If your brewery business is about brewing great beer and selling it to your awesome customers, then getting a handle on your inventory management is a crucial step towards process optimization and profitability. Getting the most out of your stock can be a tricky task. Fresh, raw materials have a shelf life, making spoilage and loss a perpetual danger and expense. On the other side of the equation, stock shortages can slow down production and even mean lost or incomplete sales. Finding the inventory sweet spot means striking the right balance between too much and too little. This is exactly where inventory management comes in.
While the best brewers and inventory managers tend to have a wide-range of skills and specialist knowledge, there are a bunch of tips and solutions that even a small brewery can successfully utilize, often with a minimum of expense.
Like all businesses that have a range of critical inventory tasks, brewers want meaningful and intuitive control over the whole brewing process. So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how inventory management can maximize your brewery processes.
First things first
One of the best things any brewery can do to give themselves a head start is to choose good inventory management software. There are a few options that cater directly to brewers, and many offer a range of functionality that makes your job that much easier.
While we won’t say that you can’t run an efficient and optimized brewery without inventory management software, it is safe to suggest that most breweries run that much better with it.
Many of the software options out there offer mobile and real-time access, which is a great help for brewers that don’t want to leave too much to chance. With the ability to access the complete picture of your brewing process, you can keep your finger on the pulse, making adjustments when and where needed, and even plugging in wherever you are in the world.
Also, there are now cloud computing solutions (like Unleashed, of course) that offer some great functionality and flexibility for breweries. With Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) options available on monthly subscription, start-ups and small businesses looking to utilize inventory management software can avoid investing too much precious capital in an outright purchase.
Supply chain management
A fantastic tool when utilized well, supply chain management is one of the key ways a brewery can optimize and streamline their inventory management. Ultimately, it’s a way to coordinate the movement of stock or raw materials through every part of the brewing process. This has huge advantages for breweries of all sizes, as it can provide a more streamlined and timely brewing process.
Put simply, supply chain management is a way to monitor and control how and when stock moves from one node to the next. When fully adopted and utilized, it can mean the difference between an efficient brew and a wasteful one.
As a brewer, you’ve got a whole bunch of ingredients and materials that need to go together to make a batch. Batch tracking allows an efficient way to track these together, from the point of production right through to sale and delivery. Also really helpful for stock recalls and monitoring expiry dates, batch tracking means you’re in the driver’s seat, brew-by-brew and batch-by-batch.
Keeping an accurate track of all the materials that make up your recipes is an essential tool for brewers. Using the Bill of Materials (BOM) aspect of inventory management, you can have a detailed and up to date break down of everything that goes into your great beer recipes, as well as keep an eye on your margins.