Five Tips for Using Distillery Management Software

Distillery Management Software

The craft distillery market is growing rapidly, but with that growth comes potentially significant competition. As more players enter this enticing industry, finding ways to build distillery management efficiencies becomes increasingly important. The resulting optimization helps you gain and maintain a significant edge in the market.

As any distiller knows, running a business is complex. Production alone takes significant planning, as does managing your inventory, tracking sales, and complying with all relevant state and federal regulations. Without a plan and effective system to manage it all, the process can become both overwhelming and prone to errors. That’s where distillery management software enters the equation. 

The good news is the right software can be a game changer. Through better inventory management, optimized production planning, financial management integrations, and reporting, you can build better processes designed to run your distillery more efficiently. Add the ability to improve and maintain the quality of your distilled products, and you get a strong use case for applying the right software the right way on your path to success.

Just the Basics: The Benefits of Distillery Management Software

Before digging into the tips surrounding distillery management software, it pays to understand exactly what type of platform is discussed here. Most importantly, we’re talking specifically about software optimized for the distillery and craft beverage market. It may share features with more industry-agnostic ERP tools, but its functions are designed by experts solely focused on your industry.

In addition, distillery management software centralizes all aspects of your operations. With industry-leading platform providers, it enables you to take advantage of comprehensive features that empower you to streamline all of your processes, gain valuable insights, and make more data-driven decisions.

These benefits aren’t possible with software that only manages a small piece of the larger puzzle. Instead, distillers benefit most from a platform that’s as comprehensive as possible while still tailored to the craft beverage market. Don’t underestimate the power of integrations either. To become a single source of truth for your operations, the software should offer integrations with other dedicated tools, such as accounting and expense management apps you already use.

When you find that type of software, your business can derive significant benefits from its implementation. The following five tips highlight exactly how the right software platform can optimize your distillery management and provide you with a solid foundation for success.

Tip #1. Streamline Your Inventory Management

At its core, distillery management software is—and has to be—a tool for inventory management. When running a distillery, that process is inherently complex. Tracking alone involves raw ingredients, packaging materials, and finished products all at the same time. Managing all this manually can quickly become time-prohibitive as it reduces efficiencies and introduces room for error.

The right inventory management platform, on the other hand, can go a long way toward streamlining these processes. You’ll have a real-time overview of every item in your inventory, including the amounts in stock and dates when ingredients spoil. That enables you to know and even automate re-orders across the supply chain as necessary.

However, that’s only the beginning. Optimizing your use of distillery software can also enable many of the benefits discussed above. A healthy inventory system, for instance, allows you to run reports on your typical workflow and materials, including quantity and costs. As a result, you can better understand the financial piece of the puzzle, helping you make better and more data-driven inventory decisions.

Related: Why Maintaining Negative Inventory in Inventory Management Software Is a Bad Idea

Take the concept of negative inventory as an example. For many craft beverage makers, it’s an unfortunate but necessary cost of inefficient tracking. But the downsides, from more frequent stockouts to regulatory concerns, are significant. Leverage your distillery software to ensure you always keep an up-to-date picture of everything you’re storing in your business.

Tip #2. Leverage Production Planning Capabilities

Partially connected but also going well beyond the inventory solution, focusing on your software’s production planning capabilities can be another massive benefit for your distillery. This process is also complex. Mashing, malting, distillation, maturation, and bottling all need to be considered. And even if you know your processes by heart, the need to manufacture multiple batches of different recipes can still become overwhelming.

Fortunately, comprehensive distillery management software can once again help to optimize this complexity—if you know how to use it.

It starts with our first tip: the inventory. If you always know which ingredients you need to have on hand, you can use that knowledge to order those materials at any given time. Beyond the inventory, you can plan and schedule your equipment, even keeping track of how long everything takes for the different types of spirits you’re producing.

Finally, production planning means knowing how much you need to produce based on demands. Automated reports can help you anticipate that demand, further enhancing your ability to plan ahead and ensure all vendors and customers can get exactly what they want when they want it.

Tip #3. Integrate Your Financial Platforms

Naturally, managing your finances has to be a crucial part of your daily management and operations. For distillery owners and GMs, it might just be the most important piece. After all, you can’t survive for long if your business isn’t profitable, and you can’t continue to optimize its financial management over time.

This process carries quite a bit of nuance. To start, some distillery management software likely won’t have the same abilities and features as accounting or sales software. What matters most is building integrations between your resource and planning platform and the financial planning tools you use on that end of the business.

Integrate with an accounting system like QuickBooks, and you can streamline your financial reporting, from categorizing expenses all the way to running your balance sheet and monitoring your financial health. Meanwhile, integrations with your point-of-sale systems, from online to direct-to-customer, can flow directly into your reporting and optimization efforts as well.

Related: Craft Beverage Software: 4 Ekos/Fintech Integration Benefits

When it comes to financial tools, think of your distillery platform as the hub between your other systems. Information can freely flow into it and combine with inventory data, turning your distillery software into your single source of truth in the process.

Tip #4. Run Automated Reports for Insights and Compliance

Integrations with your financial software lead to another important capability of your platform: advanced reporting on everything connected to your distillery business. It’s a necessary feature to leverage if you want to get an accurate picture of the nuances surrounding your daily operations. 

You can run automated reporting on any number of points, including (but not limited to):

  • Your current and planned inventory
  • Supply chain partners, along with their costs and reliability
  • Sales forecasts to plan for future demand
  • Operations inefficiencies, like equipment that sits idle for long periods of time
  • Financial reports to track your revenue, costs, and profitability

Crucially, the same reporting features can also help you streamline your efforts to remain in compliance with federal and local authorities. The regulatory requirements for running a distillery are immense. Set up the right reports, and you can take a process that might otherwise require hours every week down to just a few minutes.

Tip #5. Enhance Quality Control For Your Distilled Products

Finally, you can use your distillery management software to ensure that every spirit you produce will meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. As you plan and track your production, every batch gets a unique number which you can use to make notes related to QA processes. That allows you to understand not just whether it’s good to sell but also identify trends to keep in mind for the future.

Adding to this active quality control is the increased chance for higher quality products due to better inventory and production planning. However, when you add knowledge like audience panels into your process, you can take that extra step needed to ensure that what you produce will play an active role in growing your business revenue and reputation.

Find the Right Distillery Management Software

All of the above tips can help you make the most out of your software to improve efficiencies and streamline your operations. But of course, none of them are accessible through manual workflows or industry-agnostic solutions. You can only implement these tips if you have the right software in place. In other words, the features need to be built into the system for you to take advantage of them. 

Researching and selecting a distillery management software tailored to your specific needs is crucial for long-term success. With the right solution, you can unlock powerful capabilities that drive profitability, compliance, and growth for your distillery business. Ready to learn more? Book your demo and start improving your distillery management today.

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Written by Josh McKinney