28 January, 2021

One of the Nation’s Largest Spice Importers Uses Cloud ERP for 360-Degree Business Views


Working with AlphaBOLD, G.P De Silva Spices implements NetSuite Cloud ERP to run its end-to-end business operations.  

As a family-owned wholesale distributor of spices, De Silva Spices of Pico Rivera, Calif., imports about 90% of the nation’s cinnamon. Founded in 2001, the 60-employee company is also a major importer of hibiscus, dried chiles, herbs, and Hispanic food products. In total, it handles about 200 different items at any given time.  

Selling its products mainly through multiple different retail stores and via wholesale distribution channels, De Silva Spices’ reach expands to 30 different countries, most of which are located in Latin America. “We import and export hundreds of containers a year around the world,” said Sajana De Silva, Operations Manager.  

“Our products are all high quality and competitively priced,” he added. “We believe our products should be available to anyone willing to purchase them. Some of the qualifications that differentiate us in the marketplace include the fact that our products are Kosher, and that we follow HACCP and GMP guidelines.”

Twenty Years of Success, and Counting

Twenty years ago, De Silva Spices started out selling cinnamon, and then grew slowly to encompass a broader product line. Its operations include a Sri Lanka location that handles exporting, while its U.S. headquarters manages domestic and Latin American sales. The company also has a location in Texas.

“As we moved into new types of products,” said De Silva, “we grew pretty fast and gained a dominant position in the marketplace.” 

Five years ago, the company added a manufacturing facility across the street from its headquarters in Pico Rivera. This move allowed it to start manufacturing and packaging chiles and cinnamon, and then selling those products to the market. Around the same time, De Silva Spices started handling contract manufacturing for certain spice blends and seasonings-a new capability that the firm is currently working on expanding. 

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Expanding Into New Markets

As De Silva Spices grew its core business and expanded into new opportunities, it realized that its QuickBooks accounting system wasn’t robust enough to manage its multifaceted enterprise. It implemented SAP Business One, but wasn’t satisfied with the results of that investment. In 2020, De Silva Spices selected NetSuite Cloud ERP for its user-friendliness and remote access capabilities.  

Read more NetSuite vs SAP Business One

After interviewing several different NetSuite implementation partners, De Silva Spices picked AlphaBOLD to help it implement its new ERP. “We realized AlphaBOLD had a lot of experience with NetSuite,” said De Silva. “That experience and expertise were major factors in choosing them as our implementation partner.” 

Because it encompasses three different operating entities and several holding companies, the business needed to bring everyone onto NetSuite ERP from SAP and QuickBooks. “NetSuite allowed us to consolidate all of those under one system,” said De Silva, “and get everyone onto one platform.”  

Read more NetSuite Vs QuickBooks 

Calling on AlphaBOLD for Help

Not wanting its migration to a new ERP to impact its day-to-day business operations, De Silva Spices brought members of the AlphaBOLD team onsite to orchestrate the switchover. AlphaBOLD also expanded the ERP’s reporting functionalities to include numerous company-specific options.  

“The reporting is much better and easier to read than our old system, and the dashboard is very good,” said De Silva. “We have KPIs right on that dashboard and a 360-degree view of our operations.”  

Easy for new users to pick up and start using, the system can be accessed anytime and from anywhere. This, means De Silva can use his mobile phone to look up prices, sales orders, do order edits, and manage many other functions without having to be in the office to get those tasks done. 

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Future Plans

Having recently added NetSuite’s warehouse management system (WMS) to its technology lineup, De Silva Spices is now planning to implement demand planning and material requirements planning (MRP). It will also soon gain access to a business intelligence (BI) reporting tool that AlphaBOLD is developing for it. The tool takes snapshots from NetSuite using the PowerBI solution, stores those snapshots in the cloud, and then gives users the ability to see very sophisticated dashboards and KPIs within PowerBI. 

Once in place, the MRP module will further enhance De Silva Spices’ operations, forecasting, and planning capabilities. As it blends these and other capabilities into its operations, this family business knows that it can always count on AlphaBOLD to serve as a trustworthy, reliable partner in the process. “AlphaBOLD has been our go-to resource for pretty much everything pertaining to NetSuite,” De Silva said. 

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