Over the past 10 years, Fulton & Roark co-founders Allen Shafer and Kevin Keller witnessed large numbers of men showing greater interest in taking care of themselves. The personal care market was responding, but not in a tailored way.
“Most of the products on the market were existing formulas with a men’s label slapped on them,” said Kevin. “They felt like Gatorade for your body.”
Allen and Kevin were inspired to create Fulton & Roark based on that lack of customization in existing men’s personal care products. Just consider the traditional format for men’s cologne as an example: a liquid, commonly flammable product with a loud spray nozzle in a glass bottle. It’s the exact opposite of what today’s traveling, gym-frequenting man needs.
The company’s first venture was to transform the male fragrance industry, creating wax-based, long-lasting, solid colognes in shatter-proof containers. It branched out and added a suite of shave, shower and travel products as well.
At the outset of the business, Shafer and Kevin were tracking inventory through a simple spreadsheet and financials through desktop accounting software. They quickly outgrew these tools given the complexity of assembling their own products.
Fulton & Roark would get quotes for all the raw materials in its products and enter product costs in the spreadsheet. For the Fulton & Roark Face Wash, for example, the duo would enter pricing for packaging goods, printing labels, filling containers and the actual raw wash materials.
Next, the company would receive the items, assemble them and hold them in the inventory system at those rates. However, prices changed over time and order quantities differed too. Matching all those changes required double data entry.
“We’d be fixing inventory data as well as entering the information into our accounting system,” said Allen. “If we missed the double data entry, we’d have inaccuracies in tracking inventory dollars. This would cause discrepancies between dollar amounts in the inventory spreadsheet and our financial system.”
Fulton & Roark’s financial system tracked inventory assets based on invoices and bills, not individual SKUs. So once the inventory was sold, it would be recorded under the cost of goods sold (COGS) based on static costs, instead of having dynamic costing based on changing prices and quantities.
Shafer, Keller and their staff were increasingly strained by the constant need for duplicate data entry and the worry that they had inaccurate information. They experimented with moving from the spreadsheet to an inventory management system and trying out different accounting software, but the gaps persisted.
The duo had their eye on NetSuite from an early stage. When NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess package launched, they were ready to move forward. And as they dug in more, they learned that NetSuite could actually encompass three of their existing internal platforms, centralizing much of their work in one place.
Fulton & Roark was able to complete the transition to NetSuite, including migrating all historical data, in three weeks. The changes it experienced were immediate and dramatic.
“As soon as we migrated our data to NetSuite, we were able to catch (and correct) a lot of bookkeeping mistakes,” said Allen. “We just didn’t have that kind of visibility in our previous system.”
Today, all of Fulton & Roark’s inventory is purchased through NetSuite as part of a purchase order (PO) and received with pricing accurate to the specific purchase. As it sells off inventory, the company uses the first in, first out (FIFO) method.
“The only adjustments we make now are more about the accuracy of physical inventory checks versus what’s in the system,” said Allen. “Rather than a discrepancy in product costs, we’re just checking what’s available to ship.”
Previously, Fulton & Roark was heavily reliant on outside accounts for its financials. Today, the company has the confidence to do it independently in NetSuite. Its only outside counsel on financials is to make sure it is using best practices and being as efficient as possible. And it’s continued to increase sales by roughly 50% year-over-year with no new headcount.
In the future, Kevin and Allen are looking forward to connecting NetSuite to the company’s ecommerce and email marketing platforms. They also approach business growth with much more certainty.
“With NetSuite, we can more confidently approach large accounts,” said Allen. “We have better visibility into our own margins and inventory, which is enabling our ecommerce business to take off. This is the first year where ecommerce will be larger than wholesale.”
This story was originally posted on the NetSuite Blog.