NetSuite Lifts the Spirits (and Fortunes) of Ambiente Wine Importing

Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director, NetSuite

In his 10 years running NetSuite at Ambiente Wine Importing, one thing that’s consistently struck owner Jordan Actkinson is the product’s scalability.

While Austin, Texas-based Ambiente Wine has more than doubled in size since the wholesale distributor first implemented NetSuite, replacing his ERP system was never a consideration. In fact, NetSuite has given Actkinson something to relate to his mother-in-law with.

“She’s just a one-woman shop on the Internet, selling baby gifts and blankets and between NetSuite and UPS, she was able to do it all out of her laundry room,” Actkinson said. “I always thought it was funny she was using the same system I was and I have an almost $13 million company now.”

Actkinson implemented NetSuite at Ambiente himself when he was brought in by the previous owner of the business to help replace a troublesome Sage Accpac accounting software. In the 10 years since, both Ambiente and NetSuite have seen significant growth, with NetSuite now powering more than 20,000 companies and divisions with its cloud-based business management suite and Ambiente now supplying boutique wines and spirits to stores and restaurants in 2,000 locations across the state of Texas.

The existing Accpac system at Ambiente Wine was “a nightmare of upgrades” Actkinson said. At least once a year he would have to pull an all nighter to make sure the upgrade didn’t break the system and the company was paying thousands of dollars to consultants just to keep the system running. On top of that, the sales force had little use for Accpac. They would fax in orders on handwritten notes. It was fraught with the potential for error and for a wine distributor one of the most costly mistakes you can make is to send the wrong order to a customer.

Ambiente Wine wanted a system that would give its sales force the power to enter orders themselves so they could maintain the person-to-person relationships with their accounts.
So the company selected NetSuite, which eliminated the upgrade problem and allowed sales to enter orders into the system directly from on the road through the browser-based interface.

“Being able to skip the proprietary systems that large wholesalers invest in,” Actkinson said. “it’s like a country skipping landlines and going straight to cell phones.”

With NetSuite, Ambiente Wine had no need for all the hardware and infrastructure that on-premise ERP required. In fact, the company now has just one server to handle storage and the sole IT staff is a part-time former IBMer who basically just stops in to visit, Actkinson said. Meanwhile, Ambiente Wine has been able to eliminate entire steps in its processes thanks to automating with NetSuite.

That hasn’t meant any sacrifice in reliability, either.

“We have more problems with Time Warner’s Internet service than we do with NetSuite being out,” Actkinson said.

While cloud-based solutions are now generally regarded as stable and secure, that wasn’t necessarily the case 10 years ago when Ambiente Wine first launched the product. Now, as Actkinson noted, an entire generation has grown up on the Internet.

“Now my biggest problem is someone in the warehouse knowing the difference between a Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva,” he said.


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