Ekos recently released a brand-new report, The State of Technology Adoption in the Wine Industry, where we discuss the results of our latest wine industry research. We surveyed U.S. wineries to find out how they are using technology to run their businesses and identify the biggest areas of opportunity in 2022 and beyond.
As reflected in the grades wineries gave themselves — which varied depending on the survey taker’s role in the business and the winery’s production volume — technology adoption is not an “all-or-nothing” process. There are various levels of software use depending on a business’s size, distribution model, and goals. And, since the average overall grade was B-, there is clearly room for improvement. Below, we’ve outlined a few ways wineries can improve business efficiency depending on whether they’re currently using tech a lot, a little, or not at all.
Winery Technology Tips for Every Situation
1. If you’re exclusively using white boards, notebooks, and spreadsheets…
Brainstorm where your organization could find the most benefit from switching to a tech solution. Our State of Technology report covers various tasks that can be accomplished or aided by technology, so you can start by skimming the report for ideas and thinking about where your business’s biggest pain points are.
One of the best places to start is inventory management, as tracking inventory efficiently in spreadsheets is nearly impossible. Inventory management is vital for alcohol producers, yet we still see many wineries trying to keep track of it without software. If your goal is to grow, following inventory best practices is non-negotiable — and dedicated wine software (rather than spreadsheets) is definitely a best practice.
2. If you’re using technology that’s never updated and lives on your computers rather than in the cloud…
It’s time to step into the 21st century. For many years, legacy winery management systems could only be purchased and installed directly onto your hardware. This sounded nice to many owners — it seems both secure and convenient to have a digital system living within the walls of your winery. But in reality, installed software is usually more of a headache than it’s worth. Getting upgrades or additional licenses is, typically, prohibitively expensive. Technical support is hard to come by and/or will cost you yet another extra fee.
These days, you can find cloud-based winery software solutions that allow your team to access the system from anywhere. In other words, work can be done in places besides the back office — hallelujah. Team communication can improve dramatically without added meetings, emails, texts, or phone calls. When you use an end-to-end winery software as your team’s information hub, different departments have access to the information they need to do their jobs better and more efficiently. Plus, when your software is in the cloud, it can be updated in real-time and shared with all relevant users, improving both speed and accuracy when it comes to making important business decisions.
3. If you’re happy with your systems but want to get more out of them…
Integrate, integrate, integrate. When the software systems you use aren’t connected to one another, ensuring data integrity among all systems is a manual process. With integrations, these manual checks can often be completely eliminated, with the software simply alerting you when there’s a discrepancy. With the time you’ll save, you can dive into the actual numbers to glean insights on production and sales that make a real difference in your bottom line.
For example, if you have a tasting room, you already have a POS system. But does your POS share information with your inventory management software? We’ve spoken to alcohol producers who, prior to syncing their POS and business management software, spent several hours a month reconciling sales from their POS system, often weeks after the sales were actually made. When you find two systems that connect to each other, you can eliminate this manual process, and you’ll no longer need to pull manual sales reports to deplete inventory. This is just one of the ways that connecting your software can lead to significant time savings and improved visibility.
Get More Tech Insights for Wine Businesses
Don’t miss the latest data on technology adoption in the wine industry — download the State of Technology report today. See how your business stacks up against your peers, and use our insights to make change where you can. (Or pat yourself on the back if your winery is already crushing it with software!)
Download your free copy of the the report to learn:
- How wineries grade themselves on technology adoption in 2022 versus our previous survey in 2020
- The technology wineries say they can’t live without
- What tools wine businesses are using to manage inventory, production, DTC, distribution, and accounting processes
- Our tips for using technology to improve operational efficiency and grow your business