Customer Stories

deliciously ella Adds a Pinch of NetSuite to Assist Growth Ambitions

By Nicky Tozer, SVP EMEA, Oracle NetSuite
October 19, 2021

Building a plant-based food empire wasn’t always part of Ella Mills’ plans. But at aged 19, and finding medication ineffective in her battle again postural tachycardia syndrome, she decided to explore how a plant-based diet could improve her health. The rest, as they say, is history.

Ella’s entrepreneurial journey started in 2012 with the launch of the recipe website and to meet increasing demand, it was followed by the deliciously ella mobile app and a best-selling cookbook. A London-based café was next, before Ella and husband Matthew Mills began thinking about how they could reach an even bigger audience.

To make that possible, the Cacao & Almond Energy Ball was introduced in 2016, and today seven lines of deliciously ella products ranging from breakfast cereals to chocolate bars can be found in more than 7,000 stores across the UK, including Waitrose, Starbucks, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Holland and Barrett and Whole Foods.

Building on their success in the UK, Ella and Matthew have since taken their business international, with people in 27 EU countries now enjoying deliciously ella’s plant-based products.

Overcoming growing pains

To support rapid growth, the deliciously ella team quickly realised it needed more than just accounting software to run the growing business.

Its accounting software was unable to natively consolidate financial statements from various markets with local currencies and was not able to provide accurate visibility into stock status. It was also causing other problems as it could not be easily integrated with logistics partners or provide accurate forecasting. Adding to the pressure was the fact that deliciously ella was fast approaching the size at which it would be required to undergo external audits.

"We needed to address being more international and be able to consolidate a wider business structure than we were able to," said Sally Tuhami, finance director, deliciously ella. “Being audit-ready is about having clear and documented controls and being able to demonstrate who's done what."

To combat these challenges and prepare for the future, the deliciously ella team decided to select Oracle NetSuite, selecting it ahead of Microsoft Dynamics and SAP.

NetSuite on the menu for deliciously ella

Following a remote implementation with NetSuite’s Professional Services team, deliciously ella is now able to use NetSuite to manage its financials and ensure it can accurately forecast and plan in real-time based on company performance.

With NetSuite, deliciously ella is able to easily consolidate information from across different parts of its business. Combined with more robust, role-based financial controls, this has helped deliciously ella ensure its business is audit-ready and manage the tax requirements that come with selling products in the European Union.

The deliciously ella finance team can also now blend retail and ecommerce sales in its reporting, complete month-end quicker, and generate invoices in hours compared to days. For example, ecommerce transactions are now integrated with broader sales data every 15 minutes, which gives the company a wider view of potential stock issues and helps it plan ahead.

“Although we are still really only at the beginning of our NetSuite journey, the benefits are already clear,” said Tuhami. “Everything is in front of us and we no longer have a need for ‘Excel wizardry’ to gather the detail we need across the business. Reporting is no longer a clunky, people-dependent process. Most of all, being able to see our stock activity by customer, we've never had that ability before, is really fantastic as it allows us to plan and react accordingly.”

Serving up a recipe for success

Change and growth are a constant at deliciously ella. The brand recently opened ‘Plants by de,’ a full-service restaurant in London designed to showcase plant-based foods that provides an additional way for fans to connect with the brand. Ella and Matthew also recently unveiled their decision to buy out deliciously ella’s stakeholders in order to return to its roots as a family-owned business as it approaches its next phase of growth.

In the meantime, the finance team continues to refine its use of NetSuite and is planning to use the system to manage bank reconciliations. But whatever the future holds, Tuhami believes NetSuite has given deliciously ella the foundation it needs.

“NetSuite is going to grow with the business brilliantly. The bigger we get, the more we draw on NetSuite’s capabilities,” she said.

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