While working as a volunteer English teacher in Mexico, Dave Munson wanted a leather bag like Indiana Jones carried, so he found a leather craftsman to make him one. So many people asked where the bag came from that Munson decided to move to Juarez, Mexico, with his dog “Blue” (a black lab) to see if he could create a business selling the bags.
For three years, Munson slept on the floor in a house without hot water to save money as the high-end bags were made. Selling on eBay, his bags grew in popularity. Today, Saddleback Leather has a factory in Leon, Mexico, that employs more than 200 with another 55 employees at the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth, TX, where the luxury leather goods are sold via their online store.
Limping Along with Oracle NetSuite
Originally, Saddleback Leather executives used a custom-made financial system to run the company, eventually turning to Oracle NetSuite thinking it would serve the company better.
After seven years of frustration with NetSuite’s limitations, Munson gave up. “Nothing worked fresh out of the box,” Munson explains. “It took 14 developers just to make it work. It was proprietary so anything you wanted changed took 10 times longer than necessary to implement.”
Saddleback used NetSuite’s front end as its first online store, thinking it would work seamlessly with its financials. But after many agonizing months, Munson learned those assumptions were wrong.
“They made it difficult to do any SEO on the website, and organic traffic is one of our biggest drivers,” he says. “Our load times were between 9 and 12 seconds and that’s after a new version straight out of the box. Google penalizes you for slow load times and we were constantly getting penalized.”
Saddleback Leather couldn’t create new product landing pages without having a programmer on board and it took repeated requests for NetSuite to enable customer reviews on the website. “That was a giant, three-month process to get reviews on an ecommerce site, information which is free functionality on all other websites,” Munson says.
Adding insult to injury, once they could get customer reviews onsite, there were no numbers next to the ratings. That, NetSuite told him, would be an extra charge per month, and result in even slower page loads.
Fed up with NetSuite’s low-performing online store software, Saddleback then decided to switch to Magento, a popular online storefront solution.
NetSuite Trouble Escalates
Saddleback’s internal development team of 14 tried to connect Magento to NetSuite for several months. They couldn’t get it to connect. After going a month without any sales, and unable to add online reviews to the website, Munson had finally had enough.
He’d explored leaving NetSuite in years prior but didn’t know what to implement next. His IT developer kept saying he should wait until the next upgrade and things would get better. “But it was always a downgrade with NetSuite,” he says.
His top requirements for a new ERP system at the time included an easy connection to Magento, efficient inventory management, and a cloud-based solution to avoid the need for onsite technology infrastructure.
Munson began researching ERPs and financial systems, including Sage and Microsoft. But he kept hearing from others that these legacy systems were retrofitted to work in the cloud, required more work, and were clunky.
Then a CEO friend suggested Acumatica, which fit all his requirements. “Everyone kept pointing us to Acumatica because of its pricing, aggressive development, and how user friendly it was,” Munson says.