Trilogy International Limited (TIL) is internationally renowned for its natural skincare and home fragrance products. The company’s brands, Trilogy, ECOYA and Goodness Natural Beauty Lab are loved around the world.
Formed in 2008, TIL evolved strategically into an NZX and ASX listed company valued at $250 million. China's biggest conglomerate, Citic Capital Partners, purchased the business in 2018.
Historically, TIL consisted of several companies operating from different locations. The decision to centralise the brands, operations and finance in an Auckland head office highlighted the need for an effective infrastructure, with everyone working together.
It was a big call. Accounting across the group involved four instances of MYOB and one of Attaché. There was no single source of the truth. TIL’s financial reporting was fragmented and, critically, the company lacked the flexibility to meet change head on.
TIL decided to simplify and consolidate the subsidiary structure by investing in a single, centralised enterprise resource planning system (ERP).
TIL recruited Russell Bailey, an experienced contract Project Manager and Business Analyst, to kick-start the project. He documented existing processes and built a functional view of the business to present to TIL senior stakeholders.
Key requirements for the business solution emerged. In particular, the ability to manage the financials, operations, sales and manufacturing process, and to integrate with the warehouses, websites and EDI, and supporting TIL’s Australian operations.
TIL’s ERP project team undertook intensive research on 15 solutions. Ones which were simply too large, like SAP, or too small, like MYOB, were culled from the list, leaving three right-sized contenders.
Following a formal RFP process, TIL selected NetSuite in October 2016. The solution’s functionality aligned most closely to their business needs, and the exceptionally mature cloud platform set it apart. A 100% cloud-based solution was non-negotiable for TIL.
“We wanted a flexible system which could easily cope with future changes in the business,” says Bailey. “TIL’s mission is to develop brands, so the focus is on marketing, sales and operations. A cloud solution was essential to minimise IT maintenance.”
“NetSuite stood out from the rest. Some of the other solutions we considered could potentially run out of steam after just 3-4 years, but we could see that NetSuite would support TIL’s growth for at least 5-10 years. NetSuite’s lower implementation costs also reduced risk. A lot of investment upfront usually signals that future changes are going to cost a lot as well. We didn’t want a big expense every time we made a structural change within the business.”Russell Bailey, Project Manager and Business Analyst
TIL also researched the reputations of local NetSuite partners, based on size, capability, experience and customer reviews, which led them to choose Fusion5. “It was extremely important to make sure we had a partner we felt comfortable and confident about working with,” says Bailey. “Fusion5’s sales and pre-sales team stood out as they took the time to get to know our business and what we valued.”
Bailey developed a strong relationship with the Fusion5 team, and as a veteran of Tier 1 ERPs, was impressed with NetSuite’s usability. “I got on well with the people I was working with at Fusion5. They were thorough and professional in their pitches and delivered exactly what was promised. We hit the deadline for Phase 1 on time and under budget.”
Bailey valued Fusion5’s input in identifying potential gaps and pitfalls in the implementation. The level of guidance empowered him to take on some of the workflow development himself, which reduced cost to the project. As someone used to traditional ERPs, he found NetSuite a breath of fresh air. “If you want to change a field in SAP it’s a complex and expensive process. With some basic training under your belt, it just takes a few clicks to add a field to NetSuite – even without coding experience.”
Fusion5 began the project in November 2016 with Phase 1 rolling out in 2017. NetSuite was implemented for Trilogy and ECOYA New Zealand in the first phase. The second phase, pulling ECOYA Australia into the fold, went live in February 2018.
When Bailey’s project management contract with TIL ended in August 2018, he was delighted to be offered a position as a senior NetSuite consultant for Fusion5. During a two-month handover process, Jeremy Leys, TIL’s new Technical Business Analyst, picked up the reins and continued supporting NetSuite and developing integrations.
As well as providing TIL with full financial management, NetSuite now integrates with DHL, the TIL eCommerce websites and the company’s third-party logistics (3PL) warehouses.
The TIL business model outsources both manufacturing and 3PL functions. Individual manufacturers use their own vertical software, and the manufacturing process is replicated within NetSuite to generate and track work orders. TIL also use Adaptive Insights Financial Planning provided by Fusion5 to forecast sales demand. This is used in conjunction with NetSuite Supply Planning to give them 100% visibility of ingredients needed to fulfil order forecasts. TIL issues a bill of materials for the raw materials and a production order for the finished products from within NetSuite.
TIL’s data flows to the 3PL warehouses include a three-stage fulfilment process to pick, pack and ship. On receipt of an order from TIL via NetSuite, each warehouse issues an order confirmation followed by a shipping confirmation. The shipping confirmation triggers an automatically generated invoice in NetSuite. The 3PL integration copies detailed packing information (including height, width, length, volume and weight, tracking numbers) into NetSuite. This means the Operations Team can produce commercial invoices for transfer orders and sales orders, as well as the required export documentation, from within NetSuite.
NetSuite gives TIL a complete overview of their product SKUs, the components needed to make them, and the standard ingredient costs. If a standard cost goes up, TIL immediately sees the impact on their bottom line.
And because NetSuite is integrated to Shopify, TIL have real-time visibility of sales across all their websites.
Like Bailey, Leys also found the ERPs he worked with before clunky by comparison with NetSuite. “With NetSuite you can do things quickly, and it’s simple to integrate with other solutions. It’s also very visual, so that makes it easy as an end-user to build out workflows.”
Leys says he’s been “blown away” with Fusion5’s support. “They’re responsive and proactive. Everyone gets stuck in, it doesn’t matter how senior you are, but they let me know so we can discuss it. I’ve felt blessed that I got to maintain a working relationship with Russell as well, in my capacity as his customer. He has a wealth of knowledge and we act as a sounding board for one another to work through changes or solutions. Fusion5 operate in a very co-piloting manner where I’m constantly growing - which I like.”
Leys appreciates NetSuite’s flexibility. “NetSuite seems to have a multitude of different ways to do things. So you can install bundles, extensions and have a software driven process between platforms if you’re integrating, or you can choose from a range of options including APIs. It’s a lot less rigid than the other ERPs I’ve worked with, and NetSuite’s constantly evolving and getting better.”
And financially, NetSuite makes perfect sense for TIL, says Leys. “Due to the subscription model, NetSuite is an OPEX rather than a CAPEX investment. And you’re always staying up to date with the most current software because you do an upgrade every six months.”
Leys says Fusion5 initiatives to provide workshops and webinars on NetSuite upgrades and highlights are invaluable. “It really helps that they summarise and present the main ‘need-to-know’ upgrade points, so we have a very clear, distraction-free path forward. That adds real value.”
TIL’s focus on brand development means that they deliberately maintain minimal internal IT development resources. Leys happily turns to Fusion5 for anything he can’t do, saying “It’s more cost effective than having a full time inhouse developer.”
TIL’s exceptional growth trajectory is now strategically supported by the NetSuite, the world’s leading cloud ERP. It’s an important ingredient in formulating TIL’s plans for expansion and realising future plans.