Here at OrchestratedBEER we preach the value of having an all-in-one brewery management system that’s specific to what you do on a daily basis. Some tend to shy away from this idea based on misconceptions of training time, complexity, or that it’s just too damn expensive. Because of these factors, many opt for spreadsheets, notes, Google docs and some generic bookkeeping software like QuickBooks. The truth is you can probably run a decent operation with those tools if you plan to produce and sell the same quantity of beer for the same people in the same markets year after year. However, if you have the slightest inclination to grow your company, or you simply want to stay small and track every penny, an all-in-one software is still a wise investment. Why? Although growth and scalability may not be a factor for you, OrchestratedBEER can track brewing variances and costs in a way spreadsheets and QuickBooks can’t.
Unfortunately for those wanting to pursue the cheaper option, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll come to a crossroads where these tools stop performing like they did when you were small. We can’t tell you how many people we’ve encountered over the years who have hired Access database freelancers, Excel gurus and various hourly rate consultants only to come back 18 months later realizing how complex this stuff really is. Think of the complexities, not to mention your own personal time involved to explain to someone what you want built who is more than likely unfamiliar with the intricacies involved with brewing. The time and energy it takes to try to implement processes and technology to streamline your operations could be freed up and focused on growing your business. You can’t run a legitimate brewery business with pieced together spreadsheets, databases and QuickBooks Band-Aids.
100+ breweries before you have reached the same conclusion and have made the jump to OrchestratedBEER for this very reason. A majority of breweries using OBeer software are start ups and small breweries but chose to invest in OBeer because the problems encountered on the business side are the same whether you produce 5 barrels a year or 5,000.
Of course, you could take your chances and hope you have a better outcome, but why would your scenario be any different?
Why QuickBooks, spreadsheets and other brewery tools won’t work:
The reason multiple systems like QuickBooks and other web-based tools don’t work in the long run is because they create multiple versions of the truth. Multiple systems create more than one database, resulting in inaccuracy, double entry, limitations, and lack of transparency. There are solutions out there that provide customized brewery integrations to sync your brewery inventory from one program to match the accounting transactions in QuickBooks. However, keep in mind that the more you link, integrate, sync and bolt on, the more break points you create for yourself. This problem only gets bigger as you grow.
Most of the breweries that have switched over to OBeer from other programs grew tired of the failed syncs, system timeouts and mismatching transactions caused by trying to connect the dots between multiple data sets.
What is a “Centralized” Brewery?
When information is centralized in a single system, different departments can manage tasks and interact with the data they need from a single source. A single centralized system ensures that information is both accessible to all the different departments of a brewery and accurate as well.
When information is transparent and accessible, the individual business processes can operate dynamically as a single operation. There’s no data syncing back and forth – it’s all real time whenever you need it.
Advantages of a Centralized System
When using multiple systems you’ll likely have to re-enter information from one system to another. This is referred to as dual entry. People make mistakes, so being off by a single decimal point can be a costly mistake and really piss off the person tasked with cleaning up the mess.
A centralized system minimizes the human error factor by using a single set of information that’s automated in the background. There’s never any doubt about accuracy so you don’t have to cross your fingers every time you hit that sync button.
Automation is one of the biggest values of a centralized system when you stop and think about the hours spent manually entering data. For example, as you go about daily brewing processes, your brewer is entering data, usually on an iPad, which populates your database in real time. The system is pre-configured to use this data to generate processes and reports like the fully interactive TTB BRO and journal entries. All this information is stored in a centralized database so actions processed from one department may trigger an event, create an alert, order, request or notification in a different department. Of course, a manager has ultimate control of who has access to what so a brewer can’t accidently order a million pounds of hops without authorization.
Information is often obstructed or lost when you try to communicate between multiple tools. You’re also tasked with managing licenses and passwords for all those people and all those different tools.
In a centralized system, all information is transparent across all departments. Although you may choose to restrict certain information to certain departments or people, the majority of information can be made transparent to others directly from the system. This means your sales guys can see what’s available to promise to your vendors because your brewers used an iPad in the brew house to tell the system how much he/she produced.
- Real-time Information
When using multiple systems, you generally must consolidate the reports from the different systems in order to calculate the information you need. You can create complex 17-tab spreadsheets or Access databases to accomplish this, but it still requires manual data entry and calculations to get what you need.
In addition, that information lag from a system may delay the information that’s requested. There are way too many “what-ifs” to justify piecing together a QuickBooks Band-aid or custom database. The bottom line is OrchestratedBEER automates a majority of the complex transactions you were doing manually so you can focus more on brewing.
In part 2 we will address the top 5 symptoms of an un-centralized brewery