A true understanding goes beyond getting your product to market.
Knowing your supply chain means you're managing your production effectively.
What is a supply chain?
The basic business definition of a Supply Chain: entire network of entities, directly or indirectly interlinked and interdependent in serving the same consumer or customer. This broad definition can be confusing when talking about Supply Chain Management for Craft Breweries and Cideries.
Your supply chain starts with your raw ingredients, packaging, and any other items you bring in to the warehouse to use in creating your products. Your supply chain ends when your craft beer is poured into a glass at the retailer level. It is every step of the process that you take in production, storage, distribution, and sales.
Why is knowing your supply chain important?
Knowing your supply chain isn’t just about making sure you’re taking the steps you need to get your products to market. It’s about making sure you’re operating efficiently and effectively, and being sure that you’re accounting for resources coming in and products going out that effect your bottom line. Your accounting department (even if it’s just one person) needs to know how much you’re spending and how much you’re making.
It’s also about tracking quality. For example, if you find out you accidentally added a bad batch of hops into a beer, knowing exactly which batch of beer those hops went in can help you pull back only the beer in that batch.
Most importantly, knowing your supply chain is important for ensuring that you’re managing your production effectively. Avoiding out of stock items, keg inventory, and packaging is all a part of your supply chain that could cause issues if inventory isn’t monitored.
How can you better manage your supply chain?
There are several ways to better manage your supply chain.
Orchestrated Beer. This inventory and accounting management software is the accounting department’s dream come true. From tracking raw ingredients, to batches of beer, to number of t-shirts in inventory, this can be a huge improvement to your current accounting and inventory practices.
Other Manufacturing Software. Orchestrated beer can be an investment that your brewery may not be ready to make, there are more generic software programs (like ShopTech) that will help you manage the elements of your supply chain.
VIP. VIP covers a different side of your supply chain than orchestrated beer, tracking depletions at accounts. Knowing who is buying your final product can help you build relationships to move more product.
Before you can implement these systems though, you need to know every step of your supply chain, and the processes within them. Sit down with your brewers, sales team, and accounting department to lay out exactly what happens from sourcing hops all the way to getting your tap handle stickers into bars and restaurants. Understanding every piece can help you find and fix inefficiencies, implement new processes, and better manage your supply chain.
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