Whether you sell your beer direct to the customer or through distributors, keeping supply even with demand is an ongoing struggle for any craft brewer. For example, you might have that specialty brew that you want to allocate to only your best customers, yet you have no controls over how much of this brew a customer receives from your sale team giving it all away to the wrong customer. Furthermore, how do you take sales forecasts from 200 different customers, then consolidate those forecasts to analyze how much of that style of beer (maybe that specialty beer) you’ll need next month, or in 6 months. Of course, you need someone to sense-check those forecasts that the salesperson has entered to calibrate their optimism for how much they believe they’re going to sell. This forecast can then drive your brewery schedule and raw materials and packaging purchasing. You need to make sure you have enough raw hops and malt to meet this demand, then the right packaging to finish the sellable product. There is a shelf-life to your quality beer, so a delicate balance of brewing just enough beer to meet your demand is ever so important to your industry. Also, how do I net the forecast to what has already been ordered and what has been produced. These are important problems to solve and it takes the right business management system and industry knowledge to address the challenges of supply and demand for the craft brewers industry.
Demand Drives Supply: Sales Forecast > Sales Forecast Approval > Consolidated Forecasts > Forecast and Sales Orders (sales team / distributors / customers) > Production Scheduling (Brewering) > Production Execution > Purchasing
Written by Andy Collins, Partner at Tridea Partners. Tridea Partners is a gold certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner serving the Southern California and Salt Lake City regions.