Canadian Contract Furniture and Stationery Dealer Will Use NetSuite Cloud ERP to Hit $40 Million in Sales

Case Study - HBI Office Plus

Working with ERP Success Partners, HBI Office Plus implements NetSuite to move onto the cloud and launch a functional website that features live inventory and a broader geographic reach. 

A premier supplier of contract office furniture, office supplies, and educational furniture in Saskatchewan, HBI Office Plus, Inc., (“HBI”) is the only preferred dealer of Haworth office furniture in the region and a member of Canada’s largest independent stationery buying group. Locally owned and operated, HBI has five locations and 65 employees in Canada.

Originally established as Brennan Supply in 1969, HBI was founded in 2008. Today, the company specializes in office supplies and furniture; modular walls; janitorial supplies; coffee and break room supplies; educational furniture; and academic and art supplies. Over the years, HBI has grown from a single-location entity into a commercial stationery and contract furniture force in the Saskatchewan marketplace. 

The Timing was Perfect

Focused on improving its customers’ online buying experience, HBI began looking for a Cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to replace its existing systems. For the most part, the company’s aging, Silk solution (a Prophet 21 system developed for copier companies) was working okay, but it just wasn’t keeping up with customer demand for better online search and inventory management functionalities.

“For us to be great in our marketplace, our website and online store have to be great,” said Jay Sullivan, President and CEO, “and especially on the stationery side, where we compete with the likes of Staples and Supreme.”

The company also wanted to move away from using onsite servers and leverage the cloud. “We had a lot of servers running in our building,” said Sullivan. “We wanted to get on the cloud, simplify those processes, and eliminate the costs of running servers.”

With these and other goals in mind, HBI worked with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to assess options from SAP and Prophet 21, among others. “I wasn’t very happy with what BDC presented to us,” said Sullivan, who received a well-timed contact from NetSuite Solution Provider ERP Success Partners.

“We had a quick call with ERP Success Partners, hit it off really well, and decided to implement NetSuite’s Cloud ERP,” Sullivan. “We were also talking to Prophet 21 at the time, but working with ERP Success Partners helped solidify our decision to go with NetSuite.”

Hands-on and Engaged

Today, HBI uses NetSuite to handle most of its business operations, including inventory management, sales, fulfillment, transportation, and e-commerce (via SuiteCommerce). It uses ERP Success Partners’ Haworth integration to connect with its larger furniture supplier.

Combined, NetSuite helps HBI streamline its business processes while also providing a robust e-commerce platform that has exceeded the company’s expectations. “The ERP Success Partners’ team did a great job at handling our account and taking a lead on it,” said Sullivan. “They were  hands-on, engaged, and offered direct support.”

When HBI needed help creating search capabilities for its website, for example, ERP Success Partners built out several customized searches—an intervention that saved the HBI team much time and effort.

Growing Market Share

Live on NetSuite since September 2020, HBI now has clear visibility into its inventory, a 360-degree view of its operations, and a website that can stand up to any competitor’s online offering.

“Our website is just absolutely superior and our search functionality is amazing,” said Sullivan. “The power and reach of our website is attracting customers from all over Canada and in the U.S. We’re doing more business online than we’ve ever done.”

On track to hit $30 million in sales within the next few years, HBI now has the technology infrastructure it needs to be able to run its current business and also scale up for the future.

“Hopefully within the next 10 years, we’ll push to hit $40 million and really grow our business and expand throughout Saskatchewan,” Sullivan explained.

“From there, we’re always looking at opportunities, whether it’s bringing in another line like a coffee company or a janitorial product,” he continued. “We’re open to all types of opportunities right now, and particularly those that fit well with our existing model and that allow us to grow our market share.”