- HydroJug is a reusable water bottle manufacturer founded in 2016 by brothers Hayden and Jake Wadsworth.
- As HydroJug grew, it introduced new products and sales channels. Today if offers a wide array of products made from glass, stainless steel, and other materials.
- The company needed a system that would help with product launches, including creating electronic product codes, new colors, and other item-related information.
- NetSuite puts key data on the company’s performance and operations at its leaders’ fingertips, who can then make more informed decisions.
- HydroJug uses Shopify's ecommerce platform to customize each product drop and showcase new items to its top customers, and that system is tightly integrated with NetSuite.
For brothers Hayden and Jake Wadsworth, the Eureka moment behind their business came when they noticed how many people carried around single-use plastic bottles. Knowing plastic isn’t good for consumers or the environment, they began making jugs out of borosilicate glass, which is more durable than other alternatives on the market.
As HydroJug grew, it introduced new models and today offers a wide array of products made from glass, stainless steel, and other materials. HydroJug’s use of borosilicate sets it apart in the reusable bottle market, where less expensive alternatives like soda-lime glass are often used to make bottles.
“We’ve released a diverse range of products, and that’s played a significant role in our company’s growth over the last six years,” cofounder and CEO Hayden Wadsworth said. “We always want to make sure that we're overdelivering and paying attention to the fine details of the materials we're using.”
After switching to NetSuite and Shopify Plus, HydroJug has:
- Replaced its highly manual, spreadsheet-based processes with a unified cloud-based ERP to enhance forecasting and reporting capabilities.
- Built a single repository for all its organizational data, which helps optimize inventory data and leads to better buying decisions.
- Customized product drops in a way that helps it quickly showcase new items to its top customers.
New products hit the market
By early 2021, HydroJug was introducing new products at an accelerated pace. It needed a system that would help with product launches, including creating the electronic product codes, product colors, and other information needed to place an order with a supplier up to six months prior to the actual release.
Meanwhile the company, which started out mostly selling to consumers, started expanding its B2B presence, a move largely driven by pandemic disruptions. To both scale and recover some lost opportunities, the company began selling its products in large retail stores, on Amazon, and to buyers in the United Kingdom.
HydroJug managed all of this in spreadsheets and knew it was time for a change.
“We needed a place to store all of that new product data, and we also needed better forecasting for our growing product line,” Wadsworth said.
In addition, HydroJug faced challenges getting the right items to the right places at the right time and ensuring that it didn’t overinvest in certain products.
The company wanted an ERP system that would provide a single repository of financial, inventory, product, and other data and would integrate with its existing Shopify Plus ecommerce platform, which worked well.
“One of the key things that led us to NetSuite was how there were so many people with businesses similar to ours, with the same use cases, already using NetSuite,” Wadsworth said. “It was huge for us to be able to look at other companies and see how they were successfully using NetSuite and Shopify Plus together. That gave us a lot of confidence.”
HydroJug replaced those spreadsheets with NetSuite ERP(opens in new tab) and saw immediate improvements. The manufacturer also uses NetSuite’s native warehouse management system (WMS)(opens in new tab), and its implementation team built integrations to Shopify Plus and its outbound carriers through Celigo.
Live forecasts that HydroJug can depend on
Prior to NetSuite, HydroJug relied on customized forecasts that took anywhere from four to five days to create. During that time, an employee had to pull, manipulate, and assemble the data. Then, the company created purchase orders (POs) based on that data.
Thanks to a script that pulls data from NetSuite and uses the information to create customized forecasts, HydroJug’s executives now have “live forecasts” at their fingertips whenever they need them.
“It now takes just one day to review the (forecast) data and submit the related PO,” said Ryan Holmes, the company’s VP of supply chain and product development. “With NetSuite, my forecast is live. That’s sheared anywhere from three to four days off of our monthly forecasting and been a huge benefit.”
Holmes also appreciates the high level of accuracy of its critical data in NetSuite and that he can combine HydroJug’s demand and supply forecasts. Using these combined forecasts, he can confidently submit POs directly to the company’s suppliers.
“That’s created a huge time savings for us,” said Holmes.
Orchestrating a big strategic shift
Before the pandemic, HydroJug’s wholesale business comprised about 5% of total sales. That number now hovers between 20% and 30%. The bottle maker credits NetSuite and Shopify Plus with making this major shift in its business model possible.
“We were at a point where we needed different revenue streams and methods of selling, and most large retailers require electronic data interchange (EDI) transmission to be able to sell into their stores,” said Holmes. “We knew that we had to optimize, and NetSuite has helped us do that very efficiently via EDI.”
Wadsworth especially likes the fact that he can quickly generate and review performance and operational reports instead of waiting for someone to review, organize, and put the data into spreadsheets.
“With NetSuite, we have the data right at our fingertips, and we’re using that information to make more informed decisions,” Wadsworth said.
On the B2C side, HydroJug’s frequent product drops have developed a loyal following and customers watch for new designs. To manage that end of the business, it needed a seamless ecommerce experience and the right tools for internal teams. Once HydroJug migrated to Shopify Plus, it took advantage of Shopify LaunchPad(opens in new tab) to schedule, coordinate, and execute product drops and to ensure inventory availability.
"Shopify's platform allowed us to customize each product drop and showcase new items to our top customers." Wadsworth said. "This iterative process of product drops allowed us to get customer feedback quickly and test and learn what marketing strategies were more impactful."
Reacting quickly to a fast-changing market
Brands like HydroJug need technology such as NetSuite and Shopify Plus to not only help them keep pace with but stay out in front of new trends, opportunities, and challenges. In NetSuite, HydroJug has a highly scalable ERP that integrates directly with Shopify Plus, provides high levels of automation, and helps the growing company react quickly when the market demands fast action.
Sellers can learn more about how NetSuite and Shopify Plus will help them manage their businesses better here(opens in new tab).