How Fortessa Turned NetSuite Into a Competitive Advantage

fortessa success-story

The Story at a Glance

Everyday rituals and grand celebrations often center around eating and drinking. Today, it is entirely possible that someone drinking a cup of coffee at home, friends eating dinner at a restaurant in New York City, and a couple eating lunch poolside at a resort in Bali had one thing in common—Fortessa tableware. 

Fortessa Tableware Solutions, LLC (FTS) designs and manufactures 7,000 tableware products in 60 factories worldwide. Every month, tens of thousands of shipments go out directly to consumers, and even more FTS shipments are delivered to cruise lines, caterers, and some of the most prestigious restaurants and hotels worldwide. Over 80% of four and five-star hotels in North America are FTS customers.

What started as an entrepreneurial venture between two brothers in 1993 to avoid getting real jobs has become a complex and wildly successful global operation. While the dedication to quality and customer experience has remained the same, the technology supporting operations has had to evolve significantly. 

Technology Implemented

  • NetSuite
  • NetSuite SuiteCommerce

From Sage to NetSuite: The Beginning of a New Growth Phase

In the early 2000s, FTS implemented Sage ERP and built on-premise infrastructure to support it. Over time, FTS infrastructure grew to 50 servers and heavily customized software to meet its needs. 

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fortessa logo

After evaluating many competitive ERP options, FTS chose NetSuite because it was designed from the ground up with the power, security, and flexibility of the cloud. In addition, the native integration with NetSuite Commerce and the ease of integrating directly with retailers were vital to supporting their growth strategy.

The Importance of Selecting The Right Partner

The Misfire

Initially, FTS had evaluated solution implementers to assist in their Sage to NetSuite journey. While Fortessa had done its due diligence and put the first solution implementer they chose through various steps of internal approval, the initial implementation fell far short of expectations because many of the nuances of FTS’ business were not wholly understood by the first partner.  Further, much of the execution was being done in a black box, without FTS’ internal team’s supervision, buy-in or guidance.

The Recovery

Even though the initial implementation project didn’t go as planned, the FTS team succeeded in executing the platform change during a year of record financial results. The leadership team still saw NetSuite’s immense potential, so they changed gears to build a relationship with a different strategic implementation partner. Together, Plative and FTS started with a very deep-dive strategic discovery and roadmap session, then executed to that roadmap in a collaborative way, successfully addressing shortcomings that arose from the initial NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce implementations.

The Impact of NetSuite on Fortessa’s Growth

Transparent and Efficient Sales Commissions

FTS’ sales commission structures are as diverse and complex as its customer base. The initial implementation of NetSuite actually resulted in a loss of prior functionality, such that the workload to ensure accurate and timely payments increased dramatically and the ability to proactively communicate with the sales team regarding commission accruals degraded concurrently.  

This frustration put simplifying commission tracking at the top of the priority list. Together, FTS and Plative built a streamlined and highly complex module to track commissions in NetSuite that freed up hundreds of hours per month of overhead, restored trust in the system processes, and relieved frustration on the part of the sales team. 

E-Commerce Becomes a Major Channel

Before 2020, FTS was shipping a few thousand boxes per month directly to consumers. Today it ships over 60,000 (and counting). NetSuite’s well-documented open API enables direct integrations with over 80 websites and B2C retailers with whom FTS partners closely. Before implementing NetSuite, this would have required individual integrations to be built and maintained for each retailer customer.

aaron martin

Protecting and Fortifying International Data with NetSuite

One of FTS’ biggest goals with shifting to the leading cloud ERP solution was getting rid of 50 servers and eliminating the infosec risks tied to self-hosting data. The systems had to be as secure as possible to continue to support FTS’ rapid growth. 

NetSuite Application and Operational Security

NetSuite ensures application and operational security by preventing unauthorized network and service connections, while providing customers like FTS with convenient access to NetSuite from any location, instilling complete confidence. Security measures begin with robust encryption, role-based access controls, and stringent password policies. NetSuite enhances protection levels with features like multi-factor user authentication and token-based application authentication. With continuous monitoring and a dedicated security team, backed by advanced tools, controls, and policies, NetSuite guarantees the highest level of security for its operational data center.

Why FTS Chose Plative

FTS was interested in finding a long-term partner that wouldn’t treat solutioning and development as a black box but instead work as an extension of the internal team. Plative’s collaborative way of working, desire to understand the business context, and NetSuite expertise proved to be an excellent fit.

About FTS

Fortessa Tableware Solutions is a leading integrated designer, developer, and marketer of tableware, flatware, and drinkware. They mainly serve global commercial food service and high-end consumer markets. Renowned for design innovation, manufacturing excellence, and top-notch customer service, FTS brands include Fortessa, Zwiesel Glas, Schott Zwiesel, Crafthouse by Fortessa, and Cloude Terre.  

In 2022 FTS merged with Zwiesel Kristallglas, AG of Germany to form Zwiesel Fortessa Group, Zwiesel Fortessa Group is a globally leading group in the tableware sector, consisting of three industry-wide well established companies: Zwiesel Glas, United Tables and Fortessa Tableware Solutions.  The group has headquarters in Zwiesel, Germany and Ashburn, Virginia.
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