Leverage technology and data to boost brewery productivity
Your 6-step path to making brewery management software work for you
Craft brewers face unique challenges as they grow production and expand their reach into new markets. A close eye on quality is critical to ensure breweries deliver the same high-quality, delicious beer to their customers at every opportunity.
Yet, this attention to detail can often mire brewers and operations managers in menial tasks that eat up time, and don’t allow a cohesive process that you can reliably repeat, batch after batch.
The good news is, there is a path that can help companies deliver high-quality products with increased efficiency, and it’s applicable across many industries. The solution to the overwhelm and overwork of talented brewery teams is a brewery management software system, built specifically to support the detailed workflow of a craft brewery.
Yet, even while automation presents a straightforward solution to overworked small and medium-sized enterprises, Canadian-owned businesses have been slow to adopt new technologies. “Relative to previous periods in our economic history, and to the performance of other industrial countries, automation in Canada is proceeding at a surprisingly slow pace,” according to The Centre for Future Work. “And by some measures (such as the overall capital-intensity of production), the economy is going backwards.”
In this white paper, we’ll look at how brewery management software can streamline operations for craft brewers and the challenges facing small-to-medium breweries who want to grow on their terms. Next, we’ll look at what craft breweries can gain from software designed just for them and how to ensure successful adoption. Finally, we have a 6-step checklist to help you discover how to adopt new technology successfully.
Craft breweries are working to compete in a crowded landscape and often struggle with operational hurdles that reduce efficiency.
Automated, integrated data is necessary to give every department in your company a single view of your breweries data. With it, you can analyze data, form insights, look for patterns and anomalies, and drive better business outcomes for your company and customers.
Manual processes are time-consuming, leave too much room for human error, and lack consistency in the quality and craft of the product. They don’t allow brewers or operations managers to get high-level perspectives or make data-driven decisions. They certainly don’t allow finance pros to work their magic to grow and protect the business during financial ups and downs.
While changing how you operate and deliver value to customers may take some effort, ignoring new technologies and digitization comes at a steep cost. Over half of the companies operating without a digital transformation believe they have less than a year before they begin losing market share.
Craft brewers need reliable ways to move from simply crafting delicious beer to building a solid business.
For example, inventory management and quality control seem simple at first, but quickly develop complexity that you can’t effectively manage on paper. There’s no way to get a high-level view of what’s going on and which factors are affecting your production from day to day.
Sound familiar? A brewer might be jotting notes to tweak the recipe on a particular brew while someone in operations has already ordered supplies for the next batch. Tracking information across spreadsheets and whiteboards increases the risk of error or wasted resources.
Brewery operations need brewery-focused solutions that simplify and streamline processes instead of complicating them further. An automated solution that relieves tedious and repetitive tasks can help you save time and labour, redirecting valuable resources to crafting high-quality brews.
As breweries grow their operations, management also needs ways to stay better informed and understand how much money is being made or lost at any given time. These analyses can help operations managers do a better job of keeping high-quality products moving out the door while controlling costs.
Leveraging technology can help owners, accountants, and CFOs ensure the financial health of the brewery while giving them meaningful insights into production costs, pricing, and profit margins.
critical shift in your capacity to scale
There are significant opportunities for craft brewers who want to expand into new markets and introduce new products if they can scale up their operations without compromising the integrity of their products. While craft breweries have faced challenges, there are signs that the craft beer industry is not at a saturation point yet, with popularity surging.
Digitization has become even more critical since the pandemic, with 68% of Canadian companies planning to increase their strategic focus and investment in digital transformation, and 74% reporting the shift is already underway.
Often, the biggest challenge with adopting new technology is the culture change that comes with it. However, software that puts the user first helps to set the organization up for success and minimize frustration from those using it.
The right solution will streamline your operations by turning your data into accessible and valuable information. With these insights, you can eliminate the guesswork and unlock efficiencies in every part of your workday. The result? You can focus on making high-quality beer and getting it to your customers as efficiently as possible.
Remember that improving processes benefits your team–and also your customers. There is an opportunity for breweries to integrate software and digitize their operations. These are important steps toward streamlining processes to prepare for future growth. The more streamlined your business, the more consistent you can be in both quality and dependability.
The right brewery management software can be transformative in how you manage your operations and production processes.
Benefits of a brewery-focused solution include:
- Automation of menial tasks can help you save time and focus on your craft.
- Data and process tracking build consistency of quality through every recipe you brew.
- Receive immediate feedback and respond with agility to fluctuations in supply chains and inventory management.
- Actionable insights and meaningful reports help you manage, plan, and grow your business.
- Waste reduction and better planning to dramatically cut production costs.
- Streamlining of data communications to better monitor, track, and analyze what’s happening in your business and improve collaboration between key team members.
- Manage the tasks that matter most to your business with features designed especially for craft breweries.
As well, the right brewery management software will save you enough money to offer a reliable return on your investment. Your business benefits from greater efficiency and consistent quality, while the cost-cutting advantages help cover the cost.
For example, brewery-focused software with the features you need can save 10 to 15 hours per month of time just from your general manager or operations manager. This is a huge cost savings that easily covers the cost of brewery management software.
Digital transformations are good for business, and the numbers are encouraging.
