Ricoma is a leading manufacturer of commercial embroidery equipment. As a global company, Ricoma maintains a presence in 140 countries, with its headquarters in Miami and a dedicated manufacturing facility is in Shenzhen, China. Its customers range from smaller local embroidery shops to large apparel operations.
As a growing company, Ricoma recently reevaluated its technical toolkit. But after migrating to NetSuite, they realized that many of their processes needed to be automated as well. They began a journey to find a flexible, powerful iPaaS platform that could tie their enterprise apps together into fully-automated workflows.
With intelligent automation and integration, Ricoma can now:
- Create customized integrations and automations quickly, with no code
- Scale its integrations and automations without specialized integration experts
- Seamlessly sync NetSuite and Salesforce to empower sales reps with accurate customer information and provide better customer experience
- Decrease data errors by eliminating manual data entry
Growing from QuickBooks to NetSuite
Ricoma sells directly to the buyer, rather than using a distributor network or middleman, so customer experience is key.
“Many of our customers inquire about our products through an inbound method,” explains Henry Ma, the company’s COO. To do this, the company has both an in-house sales team and an in-house service team, so they can help customers whether they’re looking to make a purchase or troubleshoot an issue.
“We used QuickBooks for our accounting for over a decade,” says Ma. “Now we’ve reached the point where QuickBooks isn’t able to meet some of our needs in terms of functionality. We’ve quickly outgrown it over the last few years. We wanted to adopt a true cloud-based ERP so that we can have better access and visibility into our financial data.”
The company decided to switch to NetSuite, and he knew integration and automation was a must-have this time around: “Previously, we were doing double data entry between Salesforce and QuickBooks. That wastes time and facilitates errors. We want something that’s integrated so that data can move seamlessly between different platforms to create one source of truth.”
The Search for the Right Integration Platform
There’s no doubt that syncing your ERP with your CRM is crucial; Ma just had to find the best way to do this. The process began with a simple online search. “As with most things that we purchase, the first thing I did was go online and look at the available solutions in this space,” says Ma. “I visited several industry review sites, including G2Crowd. Many of these sites use quadrants to rank iPaaS solutions, and I focused exclusively on the top right quadrant—which is reserved for leaders in the field.”
He eventually scheduled demos with several platforms, but was concerned with their capabilities, their UX, and their steep learning curves.
“Celigo was mentioned specifically for NetSuite-Salesforce integration,” he recalls. “But I found that their pre-built connector is quite limited. You can’t really change it; it’s just out-of-box. Of course, that means you just install it, and all the work rules are pre-built for you, which is easy. The downside is that if you have to tweak something, you can’t—because it’s pre-built.”
Ma also found some platforms difficult to navigate.
“I did a virtual demo with Jitterbit. Just by looking at their interface, you could see that it was still very hard to use—even for someone who is tech-savvy,” he says. “I couldn’t see us scaling with it. We’d have to rely on the professionals to do it for us, which is costly and less agile.”
Even familiar tools didn’t provide what Ma needed:
“I’ve used Zapier before and tried their free trial,” Ma recounts. “Their platform isn’t that strong in terms of the workflows that you can build. There are limitations as to what you can sync and how you can sync it. We were looking for more advanced workflows that could automate work across our company—not just one department or process.”
“We needed a solution that would work for someone like me: someone who is tech savvy but still needs something that’s very simple to implement,” he continues. “We wanted to be sure that, instead of simply feeding us a fish, that we could learn how to fish for ourselves. We didn’t want to rely on a third party or professional services to change something small anytime that we need help.”
Workato stood out as the perfect platform to give Ma the fishing lessons he desired.
“What really stood out to me was Workato’s interface. It’s a lot more intuitive than the likes of Jitterbit, which looked very clunky and hard to use,” he explains. “Workato’s interface is very useable because it relies on simple logic.”
“As we worked with Workato’s sales team, we saw firsthand that they take the approach of teaching us how to fish. They wanted to teach us to create these intelligent automation workflows on our own. It was comforting to know that we can use this platform to scale, rather than adopting a clunky, hard-to-use platform and relying on professionals every time that we needed to make some small changes!”
A great example of this approach, he says, is Workato’s Community Recipes repository. “The pre-built recipes are helpful to get you started. It’s great to know that they’re built on best practices. It’s also interesting to see how other companies approach building a similar workflow.”
At the same time, Community Recipes are still customizable. “I love that you’re not tied down to either just using something pre-built or using something that’s completely customized from scratch,” he says. “You can start with a Community Recipe that gives you the basic functions—and then you can customize it to your needs.”
Empowering the Sales Team with Deep Integrations Between Salesforce and NetSuite
Though Ricoma has just recently implemented Workato, they already have big plans for using the platform. Number one on the list? Integrating Salesforce and NetSuite to empower their sales team.
“The most important thing is making sure that our CRM and ERP can sync together so that there’s no double entry of data,” Ma explains.
This will also enable the sales team to access crucial information without ever leaving Salesforce. “Salesforce is the program they use on a daily basis and we don’t want them to have to leave it,” he continues. “Having key customer information available—regarding their account, their payment status, what they purchased, and their shipping status—will help our sales team be more efficient.”
It will also give reps more confidence in the information they provide customers. For example, reps currently have to double-check the order’s status with someone in the warehouse. They don’t trust that the information available to them was accurate. In the near future, however, reps will be able to see the order’s status directly in Salesforce—and know that it is 100% correct.
“They’ll be able to communicate more effectively, both with the customer and with other employees, because they know what’s going on in every aspect of the sales cycle, even post-sale,” says Ma.
Enhancing Cross-Department Visibility and Creating an Excellent Customer Experience
Intelligent automation naturally helps the company’s departments operate as a cohesive unit. “We’ll be able to see what’s going on in different parts of the company. When team members talk to each other, they’ll be looking at the same information with regards to the client. That will bring us together so we can better serve our customers,” Ma predicts.
He also expects that intelligent automation will save the sales team time and help them make fewer errors. “Copy and pasting (or re-typing) things into another system—like when a rep is trying to create a sales order—leaves room for error,” he explains.
“If a customer’s address is entered incorrectly and the product is shipped to the wrong place, it doesn’t just cost Ricoma time and money. It’s a bad experience for the client. These workflows will automate most aspects of the process so that data can pass through seamlessly and correctly.”
The customer experience will improve in other ways as well, thanks to intelligent automation: “When every aspect of the business is visible to the sales or service rep, they can better communicate with the customer. They can communicate things that the customer wants to know, like their order status.” Ma explains. “That’s really our metric for success: creating one source of truth for our customer data and minimizing the errors made—all while being more efficient.”
Looking ahead, Ma has big plans for expanding the company’s use of automation. Though NetSuite is currently only implemented at the company’s headquarters, Ma hopes to roll it out in their factory as well, along with the Workato automations. “It will create greater visibility into factory operations—what’s being made and the raw materials that go into each product,” he explains. “Then we can see how that affects our infrastructure, shipping, and turnaround time for orders.”
“With the Workato platform, there are basically limitless possibilities for building automated workflows!”