Annaliese Kloe’s journey to software consultant started in the most unlikely of places: on a warehouse floor surrounded by CNC tooling and metal fabrication equipment.
Kloe’s father bought Headland Machinery in the 1970s, and turned it into a family owned and run distributor of manufacturing equipment. Nine years ago, Headland realised it needed to upgrade from multiple systems to a single ERP; it selected NetSuite as the best fit, but realised there was still a gap in the software stack.
Headland sells support and consulting services to manufacturers that buy its machinery. Kloe wanted to integrate a customer service and ticketing engine into the ERP. Headland already had some developer chops. The latest laser cutting and robotic machinery tools require a level of programming proficiency to operate; Headland trains its customers on how to program these machines.
It took Headland 12 months to build a service app called NextService. This added a drag-and-drop schedule bar to the core architecture of NetSuite and connected it to a mobile app, which was integrated into NetSuite’s CRM and inventory modules.
“The biggest issue with field service is that there are a lot of different apps in the market, but nearly all of them have to be integrated into an ERP. Because ours is part of the ERP, you get all of the functionality of the ERP in the mobile device,” Kloe says.
Checklists and inventory come straight from the ERP. NextService can track inventory stock in service engineers’ vans and manage warranty returns on the road. NextService won a NetSuite award in 2013 for Best Internal Development, and the vendor encouraged Kloe to sell it to other NetSuite users. And so, four years ago the consultancy Klugo was born.
As NextService was built on the NetSuite platform and could only work within NetSuite, it made sense to resell NetSuite and control the whole sales and delivery cycle.
“The biggest benefit to a client is that it’s one system,” Kloe says. “Data is always up to date and integration connection is always right. Otherwise, you’d need to double check and do audit trails.”
Klugo initially focused on selling NetSuite and NextService, as well as software development and support for the latter. It partnered with NetSuite integrator Outserve, which did the on-site implementation of the ERP.
This relationship lasted two years before it made sense to join the companies. On 1 January 2017, Klugo acquired Outserve and formed a new, 50-person entity called Klugo Group.
“The market perception has been that we are the one company anyway,” Kloe says. “Because we already had a fantastic working relationship, [the acquisition] was quite seamless.”
In just four years, Klugo Group has become the “top two” NetSuite partner in the Asia-Pacific region. It’s a five-star partner, which means it sells more than US$1 million in NetSuite licences each year.
“Our business is growing dramatically,” Kloe says. “We’re selling a lot of NetSuite product. It’s taken a lot of investment, and we had backing from our partner company. We couldn’t grow hard that quickly without that investment in place.”
Oracle’s acquisition of NetSuite has come at a great time for Klugo. Oracle chief executive Mark Hurd has said that he wants to double NetSuite’s global sales team, and has committed to a new data centre in Sydney and a sales office in New Zealand.
“I see us continuing to grow substantially,” Kloe says.
Klugo Group is positioning itself to ride the wave of the internet of things, which promises to revolutionise the manufacturing scene. The consultancy has already experimented with real-time status updates from the shop floor; when stock is running low, the ERP receives a notification to order more stock. Or if a tooling machine develops a fault, the ERP will notify the service team. “The machinery is being enabled to track the information and feed it back to the ERP,” Kloe says.