Because the brewing industry is so capital intensive, you need to be able to track every penny going in and out of your brewery. If you’re thinking of starting a brewery in the near future, or maybe you own, consult or work at an existing brewery – big or small, you should consider ways to work smarter, not harder. Brewery management software is one way to help automate business processes to make your job easier.

Think about all the tedious back-end stuff like tracking batches, managing inventory or all the data-entry to and from spreadsheets. There’s also the TTB reporting issue which tends to cause frequent headaches for many breweries. There’s a lot of moving parts involved on the business side of a brewery that often demand a lot of time and resources.

It’s time to re-evaluate the traditional methods of brewery management like QuickBooks, spreadsheets and notepads because brewery management software is the new digital movement that’s changing the way breweries do business. There are more than 70 breweries on board with OBeer, with many more in the process of switching over in the next few months. There are also many emerging software companies looking to provide solutions to the growing beer industry, so make sure you check them all out and compare.

Here’s a checklist of some ways brewery management software can automate processes and make your job easier:

Purchasing Materials – Supply Chain Management

This is where it all starts. You obviously need materials from your vendors and suppliers to make your beer. We make that part easier by keeping track of all your vendors, distributors, or anyone else you do business with right from a dashboard ordering screen. Keep track of daily price changes on grains and hops as well as maintain records of what you purchased last time and for how much. Watch the 5-minute video to see the ordering process:

Automating Accounting

This is for you accounting people out there who are tired of manual entry into QuickBooks or other bookkeeping means. Rather than manually processing journal entries, wouldn’t it be easier if it was automatically created? That’s exactly what brewery software should do, and OrchestratedBEER does. As you go about production, all those accounting steps that you would normally do manually are now getting created in the background as processes occur. Don’t worry, your accountant’s job is safe – they’ll just be focusing more on increasing your efficiency and analyzing where your brewery may be losing money. Watch the accounting processes here:

 Production, Digital Brew sheets & Production Scheduler

As you know, the beer production process is actually a series of steps: wort to green beer, green beer to bright beer, and bright beer to finished goods. Those are 4 separate processes that need to be accounted for appropriately in order toreport accurately to the TTB. This is just one reason why QuickBooks isn’t the best option for breweries.  Brewery management software “digitizes” your production orders, so instead of writing on paper or entering data into spreadsheets you enter it into a laptop or computer in the brewhouse. Now all that data subtracts inventory and moves the numbers around for you so you can create a report that tells you exactly what’s sitting on your brewery floor at any time.

The production scheduling portion recently got a facelift, which makes OrchestratedBEER software more intuitive than ever. We created a drag & drop production scheduler similar to a Gmail calendar. It pulls all current production orders into an interactive calender so you know exactly what’s due or what you need to produce in order to meet demands. Click on a day to see what’s scheduled for the day or drill down into each order to see all the details. If you need to move it out a few days, just drag it over and the system automatically changes the times & dates and the associated alerts when it’s due.

Sales & CRM

The sales feature allows your sales team to create sales orders that commits inventory for a future sale. Convert the sales order into a delivery note to deduct inventory when the inventory leaves your warehouse. Convert your delivery note into an accounts receivable invoice when you are ready to invoice and receive payment from your customers. Use the A/R Reserve invoice to book and collect receivables before delivering your beer. It’s all there to help you track better and sell more beer.

The CRM feature is similar to your typical Salesforce.com functionality. It allows you to track opportunities, forecasts, sales pipelines and activities. Using the mobile sales app for the iPhone or iPad makes selling beer even easier by taking a picture of your product or record a voice note and sync it right up to the system. It doesn’t require an active internet or 3G connection to work so you can sync up all those activities and transactions when you get back in range.

Automated TTB Reporting

This is one of the biggest benefits of brewery software because you no longer have to go back to all those spreadsheets and notes to try and figure out what to enter into the Brewer’s Report of Operations for the TTB. Remember the automated accounting feature? All those accounting transactions aren’t just going into some black hole, it’s actually constantly populating your database so when it comes time to report, you simply define a date range and the system will automatically generate your TTB report based on the information it has been collecting from all those production orders. So, how much time are you spending on TTB reports?

There are lots more features to explore but we’ll save that for another day. Be sure to check out our full list of downloadable demonstrations to get a deeper look at OrchestratedBEER.