the buy in process and it’s strategic So I like to when I pitch projects I like them to be slam dunks I like to get approvals for it and then move forward with it and I’ve watched people go up which projects get turned down getting white in meetings or groups don’t agree I like to walk in with the people that I know who get it and we need to be in agreement to go forward those people have already got convinced those people are going to go forward with it so it’s very important to pick the right people and as I told Rico before it sometimes feelings get hurt sometimes maybe people don’t get included on the team they say politically you need to with this person and this person but you have to look at how you’re going to get the project in. If you need to bring something up in a short time. We’re adults who are not messing around with this you have to pick the right team, get the buy, and move forward and make sure that the people from each functional group who as I say a lack of a better way of saying they get it and they’re going to be able to be the decision makers and help you move forward so but it’s you have to be a good analyst when you’re running a project.

 

Gary:

That’s the problem with your slam dunk projects, you’ve got Dell Boomi, you’ve got iCharts. Both of them are pretty instrumental to your success, and to our success, and we’ve turned them all around in six months each.

 

Bryan:

But you have to stick to the right software and the right people.

 

Rico:

I want to just dig into something that you said that feels like some of the You mean you too might have a disagreement but that is a. Discussion. Over customization of Net Suite. Because that led to some problems on your front if I understand correctly can you talk a little bit about that.

 

Jonathan :

Oh I was in the manufacturing and distribution keynote earlier and I forget her name and she was talking about how great it is that you can customize NetSuite and I cringed a little bit. We have run into multiple issues where I said it’s great that that’s what is customizable, don’t get me wrong, but there is a certain line you can get to where you lose the native functionality of Net Suite and and the native functionality is pretty cool so now I have people coming all the time “hey can I get a report for this?” and I would show them the list of native reports and that’s when I go “it’s already here but you can’t use it because you customize this and this and this and it’s broken now” so, it’s not bad to customize, and we’ve got a million customizations it’s fine but when you do it really think through how much can I do natively how much is this going to affect the native functionality of NetSuite and are you going down a path that you can’t come back from and in many cases we’ve spent a lot of time and money unraveling this mess that we’ve created from customization.

 

Bryan:

I love customization. So when I was pitching the project I said customization is not a bad word. Everybody I know within my parent company’s world, in Bosch’s world. They run on big box ERP. We’re the only division that was allowed to go out and run a smaller or a cloud based ERP, and their thinking was “can a smaller division run more efficiently with a cloud based ERP?” and they like the results of what we’ve done and there are other divisions that have looked at it so. When I started looking at the customizations I guess to even start out when I first opened that NetSuite after we bought it I looked at have been no instances probably many of you put in that’s we did and I said oh my god there they’re going to kill me what am I going to do it this is not look like how to run a semiconductor business and we started from there with a customization now and . Even six six was actually implemented about three three and a half months whatever and within three months it was already looking like a summit in order semiconductor business I could see how to build microphones in Asia and I could see how I test my microphones in Asia and I could see I build my wafers in Germany and I could see my warehouse in Shanghai and I could see it all operating. Without customization, we could not have gotten the fields in there to run our business as we needed to and so for me that was a big selling point now I will I will give a flip side real quick if you don’t mind so we took the inventory of the transfer order does anybody know that transaction write the transfer or we actually turned it into our non-conformist management process so we went in and we actually change the name of it to be called non-conformist so when we need to put material on hold somewhere in the world we use a transfer order and we use that as our process for people to approve it we have a SuiteFlow wrapped around it and we put it into a global worldwide whole bank so I love what I did and what we did. All of the sudden it means that somebody in Asia goes and builds a product they’re not supposed to or they take a lot on hold and they build that into a lot again we don’t own the factories they’re not using our system I know within twelve hours that they’ve done that and I could stop it now let it get out the door to a customer we have control over our whole process on the other hand, I’ve met a few other cases like that like running the M.R.P. model that used the transporter transaction and when I said “oh we actually morph that into a different transaction” they said “why did you do that” and I said well this was how I needed to run our business and this was the best way to do it so there was a case where I could tell you that we did a customization that bit us on another spot yet I still stand behind what we did because it lets us run our quality hold process and that is more important to us than some of the other needed or needs or intended use as all say of the transfer order I use basic inventory transfers for everything else I need so I guess it’s a pro and con thing. I still stand behind the customizations but they could come back to bite you if you’re not careful.

 

Gary:

You have to control process, as long as you control management on your customizations and if you don’t use and reuse fields.

 

Rico:

Let’s talk a little bit about the data and process validation this is something that comes up a lot for us where data is in NetSuite can make do or pour in or export your data or build an iChart on it but the question is are you looking at the right thing and, , this is a topic that can go on for a long time but I think it’s out of interest what are some of the things that your teams do to make sure that what you’re seeing is the truth there’s best as you can do it both from a data perspective but also that your processes are doing exactly what you want them to do.

