Brewing up a business storm
How cloud ERP drives growth while maintaining the big brand vision. To this day, Mike and Lisa Hinckley, founders of San Diego–based craft brewery Green Flash Brewing Co. take every measure they can to keep their beer-first philosophy at the heart of all they do. Established in 2002 as an independent craft brewery, the firm achieved great success with the launch of its groundbreaking West Coast IPA. Soon after, the Hinckleys formulated a plan that involved expanding their product range and distribution network to help them take advantage of the growing taste for artisan beers in the US. However, while their existing manufacturing management system had worked well when just one product was being produced, it provided neither the flexibility nor the functionality to support the firm’s ambition.
Green Flash needed an ERP that could integrate the processes and information required to innovate product lines and increase sales. Yet one that allowed the brewer to keep its point of differentiation—a beer- first philosophy—alive. Having searched the market for options, and following a four-month migration process undertaken to support future expansion, Green Flash went live with the Plex Manufacturing Cloud in October 2013. And the operation now has the capacity to brew up to 100,000 barrels. Chief Financial Officer at Green Flash, Steve Goodger explains: “The new system allows us to reconcile accounting information faster, and it automates our month-end compliance reports.”
In fact, because the Plex Manufacturing Cloud is totally integrated— all ERP modules can be activated on demand and features are auto-updated—Green Flash will always be a specialist brewer and never an IT-driven organization. And that’s thanks to Plex’s unique approach: a cloud ERP built from the ground up, rather than the top floor down. “With the Plex model, we were able to get significantly lower cost of ownership over a 10-year period,” continues Goodger. “Plus, I don’t have to deal with the headache of having a big IT system in-house. It allows us to focus on what we do best. “And gone are the mountains of spreadsheets. Plex has allowed us to be more process oriented, which is going to let us scale our growth so much easier,” Goodger says, adding that the company has plans for a brewery in Virginia Beach.
Benefit & Results
Quenching the thirst for self-improvement Plex Manufacturing Cloud has also helped the management team make more informed decisions. Goodger recounts a situation in which the company became aware of what it thought might be a lower-cost alternative to one of its malt suppliers. When the team dug deeper however, it discovered that the less-expensive option was also lower on yields, information that helped the team stick with its existing relationship. “We were able to see that our current provider was far more efficient,” said Goodger.
At the production level, Plex Manufacturing Cloud was having a transformational effect too. For any manufacturer of craft products, quality is everything. And Plex delivers on all counts. Goodger illuminates: “With our brewers going from whiteboard, pencil and paper to a structured platform, the risk of too much complexity could have jeopardized the entire implementation. Besides, we want our brewers focusing on what they do best—making great beer.
“What’s really great about Plex’s audit trail functionality is that it is right there, on every screen for everyone to access. While this capability is often used for ensuring internal controls, we primarily use it for on-the-spot troubleshooting.”
Benefits you can raise your glass to
With Plex Manufacturing Cloud in place, Green Flash can easily
achieve its future growth plans all while maintaining the founding values of the business. Here are just some of the benefits the beverage innovator enjoys:
- Rapid collaboration – Brewmasters can collaborate with finance on price points for new products. Sales teams who are out signing new distributors can simultaneously access customer service queries
- Increased employee productivity – thanks to any time, any place access to business data
- Improved shipping accuracy – now Green Flash makes
exactly what it needs and ships it on time and with 99.7%
- Enhanced profitability – inventory discrepancies are down from $155,000 to a known $647
- Deeper customer satisfaction – which allows Green Flash to keep its point of differentiation as a pure craft brewer