Why All Contract Furniture Dealers Need a Unified Technology Platform

Historically, the contract furniture industry has relied on a mix of different business systems developed specifically for their sector. Lulled into a sense of complacency by systems that were “good enough,” the industry was reluctant to invest in technology because the systems already in place presented high technical barriers. Making even the slightest change in those solutions meant going back to the vendor that owned the computer code and requesting a system tweak.

Like many other businesses, contract furniture dealers learned to live with those quirks and, as a result, have missed out on the many new functionalities and capabilities that modern solutions provide. More importantly, they wound up with a hodgepodge of disparate systems that don’t “talk” to one another. Many CFI dealers must connect to their manufacturers’ systems (e.g., Herman Miller, Steelcase, and Haworth), which create even more silos within their organizations.

Getting data in and out of these siloed systems—and then sharing that data across the enterprise—requires a lot of Excel spreadsheets and manual work. “When I joined the company,” said one CFI dealer’s VP of marketing, “I learned those systems and assumed that was just how we did things and that’s all there was.”

After learning about NetSuite Cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) from several dealers that were adopting the platform, this particular dealer worked with ERP Success Partners to implement the unified platform. The NetSuite partner’s CFI Suite includes unique features like a built-in customer relationship management (CRM) solution, SIFF to quote importer, accounts payment (AP) automation with OrderBahn, purchase order (PO) acknowledgments, and other platform functionalities.

Combined, these features give CFI dealers visibility into data; increase profitability by making better, informed decisions; increase scalability; and manage multiple locations’ legal entities on a single, integrated platform. By merging their disparate IT solutions onto a unified cloud platform, contract furniture dealers can eradicate their siloed applications and gain the visibility and control they need to be able to run profitable, successful businesses.

Buckling Under the Pressure of Disparate Systems

Right now, many contract furniture dealers are buckling under the pressure of disparate systems, on-premises legacy solutions, spreadsheets, and other manual-intensive business management approaches. These systems put unnecessary pressures on businesses and force the CFI industry to leave too much to chance.

Lacking accurate data and reliable financial dashboards, companies can’t make good decisions, review historical performance, or understand metrics like profitability across their organizations. When companies can automate their processes with a unified ERP, they can effectively increase efficiency and eliminate up to 40% of repetitive workplace tasks. This reduces hours wasted on redundant tasks by nearly 22 hours per week, and helps improve overall global productivity by 1.4% per year. They can also save money and close their books faster. In a recent ROI study, for example, Nucleus Research found that customers using NetSuite accelerated their financial close times by up to 50%, increased sales productivity by 12.5%, and increased inventory turns by 50%, among other efficiencies.

These are just some of the reasons that growing CFI dealers are using technology to take the manual labor out of day-to-day business processes. By simplifying their IT environments and working with ERP Success Partners to implement NetSuite, these dealers can shift over to a “set it and forget it” IT management approach. This not only frees up IT personnel to focus on optimization and innovation, but it also reduces internal IT costs while also lessening a CFI organization’s reliance on outside IT resources.

Running Profitable, Successful CFI Dealerships

When CFI dealers move to a single, unified platform, efficiency and output levels both go through the roof. As a NetSuite partner, ERP Success Partners helps CFI leaders leverage critical business analytics and flexible processes; easily monitor and respond to change; and unite functions like project management, resource management, customer relationship management (CRM), and other business processes onto a single platform.

Put in place by ERP Success Partners, NetSuite ERP gives CFI companies a comprehensive, real-time picture of their operations anytime they need it. The platform also supports timely, data-driven decisions across the entire organization—not just in the silos established by their previous, disparate technology solutions. By merging their disparate IT solutions onto a unified cloud platform, CFI companies can eradicate those silos and gain the high levels of visibility and control they need to be able to run profitable, successful businesses.


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