Third-party logistics provider uses improved reporting for more accurate customer insights and better decision-making processes
California-based third-party logistics (3PL) corporation Custom Goods has experienced extensive growth over the past several years. The 3PL solution operates a 3 million square foot distribution network. Its primary location is in southern California, with additional facilities in Illinois, Kentucky, and South Carolina, and a new Texas location planned for 2021.
For the last three years, Custom Goods has been using a NetSuite ERP solution. Brought in by corporate controller Guillermo Pineda, the solution initially provided what the then-smaller company needed for financial reporting. “NetSuite is a great product,” Pineda affirmed. “But what I was missing was the reporting aspect.”
In 2017, the organization operated on a smaller scale, which meant that while reporting was time consuming, it still only took one day for a single employee to complete the job. “With the standard reporting, we were downloading information, manipulating it, putting in formulas, all that,” Pineda recalled. “One person in one day could do the job, but as we started growing, it added more and more hours, and then another person. We’d publish the financials and then be told someone forgot a bill or expenses, so we’d have to reopen the books and go through the whole process again.”
As Custom Goods grew from five locations to 15, Pineda knew the current pace would be unsustainable for business success. “I started asking other companies what they were using,” he said. “Many of them came back with dashboards like Power BI. But those are just dashboards. They aren’t reports that give you details and transactions.”
By 2020 with no solution yet in hand and reporting that was now taking upward of several business days, Pineda began paging through the options available on the NetSuite Suite Apps site, where he came across Spreadsheet Server by insightsoftware. “Spreadsheet Server looked interesting, so I requested a demo,” he said. “The demo was done by a controller, someone who knew my language and knew what I needed. I knew Spreadsheet Server was exactly what we were looking for.”
Building to Success with Spreadsheet Server
Once Pineda decided on Spreadsheet Server, he prepared for a two to three-week installation, expecting to run his first set of Spreadsheet Server financial reports in June 2020. “I got a phone call, and the insightsoftware team downloaded the product onto our machines, and we were up and running,” Pineda marveled. “I told my reporting manager the tool was ready, but we were still planning to wait. He thought we could do it. So, he gave it a try. He was able to build the financial report and we were able to use Spreadsheet Server that same week we were set up.”
Because of Custom Goods’ set up, they needed to be able to provide reporting at the customer level, not just to warehouse location level. “One location may have up to ten customers,” Pineda explained. “But we don’t just look at the location overall, we need to look at the customer level, so we allocate expenses appropriately to track rates and contract extensions. Having the P&L by customer helps us make a lot of decisions more easily.” Accomplishing this meant creating report templates in Spreadsheet Server which used custom segments from their NetSuite ERP Solution, something the team at insightsoftware was happy to accommodate.
“When we first used Spreadsheet Server, we didn’t have the custom segments,” said Pineda. “But everything we do in NetSuite is by customer: We bill by customer, allocate rent and labor by customer. Now that we have custom segments set-up with our Spreadsheet Server reports, a facility manager can ask for a P&L statement for a specific customer and I can have what I need in minutes so the facility manager can make the best decisions.”
The customer-level reporting that Custom Goods values used to be the very thing that would hold up their reporting process. “In some locations, we can have up to 20 customers. Previously, we had to download their information one by one, format, and add formulas at the bottom. We couldn’t even template the reports because the formulas would change each time,” Pineda recalled. “With Spreadsheet Server, we build the formulas at the bottom of the report, and all we have to do is refresh the information.”
While only two months into their Spreadsheet Server usage, Custom Goods is already experiencing success with Spreadsheet Server. “We’ve only done standard financials so far, but now we’ll get deeper into dashboards, KPIs, and individual reports by location,” said Pineda. “Since we’re all set up, now we can really start working.”
Some of Custom Goods’ early successes with Spreadsheet Server include:
- Quick time to value, producing reports the same week the solution was installed
- Reducing a two-person, multi-day reporting process to only 3 hours managed by one employee
- Automated customer-level reporting using custom segments
- Improved data integrity due to consistent, automated formulas
“I’ve never seen my reporting manager so happy to actually do reports,” Pineda concluded. “In my career, purchasing Spreadsheet Server is probably the best money I’ve ever spent. It was well worth it.”
The demo was done by a controller, someone who knew my language and knew what I needed. I knew Spreadsheet Server was exactly what we were looking for.