The founders of Moody Ales, Dan and Adam, both had careers in IT prior to starting the brewery in 2014. They decided to leave their day jobs to follow their dream of owning their own business and built the brewery with their own hands. Because of their background in IT, they understood how important it was to set up the right systems for their business to be able to grow and be successful. They used that background knowledge to set their business up for success.
When Moody Ales opened, they were primarily using spreadsheets and QuickBooks Online to manage their business. That left potential for human error that was hard to catch. In the beginning, they only had about 10 orders per week, but they knew their processes would quickly become unsustainable as orders increased. They tried some homegrown databases, but those became a problem because they had to troubleshoot problems when it went down, on top of everything else. As software folks, they knew they were going to need a digital system to help their brewery grow. They researched options and after another brewery told them about Ekos, they decided that Ekos was the best solution. They could tell that the Ekos software was well-developed and they liked the integration with QuickBooks. The relative ease-of-use of the interface was beneficial for their staff who are not IT oriented, particularly the facility drag-and-drop view.
Since implementing Ekos, things have been much better. The team has access to a wealth of data that is especially helpful for their government reporting requirements. Moody Ales is able to complete its weekly Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) reporting and monthly excise reporting in minutes by pulling customized reports with Ekos. “I know from talking to other breweries that government and tax reporting is hard. They have to pull data from multiple systems and it takes them exponentially longer,” said Adam Crandall, one of the Moody Ales co-founders.
All the data in Ekos is useful even beyond the reporting. When it came time for Moody Ales to have an excise audit, they gave the auditor a sign in to Ekos. The auditor looked around the system and saw that everything was in order. “The one thing Ekos does really well is that it’s fully transactional, much like an accounting system. It’s not easy to go in and accidentally delete stuff and if you do, it leaves a record. In a spreadsheet, I can make changes and you wouldn’t know. In Ekos it’s more transparent. The auditor can check two or three records and realize we have a standard process.” Without Ekos, they would have had to pull all of their brewsheets, bills, and other paperwork and the audit process would have taken a lot longer.
One of the stickiest processes to manage effectively is the sales order process, particularly when you self-distribute your products. From orders and invoices to payment processing and administrative work, it can be a full-time job in and of itself. “We were struggling to get all orders, invoices, inventory management, and credit card payment processing within 40 hours a week,” said Adam Crandall, Moody Ales co-founder. “And we often had additional part-time labor help out on a weekly basis.”
Previously, the Moody Ales sales team communicated new orders via email, rather than in a centralized location. Now, they use the sales order function in Ekos to push order entry to the sales team. “This reduced data entry errors [and] the pressure on the order desk staff,” said Adam. The team also configured some custom Ekos reports to enable backorder and pre-order tracking.
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