Abuzz with success: how SuitePOS for NetSuite helps Mann Lake provide customer service fit for a queen (bee)

Abuzz with success: how SuitePOS for NetSuite helps Mann Lake provide customer service fit for a queen (bee)

December 08, 2022

Beekeeping equipment titans Mann Lake switched to SuitePOS for NetSuite to help them deliver the ultra-speedy, smooth service their customers want and expect

The challenge: Continuing to deliver a superb shopping experience as customer expectations soar

Founded over 30 years ago, Mann Lake is the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of beekeeping equipment, selling across the US and internationally. Alongside hives, beekeeping suits, honey bottles and other supplies, the company also sells live bees and selected farm animals. 

“We have a very diverse customer base, ranging from hobby beekeepers with two hives in their backyard, up to commercial beekeepers with 10,000 hives,” explains Jenna Prososki, Mann Lake’s customer service manager. “And we want every single customer who deals with us — whether in one of our seven stores, over the phone, or on our website — to have a positive experience.”

Customer service is at the heart of Mann Lake’s business model — and this means rising to the challenge of meeting increasing customer expectations. 

“Over the last two years, we've seen a shift in customers demanding more of us in terms of turnaround times and having items in stock. So that's put more pressure on our business. And we are working very hard to rise to those expectations.” 

— Jenna Prososki, Customer Service Manager, Mann Lake

Mann Lake’s busiest season is from February to May, after bees emerge from winter hibernation. During this time, Mann Lake sells volleyball-sized packages of live bees — each containing an astonishing 10,000 bees.

“On bee package pickup days, we have several hundred customers coming through our stores. Because our old checkout process was quite slow, they used to be standing in huge lines, waiting to be served,” Jenna recalls. 

There were other inefficiencies around payment management which Mann Lake wanted to address. Staff had to use manual workarounds to issue invoices with 30-day payment terms for some customers, which their old system didn’t support. At trade shows, they had to create paper invoices for orders placed, then re-enter all order details into the system once back at the office. 

All of these manual workarounds and duplicated data entry created extra work for staff, and increased the potential for errors to occur.

Wanting a more robust ERP system, Mann Lake switched to NetSuite in March 2020. But it was soon clear that NetSuite’s accompanying point-of-sale system would not meet their needs.  

The solution: A swift, flexible POS system that integrates all customer data and provides advanced payment management options

Mann Lake implemented SuitePOS, a fast, modern, easily scalable POS system. SuitePOS integrates seamlessly with NetSuite ‘out of the box’, without the need for inefficient and malfitting middleware connectors. Mann Lake had looked at other POS options, but ultimately chose SuitePOS not only for its speed and flexibility, but also its ability to integrate customer information from all sources from day one.

“It was very important to us that our POS system could bring together customer information from all sources to support our loyalty program, which credits customers’ accounts with 2.5% of their sales. Specifically, we needed a POS system that enables customers’ in-store purchases to count towards their rewards.” 

— Jenna Prososki, Customer Service Manager, Mann Lake

Near-instantaneous data transfers mean sales and customer information appears in NetSuite almost immediately, allowing timely and accurate data analysis for planning and reporting. Using SuitePOS, issuing invoices is simpler yet offers more flexible options.

“SuitePOS is very easy to use. We didn’t even need to do much staff training — it was just a case of saying: this is how you log in, find a customer, add an item, then checkout.” 

— Jenna Prososki, Customer Service Manager, Mann Lake

The outcome: Faster checkouts, happier customers, smoother processes

Using SuitePOS, the Mann Lake team can process transactions much faster and more efficiently. This helps the company meet modern customer expectations for speedy, streamlined service at all times to maximize sales and maintain customer loyalty. 

“With SuitePOS, we can offer customers a smooth, fast checkout process in-store as well as online. It’s quick and simple to use, so when a customer is ready to check out with their items, we can serve them quickly so they can go take care of their bees. It's also easy for us to set up extra checkout terminals on days when we know we’ll have a lot of traffic in the stores.” 

— Jenna Prososki, Customer Service Manager, Mann Lake

During busy sales periods, the accelerated checkout process is especially noticeable. “The biggest customer feedback we get about the improved point-of-sale process is when we do our packaged bee pickups,” Jenna says. “Now, it's just such a smooth process. Customers aren’t standing in huge lines like they used to. They just come in, get their bees, and get on their way.”

Through its powerful, flexible features and cohesive integration with NetSuite, SuitePOS has streamlined and automated many of Mann Lake’s workflows around managing invoicing, payments, and its customer rewards program. 

“The integration between SuitePOS and NetSuite is great. Invoice data is available within a few seconds of finishing a sale at the POS. It’s so beneficial for us to have access to that information pretty much immediately. And it’s straightforward to change display settings and preferences, to view and extract the data we need.” 

— Sam Earnhart, NetSuite Administrator, Mann Lake

SuitePOS has eliminated many of the manual workarounds that Mann Lake’s staff previously had to use. This has improved efficiency, saving staff time and frustration, and reduced the potential for errors to creep in. Using the advanced payments module, for example, allows Mann Lake to issue invoices with the correct payment terms on, rather than having to manually adjust information against each invoice.

“SuitePOS just makes everyone’s jobs easier. It’s significantly improved the whole process of doing trade shows. Now we enter all sales straight into the POS system, instead of creating paper invoices then putting them into the system after. So when you return from a trade show, you can just get back to work, without so many follow-up tasks to deal with.”

— Sam Earnhart, NetSuite Administrator, Mann Lake

Overall, Mann Lake is delighted with the switch to SuitePOS and the support they receive from SuiteRetail. 

“The SuiteRetail team are very responsive and helpful,” Sam says. “Whenever we ask for help with something, they respond very quickly. And that lets us get back to work quickly.”

Could your business benefit from a faster, more flexible POS system for NetSuite? Find out more about how SuitePOS works, or contact us for a no-obligation discovery chat.




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