LHK Fine Wines was set up by Tom Mann, Scott Hart and Paddy Magill in 2009. With more than 35 years' combined experience in the wine trade, their aim was to make the buying and selling of fine wine as simple as possible.
The business, which is based in South West London, initially sold fine wines from the world's classic regions, such as France, Spain, the US and New Zealand. However, more recently, LHK Fine Wines has broadened its product offering with a selection of more than 30 drinking wines as well.
Although LHK Fine Wines' business predominately comes from private clients who are avid collectors of fine wines, it also supplies wine to a number of trade customers throughout the UK. Currently, the vast majority of LHK Fine Wines' customers are based in the UK, but increasingly the business is working with private clients as far afield as the US, China, Hong Kong, Australia and Brazil.
When setting up the business, the directors decided to purchase an on-premise IT solution to be accessed via the internet. After two years, this archaic approach proved too frustrating and limiting for their business needs. A lack of ability for customisation and adaptation was the final straw.
With a business objective to streamline operations and drive sales, high visibility on accurate real-time data for both staff and customers alike was key. The directors of LHK Fine Wines saw their opportunity in better technology. Research led them to trusted cloud-based solutions which would be flexible, scalable and enable their business to become more agile.
North West-based FHL Cloud Solutions was engaged to help LHK Fine Wines to switch from dysfunctional on premise software and hardware to the world's fastest growing cloud business management software suite, NetSuite.
FHL Cloud Solutions, headquartered in Cheshire, is Europe's number one NetSuite Solution provider - winning the prestigious NetSuite EMEA Solution Provider of the Year award for the last four consecutive years.
The consultancy worked with LHK Fine Wines to architect a solution that accommodated shortfalls and gaps within existing processes and incorporated specific features to enable the LHK business to punch above their weight in a very competitive market. A timely and cost-effective delivery of the solution followed and the predicted business growth was facilitated.
By working in close partnership with the team at LHK Fine Wines, FHL Cloud Solutions developed WineSuite, its own cloud-based solution specially tailored specifically for the wine industry.
Modular features were incorporated to accommodate unique wine industry process such as En Primeur, investment portfolio management, Livex integration, cellarage, brokerage and more.
WineSuite enabled LHK Fine Wines to accommodate sophisticated industry requirements such as dealing with tax, duty and bonded warehousing, alongside customer-centric features such as producer information and wine tasting reviews – all via the cloud.
It is unusual for an ERP solution to provide e-commerce functionality yet FHL was able to provide this via the NetSuite platform and the seamless interaction between sales and purchasing is remarkably efficient.
By having everything in one place, LHK are able to provide customer service levels and attention to detail only previously attainable by large organisations employing lots of people. Marketing, customer offers, promotions, discounts, emails and customer service features are standard with the system and can be largely automated with Data Protection Law compliancy guaranteed.
The solution facilitates accounting, stock control, reporting, dashboards, real time metrics, plus powerful multi-currency and multi-subsidiary management, live exchange rate data, making trading overseas extremely straightforward for the business.
Since using NetSuite, LHK Fine Wines has transformed its business performance and processes.
The business has eliminated IT problems, reduced associated costs, streamlined order and procurement processes, eliminated onerous spreadsheet-based reporting and provides a much improved experience for customers.
Scott Hart, managing director of LHK Fine Wines, said:
"First and foremost, NetSuite provides real-time visibility for everyone. Its built-in business intelligence function means we are able to report on almost any aspect of the business, whether that be our finances or sales for example, and drill down on that information to the most minute detail if necessary.
"With one click of a button we can also bring up role-based dashboards and real-time reports about our products or customers which makes viewing sub-sets of data extremely quick and easy to do.
"In fact, our end-to-end process is so much cleaner overall, from setting up a new customer, to invoicing and receiving payment, we have full control and visibility every step of the way. This single, integrated process not only enables us to save a lot of time and free up resource, but eliminate errors and accelerate order management.
"When we set the office up, we also wanted to provide our employees with the flexibility to work from home which was almost impossible with our incumbent system. Thanks to NetSuite though, our entire team can now access critical business information, such as sales, stock and pricing from anywhere on the globe - whether that be from home on their laptops or from the palm of their hands, if they are on the move.
"With NetSuite too, we have been able to eliminate the costly and complicated issue of multiple business applications and a run a single system for accounting/ERP, CRM and e-commerce. This has not only enabled us to increase productivity between 15-20 per cent but also helped to ensure we maintain a low IT cost-base, allowing us to be extremely competitive with our prices within the fine wine market.
"Perhaps the greatest advantage of NetSuite is how easy it is to customise and adapt. While out of the box, it didn't meet our specific requirements, FHL Cloud Computing architected a business solution, WineSuite, which is highly functional yet simple to use and which meets our needs virtually 100 per cent. Even better, it doesn't matter how long we keep this solution, it is automatically upgraded every six months so we will always be running the latest version. There is no need to worry about its ability to grow with our business.
"FHL Cloud Solutions has made our process for buying and selling wine simple. The consultancy quickly and effectively implemented the perfect solution for our needs, increasing our turnover by around £0.5million in the first year alone. The solution has also freed up 90 per cent of the directors' time to focus on the core business of developing our customer base and providing exceptional service.
"We would highly recommend using FHL Cloud Solutions to adapt NetSuite to any business, irrespective of sector. FHL make it fast and simple to implement, it streamlines costs, saves valuable time and increases productivity. It has also freed us up from all the limitations of conventional software such as endless upgrades, the risk of data loss, being tied to one location, manual data entry, duplication of data and disparate systems."