In today’s fast-paced industry, optimizing your brewery operations has become crucial. Recent industry reports suggest that profit margins—especially for craft brewers—are narrowing, making it more important than ever to cut the waste and build efficiencies while still producing great products your audience will love
Against that backdrop, the right brewery software can become a game changer. It allows you to do exactly what’s needed in an increasingly competitive market, streamlining processes that range from production to distribution.
It’s not just a matter of improving your inventory management or simplifying your distribution. Nor is it only about the improved compliance and data-driven decision-making made possible through automated reports. It’s about the bigger picture, with modern and effective processes providing the ability to improve efficiencies, accuracies, quality control, productivity, reporting, and more.
How Brewery Software Streamlines Production Management
To say that brewery production management is complex might be an understatement. Anyone who has seen a production manager work, or is one themselves, knows about the variety of processes and responsibilities included in this role, such as:
- Building brewery and batch schedules
- Formulating recipes
- Acquiring materials and ingredients needed for the production
- Keeping the production process on time
- Engaging in beer quality control throughout the production
- Ensuring the cleanliness of the production and its compliance with core regulations
- Supervising the production end-to-end
- Look for improvements in the production process to build efficiencies
Depending on the size of your brewery, multiple people may be responsible for these processes, or they may all fall to the head brewer. Regardless, they’re all essential parts of brewing great beer, while simultaneously being immensely complex to monitor consistently.
That’s where brewery software can help. The right system allows you to schedule out your production and order as well as reorder materials and ingredients to maintain that schedule. Quality control can become a part of that digital process as much as the opportunity to analyze the production and find improvements to be made.
Building Better Inventory Control Processes
Part of that production process, but worth discussing on its own, is inventory management. This is, of course, an area where optimizations can make all the difference—the more you can hit the balance between ordering too much and wasting ingredients or ordering too little and slowing down the production process, the better. We’d even go as far as to say that effective inventory control is the key to any successful brewery business.
You need a constant intake of ingredients to keep your operations running at all times. But you also need to know your batches and production schedules well enough to understand just how much you need. Finally, you need to make sure that as you store kegs and bottled beer, you can keep your product at its maximum quality and remove it from your inventory once it reaches its expiration date.
That process can be complicated and may take hours every week—at least if done manually. Brewery software, on the other hand, can play a significant role in improving your inventory control.
Perhaps most importantly, the right software can become your single source of truth for all things inventory. That means you always have accurate records of what’s in stock, what’s running low, and what might have expired.
But the benefits go well beyond such insights. For instance, some brewery software allows you to automate orders for ingredients once the stock falls to a certain level. You can also generate automated reports to help you better understand your inventory management and make tweaks as needed on an ongoing basis.
Fostering Data-Driven Decision-Making Across the Business
Data-driven decision-making is on the rise, and for good reason. At its best, it shifts every decision you make for the good of your business from subjective guesses and hunches to objective and accurate choices you can make with confidence.
Take the above-mentioned inventory control as an example. Rather than manually tracking the materials and ingredients you need, your ordering processes can be informed by solid data—not only data on dwindling existing quantities, but also forecasting data that predicts just how much you will need in the future. That improves accuracy and reduces long-term, unnecessary costs.
The impact of data-driven decision-making, though, goes far beyond your inventory. In fact, every aspect of your brewery can benefit from it.
Sales data, for example, can help you forecast production. Quality control data enables you to refine recipes for more consistent quality going forward. Supply chain data helps you understand the length of ordering times to optimize your brewing process. Finally, more comprehensive data related to the true costs of goods sold can help you better price your products and maintain a healthier margin.
That’s what brewery management software can help you accomplish. By becoming that single source of truth, it allows the entire brewery team to access the necessary data to inform their decisions and tasks. Dashboards and reports become a core part of the operation, which becomes more efficient and reliable in the process.
Simplifying Sales and Distribution Processes and Pipelines
Your value chain doesn’t end with your finished beer. Instead, now begins the part of the journey when you have to figure out how to logistically sell the product and get it to the right distributor. Keeping track of the processes and avoiding manual efforts can go a long way toward streamlining and simplifying both sales and distribution.
As you may have guessed, the right brewery software can help you get there, whether through integrations with your sales and e-commerce platforms, or through distributor management right within the system. Either way, a more digital process related to your revenue-generating activities can optimize your work as you look to maximize your bottom line.
For example, with the right data input, a brewery sales dashboard can provide valuable insights into your business. It enables you to see all of your historical sales, broken up by categories like different distributors or types of beer brewed. Reporting on metrics like volume, revenue, and units sold, it enables you to track sales trends, compare yearly sales, and even make future predictions.
The results can be significant. Because all of your sales and distribution data is housed in the same location, you can easily pull it to see and build toward efficiencies. That simplifies the sales process, enabling you to spend more time on the most effective revenue-generating activities to grow your brewery.
Enhancing Compliance Through Automated Reporting
So far, much of our discussion about the need for brewery software has focused on data. It is important to note, then, that this type of system doesn’t just house the data you need to improve your operations; instead, it can also pull that data directly into reports, and automatically forward those reports to anyone who needs to see them.
Across industries, research finds that the average employee spends 3.6 hours every day searching for information. In the brewery industry, where traditionally information is decentralized and kept in manual records, that time is likely to be even longer. Automated reporting can help by putting the data at the fingertips of everyone who needs to see or analyze it.
But that’s not where the value of automated reporting stops. It is also helpful in the realm of compliance reporting. For example, some brewery software has a preset automated reporting set-up that allows you to pull the exact numbers you need every month for the Brewer’s Report of Operations, helping you to remain in compliance with this and other requirements.
From compliance to simply improving data-pulling efficiencies, this type of automation can become invaluable. It means that everyone involved in brewery operations can spend more time on brewing beer and generating revenue and less time on administrative chores, making it a boon to unlocking your efficiencies.
Find Brewery Software That Propels Your Business Forward
So far, we’ve only discussed brewery software in hypotheticals. Having the right system can significantly improve your operations, make customers happier, and let you focus on brewing the best beverages possible.
It is important to note, though, that these benefits are not always guaranteed. Not all business management software is created equal, and finding the right brewery-focused solution is vital. A few things to look out for include:
- A strong focus on the industry, with a large, well-established customer base, ensuring all relevant features for your needs
- The ability to become a single source of truth for all of your data, both through central gathering and integrations with other software and platforms
- Prebuilt and ideally automated reports that can help with both compliance and relevant business insights
- Comprehensive inventory management that encompasses every angle and every part of the supply chain
- Forecasting abilities that enable you to plan ahead and optimize your operations over time
Finding the right brewery software is crucial, but it is not easy. Fortunately, Ekos can help. Trusted by more than 18,000 users on six continents, our comprehensive brewery software solution will improve and streamline your operations and recordkeeping. Ready to learn more? Book your demo today.