FHL Customer Story – Appellations Fine Wine Company

By Brian Lemay No comments


So we sat down with FHL and we went through
the entire process of our sales, our purchasing, how we receive stock, how we delivery stock,
how we pay people, how we get paid, and we pointed out to them the areas in which other
systems fell down and the limitations that they put on us and the workarounds we were
having to use that we didn’t want to use any more. And once we’ve mapped that all out,
they came back and they started to build what is now WineSuite. Over the previous 5/6 years
we’ve refined that. And now it deals with pretty much every eventuality that we can
think of. We’re constantly coming up with new ideas and they say, “yes we can do it,
no problem”. Myself and my partner previously worked for
a much larger company, which used Sage, which was, we found, slightly unwieldy, difficult
to customise, expensive to customise and offered no ability to use it on the move.
The two primary attractions for us, for NetSuite and WineSuite – NetSuite is it’s completely
customisable. We can effectively do, as long as we follow basic accounting principles,
we can effectively do whatever we want, and is most of it, 90% of it is available for
us to do it in-house. The other advantage for us is that we can use it wherever we want
in the world, but it’s always the same because I’m logging on through the internet and also
means no servers, no breakdowns – it’s much easier and we don’t have the cost-base of
all that infrastructure. For the WineSuite stuff, it’s this system that enables us to
deal with our very industry-specific concerns, which no other program really copes with these
in a holistic way. The standard features are the ability to manage
rotations so that you can have multiple iterations of the same product. It deals with bonded
warehouses seamlessly, which it so so helpful, you can’t imagine. And it also calculates
things like duty and shipping automatically. In the wine business, you sell wine before
you are receiving it and it’s very important that that be a seamless process – and that’s
what WineSuite enables us to do and that’s what other systems don’t allow you to do.
Part of the measurable benefits is obviously the infrastructure – we don’t need to spend
£5,000 – £6,000 on a server, if it breaks, we don’t have to spend £5,000 – £6,000 on
another one! The other benefit is that it makes working a lot quicker. I can be on the
phone to a customer and raise an invoice to him as we speak – quite often I’ve done a
deal with a customer on the phone and he’s got the invoice before we’ve even finished
our conversation. So in our experience, the quicker the customer gets the invoice, the
quicker they pay. They quicker they pay, the quicker we can get them the wine and everybody’s
happy. Generally speaking, the faster they pay and the faster they get the wine, the
more likely they are to drink it or order more.

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