OAKLAND, Calif., April 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Better Energy Systems Inc., maker of the Solio brand of renewable and environmentally responsible solar-powered batteries and LED lighting, announced today that its CEO Andy Howe is among the winners of the prestigious ninth annual Manufacturing Leadership 100 (ML100) Awards from Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council in cooperation with Supply & Demand Chain Executive Magazine. Mr. Howe was cited in the "Turnaround" category for individual leadership based on his success in leading a complete redesign of the Solio product line, revamping the supply chain, securing financing for the business and launching an innovative "solar as a service" program to bring affordable, renewable and clean energy to rural populations in Kenya. Other winners in the Turnaround category include executives at General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Jaguar Land Rover and Triumph International India.
Howe led the turnaround while leveraging the NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N) cloud-based business management suite for financials, inventory management, order management, supply chain management, eCommerce, and CRM. He credits the NetSuite solution for helping to make the business turnaround possible, providing real-time visibility and drill-down into costs, revenue and gross margins, guiding strategic resource investments and pricing decisions. When Howe took over at Solio in October 2010, he was confronted with financing issues, insufficient R&D, and problems with the manufacturing supply chain. NetSuite's support for Solio's key business processes allowed Howe to reduce headcount, bring in a new manufacturing partner, and refocus on product innovation and development. The results have helped Solio bring to market a new line of products for smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and other USB powered devices, and drive Solio's triple-digit growth in sales at large retailers such as REI and Radio Shack, while growing its direct-to-consumer eCommerce business.
Under Mr. Howe's leadership Solio is now expanding its innovative "solar as a service" social enterprise in Kenya, enabling people to lease home solar appliances, and light and entertainment kits. The new Solio program provides affordable and sustainable energy to people in rural areas of Africa with no access to electricity, who often earn less than $10 a week, freeing them from expenses of up to half of their weekly income on expensive non-renewable forms of power such as throw away batteries and kerosene. Piloted as a business partnership between Better Energy and local entrepreneurs in Kenya, the program seeks partners to expand to Zambia and Uganda as Better Energy pursues a goal of bringing clean, renewable energy to populations at the base of the economic pyramid potentially changing the lives of millions of people.
"The Solio team is gratified by this honor as we continue our mission to produce solar-powered energy that is both environmentally sustainable and meets the demands of the fast-growing mobile device market," said Mr. Howe. "NetSuite has been one of our strengths throughout our journey by enabling the real-time visibility and business agility our company needed for success."