4 Challenges Unique to Beer Distribution

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Getting beer from the brewery to distributors and retailers without losing track of stock requires comprehensive tracking system.

Moving inventory from the brewery through distributors to customers is nothing short of a juggling act. Mistakes in tracking stock, pick pack errors, and delayed shipments cost money. Beer distribution has its particular challenges; however, using Dynavistics’ integrated Trinity Beer Distribution Solution for Microsoft Dynamics GP equips you to overcome distribution challenges.

Although the number of traditional beer distributors in the US dropped about 35 percent between 1980 and 2015, thousands of new wholesalers have appeared around the same time. Suddenly, there are more places than ever to distribute a varied selection of beer. Whether you specialize in craft brews or are at the helm of a national brand, you have to know your stock details. The entire distribution process needs to be tracked to ensure accurate, timely deliveries.

Is Your SKU Strategy Skewing Your Inventory?

You cannot go into the warehouse yourself to count stock, hand hold orders, or make deliveries. Your time is best spent selling and making customers happy.  What if you could track stock without stepping into the warehouse?

Every product should have a unique stock keeping unit (SKU). This number is used to identify and track specific product. The more diverse your line, the more SKUs to record and track. Imagine how quickly this becomes a problem, if you attempt to list every product manually. Losing track of just one shipment means going back and reconciling inventory throughout the warehouse, delivered orders, orders in transition, and orders for fulfillment.

Using distribution software saves time and eases the stress of locating stock.  Each distinct SKU is associated with a specific product, making the beer easy to identify regardless of where it is in the sales and delivery process. The software tracks every SKU, so you know exactly where your product is, where it is scheduled to go, and when it reached the intended destination.

Pouring Profits Down the Drain?

Freshness is a big part of the beer drinking experience. If beer sits before being shipped, then it is not at peak flavor when it arrives.  Fresh product is essential when distributors place orders.

If you have extensive stock and are tracking multiple products, you need a reliable system. You can label each product and attempt to track them by hand; however, the job will become too big and the stock will start slipping through the cracks, as it were.

Listing every product in a software-based distribution system gives you updated quantities at each site. An updated inventory list can be automatically checked to see which beer needs to be shipped out first to guarantee freshness.  Inventory tracking software will help reduce the average $1 million (USD) in beer thrown out by every distributor due to substandard flavor.

Is This What I Ordered?

The beer industry averages a 20 percent error rate between distributors and retailers.  However; combining a good tracking system with consistent stock management lowers the inaccurate order fulfillment risk. Using distribution software to track stock lets you know what beer is available, when it was brewed, and where it is stored. Use SKUs to create distinct bins/storage locations for each product. When fulfilling customer orders, all the warehouse has to do to locate stock is:

1) Go to the assigned section of the warehouse

2) Pull the right amount of product

3) Send it out for delivery

Fewer errors result in happier customers. According to the National Beer Wholesalers Association, when over 160 million customers find their favorite beer missing, they consume approximately one-third less beer as a result. More accurate fulfillment creates more of your brands’ sales and better relationships with distributors and retailers.

Where’s the Beer?

Accuracy doesn't matter, if orders are late. Delaying orders means the beer may not be at its best when it reaches customers.  Even worse, there could be a noticeable gap in availability, resulting in reliability concerns and consumers choosing other brands. Having the right product on-hand at the right time in the right storage location enables the warehouse to pick pack easily and ship timely.

Good distribution software tracks every order, so you know when orders are placed and when they need to ship. You can zip from order creation to fulfillment and shipping without missing a beat. A good distribution system enables a smooth transition between production and distribution.

Beer Distribution Suite for Dynamics GP

It’s time to integrate and connect every part of your beer distribution process. With the Beer Distribution Solution by Dynavistics, you can link your stock, pricing strategy, purchasing information, and order fulfillment with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Your distributors and their customers get a seamless buying experience, and you save yourself a big headache when it comes to managing your beer.

Let us help you simplify distribution and keep you chugging along to deliver the best quality beer with the flavor your fans have come to love.

Want to learn more? 

Beer Distribution for GP

 

Source: NBWA Distributor Productivity Report

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