Instead of spending hundreds of thousands on an ERP or alternatively sacrificing capabilities for a simple software, European Wine Resource found the perfect medium in Acctivate.
Fine Wine Importer & Distributor
Increasing need for better inventory control as growth doubled year over year.
Real-time inventory control and flexible features able to meet their fine wine needs.
Continued growth and operational success.
“My father was a fine wine collector. Growing up, I would help him in his wine cellar take inventory, build wine racks, etc.
I developed an interest and as I got older, I became more and more interested in wine — it was a hobby that my father and I shared,” said Mike Scianamblo, Founder and CEO, European Wine Resource.
Scianamblo went on to study Economics as an undergraduate in college and began exploring entrepreneurship.
As the demand for fine wine in the United States grew, Scianamblo seized his opportunity to enter the fine wine market.
We learned about the industry, researched how to bring products in from overseas, and developed relationships with négociants and vendors in Europe. As a result, we were able to gain access to fantastic wines that were hard to find and we started to bring them to the US and sell them online to customers.”
Since beginning operations, European Wine Resource has been experiencing double-digit growth year over year.
However, with growth came growing pains…
I began needing more help after the third and fourth years in business to keep track of inventory. As sales were growing, it became very complicated trying to figure out where our inventory was, what our costs were, what was paid for and what wasn’t paid for, etc.
That was really my biggest challenge in growing the company: I could always find wine and people to sell it to, but it was challenging trying to keep track of all of the information.”
European Wine Resource: A search for business tools to help with growth
He then began looking for business tools to help his business with growth…
As a small business getting started and as a young business owner, I didn’t have very much money to throw at software. It looked like we could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on custom systems, which I couldn’t really afford.”
However, European Wine Resource needed a system that would handle the intricacy involved with the fine wine industry…
“The wine business is really complicated and the inventory works very differently than most other consumer goods businesses.
We have different vendors for the same product; and the same product can be classified in different ways depending on what we paid for it, what the bottle condition was, what the vintage is and the producer, etc. — and there are all of these factors that create a single SKU.”
As he was exploring different software systems, a colleague in the wine industry referred Scianamblo to Acctivate — a cost-effective solution to the larger, more expensive systems, yet more robust than the simpler solutions being offered.
We have a lot of complicated needs being in the fine wine industry that most of the simple software systems couldn’t handle. However, Acctivate could solve those problems so we weren’t juggling hundreds of different spreadsheets keeping track of everything — that was what caught our interest about Acctivate the most.”
Scianamblo explained the limitations of other software solutions he had reviewed…
With other pieces of software, they require you to have this unified criteria that doesn’t really work for fine wine and it was difficult for us to find something that would understand all of the different variables that make up our products.
We also needed to keep track of multiple warehouses, which Acctivate is able to do — we have inventory that belongs to the company, inventory that belongs to consigners, etc. and we can keep track of that in different warehouses.”
After seeing a demo of Acctivate, it was clear to Scianamblo that Acctivate offered the best value amongst other software programs, while still providing the features to help European Wine Resource grow.
Gregory Gandolfo, Operations Manager of European Wine Resource, said of Acctivate’s flexibility…
The greatest thing about Acctivate is how customizable it is. Obviously the platform was not built just for wine — and yet we’ve been able to adapt it to our needs. All in all, Acctivate’s been a huge help on the organizational end for our company.”
European Wine Resource masters inventory management with Acctivate
Scianamblo on the ease and accessibility of Acctivate…
With Acctivate, we can keep track of our products, who we bought them from, and who’s bought them from us. We can access that information pretty quickly if we need to contact those people, whether on the purchasing side or the sales side.”
We don’t have to do the math ourselves — so as far as keeping track of things, Acctivate is extremely useful,” said Gandolfo.
He described the difference in inventory control before and after Acctivate…
Before, we had a big spreadsheet that had our entire inventory in it, which was how we would keep track of inventory. We would have to constantly remember to subtract the items from that spreadsheet every time we conducted a sale.
Whereas with Acctivate, everything is streamlined:
When we create a sales order, Acctivate automatically subtracts the products from inventory;
When we do a sample, it automatically subtracts that;
When we bring in a purchase order, it adds it in automatically.”
