What to Consider Before Making Important Brewery Software Investments

Having the right enterprise resource planning (ERP) system in place at your brewery can help you gain better insight into running your business. This happens through improving reporting and automating key processes. Achieving these goals can position you to make better strategic decisions based on accurate, real-time data as well as help you free up time and money to grow your business.

There are many things to consider when investing in a software solution for your brewery. Careful research and planning can help you make the best investment for your company and better position you to grow in your unique marketplace. Here are some common questions business owners may ask when considering the right system for their breweries.

Common System Questions

How do I know it’s time to update my ERP system?

There are three major areas to consider when assessing if your current ERP system can support your company’s growth.

Reporting Via Real-Time Data

Most brewers start to realize they need or are beginning to outgrow their ERP system when they start having trouble getting the right financial and operational information. That’s the real need: collecting information from all areas of the business in real-time and being able to easily report on this data.

Many breweries can hodgepodge pieces of information together over a couple of days with the assistance of multiple team members and spreadsheets; however, by then the data is already out of date and it’s too late to make the right decision on this information.

Understanding and Minimizing Costs

Many breweries use manual processes, taking up time that could be better spent supporting the business. There’s also often difficulty correctly understanding the cost of goods (COGS) for each stockkeeping unit (SKU) they sell. Because they run multiple systems that don’t communicate with each other, they lack the ability to understand and minimize costs across the full spectrum of their business.

Do the limitations in your current system require manual processes that are costly and nonscalable? If so, it’s a good time to start a discussion on investing in new technology to support the business’s strategic plans. When exploring which ERP system is the right fit, consider projected growth goals plans and structure for the next three to five years. Do your current processes and systems support your company now? Will they continue to do so going forward?

Organizational Planning

Access to accurate, timely information across all departments is critical to support a growing brewery that may have multiple locations, such as brewing or warehouse facilities, a taproom, or restaurant. The information you get from your system should be accessible to your sales, finance, accounting, production, packaging, and distribution departments.

What should I look for in an ERP system?

An ERP system should provide measurable value by helping your brewery operate more efficiently as it grows. Utilizing a single, integrated application can help deliver data that’s current and accessible to everyone in the organization, to help your business make better decisions. This streamlined process could also alleviate the need for new headcount.

Access to and management of business data is critical because it integrates operational processes while creating a single repository of information for reporting from any device. That integration allows key operations to be automated and provides immediate visibility across the entire business.

Choosing a system that manages the entire business—instead of one that only manages production or operations—and selecting one that will scale along with the business will help you find the right fit.

How do I know if an ERP system will fit my business requirements?

The process of assessing an ERP system’s fit is a personal journey. Taking the time to map out the future of your business is a worthwhile exercise when it comes to investing in a new system. It’s not only about current business requirements, but also your brewery’s strategic plan.

Analyze and compare each ERP’s offerings to see how they match with your business plan and forecasted needs. For most brewers, having a system with the ability to scale can be a smart long-term investment that reduces the need to purchase new systems every couple of years.

Though it may require additional effort up front, your brewery could continue to benefit from the value a single ERP system can provide for many years to come, regardless of how you choose to grow.

We’re Here to Help

Choosing an ERP system can help streamline your business processes and reporting. For more information about selecting the right ERP system, contact your Moss Adams professional.