New brewery management software solutions are popping up every year promising to be affordable, easy to use, and integrate with your current bookkeeping software.
Here are 5 things to consider when comparing brewery management software solutions and selecting the best for your brewery.
1. Built on a solid accounting foundation
The best overall advice we can offer when it comes to comparing brewery management software is to avoid anything that integrates with generic bookkeeping software. Why? As great as generic bookkeeping solutions may be for selling widgets and t-shirts, they’re not designed to handle the complexities of batch manufacturing. QuickBooks for breweries: good or bad?
A weak accounting foundation is among the most common reasons breweries jump around between brewery software solutions looking for something that works. When accounting is not built into the solution, it becomes a hodge-podge of “disparate systems”.
Ask yourself: “Is this solution really advancing my business?” If the solution simply adds a brewing component to your existing bookkeeping software, it’s probably not solving the root problem.
2. Comparing brewery management software – Apples to Apples
Don’t assume all brewery management software solutions are the same. They aren’t a commodity, which is why pricing varies so much between companies. Some solutions claim to sync with your current bookkeeping software while others are simply production tools to track inventory. Whatever it is, make sure the brewery software you select includes the following:
- Centralized all-in-one system
- Cost accounting capabilities
- Variance-level production management
- Forward-looking inventory capabilities
- Planning & scheduling capabilities
- Automated Accounting & Inventory transactions
- Automated Monthly & Quarterly TTB reporting
- Customized reporting engine capabilities
Always keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The cheapest isn’t always the best.
3. Widespread Community Adoption
You wouldn’t buy new tanks, equipment or sign on with a new vendor without conducting your own due diligence and asking around. The same is true for researching and comparing brewery management software. Yes, talk to your brewery friend down the street, but also observe the successful breweries in your area, state & region – both large and small. Find out what they recommend.
Chances are they can provide advice on what they use, what works and what doesn’t. Here are some questions to consider:
- What’s the software’s all-time customer retention rate?
- How many people/breweries utilize the software?
- Is the software even being used to manage the brewery?
- How do the users contribute to the product development?
- Are there community support groups, conferences & guilds to support users?
Related: The OBeer Community Map
4. In-house Development & Support
Many over look outsourcing as one of those lesser important factors until you actually need help. It’s important for your brewery to interact with someone who knows your system, can quickly identify the problem and provide a solution. Be sure to compare the following:
- Support availability (hours of operations, average response time,
- The size of the support staff
- Development & Support in-house or outsourced?
OBeer’s Support Methodology: 98.41% all-time customer support satisfaction rate
5. Company Experience
We’re not a bunch of rocket scientists, but we aren’t just 2 dudes coding in a garage either. It takes multiple departments, and a thorough understanding of brewery business best practices to support the operations of a community of users. Business management software is mission critical software that you will be depending on to run your brewery every day. You are not just purchasing an app on your phone for 99 cents. Our in-house team is dedicated to helping breweries run better and use OBeer to its fullest extent.
When comparing brewery management software, make sure the company you chose isn’t an offshoot of some larger corporation looking to hitch their wagon to the craft beer cash cow, or as mentioned earlier, a couple dudes developing, selling and supporting a home-built solution out of their garage. Find out the following:
- How long has the company been around?
- Is the company publicly or privately owned?
- How many employees are dedicated to supporting your brewery?
- What other industries is the company involved in?
Answering these questions during your search will help you when comparing brewery management software solutions and make the best choice for your brewery.