Kent Brown, General Manager of wine logistics supplier WineWorks Australia, has the ideal solution for getting the best out of his sales team – he doesn’t have one. He does it all himself, spending a lot of time on the road talking to clients.
“It’s an unusual structure, but it works,” Kent says.
“I know everything about the business because I run it and so if clients have questions or need something done that’s a bit outside the box or time sensitive, they know they can come to me because we will make it happen.
“I’m lucky that, operationally we have a great team, which means I am not tied to my desk and I can get out and see what’s happening with our clients. As long as I’ve got my phone and laptop, people can contact me.”
It also helps that WineWorks has never been about the hard-sell.
“We are all about building relationships, getting in front of people and understanding their businesses,” Kent says.
“Another benefit of being the ‘sales guy’ is that dealing direct with clients saves them time – and saving time is a big deal for winemakers, especially for the smaller guys who don’t have the luxury of transport and logistics people.
“They just want to know that they can ring me or hop on the website and things will happen. They can make one phone call or send one email and then not have to worry about anything else.”
Established in 2004, WineWorks Australia – a one-stop shop for warehousing, reworking, export packing and distribution – has grown steadily in recent years and has more than 300 clients across Australia.
WineWorks is a finalist in the 2017 Wine Industry Impact Awards (Distribution & Logistics Category). It continues a purple patch for the company, having won the Export award at the 2015 WISA Wine Supplier of the Year, and the Distribution and Logistics award at the 2016 Wine Industry Impact Awards.
The company has invested in a 375Kwh Solar PV system, which has reduced electricity consumption from the grid by 50 percent, and costs by 35 percent. It has protected customers from ever-increasing energy prices and improved the green credentials for both WineWorks and their customers.
They have also commissioned an electricity management system, allowing customers to monitor the temperature of their stock, and are building a state-of-the-art rework facility.
Kent is a very busy man – clearly – but there are some side benefits to all the travel, especially when staying in wine regions overnight.
“The kids don’t wake me up at six o’clock in the morning and I get to sleep in until at least seven,” he says. “It’s like a holiday.”