WineWorks Give Top Marks
"Stratos is very good. They have a lot of technical knowledge. We had to explain a bit about our business, but they were quite intuitive, which was what we wanted. They put it together very well.”
— Mike Brasch, WineWorks
WineWorks provide contract bottling, warehousing and distribution services to many New Zealand wineries. Stratos Technology Partners helped it build the third iteration of its customer web portal using Microsoft SharePoint technologies. The WineWorks Portal is now one of WineWorks’ key competitive advantages.
WineWorks is going places
WineWorks cover a wide range of operations: bulk wine cartage, bottling and packaging, laboratory services, warehousing, and distribution.
“We’ve recently expanded and now have production plants in three different sites in New Zealand: Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Marlborough. With our expansion we’ve been working toward getting one system that manages all our operations over all sites,” says Mike Brasch, group systems manager at WineWorks.
“SharePoint is used for production scheduling, CRM, management communications, tracking IT systems and devices, but the big one we use it for, and the reason why we got Stratos involved, is the comprehensive WineWorks Portal website we run using SharePoint".
Client portal gives transparency and control
The site is for WineWorks clients, allowing them to see their scheduled bookings, set up production runs and define their bill of materials — for example, what type of bottle they use, the front label, the carton, and the pallet type. Then clients can set up work orders using these specifications. When production is complete they can review their stock levels and create orders for shipments to their clients.
"We originally conceived of the system when we were using a paper-based system and getting a lot of mistakes. Our bill of materials alone has about 30 variables in it that the client can now select for themselves using preloaded selection lists. This vastly reduces the numbers of typing and double keying errors."
"If someone came to see me about Stratos, I’d tell them that we’ve been very happy with them and it’s very likely that you will be too. Go and see them."
— Mike Brasch, WineWorks
Brasch says, "Over time we have increased the services the website offers to enable our clients to get instant access to any details they require from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day.
"When the site was originally developed we had some pretty stiff local competition this website became a major point of differentiation for us.
"Our sales guys also tell me that it’s a big selling point for them. When they’re out talking to a new client, they show them the site. Most of our new customers really look forward to using it. And our clients get used to having this service and no one else was offering anything quite like it."
Time to call in the experts
This is the third version of the system, which started from simple beginnings.
"This time around we wanted to use Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services to query data out of our warehouse management system and other databases," explains Brasch. "We had no one internally with skills to use Reporting Services, and we didn’t have anyone free to train to do it.
“Some time ago we decided to hire expert contractors whenever they were required rather than build a large IT team. We put the word out that we needed a SharePoint expert and Stratos were recommended. We went to see them and pretty much liked what we saw.
"Stratos are very good. They had a lot of technical knowledge. We had to explain a bit about our business, but they were quite intuitive, which was what we wanted. They put it together very well.”
“One time we needed changes made to a particularly critical client report. We rang Stratos on a Saturday morning, assuming that they’d get back to us first thing on Monday. Half an hour later I got a call from them and it had been fixed. I was pretty impressed with that.
"They’ve done what they said, when it needed to be done. Stratos have sometimes worked well into the night to make sure that it was finished outside of working hours.
"If someone came to see me about them, I’d tell them, 'We’ve been very happy with them and it’s very likely that you will be too. Go and see them.'”