Family Business Executives on Why the Right Technology is Critical for Long-Term Success

Hayley Null, Alliance Marketing Manager

May 20, 2019

According to the EY Growth Barometer, 29% of family business executives are employing technology to improve productivity(opens in new tab). How exactly are these leaders harnessing the power of technology?

In Part 3 of the Family Business series, Ranga Bodla, Head of Industry Marketing of Oracle NetSuite, sat down with Tommy Thwaites, President of coffee roaster Coda Coffee(opens in new tab), Devin Becker, Vice President of Becker Safety and Supply,(opens in new tab) a distributor, and Jason Kencevski, CEO of Speedmaster(opens in new tab), an auto parts manufacturer, to discuss how they’re using technology to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Use technology to scale

While all three family businesses have very different products and business models, the trio agrees that the right technology is a fundamental to business longevity.

Speedmaster has always been an early adopter of technology, sometimes learning at its own expense.

“We tried SAP before we started [with NetSuite] and we had a hard time moving from handwritten documents to a system that works, because it just didn’t work,” Kencevski said. “It’s not fair to generalize technology. Technology is out there, but not all of it works. When you find technology that does work, then you can scale.”

Speedmaster uses NetSuite to innovate every area of the business, from the products it manufactures to marketing to IT infrastructure. Key to the business, NetSuite’s ecommerce solution, SuiteCommerce Advanced(opens in new tab), has improved Speedmaster’s omnichannel presence, providing a more transparent, seamless experience for its customers.

“Stay ahead of the curve with technology,” Kencevski said. “Technology doesn’t put you ahead, but it’s the only way to stay ahead. It’s made us different by providing more data, more information and more transparency so much quicker to customers, resellers and suppliers.”

Becker Safety and Supply went from handwriting invoices and using QuickBooks and Fishbowl to fully automating the business and eliminating repetitive manual processes with NetSuite in 2016.

“I was frustrated with the amount of time it took to do things. We spent so much time fixing broken systems that we couldn’t grow and scale,” Becker said. “NetSuite is the main reason we’ve been able to grow and scale as fast as we can, and we have been.”

Becker moved into ecommerce to maintain consistency between in person, in store, online and phone orders.

“We always need to know what’s going on with [a customer’s] account every time and any way they interact,” he said.

In Becker’s instance, technology is a competitive advantage, as most of its competitors still use fax machines.

Echoing Kencevski’s sentiments, Coda’s Thwaites says that it is important to recognize that if you have the wrong technology, you need to move on and try new things – even if it’s painful.

“A lot of people will stick with the wrong technology and keep spending the money because they’ve already sunk so much into it,” he said. “You need to just cut your losses and try something else.”

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.