Specialized Tool Manufacturer Takes It Up a Notch with NetSuite

Jenni Moseley, Alliance Marketing Manager

October 4, 2022

NetSuite Alliance Partner Bryant Park Consulting worked with RUPES to devise a custom part- and tool-naming structure

A manufacturer of hand and edge polishing and sanding tools, RUPES SpA was founded in 1947 in Milan, Italy. The family-owned and -operated company is best known for making electric and manual tools and for providing complete surface-finishing solutions that include tools, pads, and polishing compounds.

Its mission statement: “Making the world shine, one surface at a time.”

RUPES expanded into the United States in 2015 after acquiring a tool maker that was in a similar line of business. The company’s US division is based in Louisville, Colo., and employs 42 people. RUPES relies on a national network of wholesale distributors that sell its products to end users. Through its “Big Good Car Detailing Academy,” the company keeps those distributors trained and educated on its specialized product portfolio.

RUPES has a large following of repeat customers and provides remanufacturing and refurbishment services for its tools. An in-house repair department manages all its warranty work, and the company offers a flat-rate repair program for any tools that are out of warranty.

Orchestrating these activities is complex. Professional polishing tools contain many components, which translates into expansive bills of materials (BOMs) and a need to maintain accurate warranty information and ensure that the right naming structure is used for every product, repair, and part.

From Disparate Solutions to a Unified ERP

Until 2021, RUPES used QuickBooks for accounting, Fishbowl for inventory and order shipping management, and an on-premises server. As its sales grew, the company’s data files also grew in tandem and at times caused software crashes and other issues.

“Our biggest problem was that we didn’t have real-time data from QuickBooks or Fishbowl, mainly due to issues with data syncing between these two platforms,” said Nate Schomer, the company’s controller.

This created problems for a company that needed distinct part numbers for both its new and customer-owned inventory, the latter of which often appear the same as their new counterparts, but require different motors, brushes, or type of service. What RUPES needed was an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform that provides visibility into on-hand product quantities and then feeds that data directly into its financial records.

In late-2020, Schomer began working with CEO Rob Volkert to explore ERPs, including NetSuite, SAP and a few others. After doing their due diligence and seeing some NetSuite demos, they decided to move RUPES’ systems into the cloud and adopt NetSuite and the integrated customer resource management (CRM) application.

“We initially had Salesforce for our CRM, but we decided to move to the CRM that's within NetSuite to handle our customer database,” said Schomer. “It pretty much came down to NetSuite vs. SAP, and we ultimately went with NetSuite.”

Full-Steam Ahead with NetSuite

Once RUPES USA decided on NetSuite for its new ERP in April 2021, it was “full steam ahead,” said Schomer, who quickly realized that the company needed an implementation partner to assist with the project. He called on NetSuite Alliance Partner Bryant Park Consulting for help, with the goal of going live by Oct. 1, 2021.

Bryant Park Consulting worked with RUPES over a three-month period, helping the team understand all aspects of the system, loading data, providing training to users, and adding necessary customizations. To simplify the management of warranty repairs, for example, Bryant Park Consulting leveraged the warranty and repair module with additional customization to automatically create repair work orders from customer return merchandise authorizations (RMAs).

That repair work order tracks parts, labor, and any other expenses involved with the tool repair. The RMA is required to receive the customer's tool into inventory (at $0) and helps RUPES maintain a physical count of customers’ tools in its possession, ensuring those items aren’t confused with new products. The linked work order eliminates the two-step, manual RMA process.

To help RUPES manage its lengthy BOMs, the NetSuite Alliance Partner devised a part- and tool-naming structure that delineates between a customer's part and its tools. This helps distinguish between the raw material inventory, sub-assemblies being used on the repair line (work in process), and the company’s make-to-order and make-to-stock products.

Schomer said these customizations plus Bryant Park’s knowledge of NetSuite and the company’s business goals helped make the implementation a success.

“It was daunting at first,” he said. “But Bryant Park really helped us get through all of that within a reasonable time.”

Improved Access to Data and Inventory Visibility

RUPES has realized numerous benefits from its decision to implement NetSuite. Having all of its data “live” and in one place, for example, makes it easy for team members to access, act on, and make decisions based on information that was previously scattered across multiple systems — or in some cases, nonexistent.

The manufacturer is also using RF-SMART’s mobile inventory management system, which integrates directly with NetSuite and sends all pick, pack, ship, and cycle counts to the ERP. Schomer can review all that data as it's being fed into NetSuite and better manage the company’s weekly inventory cycle count.

“The visibility is so much better than what we had before,” he said. “I can go into the ERP and look specifically at what’s happening live versus after the fact.”

Schomer also appreciates being able to export data from NetSuite into Excel for further manipulation and sharing.

“We like being able to look at the saved searches on a monthly basis and answer questions like ‘What did we do this month?’ and ‘What changes has our company experienced?’” he said. With the answers to these and other questions right at their fingertips, RUPES’ managers and leaders can make informed decisions about their operations and rest easy knowing that their growth strategies are always based on relevant, accurate data.

Is QuickBooks holding YOUR business back? Find out in our guide to The Risks of Trusting QuickBooks(opens in new tab).

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