How does a small fish distributor get fresh and frozen products from two dozen ports into the kitchens of hundreds of restaurants and cafeterias--and get it there just hours after the fish arrives at the dock?
There are two vital ingredients, and Sea to Table has mastered both of them.
Sea to Table, an 8-year-old business based in Brooklyn, is finding success selling fish caught with environmentally sustainable fishing methods. Founder Michael Dimin credits his success to two major factors.
One is the strong network of independent fishermen and small firms, all certified as using environmentally sustainable fishing practices. The second component is its strategic use of NetSuite's cloud software for sales, inventory, shipping and finance. With NetSuite, historical and real-time data are consolidated into one location, for easier reporting and tracking.
Sea to Table has been using NetSuite since 2005, through the NetSuite.org corporate citizenship program, which makes donated and discounted product available to charities and social enterprises. At that point, Dimin’s socially minded company was just a tiny operation on the island of Tobago. At that time, there wasn't much need for a cross-enterprise solution, but Dimin liked the subscription-based approach NetSuite was using even back then. Today, Sea to Table works with 24 docks and hundreds of fishermen, and needs a system that can be accessed anywhere with all data in one place.
Sea to Table's delivery process starts when a fresh catch lands on dock, where detailed information about the incoming fish -- species, location of catch, catch methods, quantities -- are recorded and the dock verifies the fisherman's compliance with environmental requirements. The available fish is listed on a Drupal Web site which a salesperson in Brooklyn, NY relies on to tell customers what is available. The sale is placed over the phone, or email, and a NetSuite purchase order is generated.
As business continues to expand, Sea to Table is hoping to meet rising demand by further automating the ordering and shipping processes. It's replacing its Drupal site with SuiteCommerce so that its commercial customers can view the available catches, place orders online, and check their order's status as needed. It is also testing a consumer Ecommerce site, to see if selling frozen fish to individuals is possible.
Dimin credits the integrated nature of the NetSuite cloud solution with providing the scalability and easy access to real-time data that he needed to grow the business. Revenues hit $3.5 million in 2012 and Dimin expects double that amount by 2014.
"It has allowed us to scale from a single location to two dozen shipment points and many hundreds of customers in a few years," Dimin said.