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Success Story

Thomas Allen Vineyards & Winery

"We looked for a solution for almost a year and found that Ekos was the perfect system to help us control our dry goods inventory, our wine production, our bottling, and our shipment activity.”

- Amy Aguilera, director of operations

about_

  • Owned and operated by Allen Lombardi and family
  • Ekos customer since 2020
  • Located in Lodi, California
  • Bottle and distribute wines for up to 10 customers per year and two in-house labels

results_

  • Increased production from 250k cases in 2019 to 1.2 million cases in 2021
  • On track for 135% growth since implementing Ekos
  • 80 hours per month saved by automating inventory, COGS tracking, and TTB reports
  • $30,000 per year saved on accounting consultant and old software

overview_

Founded by Allen Lombardi in 2001, Thomas Allen Vineyards & Winery is composed of two brands: Thomas Allen Wines and Hook or Crook Cellars. In addition to this in-house production, Thomas Allen bottles and distributes wine for up to 10 customers per year including some accounts that produce up to 450,000 cases of wine annually. The winery’s production has grown dramatically in recent years, increasing almost five times since 2019 from 250,000 cases to 1.2 million cases in 2021. 

challenge_

Thomas Allen Vineyards & Winery has made a name for itself as a custom bottler for well-known national wine brands. This success, however, comes with growing pains. From tracking tons of inventory to calculating costs and completing TTB reporting, the winery was spending a lot of two things: time and money. Director of Operations Amy Aguilera spent 80 hours per month calculating costs, taking inventory, and sending out purchase orders to a paid consultant only to have TTB forms with errors sent back every time. Plus, they were spending $30,000 between the consultant and another program that didn’t meet their needs. Needless to say, the team needed a solution to power efficiencies on their schedules and across the business. Amy and her “right hand,” Operations Coordinator Sarah Williams, searched for eight months to find a solution to take them from grapes to glass, finding that most solutions for winemakers lacked comprehensive inventory management. They also sought a program that would help them make good business decisions with informed data on COGS.

results_

The Thomas Allen team is working more efficiently and accurately using Ekos, leading the business to be on track to grow production by 135% since implementing Ekos. Amy and Sarah are now finishing administrative tasks in a snap. 

TTB Simplified

With multiple alternating proprietorships and reporting requirements for each of their bottling customers, TTB work is complex: Amy and Sarah used to spend 25% of their time every month gathering and submitting these forms. With Ekos, they’re finishing TTB forms in 10 to 15 minutes for each of their bottling customers. “The value of our time has the biggest impact. We don’t have to put our hands on the same piece of data four or five times a month before it gets reported, which is huge,” Sarah said.

Powering 135% Growth in Two Years

The team also spent four days per month calculating costs via spreadsheets and Winemaker’s Database. With Ekos, their cost of cases sold is automatically calculated — giving Amy and Sarah more time to bring in customers and build the business. “Ekos has freed up enough time for us to increase the amount of production and the amount of business that we’re bringing in,” Sarah said. With new customers and hours saved, Sarah and Amy predict that Thomas Allen is on track to produce 1.6 million cases in 2022 — a 135% increase since implementing Ekos is 2020. Their calculations are also much clearer and more accurate now. For example, Amy said the team was confused recently when the price of a case that typically came out to be $19 was $24. With Ekos’s cost tracking, Amy noted that they substituted the paper typically used on the bottle label, causing an increase. “It is nice that Ekos automatically gives us the blended cost on our products,” Amy said. “Before, we did all of that manually on spreadsheets. It was a headache and caused us some blind spots.”

Real-time Inventory

Because Thomas Allen bottles up to 800,000 cases per year for other labels, they need a lot of dry goods and raw materials inventory on hand. From bottles to additives, their customers have the benefit of bypassing supply chain challenges and bottling in a one-stop shop. This mass inventory, however, brings a lot of responsibility. Amy and Sarah were setting aside a whole day every month to take inventory and ensure it was accurate. Now, they’re able to keep the inventory up to date automatically without extra manual work. This means the team instead completes quarterly audits on particular groups of inventory and one big inventory check once per year. Having Ekos keep up with these numbers every day solves “a big migraine” for the Thomas Allen team according to Sarah. 

With so many corks and ingredients on hand, it’s easy for details to get lost in the shuffle. Ekos’s comprehensive inventory features allow team members to check inventory in Ekos before reordering, saving them time and money on just-in-time orders. 

Bill of Lading functionalities also dramatically improve Thomas Allen’s inventory accuracy. The ability to automatically draft and share a detailed list of what’s coming and going from their docks means Amy and Sarah always know where their inventory is — even when it’s living in an off-site warehouse. The team spent lots of time one-on-one with the Ekos product team to help further develop this feature.

Powerful Insights

Internal data and reporting via Ekos have given Thomas Allen a leg up on the competition. Amy said her biggest challenge before implementing Ekos was gathering accurate sales reports. Determining what sold, for how much, and the business’s total revenue was a necessary challenge. With Ekos, that process is clear and accurate every time. Plus, Amy can personalize reports depending on the department she wants to share information with. “Being able to capture that information has been extremely beneficial because I actually run that report three different ways every single month: it gets run once for management, once for sales, and once for TTB reporting,” Amy said.

Growth

Growing from 250,000 cases to 1.2 million in 2021 is no small feat of expansion, and the team isn’t stopping now. This year, the winery plans to add an additional building to their current facility, bring on at least one new bottling customer, and grow their team. “We’ve got a lot of potential, we do a lot of different things, and we have our hands in a lot of different pies,” Amy said. “We’re looking forward to this growth and know Ekos is the right partner as we continue to grow.”

Take a tour to see how Ekos can help your business just like Thomas Allen Vineyards & Winery.