Wineshipping has been carefully shipping wine directly to consumers and retailers for 30 years. After experiencing steady growth, it needed to consolidate its finance and warehouse systems, so it deployed Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations with the help of Microsoft FastTrack. With data now in one place, Wineshipping has increased efficiency and can better ensure that hand-crafted wines arrive to connoisseurs in perfect condition.
In the logistics industry, it is common to use the term “least cost routing,” where product is shipped from different warehouses spread across the country to lower the cost for the consumer. Wineshipping takes it one step farther and coined the term “least exposure routing,” where the goal is to keep the wine for no more than two to three days with any one carrier. To best protect the wine, the warehouse vaults are kept at 57 degrees and maintain a precise humidity level of between 65 to 70 percent. By using a geographic range of warehouses located in Missouri and New York, the company can offer lowers costs while maintaining the integrity of the wine.
Wineshipping managed four different financial and warehouse systems with a disparate combination of on-premises accounting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. To focus on running the business and not managing IT infrastructure, Wineshipping decided to deploy Microsoft Dynamics Project Operations.
“We chose Dynamics 365 because we wanted a flexible platform that was designed and written for the cloud,” says Ravi Ramakrishnan, Chief Technology Officer at Wineshipping.
In the initial phases, Wineshipping worked closely with FastTrack, the Microsoft customer success service, for support activating the licenses, setting up instances, and guiding decision making. “It helped our peace of mind to get additional outside expertise,” says Ramakrishnan. “Without FastTrack, I’m not sure our implementation would have been so seamless.”
Wineshipping began its Dynamics 365 deployment in October 2017 and unified its four financial systems into a single platform. The company expects that centralized data will help it meet finance reporting obligations on time, such as submitting tax reports to state liquor control boards and federal agencies—something that could be a struggle previously.
“Operating four different systems created a lot of inefficiencies, but we can more easily manage financial reporting with Dynamics 365,” says Ramakrishnan.
The company rolled out Dynamics 365 in one California warehouse in November 2017, then expanded to Oregon in December, and will add all its facilities by July 2018. In the warehouses, employees use Dynamics 365 on handheld devices to quickly locate the correct wine, pack it according to instructions, and ship it safely.
“With a single system on Dynamics 365, we’ve streamlined operations significantly,” says Ramakrishnan. “We anticipate reducing operating costs by 15 to 20 percent and increasing productivity by 30 to 50 percent.”
Some winery customers have multiple properties and store their wines in various Wineshipping warehouses. When each facility operated separately, customers had an inconsistent experience with the process and service. Now, with centralized data, customers have access to the information they need through the Wineshipping portal, which is built on the Dynamics 365 CRM portal and connected to Dynamics 365 for Project Operations using Microsoft Azure.
“Our customers have been asking for a one-stop portal for years,” says Ramakrishnan. “So they’re really happy now.”
Not only can customers check on inventory, place orders, create new SKUs, and track status of packages, but they can also manage and redirect orders. For instance, if a consumer won’t be home for a delivery, the winery can simply update the order in the Azure portal to send to a different address. Previously, to make that type of personalized change, the winery might have to spend hours making multiple phone calls.
“By using Dynamics 365 Project Operations, we’re offering high value to our winery customers,” says Ramakrishnan. “They can manage everything in one place without having to invest in their own systems—instead, they can focus on making and selling outstanding wine.”