NetSuite Inc., provider of cloud-based financials/ERP and omnichannel commerce software suites, announced that Victoria's Port of Portland has gone live with NetSuite. Port of Portland replaced its existiny systems for financial; shipping, accounts payable and receivable; payroll and maintenance, projects and operations, with a single instance of NetSuite for financials, payroll, project management, asset management and shipping.
Port of Portland said it was able to improve the efficiencies of its financials and project management capabilities with NetSuite, as well as streamline its ship scheduling process to support its growing customer base of exporters.
Port of Portland is a deep-water bulk port located between the ports of Melbourne and Adelaide and is the international gateway for the Green Triangle Region, responsible for nearly two thirds of Australia's wood production. The Port specializes in the import and export of bulk commodities, particularly agricultural, forestry and mining products, as well as aluminum and fertilizer. It has approximately five million metric tons in annual throughput, which is expected to grow to seven million metric tons over the next few years. With more than 300 ships passing through the port each year, it delivers $3 billion into the region annually.
Port of Portland said it is focused on growing its customer base of exporters and needed to update its core business systems in order to support this future growth. Its previous systems were out of date and lacked integration, which required a lot of inefficient manual processes that led to data inconsistencies. Ship scheduling, in particular, was hand written on pieces of paper and not captured properly in its software systems.
"As we are a small-to-medium business with only 55 employees and 20 operational maintenance staff, NetSuite's cloud-based solution was very appealing to us – it means we can be cutting edge with the latest advancements in technology, without having to manage and upgrade it ourselves," said Kara King, company accountant for Port of Portland. "We don't have a fulltime IT person, and we are in a remote location, so having NetSuite helpdesk at our fingertips is a big thing."
In conjunction with NetSuite's cloud-based business management solution, Port of Portland is also able to leverage NetSuite's SuiteCloud Developer Network (SDN) Partners – i-Seaports for shipping and Infinet Cloud for payroll - which have built SuiteApp's on the NetSuite SuiteCloud Computing Platform and have achieved Built for NetSuite verification. Built for NetSuite is a program for SDN partners that provides them with information, resources and a method to verify that their applications and integrations meet new NetSuite standards and best practices, giving NetSuite customers additional confidence.
The ability for NetSuite to fully integrate with i-Seaports' advanced shipping capabilities, was another key driver for Port of Portland's decision to select NetSuite. The integration provides the port with a traffic management centre to manage all aspects of a vessel call from reservations to departure, as well as a communications co-ordination centre to coordinate notifications, updates and communications at every point of a vessel call. All of this shipping functionality is fully integrated with NetSuite's financial capabilities, further streamlining the entire process for Port of Portland.
"We now have a ship reservation system in place with the ability to book a ship into the port and track it all the way through to invoicing and hitting our general ledger," said Ms. King. "This has significantly improved our commercial enterprise and transformed the efficiency, accuracy and insights of our day-to-day operation."
The Infinet Cloud Payroll SuiteApp was specifically designed for Australian businesses looking to streamline payroll services and provides all the functionality Port of Portland needs to fulfill its payroll responsibilities – from tax and superannuation calculations, through to employee payment and leave accrual. It requires no external integration to provide a complete and seamless payroll solution for the port. The result is a simple, highly featured payroll system enriched by NetSuite's core functionality.
Since implementing NetSuite, Port of Portland claims it now has complete visibility into its entire business, with all components now automated and fully integrated with each other in real-time, from ship scheduling and project management, all the way through to finance. This has significantly improved the reliability, accuracy and integrity of its data, which it can now better manage moving forward. With most staff having access to NetSuite, they now have access to the data they need to do their jobs efficiently and help grow the business.
"Our CEO and senior management team now have complete and real-time visibility of all the information they require to make swift and effective business decisions," said Ms. King. "The introduction of NetSuite has also streamlined our data gathering and insight capabilities, saving us considerable time at month end with reporting. We can now run reports whenever we want and that has freed up about 30% of our time that we can now focus on other core functions."
NetSuite has also had a significant impact on Port of Portland's operations and maintenance division, where staff members are paid using timesheets. Prior to the deployment of NetSuite, employees filled out handwritten timesheets that were then manually entered into various applications by admin staff before going through various levels of approval. This process is now electronic and automated within NetSuite through the full integration of project management with payroll, which has significantly improved the accuracy and management of data. Port of Portland estimates it has saved at least 50% of time for payroll and possibly more for administration, freeing employees up to focus on more value added jobs than data entry.
Moving forward, Port of Portland plans to implement NetSuite's CRM functionality, which will support its move to attract and manage new customers. This will give all employees a complete view of every interaction with its customers, further streamlining its business and improving customer satisfaction.
"Port of Portland's executives and employees now have the functionality, information and tools they need to manage key aspects of their business better and streamline operations," said Mark Troselj, managing director of APAC and Japan for NetSuite. "NetSuite now supports Port of Portland's financial and operational efficiency, delivers real-time visibility and consolidation, and also provides flexibility for customization to fulfil its unique needs within the shipping industry."