Additionally, European Wine Resource utilizes the ability to have multiple warehouses in Acctivate to keep track of inventory that is not physically in their store.
Sometimes, we sell products that are pre-arrival or on a futures basis and we can categorize those products in different warehouses in Acctivate because they aren’t in-stock products at the time of sale.
We have inventory that is consolidated in different parts of Europe and we can warehouse them differently as well,” said Scianamblo.
Vendor & Purchasing Management
Acctivate’s detailed product history, which links to vendor information, helps make reordering simple and efficient for European Wine Resource.
Scianamblo gave an example of how he uses Acctivate for reordering…
If a client were to come to me and say,
‘I bought this wine from you before and it was really fantastic. Can you get me more?’,
I can open up that product in Acctivate and see exactly who we bought it from — I can then contact those vendors to see if they have any more of the product available.”
I can easily look back at the product’s history in Acctivate to see what we paid for it at that time;
I can see where we got the best deal;
I can track purchase orders and sales orders for those products to figure out which vendors I might be able to buy more of the product from.”
With Acctivate, European Wine Resource is able to view and compare vendors when purchasing their products, as well as manage individual vendors.
We may buy the same SKU from five different vendors. Being able to create purchase orders for each vendor, track them separately, and watch their status, it’s really easy to look in Acctivate and see, ‘Okay, Vendor A delivered to us three months ago but Vendor B has not delivered at all through the history page on each item’s SKU,” said Gandolfo.
European Wine Resource purchases many of their products from international vendors, which necessitates the ability to convert currencies accurately in order to conduct transactions.
It was a huge pain always having to get the calculator, make sure that we had exchange rates correct, and put everything into US dollars.
Now we use the multi-currency feature in Acctivate for all of our purchases made overseas, which saves us time in the actual creation of the purchase order and it saves us time as far as organization goes if we were to need to double-check information down the line for accuracy.” said Gandolfo.
He elaborated on the benefits…
When I’m creating each purchase order, the multi-currency feature in Acctivate saves me about 5-10 minutes per purchase order.
More importantly, we can go back and look at exchange rates very quickly, whereas before, we would have multiple sheets of paper between the actual purchase invoice and our wire transfers — we’d have multiple pieces of paper to see one piece of information. Now, we can look at everything at one time on one screen in Acctivate, which is nice.”
European Wine Resource gained full multi-currency support when the functionality was added to Acctivate in 2012 to meet the needs of customers doing business globally.
Multi-currency was provided as part of an Acctivate version update, rather than as a separate module that would’ve cost us more money. It was nice to receive additional features at no extra charge.”
Sales Order Management
European Wine Resources uses Acctivate to enter in sales orders, whether the order came in through email, phone, or their web store.
We create sales orders in Acctivate and keep track of order statuses through the Alerts feature.
We have different stages that the invoices will fall under such as products that are on hold, products that are paid for and need to be shipped on a specific date, etc. — and we use Acctivate to manage those stages throughout the sales process,” said Scianamblo.
Customer Relationship Management
Scianamblo described the various ways European Wine Resource uses Acctivate for customer relationship management…
We keep track of invoices that have not been paid yet in Acctivate. We can also keep track of the last time someone talked to a customer about a specific invoice and when we need to follow-up with them.
Sometimes people want items shipped a certain way or at a certain time and we can keep track of our customers’ specific needs in Acctivate.”
He explained how he utilizes customer history in Acctivate for future sales…
One tool I’ll use as a salesman is if we were to receive a shipment of 100 bottles of a certain product, I would pull up that product in Acctivate and look to see which of our customers bought the item in the past. I could then pull up their information to contact them to let them know that it’s back in stock and see if they’re interested in buying more.”
European Wine Resources utilizes custom reporting, which extracts specific information from Acctivate’s database.
We use reports for inventory management, customer information, keeping track of sales people and their commission, etc. We can keep track of inventory through reports in different ways: what we sold, what we owe, etc.,” said Gandolfo.
Reporting is very critical and has saved us a lot of time. It would be impossible to do business without some of the reports.”