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5 Ways Alcohol Distributors Can use Technology to Improve Their Business

By Mike Henstridge

Friday, March 17, 2017

Alcohol distributors have unique business requirements. Unfortunately, most supply chain software is not set up to handle the way you run your business. Building software that is customized for the way you do business can help improve profits and efficiency while reducing errors and unnecessary complications.

Below FiveSixTwo has identified the top five ways customized technology can improve your business:

1. More accurate forecasting. Inaccurate forecasts can cause products to sit on your shelves too long, while your profitability slowly decreases. It is simple to imagine the ideal wine, beer, and spirits warehouse: keep stock at a minimum, and never run out of inventory. But, it is much harder to execute. Customized technology can help.

Using forecasting technology that is rule-based, time-phased, and can take into consideration seasonal variations, sales trends, retailer forecasts, purchase history, and more can help minimize inventory carrying costs and reduce out of stock situations. It is also important that your forecasting tools are fully integrated with your supply chain software so that updates happen in real-time. This enables your forecasts to react dynamically to the changing marketplace so you stay one step ahead of your demand.

2. Better reporting and extracts. It is important for alcohol distributors to have in-depth reporting capabilities. Being able to report on every detail about your business and inventory is critical for making business decisions. And having automated tools to execute beverage-specific extracts will save time and resources.

Manually pulling sales reports costs many alcohol distributors time and resources, and leads to data being reported incorrectly. Building a reporting tool that automates sales reporting by customer, sales representative, product, supplier, brand, and more, will increase data integrity, free up resources, and improve decision making speed. Even better is building a tool that performs product and customer analysis, and comparisons, quickly and easily.

3. Work from anywhere at any time. Running an alcohol wholesale business means you and your team members are always on the move. Using advanced mobile technology can give your team an advantage over the competition.

Key areas where mobility can make the most impact are with business intelligence and remote sales order entry. Having a business intelligence tool that enables you to quickly and easily check in on KPI’s also ensures you are just seconds away from the sales, profitability, and other information you need to run your business.

4. Better bill-back/incentive/sample tools. The main goal of your alcohol distribution business is to sell, sell, sell. In order to do that, you may need to use sampling stations, incentivize salespeople, or make quantity deals. Without customized technology, tracking and managing these activities can become time-consuming and complicated.

Customized technology that can track samples, and generate supplier bill-backs for sampled products, can help simplify the process. Being able to manage supplier bill-backs for ship and debit pricing, and for sales representative, incentive placement goals ensures the process is handled as efficiently as possible. Customized technology also lets you review bill-back history, provide suppliers with transaction level bill-back detail, automatically calculate bill-back amounts, and more.

5. Improve restrictions, reservations and pricing management. Alcohol distributors need to be able to seamlessly handle sales restrictions, and inventory reservations, while having flexible pricing options. Trying to manage these items without customized tools built for your business results in wasted time and money.

Customized technology can help optimize the allocation of your inventory to customers. It can enable you to manage sales restrictions on an on or off-premise basis, or by a sales representative, and to set up inventory reservations for important customers. For many companies, it is vital to have flexible pricing tools. Using customized technology can enable you to set up pricing as needed, family pricing, different price books for on or off-premise customers, or price deals for larger customers.

FiveSixTwo is an industry leader in custom development for distributors and companies that have mobile workforces. With over a decade of experience building and scaling some of the largest custom software solutions, it’s our mission to help achieve your goals by optimizing your operations for maximum efficiency and ROI for your company. If you are interested in learning more, please email to mike.henstridge@fivesixtwo.com