OBeer customers Conner Helton, Controller of Avery brewing and Paul Burgis, GM at Golden Road Brewing Co. recently met up with Orchestra Software President, Brad Windecker to attend one of the biggest business technology conferences in the U.S The slogan for this year’s conference was “Simple”. That’s it. The 3-day show focused on business software innovations that help businesses simplify operations. Paul and Conner were on-stage sharing real-life examples of how nearly 100 other breweries like them are utilizing OrchestratedBEER brewery management software to make brewery life easier.
Eliminating the Secret Spreadsheets:
Breweries often refer to the legendary batch tracking methods known as “secret spreadsheets”. Everyone has their own spreadsheet: Bob has his, Cheryl in accounting has hers, and your cellar man probably has 2 with 17 tabs. They become so engrained in everyday brewery life that it’s like pulling teeth trying to convince them that it’s time to ditch his/her spreadsheet. It’s a necessary evil but guys like Conner knew he would have to be the bad guy and force a change of processes in order to survive Avery’s massive expansion of new tanks, a new facility and even more beer. Conner saw the writing on the wall and chose to save Avery Brewing from the impending doom of spreadsheet data diving.
It meant finally replacing those secret spreadsheets with OBeer’s brewery-specific reports that simply need a start and end date to get all the data you could possibly want with the click of a button.
“…through the ‘secret spreadsheets’ it could take days of researching, piling through invoices .added Helton.
“To be able to run OrchestratedBEER, pull up a batch back trace and I can tell you where this grain came from that was in this bottle…and do it in 5 minutes.” You can tell that the Avery brewery life is different now that the secret spreadsheets are no more.
Simplifying Daily Duties:
In addition to eliminating spreadsheets, Helton also mentioned how OBeer has taken the powerful potential of a complex ERP solution and simplified it for everyday brewery use. Let’s face it; ERP software has a reputation for being this complex scary monster. Brewing great craft beer is complex and complicated. Running a good, profitable business is complex and complicated. It takes a complex system to mange a complex product that has different results every time. But that doesn’t mean you need an IT background to be able to run it. That’s where OBeer has stepped up efforts to simplify everyday processes for everyone at a brewery:
“A wonderful example is the built-in functionality of SAP Business One for doing a production order in 19 clicks… Orchestra has simplified that with an iPad app that literally sits on our wall. When a pallet of beer is produced, you click a plus button and you click submit behind the scenes and issue and receipt is done. We have it on our floor right now. The future is really really bright when it comes to making things that simple – taking 19 clicks and turning into 2 taps and that beer is ready to go on a truck”
Mitigating risk of unknown brewery software companies:
It seems like new brewery software programs are popping up every six months trying to grab a piece of the craft beer pie. The daunting task for breweries in need of something better than QuickBooks is finding a good balance between price and reputation. Software companies promise a cheap and “seamless integration” with QuickBooks along with everything else you need. The fact is that most breweries settle for the QuickBooks Band-Aid without realizing that QuickBooks is the root of the problem. Any brewery solution that integrates with QuickBooks is simply sweeping the problems under the rug. There’s a lot of risk involved with cheap, turnkey solutions that have little to no reputation. 4 breweries to date have migrated from the other brewery solutions to OBeer. Breweries are wise to research certain factors and metrics when choosing a brewery solution. Items to consider include:
- Established customer base
- Customer retention rate
- User community (forum, eLearning, online help, advisors)
- US-based development & support
- Limitations of QuickBooks for breweries
- Prices that don’t fluctuate as you grow
Don’t get sucked into solutions that promise to integrate with the same accounting software that’s causing you problems in the first place. Paul of Golden Road went on to talk about mitigating such risks when selecting a brewery software solution:
“When you’re a startup you have a lot of risk and the last thing you want to do is add more risk by choosing an ERP solution that’s not well vetted out.” Added Burgis. Having SAP stamped on the back, knowing the history, having run SAP myself and having faith in the accounting backbone of it added a lot of value.
Then when it came to the provider, OrchestratedBEER – it was really reputation. They designed a custom layout for the beer industry that made it very user friendly. …when you’re going to take a bunch of brewers and say ‘hey, we need to start accounting for these things and doing transactions’ I knew it was going to be hard to get full adoption and it needed to be as tailored to our industry as possible.
OrchestratedBEER was the only one in that segment; (I) called other customers – they had great references, great support, they’re investing in their company and willing to grow with our industry so it was a great fit.”
A step up from QuickBooks is a true ERP solution. There are plenty of ERP manfacturing solutions in today’s marketplace that claim apples-to-apples functionality with OBeer. Although the accounting side of these batch manufacturing ERP solutions may be solid, most were designed for pharmeceutical and cosmetics manufacturing, not craft beer. OBeer alternatives will often make a few tweaks for the production side, slap craft beer branding on it and call it brewery management software. Some of these solutions are built on platforms like Microsoft Dynamics, which has been known to consistently lag behind other ERP platforms in features, function and customization. Not to mention the ancient Dynamics user interface will bring you back to the days of Windows 95. These solutions also require several add-on packages known as “bolt-ons” in order to perform the tasks required for craft breweries. We cover some of the main contrasts and comparisons in the OrchestratedBEER vs. Manufacturing Software blog.
Benefits of OBeer Software from a customer perspective:
An investment is all about the ROI, so let’s talk benefits. For Paul at Golden Road, it’s all about accurate inventory management that trickles down to influence the overall brand reputation of the beer:
“Since we implemented the system we haven’t had any material issues. We haven’t had to miss a production order or lose a sale because we didn’t forecast it in time…Mitigating lost sales is huge…it (OBeer) paid itself in the first 30 days. Visibility into inventory aging and spoilage… Our product is a perishable product, so management of it to make sure it’s fresh that we’re maintaining the proper inventory levels ultimately, translate into better, fresher beer out in the market, a better consumer experience and a better overall brand reputation because of it.”
For Conner and Avery Brewing crew, it was about knowing the costs that were going into every bottle of beer:
“For us (Avery) it’s a gross margin increase overall. We have a greater visibility in what the cost is going into every single bottle of that beer – visibility that we didn’t have before. So that means I can accurately price my product to be competitive as well as profitable.”
Check out the video below for the complete interview and be sure to click the button below to download an OBeer general overview demo to get a deep dive into the premier all-in-one brewery management software solution: