Seaman’s Beverage and Logistics Uses NetSuite ERP to Deliver a First-Class Customer Experience

Rosalyn Impink, NetSuite Contributor

June 30, 2022

Product companies are increasingly turning to third parties to help them navigate a changing economy and supply chain, whether it’s by finding ways to lower costs amid inflation or adjusting to shortage-induced production delays. Seaman’s Beverage and Logistics fills an important niche for alcoholic beverage companies. The “logistics solutions provider” offers warehousing, fulfillment and last-mile logistics along with traditional distribution, private labeling and US representation for international brands.

Founded in 2015, Seaman’s helps with the physical movement of wine and spirits around the world and handles the associated regulatory compliance, working with clients on every continent. Domestically, it helps companies traverse US states’ various taxes and rules for alcohol sales, handling transportation and processing so that businesses can focus on sales and growth. Seaman’s connects its clients – including vineyards, distillers, importers and distributors – to the advisors, logistics partners and even financing to get beverages from point A to B cost-effectively.

Seaman’s itself is constantly expanding: The company saw 2,000% growth in the five years leading up to 2020 and passes $150 million of product through its warehouses annually. It was named one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in New Jersey for three consecutive years and made the Inc. 5000 for five consecutive years. And its founders chose a business system with this kind of scale in mind.

ERP From the Start

Before Seaman’s even launched, executives sought a cloud-based ERP to ensure they could spend time growing the company rather than managing technology and hardware. In NetSuite, the team has found a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution for a good value, said CEO Glenn Langberg.

He also appreciates that NetSuite offers the flexibility to react quickly to ever-changing regulatory and shipping demands.

“Every time we think we’ve come up with a perfect solution, we have to make a change and adapt,” Langberg said. “NetSuite gives us all the tools to analyze the business thoroughly and figure out the right strategies.”

For example, Seaman’s started as a pure-play distributor and then evolved into a hybrid model – moving product through the US regulatory environment and distributing it into every possible combination of supply chain network partners. That evolution required multiple documentation pathways for products, depending on where they’re being shipped to: A shipment to New York requires different regulatory documentation than a shipment to Texas, for example. Seaman’s customized NetSuite to create these pathways, establishing an easy method of regulatory compliance record-keeping. 

Inventory Efficiency Amid Regulations

Working with clients in multiple industries and every US state means Seaman’s must meticulously manage inventory and transactions.

It uses NetSuite Inventory Management(opens in new tab)’s bin management capabilities to track where product is shipped – for example, whether a specific case was shipped to another distributor or to a restaurant, and specifically which restaurant – to ensure its clients comply with their industries’ regulations. It also uses NetSuite to report which products have shipped across state lines and when, to comply with state regulations around shipping alcohol. The system also handles the nuances of the alcohol industry, such as tracking vintages down to the year so that the end customer receives a 2017 wine versus a 2019 version of the same product.

Finally, Seaman’s customers must also pay taxes and can claim tax credits for tariffs involved with importing certain items. The company deals with this operational baggage in NetSuite while making it look easy to customers.

Customer service is a point of pride for Seaman’s, and it uses NetSuite to elevate the experience. For example, it uses the Advanced Partner Center role(opens in new tab) to give executives at a partner in Italy a view of their inventory levels and order statuses. Seaman’s also provides clients with NetSuite-generated reports on their individual inventory levels and transactions, so they can make more informed decisions about their business strategies.

“We generally find customers very pleased with our ability to keep accurate inventories, do accurate reporting and give them real-time information about their business,” Langberg said.

Serving Customers Through Reporting

Meanwhile, Seaman’s analyzes data in NetSuite to design best practices for its clients. For example, it might run a report on a client’s case movement to determine that the client should implement cross-docking, the logistics practice of transferring goods directly to a customer or another distributor as soon as they’re unloaded versus putting them in storage. The goal is to find “ways for clients to deploy their capital more efficiently” amid rising storage costs, Langberg said.

Seaman’s also helps clients understand critical metrics like landed costs and profitability per case. The team uses NetSuite reporting to break down the cost of a client’s transportation services, the cost of Seaman’s services to the client, and the client’s profits.

“We want clients to know how much they make and how they can be more efficient,” said Langberg, citing NetSuite’s ability to synthesize data into easy-to-understand takeaways.

Ready to Continue Scaling

Products that Seaman’s Beverage & Logistics handles are found in retailers like Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, and Total Wine & More. Langberg is looking to evolve the company’s relationship with NetSuite as the business continues to grow, taking advantage of additional inventory management capabilities and potentially deploying the system in third-party warehouses.

 He is confident that as Seaman’s takes on more large clients, the framework it has built with NetSuite will adapt easily.

“NetSuite is a comprehensive solution that's easy on the customer and easy on my people,” he said. Now, “We need to look at bigger fish. And more demands are not an issue for NetSuite. NetSuite has the ability to scale as big as we need to scale.”

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