With $1.9 billion in annual sales, Dallas-based Mouser Electronics is the seventh largest distributor of electronic components on the planet. You might never have heard of them—but almost certainly, there are dozens of electronic components in your home, office, and car that have passed through Mouser’s colossal distribution facilities.
I first met Scott Brown, SVP of finance at Mouser, in 2014 when he presented in an Oracle OpenWorld session focused on rapidly-growing SMBs. After being acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, and subsequently tripling sales ($190 million to $700 million), Mouser was a perfect fit for the session. The Oracle of Omaha’s instincts proved to be spot on, as Mouser has managed to sustain double-digit annual growth now for well over a decade. The company is no longer an SMB by anyone’s definition.
Scott joined Mouser in 2000 and, thus, has been at the helm of the company’s finance team throughout this transformational journey. Mouser was an early adopter of Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP and HCM (in 2014) for finance and HR. With supply chains suddenly front and center in many people’s minds—in both B2B and B2C—I figured it would be a great time to check in with him.
Despite well-documented chaos in the supply chain world, it appears to be “steady-as-she-goes” at Mouser. If you search online (as I did) for, “Mouser COVID-19 supply chain challenges,” you won’t get much back. It’s a testament to great leadership in both finance and operations.
“We are an essential business and continue to ship globally to our 630,000-plus customers worldwide,” says Scott. “Of course, we’ve had to adapt some of our business operations during the pandemic to keep our employees safe. The cloud-based platform has allowed us to make a seamless transition for employees who are working from home.”
Scott tells me that the focus at Mouser for a long time now has been on global expansion, and that’s what excites him about his job. “Mouser is an amazing place to work,” he says. “There are always new opportunities to learn, whether it’s new cultural experiences, new laws, new company requirements, new currencies, new bank accounts, etc.”
Over the last twelve years, they’ve expanded operations across three continents and now have twenty-seven office locations. The company strives to maintain a down-home approach to doing business—local and family-oriented. Their customers can connect with local representatives who speak their language, understand their issues, and can offer support in their local time zone and currency.
Scott, and others on the executive team, agree with Oracle’s cloud applications strategy of continuous innovation. Prior to the Oracle Cloud, they had been running on a home-grown ERP system and relied on many, many spreadsheet-based, semi-manual processes. They needed a solution that would scale to support their plans for multi-national growth.
“As a global e-commerce distributor of electronic components for new devices, we believe in using technology to make us more efficient,” says Scott. “Whether it’s software, hardware or automation, we are investing in state-of-the-art solutions and systems to help us work smarter across all areas of the company.
“You have to evolve to succeed,” adds Scott. “With 5G and Internet of Things, we are in the midst of a digital revolution where amazing technological advancements will occur over the next decade across all industries. Of course, hardware and software will be at the core of it.”
For anyone involved in corporate finance, it’s easy to understand the challenges Scott has successfully addressed during this long period of sustained global expansion. “It was the right decision to move to a scalable, global, cloud-based financial management solution,” says Scott. “We needed a system that would be able to translate the many currencies used by our customers to purchase products from Mouser and consolidate our financial statements in local currency. And intercompany transactions had to be balanced and reconciled. Both are key areas where Oracle’s solutions help facilitate.”
I asked Scott how his leadership strategies have influenced his response to change, whether it’s driven by things like rapid global growth or a planet-wide pandemic. “Personally, I am always looking for a better way to do things, challenging myself and my team,” says Scott. “We believe in continuous process improvement.”
At Oracle, we’re happy that our solutions can play a supporting role for Scott’s finance leadership. He acknowledges that the move from comfortable, legacy on-premise systems and spreadsheets represents not just the next technology step—an “upgrading” of systems—but rather a seismic shift in computing models. Effective change management is crucial.
“While it was extremely difficult and time-consuming to make this fundamental change to a new cloud model, we saw it as an investment for the future,” Scott reflects. “Now that it’s implemented, we cannot imagine going back to the old way. Making these fundamental shifts is incredibly challenging, but, in the end, it has incredible pay-offs.”
Someday, when I get to visit Mouser headquarters in Dallas, I may postpone the discussion of Oracle-enabled finance innovation long enough to get a tour of their new behemoth 1 million square foot global headquarters and distribution facilities—and maybe push all the buttons on one of their multi-story, elevator-style towers that make up the largest installation of vertical lift modules in North America. These state-of-the art devices streamline and speed up their distribution operations. When you go to Mouser’s website, you’ll see a digital clock ticking down, “order in the next 02:44:25 to ship today”. That’s customer-centric efficiency. It makes me want to order something, even though I’ll probably have to call up Scott and ask him to explain to me what to do with it.