Life of a BALR.: Fast Four & NetSuite the Perfect Pairing for Growth
Founded in 2013 by Demy de Zeeuw, Juul Manders and Ralph de Geus, BALR. is a renowned international retailer, e-tailer and luxury lifestyle brand.
Driven by the core belief that ‘greatness is not something that happens as a result of a careful selection process. It happens by taking action!’, within just seven years the business has opened nine stores, as well as securing a presence in 100+ retailers globally, whilst also growing a highly successful e-Commerce website.
From menswear, womenswear, and kids clothing ranges (including partnerships with some of the world’s most recognisable sports brands and football clubs), to travel accessories, custom golf carts, and even bespoke Rolex watches, BALR. ensure that every ‘action’ they take reflects the desires of their young, ambitious audience.
The Challenge – Why Review & Implement a New ERP?
As is common in many start-up and scaling businesses, BALR., had implemented various systems to address specific business requirements at different stages in their journey, resulting in multiple inefficient solutions to run their back-office financials, inventory, CRM, retail, and e-commerce set-ups.
In 2019, as the business prepared to further expand into new countries, and introduce not only new items, but full new product ranges, BALR. recognised the need to invest in a new ERP solution to provide a foundation on which they could quickly, and continually build the next exciting chapters of the business.
Like everything at BALR., the aims were clear – efficiency, improved flow of data throughout the organisation, agility, and live visibility of critical information for those who needed it to drive strategic decisions.
Paul Jacobs, CFO at Juramy B.V. explains:
“We had reached a critical stage of our journey. Whilst the business was undoubtedly successful, we had a massive opportunity to scale the company, and this was something we all wanted. But, scaling without the right people, processes, systems, and information means that things can spiral out of control, quickly, and you can miss the opportunity. We didn’t want that to happen. For us, investing in the right technology was simply us preparing to be scalable. Then, we would go on and scale.
“To be honest, NetSuite was initially a bit of an outsider. However, the more we spoke with Fast Four, and the more we looked into NetSuite it became clear that the areas where NetSuite excelled – unified financials and inventory, multi-company, multi-currency, multi-lingual, automated global consolidation, configurable, intuitive, simple integrations, and reporting – were exactly the areas we required a system to drive optimal input and output for our business.
Implementing the Solution
“One of our favourite things about NetSuite is the fact that we could implement it through a partner. In Fast Four, we have a great adviser, and ally, but we are not hamstrung by them, or restricted by a ‘closed toolkit’, like you may experience working directly with a large vendor.
“To me, Finance and IT is one team which needs to drive the business forward together, and Fast Four was, for us, the correct partner to help us achieve that. Their team has a strong financial and commercial background, in-depth knowledge of NetSuite, and an approach focussed on providing practical solutions, quickly.
“Importantly for us, their training didn’t only focus on specific tasks and functions. They trained us on how to actually use and administer the system, advised and challenged on potential pitfalls, and got our team engaged in looking for ways to improve the company’s use of the NetSuite. They were the right partner for us.”
The Outcome: smart growth
Since going live with NetSuite, BALR. has expanded their operation into more than one hundred retailers, added stores in multiple countries, and increased web sales, without needing to invest disproportionately in disparate or localised solutions. More importantly, the business has also achieved a significant reduction in financial processing requirements during this expansion, whilst gaining better insights as a result.
Paul continues: “NetSuite, for me, is the perfect system. We are still adding to it. For us, it’s about evolving our business and processes every day, and NetSuite enables us to do that. Decisions in our business are now more driven by facts, not only gut-feeling, and that’s down to the visibility the system provides, and the capability we have to create reports on whatever we need.
“Whether it is adding a field to a screen, or a subsidiary to our company structure, the system provides the flexibility we require, within a structure which ensures we stay on track for our long term strategic goals.’
Marcel de Wit, Customer Success Manager at Fast Four says:
“BALR., presents such an interesting story because it encapsulates all of the opportunities, and challenges, scaling businesses face today. Over the last 10 years, we have witnessed a need for product focused companies to differentiate themselves through quality and service, and vice versa for service focused businesses to drift closer to include a more productized offering, via subscriptions or similar set-ups.
“Combine those factors with a truly global marketplace and you have a complex, but exciting scenario, and it is truly inspiring when you see what BALR.. and other businesses like them who we support, have achieved in a relatively short space of time.
“Our entire business has been built to help scaling companies to remain fast, and agile, even as they introduce major changes into the business. NetSuite’s true cloud, unified database continues to provide an unrivalled platform for us to remove bottlenecks and provide our customers with the information they need to make evidence-based strategic decisions, and we are excited for the next stage of the journey with Paul and the team at BALR.
“I still haven’t managed to snag one of the Rolexes yet, but we’re working on it!”