 

Gary:

Well from our side with the data we have a very specific audience to look at whether we’re going to the finance whether we’re going to the warehouse whether we’re going to like purchasing we would have just a data analysis group just because it’s just more raw data to look at but the key when you’re looking at the data is can you use it to make a business decision. I mean I love your graphs, don’t get me wrong but I’m like I’ve seen those graphs before how does it translate to my business and if you have data and it’s pretty and then they can’t remember what that data represented as soon as the meeting is over that it is useless I mean we are in a society of attention span issues people are in the sort of you’re here like probably checking your email you’re wondering how is my company running while I’m gone but if you take something from this that you realize that whatever you build and when they look at it and they walk out and they remember that image then you build the right thing and if they look at it they go yeah every part of Joe then you’ve missed the mark so you when you can stop them from all the distractions in life for sixty seconds it burns in and it’s visual and visual is key, it’s worth a thousand words.

 

Rico:

In terms of now if the visual is there but it’s inaccurate let’s say, is that something that you deal with before you build a visual? What sort of things can you do to just improve the trust in the system in the processes, and do what safety measures you have, what sort of planning do you do ahead of time that really helps make sure that what you see is what you get?

 

Jonathan:

We’ve recently started building out a lot of internal workflows to try and do a lot of our data cleansing that really falls on me and many cases so as much as and as often as I try to go in and really cleanse the data and keep everything up to date, sales teams, they do kind of whatever. There’s no telling how things get changed or what they do so as much as I try and fix it, we customize things, we basically use workflows and try and do as much cleanup as we possibly can and maybe a very rudimentary at that this than that kind of thing that helps out more than anything it and really cuts down on the workload for me.

 

Bryan:

I’ll start out saying regarding data cleansing in the conversation, first of all I like to look to the users of the chart so I remember the first time that I opened my charts by the meeting with Eric actually, and we developed a chart within the first two minutes and I realized it was an easy to use tool and I still use that chart to this day that we developed within the first two minutes as of this is what iCharts can do there’s other charts that I dreamed up that I thought I was so smart dreaming up that never nobody ever looked at I don’t look at and I said that was a big colossal waste of my time so first of all the charts that you make, that people use every day, your users will tell you when there’s a problem. My boss asked me, he’s got some he uses all the time, probably almost daily from what I can tell and he’ll come to me as soon as there’s any anomaly and soul that is even checking the operations side of my role. He’ll say “Hey Bryan you said that you were going to ship X. number of million pieces this month it looks like you’re only going to do this what’s the problem are you not getting out of your warehouse did you slip on production did a customer order push out, where’s this number or was there some other problem?” We even had a case where we had to return and replace and that jumbled the numbers up a report that we’ve been using for years it just hadn’t flagged anybody because they had been much smaller I think it was a little larger return so the kind of we have I’m going data checking for things that people used to be regularly use I do rely on my user base for that we’re small company on the supply chain team we also run IT. The other side of it is we’ve become very good and I definitely recommend even if you haven’t gotten into this or anybody else we use a lot of the BI reporting auto e-mail alerts and we just keep setting them up more and more so for example we have a process where when we create a finished reel of microphones we put on one of the early bond components like the test bond as opposed to the finished good our customers want to see both part number so they know kind of the manufacturing part number in the final part number so we have a part of a script within Dell Boomi that puts that on, sometimes it doesn’t always work because perhaps maybe there was an error creating the reels and then that number of reels on that particular run for the day didn’t get the amount number so we have an auto e-mail alert that runs every day at two o’clock that the e-mails us all the ones that didn’t have it and I have an analyst intern that goes in and fills them in real quick and takes a few minutes so what I realized was we probably have fifteen twenty of these scripts now that constantly look at our data and we run on a daily basis to show us where there’s anomalies that are going to but whether it’s affecting an iChart later or effecting a customer shipment later it’s going to tell us where there’s a problem we also have Dell Boomi running every night and that’s one of the best ways that we monitor our data in our supply chain factory A ships to the factory B. Factory B two days later three days later after I get through my fun customs overseas post a receipt file, and the receipts there. if the exact quantity is not there if the exact lot number is not there if anything is missing I get an error report overnight so we constantly monitor errors in our supply chain for Boomi we constantly monitor with saved searches and again I rely on my users using iCharts to tell me where something doesn’t make sense and trust me people in the C level drag me over in five seconds when something doesn’t make sense.

Gary:

If you want to make sure you got the right reports in the right people: unpublish one. I do that and they say “Where’s my report? That’s important! Put that one back.” It’s the easiest way to make sure people are using the report. Don’t let them have it because they become dependent on it. Seriously, if you think your report isn’t getting to the audience right take it away from them because if it’s important they’ll come back because they wonder what happened to this, I was dependent on it! Then you ask them why are you dependent on it, because now all of a sudden they tell you why they depend on it. Yeah, “unpublish” is a really powerful tool.

 

Rico:

And that sounds like wonderful words of wisdom to finish on. Thank you all for coming, and thank you for being amazing panelists!