Manager, Information Systems & Technology, c3controls
Tech Optimization and Modernization
Established in 1976 in Pennsylvania, c3controls has grown to be a global leader in engineering and manufacturing electronic controls for industrial systems. Headquartered in Pennsylvania, we offer more than 15 million configurations of products that include circuit breakers, relays, switches, and indicator lights vital to controlling equipment in manufacturing, oil and gas production, wastewater plants, and other industries. With steady growth over the last five years, c3controls has over 150 employees and has opened additional manufacturing locations in El Salvador and India. We are focused on delivering personalized and responsive customer service. This approach is reflected in initiatives such as same-day shipping, configurable products, payment flexibility, and seamless returns.
We originally adopted Sage Intacct’s cloud-based financial management solution in 2015 to replace Oracle NetSuite, and were pleased with its exceptional flexibility, reporting, and strong accounting capabilities. However, with ambitious plans to continue growing our business, we knew that there were still areas for improvement, primarily as we increased our ecommerce presence.
Historically, our website only accounted for 10% or less of overall sales, meaning that our customer service team handled the majority of orders through email and phone, a time- and resource-heavy burden that required manual data entry. This approach also made it difficult to facilitate larger orders, limiting our scalability. As a customer-first business, we wanted to modernize our operations and create an even more robust and superior customer experience.
Previously, we used a legacy ecommerce platform that lacked the flexibility to display full order histories (as opposed to web orders only) and manage inventory data and customer-specific pricing across our 15 million possible product configurations. We needed a system that would better support large organizations ordering through the website, and set us apart from competitors in the manufacturing and industrial space through cutting-edge ecommerce capabilities.
As we expanded our use of Sage Intacct, we decided to leverage Sage Intacct’s open API and Platform Services to lay the foundation for a modern, lightweight ecommerce site. Despite being the first organization to use the platform for an ecommerce architecture, our dev team creatively engineered a high-performance JAMstack site connecting Sage Intacct and an open-source ecommerce platform hosted on Netlify.
We were able to build a one-stop custom ecommerce platform tailored to our specifications, with authentication handled by Netlify. Now, all data related to ecommerce goes straight into or is pulled from Sage Intacct, and we no longer have to manually enter orders from the web into our financial system. We further extended the platform’s functionality by creating custom objects, pages, and applications in Sage Intacct as well. The inventive ecommerce system now handles the majority of our orders, sales, invoices, returns, and other transactions.
Our new ecommerce web experience is faster, integrating directly with Sage Intacct and ensuring that all notifications are sent out properly and inventory is efficiently controlled. Customer and inventory data are securely held in Sage Intacct, along with flexible price lists that can be customized, which is especially key with our wide range of product offerings. We can easily show customers real-time, tailored pricing across all 15 million SKUs, in a seamless and high-performance experience. Customers now have visibility into their full history of orders and invoices, whether placed via the web, phone, or email, whereas before they could only see a history of web orders.
We’ve seen improvements not just in ecommerce, but across the organization. We built tailored Sage Intacct dashboards for 20 users, including our CEO and other people in leadership roles, order entry, and operations. This access to on-demand, real-time data generates insights into revenue and profitability that ensure informed decisions. Our CEO can review sales, cash, accounts receivable, and revenue at any time, giving us the ability to make quick adjustments at the click of a button, rather than waiting for end-of-month reporting.
Finally, financials are now handled by a three-person team. With the bandwidth we’ve saved by implementing Sage Intacct, we were even able to leave two vacated accounting positions unfilled.
We’ve seen cost savings across the organization, and increased revenue by 30%. The ecommerce proportion of our sales has doubled from 10% to 20% and we project that trend to continue to 80% or more over the next few years. Our customer service team sped processing times by 2x-3x for orders coming in through the web, and they spend considerably less time on manually processing phone and email orders. Now that Sage Intacct seamlessly handles order entry automation, we’ve been able to eliminate manual data entry, offer new bulk and recurring orders, and support our commitment to same-day shipping.
Since reducing headcount in the finance department, we’ve also saved roughly $200,000 in salary and benefits that can instead be reinvested into further scaling the business. We replaced cumbersome reporting for demand planning (previously done in Excel) by instead aggregating real-time Sage Intacct and MISys data in an SQL database. This report used to take three to five business days and now takes only five minutes. Our straightforward integration between Sage Intacct’s API and the MISys manufacturing application drives daily inventory reconciliations between the systems and downstream fulfillment, further saving time across our organization.
- Sage Intacct, including API and Platform Services, custom objects, custom fields, smart rules, smart events
- Integrations with
- Netlify hosting services
- MISys manufacturing software (MRP)
- HubSpot CRM
- Invoiced.com payment processor/gateways
- Elasticsearch for site search (part numbers and content)
Our project to custom-build a headless ecommerce architecture using Sage Intacct’s API and Platform Services is game-changing because we believe we’re the first organization that has ever used the technology for this use case. We were able to use the API in a unique and progressive way, building serverless pages that are statically generated. They are lightning fast for our customers to use, giving them a streamlined customer experience as they navigate our ecommerce site. All of the serverless functions we’re running on the backend of the site can seamlessly interface with the data in Sage Intacct, without exposing anything sensitive on the front end. We’re very proud of this intricate but lightweight system we’ve been able to engineer, because the modern online experience we offer our customers distinguishes us from other companies that still use outdated, old-school technologies. Through our own creative and innovative approach to engineering this ecommerce architecture, we have saved time, money, and resources across the organization. We’ve made processes more efficient -- from inventory fulfillment and accounting, to customer service and data reporting. We have big plans for future features and integrations. Sage Intacct and Platform Services have enabled our team to build amazing systems for the company, enabling versatility and scalability that will allow us to hit our aggressive growth goals over the next 10 years.
With 15M possible product configurations, the API integration driven by Sage Intacct, allows our customers to configure products on the fly with various voltages, amperages, colors, and more putting them in control of their order and increasing satisfaction with the product. With the custom object feature, we give users the ability to set their own preferences to navigate our website. As a customer-obsessed organization, being able to offer this level of service to our clients is huge.
c3controls produces durable, well-designed electrical control products that perform reliably and meet global standards for quality and safety. Ranging from power & actuation to control logic to human machine interface and more, we offer products that perform the essential functions at the heart of nearly every electrically operated machine and equipment. We offer 15M+ product configurations.