Customer Success Story | Signal Group
Introduction & Background
Signal Group, LLC is an e-commerce company located in Novi, Michigan. Founded in 2002 by Jerry Chapman, Signal Group recently implemented NetSuite as their ERP System and the SuiteCommerce platform for their webstore.
“We migrated to NetSuite from our own home-grown system and that process was challenging. We had a decade plus of custom functionality built into our platform that we called ‘Control Panel’ and replicating that functionality in NetSuite is an ongoing process,” said Chris Trumble, Director of Marketing at Signal Group. “This is one of the reasons we chose NetSuite. NetSuite has the strong financial functionality that we needed but it also has seemingly unlimited flexibility which allows us to rebuild the custom processes we had in Control Panel. Now, everything we need is in the NetSuite platform.”
One of the custom processes that was essential for Signal Group to rebuild in NetSuite, was the ability to capture vendor tracking information via email, communicate that information to the ERP platform and subsequently to the end customer.
“Drop shipping products to customers for e-commerce companies is always a challenge because you don’t have near the control of the process, timing and communication as you do if the product is sitting in your warehouse,” said Stephanie Sepko, Purchasing Manager at Signal Group. “We inventory the products that have a high rate of sale, but we still drop ship quite a bit, and we work with dozens of vendors. Some have great communication and some — not so great.”
In late 2021, Signal Group turned to Sam Hornstein at eXtendTech for a solution that would allow the company to process these emails in bulk, rather than manually, one by one. “We have a couple of excellent NetSuite partners that we work with, but we wanted to work with Sam at eXtendTech because he was a previous NetSuite user himself in an e-commerce company. He knows this challenge and has built solutions for it in the past. We knew that we would get from problem to solution efficiently, which means less money spent,” said Chris Mercer, Junior NetSuite Administrator at Signal Group.
A meeting was scheduled between eXtendTech and Signal Group to understand the nuances of what was needed and to document the requirements. Following this meeting, a prototype of the solution was built in the NetSuite sandbox where testing could take place. The actual users at Signal Group did the testing and provided feedback which included members of the order processing and purchasing teams, along with NetSuite administrators. After a few rounds of revisions, the solution was optimized, tested, and ready to be deployed into the production account.
eXtendTech builds functionality in NetSuite that allows the vendor to send tracking emails directly to a NetSuite inbox for processing. Once received, eXtendTech wrote code that extracted the needed information and stored it in a custom record in the NetSuite account. Then, an additional custom function was written to correspond tracking information with the appropriate Purchase Order / Sales Order in the NetSuite account, autogenerating the Item Fulfillment, and sending the shipping email notification to the customer. The code accepts various email layouts from multiple vendors, so the solution is fully comprehensive.
“We are very careful with the projects we undertake. We have an internal Change Advisory Board that reviews proposals and approves projects, and every project has to be justified,” said Kathy Burgess, President of Signal Group. “Our process is to write a business case and estimate the number of labor hours saved and compare that to the cost of the project. When our board reviewed the business case for this project, it was a no-brainer and it received immediate approval. The good news is that the project came in on time, and on budget.”
Today, the Tracking Email Capture Solution that eXtendTech has built for Signal Group, is processing hundreds of emails a day, respectively saving the company hundreds of labor hours each month. “This project was a huge win for us. Not only is it saving labor hours each day, but it has also made our business scalable. We can double our drop shipments without doubling our labor in our order processing department,” said Mae Kouza, VP of Operations at Signal Group.
With nearly two decades of experience on the NetSuite platform, eXtendTech is proficient at learning your business, understanding your challenges, and architecting an efficient solution for your company.
As a team of NetSuite solution experts, our mindset is always ‘NetSuite-first’ when it comes to architecting a solution in an effort to keep users working within a singular technology platform. Nevertheless, we are often asked by our clients how we can integrate one of their preferred third-party applications or custom platforms with NetSuite. Of course, we’re always up for a good challenge when it comes to seeing what we can do with the NetSuite platform!
If you organization is looking for a custom NetSuite integration, let’s have a conversation to see if our common integration practices or methods would work for you.