Challenges abound in the brewing industry today – rising prices and inflation, difficulty sourcing raw materials and ingredients, and persistent labor shortages. Amid these challenges, business owners are trying to figure out how to maintain their current operations with minimal disruption. One of the best ways to keep moving forward is to find ways to do more with fewer resources by embracing technology and automating processes. With the right technology in place, you can save time, improve efficiency, and get insights faster.
Ekos, one of the best business management software for craft beverage companies, aims to help breweries of all sizes get the most out of technology so they can grow, even in tough times. With a complete end-to-end software solution, Ekos helps brewery owners and managers connect data across the supply chain, providing insights into raw material costs, production trends, Accounting KPIs and sales metrics.
But of course, Ekos is only part of the puzzle. With greater connectivity comes greater visibility. Ekos sees some key opportunities for breweries that want to stand out from the competition and find ways to grow their business, despite the current challenges.
Read more from Ekos below and be sure to stop by booth #2525 at the Craft Brewers conference to connect with the Ekos team and get a demo.
Gain Visibility to Address Supply Chain Challenges
Supply chain challenges are on everyone’s mind. As they face ingredient shortages, skyrocketing prices and ongoing issues with suppliers, breweries have one goal in mind: to keep production on track without significant impact on margins.
For busy breweries with high consumer demand and a long list of orders, production staff want to work as efficiently as possible. Ideally, each time you complete a batch, you’re ready to start the next one. But what happens when you don’t have the right ingredients or packaging materials on hand? You have to delay your production schedule, which means lost revenue and unhappy customers, or you have to pay for expedited shipping to get the materials you need delivered as soon as possible. On average, breweries spend $250 more for each expedited ingredient order. And when the cost of ingredients and packaging is already increasing, that extra cost can have a big impact on bottom line.
Visibility is key to making sure you don’t end up in those sticky situations. If you use inventory management software like Ekos, you can see all the inventory you have on hand, know when you’re going to run out, and set reorder points when you drop below a certain threshold.
Beyond understanding your available inventory, business management software can help connect the dots in all areas of the business. Jaclyn Smith of Monday Night Brewing describes the importance of having all the data in one place: “Having purchase orders, inventory, sales and accounting flow through one system makes Ekos the center of a Ferris wheel – keeping it all together – as our business grows.
Connect inventory, sales, and accounting data
Technology can help you work more efficiently, but what happens when you have too many systems that aren’t communicating with each other? To get the information you need, you (or someone on your team) must manually enter data in several places. Not only is this time-consuming, but it also opens the door to data entry errors that could have significant effects on your business if you rely on the information in these systems to make decisions.
The first step in connectivity is to start with business management software, like Ekos, to serve as the system of record through which all information flows. Next, we recommend that you connect two essential pieces of software to this central system: point-of-sale/e-commerce systems and your accounting software.
By connecting these three systems, you can improve your business visibility by automatically syncing daily sales to deplete inventory and creating journal entries in your accounting system. Brian Stephens of the Iowa Brewing Company said: “I used to spend so much time trying to get three things – inventory, point of sale and accounting – to talk to each other, and it was a nightmare. .” Now, instead of spending hours each month reconciling sales to their POS system, his team can get a real-time view of available inventory and sales.
Ekos currently integrates with three point-of-sale and e-commerce systems: Arryved, Square and Commerce7, with more partners coming later this year. On the accounting side, we know that 89% of breweries use QuickBooks (which integrates with Ekos), but we also support Xero users.
Leverage analytics and business intelligence
We recently released the 2022 version of our Building a Tech Stack report. In this report, we analyzed the technology that breweries and cider houses use to run their businesses. This year’s report is comprehensive – we cover everything from QA/QC tools and e-commerce systems to accounting management software or club/membership programs.
The report highlights many ways breweries are using software to work smarter, but we’ve identified one opportunity that could help your brewery stand out from the competition: analytics and business intelligence (BI) software. These digital tools turn business data into understandable information you can actually act on. Our research revealed that 27% of breweries do not use any type of software for business intelligence and 62% use spreadsheets.
Large US breweries were the most likely to say they used some sort of solution, whether
they are spreadsheets or BI software. While the concept of business intelligence is not yet entrenched in the craft beverage industry, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Knowing your business inside out and being able to put that information to good use is essential in such a competitive environment.
A good place to start is to use reports and dashboards in your business management software so you can see important metrics and begin to identify themes and areas for improvement. Monkless Brewing, a small brewery in Bend, Oregon, has a connected technology stack that allows the team to extract insights at every touchpoint, from bean to glass, to make decisions that will lead to future growth. Owner Robin Clement said: “Other breweries our size probably aren’t as advanced as we are in this area of technology and don’t fully leverage the tools the way we do, which was really eye-opening. I just don’t see any other way to do it.
Streamline sales with a digital ordering portal
Every sales manager knows that time is money. The more time reps spend building relationships and talking to customers, the more money you’ll make. But of course, there is time-consuming administrative work, like entering purchase orders, that has to happen behind the scenes. After the customer requests an order, sales reps need to document the order, verify that inventory is available, and schedule delivery. And, usually, there are back and forths needed to get the sales order confirmed.
A digital ordering portal allows customers to place their own orders. Ekos Order Hub is an online portal directly connected to Ekos. So when customers place an order, it automatically creates a customer order in Ekos and depletes inventory in real time. It also streamlines customer order approval and keeps all order communications in a centralized location. Paul DiMarco, Inventory Manager at Adams Beverages, said, “Ekos Order Hub is the easiest way to order in my current product shopping world.”
Learn more about Ekos and get a demo at CBC booth #2525.