Posted by Ranga Bodla, Wholesale Distribution Industry Lead, NetSuite

Organic, farm-raised, non-GMO, pesticide-free, no steroids and all-natural fibers…consumer demand for natural products has increased exponentially over the last decade, with new markets and types of products emerging every year. Transparency Market Research predicts sales of natural products will rise to $187.9 billion in 2019, and has been increasing by 15 percent annually over the past few years.

Likewise, the annual Natural Products Expo West attracted more than 2,700 exhibitors and 71,000 industry professionals at its March 2015 show. This year’s event in Anaheim, Calif. on March 9-13 is expected to be even larger, with products ranging from all-natural cosmetics and biodegradable boxes to vegan desserts, protein bars and herbal supplements on display.

That’s great news for the producers and distributors of all-natural products! But, it’s also a huge challenge for them to maintain efficient and cost-effective operations while also expanding sales, procurement, production and shipping month by month. These companies need systems that can support rapid change. As most small and midsized growth companies have found, it takes more than QuickBooks and Excel to handle such growth. Growing companies require a full-featured ERP system capable of providing the integration of data and range of functionality that big businesses have, along with the ease of use and low cost of implementation and maintenance suitable for a small company.

NetSuite customer Navitas Naturals is a case in point. Navitas manufactures and distributes a line of organic “superfoods” ranging from coconut chips and dragon fruit slices to hemp protein powder. Navitas sources its products from suppliers around the world and sells them through more than 5,000 retailers and grocers. The company’s expanding catalog of four dozen food products have to be certified—as non-GMO, kosher, organic or gluten free—and must be tracked to ensure they can be traced to their origins should a question of safety ever arise.

 POWER SNACKS from NetSuite customer Navitas Naturals

 The popularity of its organic superfoods have skyrocketed by 202 percent over the last three years, according to Inc. magazine which ranked Navitas Naturals on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies. In 2015 alone, the company nearly doubled its employment from 58 to 96.

In 2013, Navitas Naturals realized it needed an ERP system capable of handling the increasing volume of its sourcing, sales and distribution, as well as its need to monitor its compliance with government and customer requirements. Their management team also needed better visibility into the company’s dispersed operations and data, for greater efficiency and visibility to predict sales, logistics, and inventory needs.

Navitas Naturals chose to move its financials, supply chain, order management, and inventory management operations to NetSuite’s cloud-based, integrated ERP platform, which provides the flexibility to scale up or down, as needed; and toturn onnew usage functionalities as appropriate. Being in the cloud also means no upfront investments or in-house IT costs.

Many other natural products companies such as Guayaki Yerba Mate, Organic Spices Inc., Amazing Grass, World Centric and PACT Apparel are using NetSuite’s integrated ERP for their growing businesses.

The key capabilities for these firms include:

  • Integrated, end-to-end visibility into supply chain, product and distribution operations.
  • Real-time data to provide alerts when problems occur and to make smart decisions using up-to-the-minute information.
  • Easier and faster access by employees, partners and customers to the processes and data they need, whether it is to place an order, check an account, run a report, or analyze data.

The flexibility of a cloud-based architecture and NetSuite’s full-range of capabilities and customization features was also important, given the constant changes in their markets and growing customer demands.

“Any time we’ve had a new challenge in our business, there has been some element of NetSuite that we’ve been able to access to extend and run that process more efficiently,” explained Chris Mann, CEO and Chairman of the Gourd for Guayaki.

Do you have a growing business? Learn how fast-growth companies in the natural products industry are succeeding with the help of the cloud by visiting with NetSuite at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif. on March 9-13, where NetSuite will be co-hosting a Happy Hour with Navitas Naturals. You can also click here for more information about NetSuite for Food Companies.