“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level” Part One

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“From Passion to Profits, Taking your Brewery to the Next Level” Part 1

 

If you have spent any time within the craft industry you will find few things:

1. It is the most fraternal and friendly group of people one can ever hope work with.

2. Not all breweries are created equal. More specifically…no two breweries are alike, period.

3. Most breweries are more interested in making exceptional beer than worrying about business and technology challenges. Let’s face it, this is a passionate, artistic group of people who are driven by craftsmanship more than profits.

But as the passion for great beer develops into a real, grown up business, certain key business factors must be addressed. Factors like: “How are we going to keep up with our growing demand?” Eventually, a brewery will come to the realization that they have a need to put solid business practices into place around accounting, distribution, compliance, and production.

A big misunderstanding in the craft brewing industry is that ERP software will be too expensive, too time consuming, and too much upkeep. This is simply not true. Now more than ever, breweries of all sizes have ERP software options designed for their size and budgets. Therefore, let me share my perspective on the IT brewery landscape.

I generally breakdown the craft brewing market into three different segments. I keep my categories simple – Small, Medium, and large.

Small is 5k BBL to 20k BBL, Medium is 20k BBL to 80k BBL, and large is anything over 80K BBL.

Let’s start by looking at three key issues small breweries under 20KBBL may be facing…

  • Lack of an integrating Accounting, Operations and Distribution
  • Poor Inventory Control
  • Formula Management

Challenge: Integrating Accounting, Operations and Distribution

Solution: Find a Brewery Management ERP system that provides a centralized database, making all master files and transactions available in one place. This allows for analysis at the click of a mouse. Microsoft Dynamics® and VicinityBrew include user-friendly query tools that allow even novices to build their own ad-hoc inquiries. Inquiries can also be printed and exported to Excel and saved for on-demand access.

Speed up month-end closing! VicinityBrew and Microsoft Dynamics provide a real-time financial, distribution, manufacturing and inventory-control system. As transactions are processed organization-wide, they’re posted directly to the financial records. Month-end financial statements and supporting schedules are prepared and issued with little effort.

Challenge: Poor Inventory Control

Solution: Craft Brewer’s need a software system that gives you the ability to analyze ongoing material requirements using existing sales orders or forecasts. In VicinityBrew, When MRP is run, material requirements are stored by date and quickly accessible for review. The result: Future capital requirements of inventory are easily identified. VicinityBrew lets you review anticipated raw-material shortages based on a centralized production schedule. Shortages can be calculated by item and day, and can take into account both lead time and safety stock. You can routinely review this data and create purchase orders for items and quantities to specified suppliers

Challenge: Recipe and Formula Management

Solution: Get off excel spreadsheet! VicinityBrew tracks recipes in a central database by both formula and version, it’s a snap to find the correct formula based on user-defined search criteria. This reduces a database of 10,000 formulas to a manageable level. Plus, you can create a new version of a formula from an existing version—and these new versions can be marked inactive until the lab has approved them for production. Once a formula version has run its course, it can be archived and also marked for view-only access.

Because brew logs are created directly from the master formula, all material substitutions or operational changes are reflected in all subsequent batches of the formula. So no worries about whether you’re working with the most accurate formula version possible.

VicinityBrew generates product spec sheets directly from the production formulas, ensuring that production changes are automatically updated on the spec sheet. That means consistent information across the production chain—and no unpleasant surprises for your customer.

Check out these videos to see more information. Our next blog will discuss the operational challenges of Mid-level breweries from the 20k BBL to 80k BBL range.

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