In July, after it was acquired by Square, Stitch Labs, a maker of online inventory software, announced that it was sunsetting its software so the team could focus on building out Square’s tools. Stitch Labs said it would cease taking on new customers and its products will remain operational until Spring 2021 to allow current customers to transition off the platform.
Where do companies on Stitch Labs go? The market is crowded with solutions that offer the same thing — inventory and order management— but no inventory solution alone can curb the growing hairball of solutions that companies have to bolt on in order to make their business run. Businesses need separate solutions to complete the loop from purchase to fulfillment.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Stick with a Similar Best-of-Breed Software or Upgrade to a Business Platform?
Companies that deploy typical inventory solutions still find themselves maintaining spreadsheets, hunting for information in emails and maintaining integrations between multiple solutions. This is because these inventory solutions lack real-time integrations with ecommerce solutions and QuickBooks.
Organizations that take this approach have to import inventory and order data from ecommerce into QuickBooks at month-end to ensure that transactions post correctly to the general ledger. These solutions “sync” with QuickBooks, but the integration can be error prone and needs to be manually monitored. As a company’s order volume grows, this can compound the inaccuracy of inventory and sales data and cost many hours of manual labor to monitor and fix.
Companies Upgrade from Stitch Labs when:
- Ordering and price details are lost from purchase orders sent months in advance in email chains
- There is an increase in the number of suppliers, making orders hard to manage in email
- Teams have to follow the trail of ‘breadcrumbs’ for an order as it goes from Shopify to Stitch Labs then to a shipping solution
- Companies are considering hiring an extra person to assist with inventory count because inventory reports are not accurate
If any of these scenarios seems familiar, it may be a sign that your business will quickly outgrow Stitch Labs (or other solutions like it), and it’s time to gain some automation with better technology.
Big Wins for Companies Create Big Problems When Stitch Labs Cannot Scale
Topo Designs, an outdoor living apparel brand, saw a tremendous surge with its wholesale channel and realized that a lack of integration between QuickBooks and Stitch Labs wouldn’t support their growth.
Since Topo Designs also sells direct to consumer on its website, using Stitch Labs limited the visibility required to assess inventory levels and plan future sales fulfillment of these wholesale orders. A lack of order management and real-time KPIs would have made it difficult for Topo Designs to scale up operations.
In 2019, Topo Designs made the switch to NetSuite. With NetSuite’s cloud-based platform, Topo Designs has a view across its entire supply chain, allowing it to prioritize order allocations based on inventory levels. NetSuite’s multi-subsidiary functionality also prepared the business for global expansion within its retail channel.
“One of the biggest challenges from our prior system set up was that we weren’t able to promise future purchase orders to future sales orders or allocate those sales orders to future purchase orders,” said Matt Williams, operations and finance executive at Topo Designs. “The challenge was that you’re punishing your current available to sell for inventory, and Stitch Labs was not able to do that. It was a bit of a mess. Moving to an ERP system streamlined the business and has allowed us to flourish in other channels.”
Similarly, Chubbies, a brand that made its mark making boldly-printed short-shorts for men, had realized the challenges with Stitch Labs.
“There were always inconsistencies in data — so we were really looking for a system that would help centralize all that information and automate reporting,” said Hunter Leeming, internal operations manager. “From the wholesale perspective, our business took off very quickly. We were getting big orders and needed to be EDI [electronic data interchange] compliant. Stitch Labs wasn’t able to support us in the size of the orders we were dealing with.”
Unifying Inventory, Financials, Customer and Order Data on a Single Platform
Topo Designs and Chubbies are not alone. Businesses using Stitch Labs with QuickBooks and other solutions often find themselves maintaining integrations and double-checking spreadsheets to make sure transactions are accurate.
With NetSuite, inventory, orders, customer and financial data are on a single system and work together. Orders come in from ecommerce, marketplaces or wholesale solutions in real-time, thanks to APIs and an ecosystem of partners that maintains NetSuite integrations for their customers.
Here’s how Stitch Labs customers benefited from a switch to NetSuite:
- Adding new sales channels, product lines or revenue streams (domestically or internationally) is easy. Multiple sales channels and product lines stress an inventory solution like Stitch Labs, so scaling up requires more manual maintenance. Other options like older legacy solutions weren’t built for direct to consumer channels and marketplaces. NetSuite can handle wholesale, retail and direct-to-consumer channels in a single platform. Team members can see all the inventory that’s available across all sales channels in real-time, allowing them to be nimble when serving the customer.
- Eliminate Excel spreadsheets and stop manually syncing third-party applications. All of your data lives in one place in NetSuite, and is arranged by role, making it easy for your teams to see the data relevant to do their jobs. With a robust ecosystem of solutions partners that are built to integrate with NetSuite, getting data in real-time improves the accuracy of forecasting and reduces waste, leading to better cash flow. All users have access to customer data at each stage of the transaction, and without the need for spreadsheets or bolt-on applications.
- Financial consolidation in a matter of hours, not weeks. As they grow, companies often hire more people to maintain the manual reconciliation of inventory and financials at month’s end. As the business becomes more complex, accounting standards, taxation structures and reporting and compliance requirements start to mount up. NetSuite automates key accounting processes, which minimizes the risk of error and delay of manual approaches to multiple charts of accounts and can potentially eliminate the need to hire more people in accounting.
- Get lean with your inventory. When customer demand is high, like in the case when companies “drop” limited editions of product or at high season, they often hedge against stock-outs by keeping more inventory on hand. Companies that run on NetSuite have better data around customer buying behavior and item performance, making it easier to know how products will do in certain markets. In times where demand is unprecedented, companies can quickly allocate inventory from other channels and ensure that orders are fulfilled.
Easily Connect to Your Current Solutions
Got a solution in place that you like? Keep it! Popular solutions and marketplaces like Shopify, Magento, Amazon, NuOrder, Joor, Envoy, WFX PLM, ShipStation and many more have pre-built integrations to NetSuite, making it easy to get information into and out of the system.
Software Made for Your Industry
NetSuite has designed industry-specific software editions and has teams of experts in wholesale distribution and retail. Customers can take advantage of NetSuite’s experience working with companies just like them in the following business areas:
A Clear Path Toward Future Growth
It’s never too early to implement an ERP system. NetSuite has the ability to scale up or down depending on business size from start-ups working out of a garage all the way up to publicly-traded companies.
To learn more about making your switch from Stitch Labs to NetSuite, get a free product tour here.