When should you invest in ERP software? There is a misconception that ERP software is too much of an investment and that breweries are too small for enterprise software. We get a lot of questions from people asking when they should consider adopting ERP software for their brewery. It would be great if the answer was as definitive as “You need software at XXXX bbls.. etc.” The reality is that every business needs processes in place from the beginning in order to streamline processes and maintain efficiency. If you haven’t implemented ERP from the beginning, here are 6 signs that it may be time to adopt ERP software for your brewery:

1. Multiple systems are being used and relied upon

Do you use more than one system to run your brewery? If you use more than 1 or 2 of these systems, it’s probably time to start considering an ERP system that will consolidate the “cluster” of information.

  • Book Keeping software
  • Complex Spreadsheets
  • Paper – recipes, brew logs, hand-written notes
  • Access Database – custom-built for your brewery
  • Google docs – public documents for all employees to contribute
  • Off the top of your head – how many people are coming to you for information

2. Information silos are formed

Information silos segregate information. For example, your information is segregated if your inventory is counted by hand and passed back and forth between your sales or accounting departments or your brew masters are constantly bugging the guys in the warehouse to determine what is available to brew your next batch.

Think of all the time spent running back and forth between departments. Are the numbers starting to run through your head? That’s also money running out the door.

Other signs of information silos:

  • Lost information – i.e. info that was once available is no longer
  • Information sharing a challenge – i.e. Sales not knowing when IPA will be available to sell
  • People go to individuals to get info – i.e. Sales Mgr. goes to brewmaster to see when IPA will be available

With a centralized solution in place, every employee has access to relative information to streamline your processes.

3. Process Flow is Interrupted

Process flow is the blood circulation of a brewery. Your sales will flat-line if you can’t fulfill demand because you’re not sure when beer is due out of production. Ok, a little delay won’t really kill your brewery but it definitely doesn’t help.

Think of all those disappointed customers that are waiting on your unfulfilled promises. Or maybe production has to alter because you didn’t know certain ingredients wouldn’t be available. You may be flexible now, but that may not be the case in the future when you expand and have greater demands to satisfy. ERP software maintains a constant process flow so you can make better promises and keep everybody happy.

4. Dual Entry into Systems

Dual EntryAre you a brewery or a data management company? You should manage your brewery and focus on making great beer, not managing your data. Dual entry is not an efficient use of time and this inefficiency is probably stealing time away from something that deserves more attention – your beer.

Let’s do some quick math: Let’s say an average brewery employee spends 1 hour a day re-entering data from Excel into your book keeping software. 3 individuals (accounting, production & inventory) spend an hour a day, 5 days a week, 21 days a month… 3 x 5 x 21 = 63 labor hours a month spent on unnecessary labor. How much is that labor costing you? That’s not even counting those TTB reports that everyone loves.

Signs of dual entry:

  • Data entered from one system to another – i.e. inventory data from spreadsheets entered into book keeping software
  • Data entered incorrectly – data from spreadsheets were “fat fingered” into book keeping software

5. Relying on individuals

Operations should rely on processes, not individuals. There’s no doubt that the success of your brewery relies on the collective efforts of the individuals making your beer. That being said, it is important that your brewery avoids what is called “Single-Threaded Operations”, meaning the success of an operation or process should not rely solely on the knowledge of a single individual. Even your rockstar brewmasters or genius CFOs need to take a vacation or an occasional sick day. Nobody likes getting panicked phone calls on their day off.

Signs of Single Threaded Operations:

  • Certain individuals solely possess knowledge of a certain process
  • Certain processes become challenging when your brewmaster takes a vacation
  • You brewery skips a beat when someone takes a sick day

6. Questionable Information

Your decisions are only as good as your information. Your employees and processes are relying on the information like brew logs that sometimes went from a hand-written entry, to a spreadsheet, and then finally entered into your book keeping software. In some cases it’s 3 to 4 different steps or entry points until it finally makes its way to the books. How many people accessed that info and how do you know it wasn’t accidentally (or purposely) altered? Fingers crossed…

Signs of Questionable Information:

  • Is your info current?
  • Is your info accurate
  • Is your info easy to access
  • Are you getting the information you need to make decisions
  • Are spreadsheets being used to manipulate data?

If any of these 6 reasons are standing between your brewery and streamlined operations, you owe it to yourself to find out how you can streamline processes and increase efficiency using ERP brewery software. Download our brochure, watch our quick demos or register for a live demo to learn more about OrchestratedBEER – ERP software for craft breweries.