Micropower Battery Company
Micropower Battery Company (MBC) has been a Suite 900 client since we opened in 2011, with three full-time and two part-time retainer agreements. Suite 900's 9NERDZ work on MBC's family of ecommerce websites which include two NetSuite flagship web stores, and several Magento and WordPress websites.
Although he’s not big on being on camera, we asked Elliott Alexander to conduct an interview during his two week visit in 2015. He obliged us, but prefered to write his answers in advance and read them on cue. You can read his full compelling interview below.
Please provide us an overview of your business?
Our company was founded in 1989 as a battery exporter and wholesaler to Latin America. By the late 1990s our market expanded to include business within North America. We began our ecommerce operations in the 2002 using NetSuite. We were an early adapter to NetSuite and used the platform for all of our wholesale business, ecommerce, CRM, and accounting. I believe our company is successful because of our ability to adapt to changing market conditions. Over the years, we have adapted to seeking out different types of customers in markets around the world and we have embraced the ecommerce world of selling online through a combination of company operated ecommerce sites, and participation in marketplaces. We are a medium-sized company with over 30 employees. Sales for next year  are expected to top 20 million USD. We are the lead Sony micro battery distributor for the Americas, distributing the Sony brand of batteries since 1993. We represent other battery brands such as Panasonic, Toshiba, Renata, Energizer, Duracell. Aside from watch batteries, our next main category is hearing aid batteries. We are likely the largest hearing aid battery seller on the internet worldwide. We found NetSuite appealed to us as a platform because it was all-inclusive: CRM, accounting, payroll, ecommerce.
How did you get involved and how long have you been working with Suite 900?
The founder of Suite 900, Joe Miller, was actually one of our outsourced employees. Before he relocated to the Philippines to start his new enterprise, he was based in the U.S. and worked with us. We have been using Suite 900 for 4 years now, since its founding.
Why did you choose Suite 900?
Well, initially of course, we choose Suite 900 due to our prior relationship with Mr. Miller. This made it much easier to us to go on the path of outsourcing to an overseas vendor. Today, we continue with Suite 900, because they fulfill our qualifications for operating in NetSuite. We use them as managed NetSuite web developers, able to handle both NetSuite Site Builder, and SuiteCommerce Advanced, as well as developing a new Magento site for our next ecommerce project.
What is most important to you—price, delivery, service, or quality?
All of these are important—price, delivery, service, quality. Price is probably most important and one of the main reasons for a company to go offshore, but there’s only a good value in the price, if the provider is able to deliver on time and provide both service and quality.
Tell us how your experience has been with Suite 900?
Excellent. They are consistent, reliable, and they are able to adapt and address changing web technologies, especially with NetSuite. When we looked to moving away from NetSuite for the latest ecommerce site, they helped us evaluate platform alternatives prior to our selecting Magento. Also, they are able to handle all of our ecommerce and web needs. Building information sites, rewriting content, updating our sites to conform to the latest web standards and practices, SEO evaluation and optimization.
How would you describe your relationship with Suite 900?
Excellent. We have a great amount of confidence in their ability to perform the tasks at hand and to meet our varied demands and broad applications. We will continue to use them for the unforeseen future. Suite 900 is one of our most reliable vendors.
How has working with Suite 900 helped your business?
We have been able to embrace changing web technologies without the fear of losing our competitiveness in ecommerce. We’ve been able to lower our web services costs year after year, by outsourcing overseas to the Philippines. We have the confidence that Suite 900 can satisfy our technical needs. They give us peace of mind, knowing we have the technical sourcing available to meet any challenge.
Have you been approached by other NetSuite web development services?
Yes, we are periodically contacted by independent NetSuite developer services, and of course when we attend annual NetSuite conventions, we have the opportunity to interview established NetSuite development companies. Generally, we find their pricing to be much higher than Suite 900, even when the services are outsourced overseas. We get quoted rates that are easily $125 to over $150 per hour.
What would you tell someone who is considering outsourcing services to Suite 900?
Well, whenever you are selecting a vendor I suppose it’s best to consider a few alternatives. I’ve already told you about many of Suite 900’s strengths and advantages. I think Suite 900 can prove to be reliable, consistent, they can offer quality solutions, and of course provide great value with competitive pricing.
How would you describe the work environment and employees you have worked with at Suite 900?
Although we have 4 years working with Suite 900, this is the first time I have visited the Philippines. My trip intentions were to work directly with Suite 900 employees to get to know them face to face. I believe meeting them in this manner would make our future work with them more rewarding and productive. I’m not much for video conferences, but I imagine the same or similar results can be had through video conferencing. Myself, I prefer to work face to face with people. Overall, their in-house work environment is very professional and disciplined, yet they know how to have fun and keep a high level of appreciation for their work. I wish all of my Micropower Battery employees were as devoted as the Suite 900 staff. Over the period I was in Cebu, I worked with all of the staff involved with our projects. I worked with the project manager, who oversees all of our business, the developer who is updating our microbattery.com site, there’s another developer updating our hearingaidbatteryshop.com site, upgrading it to a single page checkout, and there’s a developer working on our new partner ecommerce site which will use Magento rather than NetSuite. Also we covered SEO and reviewed optimization being done on all of our sites. Finally, I attended to a smaller project which involves one or more information sites. You can see we have a lot going on with Suite 900. Everyone I worked with was friendly, professional and respectful.
How would you describe your client support experience at Suite 900?
Our client support experience is very good. We receive daily reports and weekly reports. We don’t have issues with their invoicing, it’s generally pretty clear. We have access to them by email, and chat. They are very consistent and this is important to us. I believe they have an admin control panel they are looking to update or implement. I will have to see if this benefits me in the future for keeping abreast of the events.
What do you like the most about working with Suite 900?
No surprises. Never had any disappointments with them. We never had any doomsday issues—I mean no major breakdown in services. They are reliable, and this is probably the most important issue. After that, price. We get a good value using Suite 900.
Would you recommend Suite 900 to others?
Although we are using NetSuite for many years, and I know there are thousands of companies using NetSuite, I personally do not know many NetSuite customers, other than ones I meet at the annual NetSuite convention or at the Internet Retailer conference. Certainly, if your company is using NetSuite Site Builder or SuiteCommerce Advanced module, even though Suite 900 may not have NetSuite certification, I would seriously consider them as a possible outsourcing vendor, especially if you want to receive a good value.
Do you have anything else that you would like to add?
Well, I enjoyed my stay in Cebu, Philippines and I hope to come back again to work face to face with the Suite 900 staff. And thanks for taking great care of me during my visit.