Lionel LLC

Lionel Shifts to Tech-Driven Trains, Omnichannel Sales With Help of ERP

Since 1900, Lionel has designed and built widely popular model trains—many replicas of famous locomotives—along with tracks, transformers, and other accessories. By the mid-20th century, Lionel sets were among the most popular children’s toys. Business started to slow down in the 1960s, and the company changed hands several times before bouncing back in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2010, Lionel entered a new market when it purchased NASCAR’s diecast model car business.


Lionel LLC


Concord, N.C.




100 to 249






AS/400-Based Software
Legacy System

“I love running our entire business on one platform because it makes everything easier and we only need to know how to use one system. NetSuite simplifies and expedites everything.” Rick Gemereth, CIO, Lionel LLC

Century-Old Brand Reinvents Itself

Adapting to the 21st century
For most of its history, Lionel sold through distributors and retailers. The brand launched an ecommerce site in 1999 and later started fulfilling online orders for big sellers like Amazon and Walmart. Those new channels, the release of extremely popular trains like The Polar Express, and a focus on embedding more technology in its products helped the company regain its footing.
Legacy system holds business back
After purchasing the diecast car business, the first priority for Lionel was replacing an outdated AS/400-based manufacturing software called BPCS that used an antiquated programming language and required IT to produce any reports. Lionel needed an ERP system that could support an omnichannel business set on innovation.
Self-service reporting
In 2010, Lionel made the jump to the cloud, consolidating its business on NetSuite OneWorld. This equipped employees to pull reports on financials, inventory, and sales themselves—which continues to benefit them today. The organisation has also continued to automate more accounting and warehouse processes, and it later brought its three ecommerce sites onto NetSuite with SuiteCommerce Advanced(opens in new tab).
Connecting with a new generation
Lionel also uses NetSuite Learning Cloud Support (LCS) to get new employees up to speed on the system quickly. As it approaches its 125th year of business, Lionel’s primary goal is capturing the interest of kids as it competes with social media, streaming, and the like. It wants to build relationships with children that extend into adulthood so they can eventually pass along their passion. To reach younger train enthusiasts, it’s developed a mobile app that controls trains, voice-controlled locomotives, and light-up tracks.