Proslat Replaces NetSuite and Boosts Customer Engagement with Open Source ERP
January 5, 2021Download PDF
Innovation as a guiding principle
Proslat is dedicated to serving customers by developing and distributing groundbreaking PVC slat wall panels and organization products. The company offers reliable, environmentally-friendly solutions for residential and commercial applications, including garages, homes, closets, and retail stores.
“Garages have always been the overlooked room in the house, and often end up becoming the junk drawer for the house,” explains Michael Presseau, Proslat’s Vice President of Operations. “We use innovation as a guiding principle to make products for customers to turn it back into a living space because a junk drawer brings no value to someone’s life or the property.”
Proslat’s storage options include hanging wall slats, overhead racks, motorized lifts, and several cabinet lines. These innovative products are sold at The Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Costco, Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon and many other retailers.
Since the 2010 launch of Proslat’s patented wall panel, the company has continued to grow by offering remarkable products.
Proslat initially implemented a NetSuite ERP solution. As they grew, issues arose. Michael conducted an ROI analysis to determine whether they should purchase more expensive NetSuite licenses to meet their additional advanced functionality needs.
“I have an appreciation for how to build and leverage information as equity for the
company, and I’ve also had the opportunity to work on different ERPs or different implementations at every company I’ve worked with,” Michael explained. “You learn what’s important for running a business.”
He soon discovered that Odoo provides better performance at a lower cost than NetSuite. Before implementing Odoo, Proslat used an electronic data interchange (EDI) system to receive purchase orders, provide shipping notifications, and send customer invoices. The EDI processes were far more time-consuming and manual than necessary. The company needed a better EDI architecture for faster onboarding of new customers who needed to integrate with Proslat’s EDI system, as well as to lower the cost per new EDI customer.
The Proslat team planned for the ERP migration project to include changes to several business processes. The OSI team architected Odoo to give users visibility into capacity planning data in Odoo and migrate away from manually forecasting production lead times on spreadsheets.
OSI also provided custom solutions to improve supply chain management. Proslat procured some of its products from offshore sources and needed Odoo customization to enhance supply chain management and mitigate long procurement lead times of up to 75 days.
The team expected Odoo to deliver insight into profitability by product category and help maximize sales opportunities. To achieve this goal, OSI needed to unlock the ERP data to provide improved customer intelligence.
Proslat sought to find more sales opportunities and increase cross-selling and up-selling revenue by implementing Odoo. The critical business case question was, “How much more could Odoo do to help sell without adding sales staff?”
The challenge: migrate the key ERP functionality and data from NetSuite to Odoo in just 60 days.
“NetSuite was expensive and also limited us. We went from being strictly a wholesaler to opening up a division that sells directly to consumers, and we had tremendous growth in the U.S. We had to run two ERPs without upgrading to a huge cost to incorporate two countries into one. That prompted us to look for a change.”
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS - PROSLAT
To meet the aggressive deadline, Michael and team worked closely with OSI consultants. Together, the Proslat and OSI project teams performed a thorough requirements analysis. The groups agreed to complete more than 100 Odoo customization and solution development tasks, plus integrations with other technology platforms.
The Proslat team excelled at collecting, cleaning, and preparing valuable data for migration from NetSuite to Odoo. They effectively scrubbed the chart of accounts and balances, product master lists, bill of materials (BOMs), kit BOMs, lists of vendors, and contact data for suppliers and other databases.
Two critical approaches were used to achieve Proslat’s goal of going live with the new Odoo system on January 1. First, Michael exercised strategic and business-driven decision-making to decide what to include in phase one vs. what could wait for a future phase. Second, OSI consultants remained focused and determined to finish the job, despite the challenging timeline and the year-end holiday season. According to Michael, the transition from NetSuite to Odoo was smooth and on time.
“The biggest challenge involved in collaboration was distance and time, which speaks to how well OSI took care of us for each phase. OSI has great people who know what they’re doing, and they’re always available. They are great communicators.”
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS - PROSLAT
New Year, New ERP Success
Proslat had many reasons to toast that New Year’s Eve. The new Odoo system passed all the initial tests, and Proslat was ready to fulfill the many customer orders the new year would bring.
“OSI’s biggest success was to get Proslat transactional by January 1,” said Michael. “I don’t know if the readers of this case study will realize how important that is. Other businesses we know of lost 10% of their sales during system migrations. Proslat didn’t lose a dollar of sales.”
Of course, the rapid implementation presented some challenges.
“It was harder than expected,” Michael said. “We didn’t have an opportunity to learn the system well enough in the quick implementation. But it worked. We didn’t lose any sales. Without the OSI team’s expertise, it wouldn’t have happened.” Proslat began phase two with a deep dive to review sales, production, and fulfillment bottlenecks. Michael and the management team identified inefficient processes for automation and optimization with Odoo functionality.
After two months of using the new Odoo system, OSI and Proslat began the EDI implementation. Once major customers were consistently able to place EDI orders, the company started to internally reassign associates to work on higher-value tasks, due to the reduced reliance on manual processes.
Proslat started the project with an implementation budget target. OSI project managers worked collaboratively with Michael to manage the scope, schedule, and budget.
This teamwork ensured that all phase one and phase two requirements were met within the budget target. The project team prioritized appropriately and postponed non-essential tasks that wouldn’t fit within the target budget.
Throughout the project, OSI team members provided extensive knowledge transfer to the Proslat technical team. With this “training in the trenches together” approach, Proslat developed in-house Odoo customization and development capabilities. The company went on to complete certain phase three projects independently.
Today, Proslat successfully uses Odoo for:
- Inventory Management
- Marketplace integrations with EDI
“Our experience using IT consultants in the past was they didn’t have the expertise for that which they were claiming. OSI consultants know what they’re talking about. When they billed Proslat for consulting time, I knew we were investing in OSI working on our case rather than researching how to work on our case”
VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS - PROSLAT
How well is Proslat’s new EDI system working with Odoo?
“EDI orders are coming in seamlessly,” Michael said. “With the EDI foundation we built with OSI, when Proslat gets new EDI customers, the new integrations will be simple.”
The project’s ultimate success comes from improved customer engagement and service, which helps Proslat thrive even during times of economic uncertainty.
“90% of the feedback we get is about the service rather than the actual product,” said Michael.
“This feedback drives us because we truly view feedback as an opportunity. Our open source ERP allows us to improve the entire customer service experience. It frees up our time to spend time on more valuable things, which makes the company grow.”
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