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Bibendum PLB Group

Wine, spirits and craft beer distributor dedicated to supplying restaurants, hotels, pubs and caterers throughout the UK

Supporting Bibendum Wines as a strategic partner to leverage the value of technology and ensure scalability and growth

Case Study

Key Success

Transition to a technology environment that is an enabler of growth and progress

Working with multiple third-party suppliers and previous supplier to ensure smooth integration for both employees and end-users

Continued investment in IT ensures Bibendum can trade 24.7.365

IT Lab supporting Bibendum as a strategic boardroom level partner to leverage technology to add long term value

NetSuite implementation project currently underway

1st, 2nd, 3rd line and full-time on-site support

The Client

What started as a group of wine-loving friends selling a mixture of classed growths and unusual bottles to private clients, has become one of the UK’s most successful wine, spirit and beer distributors.

Founded in 1982 as Bibendum, the award-winning Bibendum PLB Group now consists of five trading companies selling wine, spirits and craft beer to restaurants, hotels, pubs and caterers across the UK. The five companies are Bibendum Wine Ltd, PLB, Walker & Wodehouse Wines, spirits and beer brand agency Instil Drinks Co and The Wondering Wine Company, which specialises in consumer events, each targeted to a specific channel.

Bibendum originally began international trading with the launch of Bibendum Europe and Bibendum Sprits in 2006 and in 2014 merged with off-trade drinks importer PLB Group, ensuring that both on-trade and off-trade channels were covered.

By combining the strengths and expertise of the different companies, Bibendum PLB Group is uniquely placed to offer its customers the best possible product range and value added services.

Today, the group sells over five million cases of quality wine, beer and spirits to around 5,500 on-trade customers; from Michelin star restaurants to international sporting venues. The Group also sells around nine million cases to off-trade customers; from convenience stores to major multiples.

Bibendum PLB Group

Selling over five million cases of quality wine, beer and spirits to around 5,500 on-trade customers

“We chose IT Lab for its combination of strategic focus, capability, ability to challenge our business and help drive our strategy over the coming years. With IT Lab’s support, we have begun to transition our technology environment to one that is an enabler of growth and progress. This will require us to change our approach, thinking, structure and processes as well. None of its competitors had this capability in-house and it is a fundamental point of difference – and altogether pretty exciting.”

James Kowszun, Chief Operating Office at Bibendum PLB Group

The Challenge

Paul Barr

Paul Barr, IT Manager, Bibendum

Bibendum faced two major challenges when it came to technology and required a dedicated IT support and strategic services partner to tackle them. After the level and consistency of IT support from its previous supplier started to decrease, and issues with the use of third-party products within their infrastructure arose, Bibendum decided it was time to move to a new supplier.

IT Lab, with its strong track record in IT support and strategic service, was delighted to be selected for this exciting and challenging project. The teams from both companies perfectly aligned from day one to deliver real results with minimal disruption.

As well as this, Bibendum was about to enter into a merger with PLB Group, so the company required support with integrating IT systems. This meant IT Lab had to work with multiple third-party suppliers as well as Bibendum’s previous IT supplier to ensure the integration ran as smoothly as possible for both employees and end-users.

The Service

When it came to transitioning from Bibendum’s old supplier, the aim for IT Lab was to ensure that there was as little disruption as possible to the end-user throughout.

This could only be achieved by developing excellent working relationships with the team at Bibendum, through effective communication and the technical foresight that comes with the IT Lab team being so established in this field.

IT Lab provided 1st, 2nd and 3rd line support via a team of four professionals, including a full-time on-site support engineer. IT Lab worked to create Bibendum’s Office 365 solution to integrate key forms of communications including voice and instant messaging. This was rolled out ahead of the merger with PLB Group, enabling Bibendum to integrate the businesses and all employees more effectively.

More recently, the team at IT Lab were invited to support Bibendum as a strategic boardroom level partner to advise and assist the Group on the best way to leverage technology to add long term value.

Bibendum operates in a complex industry with very tight margins, so the important work with IT Lab aims to identify where efficiencies can be made so the business can operate in a more streamlined manner.

IT Lab Support Services Infographic

The Outcome

IT Lab is now responsible for all levels of support for Bibendum’s IT systems, working closely with both end-users and management as well as third-party suppliers to deliver full IT support.

Most recently, IT Lab has taken over the management of Bibendum’s NetSuite implementation project, a key project for the Group.

Bibendum’s continued investment in IT ensures they can trade 24.7.365 and that their system will become scalable with the business. This means it can be continuously built upon with the help of IT Lab, ensuring a more agile approach to technology in the long term.

IT Lab continues to work with Bibendum on a consultancy basis, advising them of how technology can be implemented within the Group and used as a growth enabler.

The relationship has been such a success because both businesses share a people-centric approach driven by strategic insights and pride themselves on longstanding relationships.

Bibendum’s continued investment in IT ensures they can trade 24.7.365 and that their system will become scalable with the business

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