How Cloud ERP Helps Consumer Packaged Goods Companies Solve Their Biggest IT Challenges

Jon Goode, Senior Director, Channel Marketing

December 23, 2019

Here are five different ways a unified, cloud enterprise resource planning solution can help CPGs work through some of their biggest technology obstacles. 

 In today’s uncertain trade environment, consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms need extremely high levels of inventory management and accuracy, both of which help them manage ever-changing tariff complexities. They also need solid supply chain planning, forecasting and demand planning capabilities—all areas where legacy technology solutions fall short. Learn more about these challenges and how to solve them in “How Technology is Transforming the CPG Industry.”

GSI is a NetSuite partner with deep experience working with CPG companies whose annual revenues range from $50 million to $200 million. Over the years, it’s come to understand some of the technology pain points that CPG companies are dealing with and how a cloud ERP(opens in new tab) can help them overcome these issues and prevail in today’s competitive business environment.

  • Their legacy solutions are holding them back. In most cases, the CPG industry’s legacy solutions lack essential functional components of an integrated system that can handle complex inventory planning, for example, or associating landed costs with items in order to manage tariff considerations and other complexities. There’s also no way to configure these financial and operational functions within a legacy ERP, nor can these tasks be handled effectively using spreadsheets or QuickBooks, both of which are still in use at many CPG companies.
  • They have small IT staffs. This hampers CPG companies’ ability to upgrade their current technology infrastructures and benefit from modern solutions. In many cases, CPG companies are working with small IT staffs, and a lot of them have no desire to have much of any IT staff. A unified, cloud ERP supports these “lean IT” missions by providing a turnkey platform that needs little or no intervention on the part of the CPG firm. Taking even more pressure off its clients’ IT staff, GSI steps in to handle any administrative activities that the company doesn’t want to take on, making the unified ERP completely turnkey and ready for operation.
  • Their “frankensystems” lack capabilities and don’t integrate with one another. In most cases, today’s CPG companies rely on partially-integrated ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics GP and Sage. Most have fairly complex business requirements in place, and tend to augment their ERPs with spreadsheets and other manual approaches. Knowing that these “frankensystems” don’t provide the modern capabilities that they need to operate their global enterprises, CPG firms come to GSI in search of a full-blown, integrated ERP that works on the day that system is switched on.
  • They have analysis paralysis. Without sizable IT teams and experience to lean on, CPG firms tend to get stuck in a vicious cycle of trying to align their technology needs with their budgets (and time). With the GSI SuiteSuccess methodology, each CPG client’s specific customization needs are assessed and the integration of any third-party solutions is mapped out in advance. This provides a conduit for continuous improvement at a low risk—meaning, it doesn’t require managed service clients to purchase any “hours” in advance.
  • They can’t easily manage multiple currencies or subsidiaries. Working with CPG clients whose annual revenues are $50 million to $200 million, GSI sets up dashboards that enable enterprise-wide visibility that most of those companies previously lacked. It also manages multi-currency and multi-subsidiary requirements. The $100 million CPG firm that recently purchased or created new subsidiaries, for instance, must be able to parse those entities’ data out and assess it both collectively and separately. NetSuite brings those capabilities to the table by allowing companies to do fairly simple financial roll-ups across all of their subsidiaries.

Knowing that CPG companies lack IT capabilities, GSI also focuses on ease of integration. It avoids complex customizations within the ERP software(opens in new tab) itself while also providing a high level of flexibility when integrating outside applications into the unified, cloud platform. Download the full GSI kit to learn more.

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.