Merrow sewing is a trailblazer

How a sewing machine company found a seamless path to success on the #1 CRM.

 
30 employees
Salesforce customer since 2011

87

Number of countries whose end users and resellers Merrow supports.

 
 

Merrow Sewing doubled its growth while keeping all its employees connected.

How does a company that was founded before the American Civil War survive into the 21st century? How does a 180-year-old company — one that sells a mechanical device invented in 1846 — stay relevant in our modern technology-driven environment? And what makes a sewing machine company interesting? Evolution.

Merrow Sewing has always been a family-owned business. Evolving from the Industrial Revolution through the Digital Revolution, required remaining current. The company was originally a gunpowder manufacturer before moving into the textile industry and inventing the overlock sewing machine, all while remaining a small business with fewer than 100 employees.

“Over the years, we’ve repositioned ourselves. We went from a sewing machine manufacturer into a diversified company that builds sewing machines that add value to sewn products and also invests in textile and technology startups,” said CEO Charlie Merrow. The company now uses cam-driven technology that achieves more consistent, technically superior stitches so clothes last longer and wear better. Merrow has been recognized by their peers and the State of Massachusetts alike for digital innovation and manufacturing process, and they’ve opened their own incubator and workforce training center as part of a multi-year plan to leverage those investments to create new jobs.

As the 21st century approached, company leaders realized they needed to be more connected and use technology to survive and thrive. The company needed to operate more efficiently from a central location in order to sell projects globally, and it needed to update its capacity to communicate with customers around the world. “We wanted to operate at the scale and efficiency of a large business with the workforce from a small business,” said Merrow. “That’s key to any business, large or small, but especially to small businesses that don’t have large budgets and need to spend smartly.”

 
 

Merrow Sewing finds a modern CRM solution.

“To be successful, the way we approached customer service needed to fundamentally change, and we knew that we needed technology to do this,” said Merrow. “Customers have a lot more information now, and they span the globe. We needed automation to help us.”

Company leaders signed up for a free trial of Salesforce and found what they were looking for to bring them into the new century. “We were hooked. First we tried the CRM for a year and then we picked up an app from AppExchange. Now we run everything on the Salesforce Platform, including our engineering department. There was no need to program anything — that’s a huge distinction for Salesforce. It was out-of-the-box ready and is very straightforward to use,” said Merrow.

The Salesforce Platform soon became revolutionary for the company. “When we realized what we could do with the Salesforce Platform, we built everything on it,” said Merrow. “Custom objects allowed us to push all the data to Salesforce. Now we can truly get a total, clear view of what’s happening. The reporting changed how we ran this company, overnight.”

 

Growth doubled after adopting Salesforce.

Salesforce isn’t just an easy-to-use CRM tool — it has helped the company increase revenues. “We’ve doubled our growth since implementing Salesforce,” said Merrow. “We make decisions based on solid information, rather than assumptions or with questions. We can adjust strategic programs based on performance in a moment. We’re more agile than we ever thought possible.”

Salesforce allowed the company to dramatically speed its go-to-market execution, coordinating sales, service, and fulfillment teams for product release in more than 80 countries. In addition, the technology transformed the company’s interaction with domestic customers and was the catalyst for the roll out of a Fall River, Massachusetts-based factory design and development program that empowers manufacturers to leverage machines in their design process.

Mobility keeps all of the company’s reps connected everywhere they go. “We also get a lot of use out of the Salesforce mobile app. We’ve been very proactive about making it available to all staff, since everyone needs to see information in real time,” said Merrow.

Merrow Sewing has created other businesses that use the same template incorporating Salesforce. “With a more agile, connected system working for us, we were able to launch 11 startups,” he said. “It’s difficult to make a startup succeed, so you have to be very strategic in your investments; it has to be able to scale both up and down.” WoolPRO is one of these startups, a 100% Merino Wool apparel line that is designed and manufactured by Merrow Sewing using Merrow Sewing machines. Salesforce has been extremely valuable in maintaining and tracking brand ambassadors for WoolPRO, a unique part of the startup’s structure. With Salesforce, Merrow Sewing now has what it needs to thrive.

 

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