Inventive Dog Ball Retrieval Product Fetches the Perfect ERP Fit with NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition

Mike Stiles, NetSuite Contributor

August 23, 2023


  • iFetch is a family-owned company that manufactures and sells toys to keep dogs happy and healthy. With just four employees, the company’s revenue has grown to between $1 million and $2 million annually.
  • Facing a new business need, iFetch learned that NetSuite had launched a system just right for iFetch’s size and budget and was able to move off QuickBooks. 
  • The team learned the new system easily and began using a controller with NetSuite experience, which made the ERP transition simple and painless. 
  • NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition is full featured enough that iFetch doesn’t anticipate needing to replace or upgrade the system. 
  • iFetch has cut contracted controller costs by half using NetSuite SuitePeople, which automates payroll and generates tax information. 
  • Using NetSuite, iFetch now has trust in its data, with the ability to analyze information and make strategic adjustments with confidence. 

About iFetch   

The story of iFetch began with a little dog named Prancer who loved to fetch—so much so that a young Grant Hamill could hardly get his homework done because Prancer was never done playing. “There should be something that throws the ball for Prancer so I can get my homework done,” Grant said. Unable to find any such device for sale online, the family continued tossing balls for Prancer until Grant and his grandfather, Denny Hamill, decided to solved the problem. 

Denny had worked at 3M for many years and saw how new products moved from concept to development to manufacturing and marketing. With a solid product idea, Denny found partners to help with development, and iFetch was on its way to reality. About 1,200 people gave money to a 2013 Kickstarter campaign—and they were off and running.

Upon launching the business, sales were steady—until a video of a dachshund playing with the iFetch went viral, which translated into 5,000 units being sold in one week. Since then, the product line has expanded to include additional iterations of the iFetch ball launcher, the iFetch Frenzy brain game, and the iDig digging toy. All of iFetch’s toys have won Outstanding New Dog Product awards. Brand loyalty has grown so strong that some customers buy just the brand’s tennis balls. 

The iFetch supply chain is a global operation. Products are manufactured in China, and either imported to a facility outside of iFetch’s Texas headquarters in Austin, Texas for shipment across the US, or shipped directly from China to distributors around the world. Some of the larger US retailers now buy directly from the iFetch factory in China. The company’s strongest markets are the US, Canada, and Australia, and the team is currently working on growing European sales.

iFetch is truly a family business. For a long time, Denny, his daughter Debbie, and his grandson Grant were the company’s only employees. Debbie, a physician, left her medical practice to focus on the business. A fourth employee has joined to help with business development and account management, and one part-time staffer works in customer service. A third-party logistics provider handles product packing and shipping in the US. Everything else is handled by contractors and partnerships, as iFetch is deliberate about keeping the staff size as small as possible. 

A Just-Right NetSuite

For years, iFetch used QuickBooks to handle its accounting and financial tasks, but the product was only marginally adequate, Denny says. Denny and his team continued working in spreadsheets because they couldn’t get the necessary reports to manage the business. There also was a general lack of trust in the QuickBooks data, a problem that was only compounded by a poor working relationship with an outside accounting company.  

iFetch had considered using NetSuite ERP before but determined it wasn’t the right fit for such a small company. When a new business for serial number tracking functionality arose, iFetch was forced to reevaluate its use of QuickBooks. 

“We needed to put serial numbers on our products so we could track individual units and confirm units were legitimate if there were customer service or warranty issues. I started looking into how we would track serial members and NetSuite kept popping up as the best option." —Debbie Hamill, COO, iFetch

Around this time, NetSuite had launched NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition(opens in new tab). It delivered the serial number tracking functionality, and iFetch could finally get the reports QuickBooks couldn’t provide. 

Three factors made for an especially easy transition:

  • Denny and Grant committed to learning everything the system could do.
  • iFetch switched to a new controller with experience in NetSuite.
  • The NetSuite sales team took the time to understand iFetch’s business and remained responsive in finding ways to fix any issues.  

Stronger Purchasing, Customer Orders, and Payroll

iFetch improved multiple aspects of its business operations since the implementation of NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition. The company now has purchase orders and other records compiled in one location. This is especially helpful for large orders in the thousands of units, as tracking from purchase order to inventory to the customer delivery is all managed in NetSuite.

Almost all order entries from customers are integrated into NetSuite. The one major retailer with orders not flowing automatically into NetSuite offers a free electronic data interchange service that iFetch is taking advantage of. For the rest, orders pop right up in NetSuite. At the fulfillment center, a dashboard shows all the new orders to pack for shipping. Once they’re packed, iFetch immediately sees what's ready to invoice. 

“Even though a separate 3PL company does our fulfillment, it doesn’t have to put orders into its system. It’s logging into NetSuite and doing the item fulfillment records and shipping. So we’re able to do the whole integrated order process from order entry to invoicing in NetSuite. It works really well.” —Debbie Hamill, COO, iFetch

iFetch is using NetSuite SuitePeople Payroll (opens in new tab)to pay its four employees. NetSuite ensures that money is deposited to employees’ accounts every pay period, and the system also compiles all the necessary tax information, which the controller previously had to do. 

“We’re paying significantly less to an outside controller, by at least half.” —Denny Hamill, CEO, iFetch

NetSuite Connector(opens in new tab) allows the iFetch ecommerce store, built on Shopify, to interact with NetSuite. Before NetSuite Connector, all website orders had to be imported into NetSuite at the end of reporting periods. This was usually a full day's work because of the nuances of each order. iFetch might have placed an order for free, entered a new discount code, or sold a different variation of a product. Now, orders import automatically, saving staff time. 

Because NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition is packed with capabilities, iFetch does not anticipate ever needing to replace or upgrade the system. Nonetheless, depending on the company’s future growth and functionality needs, NetSuite can easily scale with the business.

Trusted Data to Analyze

iFetch enjoys being able to find nearly any piece of information, ranging from product sales trends to customer order patterns, in a single trusted location. There’s no longer concern that a vital piece of information was missed because someone didn’t look in the right spreadsheet or was referencing outdated data. 

“We trust the data. No longer do we have to do checks and balances to try to make sure something was or wasn’t actually right. We can safely assume it's right.” —Denny Hamill, CEO, iFetch

On a personal level, Denny says being on NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter Edition has improved his quality of life and overall work-life balance. He’s no longer bogged down in the day-to-day nuts and bolts and is free to do more strategic planning. He considers that a better use of his time and one that’s more likely to contribute to business growth. Denny said he used to pull his hair out every month to get a P&L statement he could trust, but NetSuite’s starter edition detailed reports and ability to run scenario analyses better positions iFetch for the future. 

And all with a starter edition.

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.