“In the manufacturing sector, 60% of businesses that adopted digital technologies had their productivity boom,” according to BDC. Half of these businesses also reported reducing operating costs, giving credit to higher automation and predictive maintenance. Forty-two percent noted that digital technologies improved the overall quality of their product.
Small steps are often the key to adopting new technology. Giving your whole team time to onboard and overcome their learning curve is an excellent way to ensure success and to be confident in the data going into and being pulled from the system.
Use our checklist to identify where brewery management software will make the biggest impact:
- How do your key people spend most of their time?
Walk through a typical day with each person on the team. Try to collect information on daily and weekly routines and occasional tasks. Then, complete a comprehensive review of which processes seem to be running smoothly, which seem to take a lot of time, and dig into the areas where people say they haven’t had time to properly complete tasks.
Compare these tasks and time breakdowns to their original roles and responsibilities. Are there discrepancies? Too little time spent in areas where they have the most to offer? Include your team in these discussions to help highlight areas where you can improve.
You may assume your employees spend their days using their most valuable skills, but you might find gaps where their time goes to the wrong tasks. These gaps are opportunities to relieve overwork and overwhelm for your team and build more streamlined processes.
- What processes in your brewery still live mostly in Excel spreadsheets, on paper, in notes, and on clipboards?
The next step is to carefully detail all the processes that define your operations daily and throughout the year. Everything in your brewery, from the first step of planning and production to a consumer enjoying your craft beer, should be included.
Data can help you capitalize on opportunities, avoid costly errors and iterate with more success. Gather information from every area of your brewery, including production, inventory, quality control, waste management, and government compliance. Be sure to include processes for areas of your operations that don’t happen every day but are still critical to your long-term sustainability.
What happens if there is a recall on one of the ingredients used in a brew? What if you discover faulty packaging or need to track where certain products have been delivered and when? Are there clear steps for staff if something doesn’t go according to plan? What support does your team need to respond to these incidents?
- Which processes are most critical to delivering the quality of beer you’re known for?
Craftsmanship matters and you don’t want to compromise on quality. Now that you’ve detailed the processes that make up your operations, identify those most critical to quality control.
Where is the potential for a loss of quality or consistency? What data is collected along the way that can help your team make more insightful decisions and repeat past successes?
As you work through this process, you may realize that your key people are spending a lot of time on processes unrelated to the quality of your brew. Time and resources could be redirected to drive more consistent results in this area.
- What aspects of your craft are you most worried about compromising on when it comes time to scale?
Growing a brewery over time takes sustained effort and strategic decision-making. What does growth look like for you? Increasing production of your most popular products? Adding new products? Breaking into new markets?
Review the goals you’ve set for your brewery, then consider how each path could affect your operations. Next, ask your key people for input for a more comprehensive look at possible outcomes.
Assessing and identifying risk is an essential part of building strategies for the future, and it’s wise to get operational clarity before scaling. When you know your vulnerabilities, you can leverage solutions to protect them.
- What support and training will you need to be successful, and how can it best be delivered to your team?
As you assess where time is spent in your brewery, you’ll come across areas where your team members feel there isn’t enough time in their workday to complete the work. Relieving these areas can encourage your team to buy into new solutions, even with a bit of a learning curve.
New technology can make people’s lives easier, but it’s often too much to expect everything to change overnight–even if it’s for the better. Instead, consider how you can gradually shift operations to a new solution. This way, your employees are less likely to get frustrated and can get comfortable with each stage.
Your team will need onboarding support and training for smooth implementation. Be as transparent as possible with implementation and installation timelines, and encourage your team to take advantage of training resources as needed. Ideally, you can access training beyond day one, with ongoing support and check-ins.
- Do you have a solutions partner who will grow with your business?
Craft breweries operate in a competitive market and must be able to navigate changes in the industry and consumer preferences. You need support to streamline your operations and increase efficiency from a solutions partner that understands your business.
Review the challenges you’re experiencing, then chat with providers to learn how they can help you as your brewery scales or changes direction over time.
Look for new technology built for craft brewers. Review your list of processes critical to quality and ask how to make the best use of available features to improve those areas. The right solutions partner wants to be a part of your long-term success.
BrewersInsight unlocks deep operational insights so you can plan, manage, and grow your brewery without compromising quality or consistency. We consulted with expert brewers to build our intuitive software, so it’s built for brewers, with your workflow in mind.
Our easy-to-use interface offers easy access to all the data and reports you need—recipe, inventory, packaging, and finished goods management, and cost of goods sold—without being bogged down with information you don’t. Our integrated customer support and training will ensure successful adoption and help you ensure maximum return on investment.
It’s time for a solution to help craft breweries streamline operations to manage production, quality control, inventory, waste management, and regulatory compliance without compromising quality.
For too long, big breweries have benefitted from data solutions that seemed out of reach for craft brewers. Brewery management software built specifically for craft breweries empowers you to grow your business without losing the craftsmanship that made you successful.
BrewersInsight partners with breweries like yours to help you operate with big-batch efficiency and to provide deep insights into your business. We help you leverage critical efficiencies so you can scale at your pace. There’s no intimidation factor–we’re along for the journey and offer ongoing support to help with successful adoption by your whole team.