ERP Success Partners Helps Consumer Electronics Distributor Maximize NetSuite
A market leader in the satellite TV and Internet installation space turns to ERP Success Partners to help it maximize its investment in NetSuite’s cloud enterprise resource planning platform.
In 2002, Jerry Chapman was looking for a satellite TV multiswitch to distribute satellite TV to eight different receivers. Despite hours of online research and phone calls, he couldn’t find a source for the part. While this might have discouraged others, Chapman used it as an incentive to start his own consumer electronics distribution company, Signal Group, LLC, of Novi, Michigan.
What began as a company dedicated to selling hard-to-find electronics to consumers today is home to five different brands: Solid Signal, Signal Connect, Signal Marine, Signal Distribution, and Xtreme Signal. Focused primarily on satellite TV and Internet, Signal Group is one of the premier DIRECTV® dealers in the U.S.
With about 65 employees, the company is a market leader in its space. “We’ve become an expert in our field, and one of the top selling satellite TV and Internet resellers in the country,” said Chris Trumble, Director of Marketing. “Our niche lies in working with installers to get customers’ complex installation problems solved quickly and efficiently.”
From Rare Electronic Parts to Market Leader
Since inception, Signal Group has been steadily expanding its marketplace footprint and today does a lot of work with recreational vehicles (RVs), truck fleets, and luxury yachts. “When people are off the coast of Florida enjoying their yachts,” said Trumble, “we’re making sure they have satellite TV and Internet connectivity.”
For years, Signal Group had relied on QuickBooks plus several other software systems that didn’t share information with one another. This disjointed approach spilled over into the growing entity’s various departments, which couldn’t effectively collaborate with one another. “We were able to track orders, but everything else had been cobbled together since the early-2000s,” said Trumble.
Sales teams lacked insights into their selling history, reporting required excessive manual work to be put together, and the company lacked a 360-view of operational performance. “Running database queries required special skills,” said Trumble, “and integrating our data with any modern e-commerce solution was virtually impossible.”
Building a Business Cornerstone
Ready for a change, Signal Group began evaluating enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions that would either include or link directly to customer relationship management (CRM) and e-commerce systems. That way, the company would be able to unify its accounting, financial, CRM, and e-commerce activities on a single platform. This would also give the company the reporting and organizational visibility tools absent in its previous business systems.
Signal Group looked at NetSuite, SAP, and several other options before selecting NetSuite’s cloud ERP. “We wanted to build something that would be the cornerstone of our business,” said Trumble. “NetSuite was the leading candidate for the backend, but we also looked at various other e-commerce platforms. For us, the end-to-end nature of NetSuite won out.
Recording the Big Wins
Today, Signal Group is using NetSuite ERP and CRM plus SuiteCommerce modules. Leveraging an existing relationship with ERP Success Partners, the company has also integrated Avalara, Solupay, and Celigo to create an end-to-end software suite. Trumble said having a CRM has been a big win for the company, which was previously focused more on order management versus customer relationship management.
“Today, we have a much better lead generation engine and prospecting tools,” he said. “We can keep track of sales activities and generate reports for the entire organization—something we couldn’t do previously.”
Signal Group is now working with ERP Success Partners to guide its expanded use of NetSuite and to also develop new customizations on an as-needed basis. For example, ERP Success Partners is developing a custom internal issue ticketing system that will assign tasks to individuals or groups via either a one-on-one or round robin basis. This NetSuite customization will also help Signal Group assign work internally and provide a high level of ticketing visibility.
For Signal Group, ERP Success Partners is now implementing NetSuite’s Work Orders and Assemblies module. Trumble said the consulting firm’s broad software expertise aligns well with Signal Group’s ongoing IT needs. “ERP Success Partners has been a really good shepherd for us as we’ve learned NetSuite,” he explained. “Their solutions are always well thought out and they never try to sell us any unnecessary modules or features.”
ERP & E-Commerce at the Same Time
Live on NetSuite since November 2020, Signal Group now has 100% visibility over its financial, accounting, customer, and sales data—all of which are integrated on a single platform. “Accounting is more connected to all of the other business units than it’s ever been,” said Trumble, who especially likes having e-commerce, CRM, and financials on one platform, versus cobbled together with different applications and integrations.
Signal Group’s decision to go with a one-stop-shop software provider paid off when the company successfully launched NetSuite and its new e-commerce storefront simultaneously. “That wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for NetSuite being an end-to-end solution.”