Work with the right supply chain management (SCM) partner so that you can springboard your beer into the next big market, potentially even worldwide.
How do you grow your brewery and expand your market while retaining the passion, drive and courage of a brewery-in-planning? It takes patience, dedication and, sometimes, relying on others for help.
Passionate brewers wishing to grow beyond their area code should think about expanding their supply chain strategy. Exporting product to foreign markets is an ambitious dream of many. Let’s be real, who has time to learn and manage domestic and global logistics while building a thriving brewery? With a supply chain partner, who fully understands the brewing industry, these dreams are possible.
Look for the right partner with an established network of service providers and warehouse facilities and shares your passions. If you find one that possesses all of these qualities, that can be a game changer.
Things to consider when searching for the right supply chain partner:
1. What is the scope of their supply chain network and capacity?
You can benefit from the economies of scale that a SCM provider has established with their network of domestic and global logistics providers. In other words, you reap the rewards of negotiated rates based on their volumes, a coast-to-coast, port-to-port SCM network, well-vetted transportation providers and strategically located warehouse facilities that provide flexibility to adapt to the scope and scale of your needs. SCM is no place for the 80/20 rule (advancing your product 80% through the supply chain but not the last 20%). Find a partner who will manage your beer as it travels from its first mile to its last mile.
Note – a global or international SCM strategy is not complete without a process to manage the reverse logistics (safe return) of your reusable assets
2. Am I big enough that a global SCM partner would want my business?
You want a partner who can serve the smallest brewer with the same quality service as the largest. Look for a provider who can manage product in pallet units as well as full truck/container loads. Find a partner who will consolidate small quantities of similar size loads from multiple producers to create full shipments.
3. Will I lose control of my products if someone else is managing the logistics?
Always remember, you get what you pay for. If you opt to use a provider because the price is lower, you might be sacrificing major services and benefits.
Avoid the cookie-cutter SCM approach that forces your business to fit into a rigid service offering. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the companies who are surviving are the ones who were nimble and creative. The sign of a healthy and beneficial partnership is when both parties are secure enough to challenge status quo (with respect for each other) in order to achieve a common goal. The right partner will not strip you of your supply chain control – rather they will advise and shift the burden of managing it off your shoulders
4. Can I afford an SCM provider heavily invested in innovative technology?
Absolutely. Look for a partner who can pass along their economies of scale. A provider that has a deep and broad customer base rooted in the brewing industry will have tailored their solutions to your needs already. Your partner’s worth increases exponentially with the caliber of their technology. You want real-time visibility of your product as it progresses through the supply chain. However, the value of technology goes beyond visibility. Think about how much more efficient you can operate if your brewery production or sales forecast tools can integrate with your partner’s warehouse management system or transportation management system.
5. Is it truly possible to expand my reach into international markets?
Why not? Don’t allow your SCM provider’s limitations to become your limitations. Find an SCM provider who won’t have to start from scratch to design a global SCM strategy for you. If you have a single provider who can manage all of your SCM needs (domestic and beyond), that’s even better. Your peers and competition are probably already preparing for this. Look for a provider who offers solutions to keep your product at the optimum temperature (both in transit and in storage).
For over 176 years, the Hillebrand experts have been providing solutions for brewers like domestic and international transportation, warehousing, asset tracking, reverse logistics, international services (customs, tough border guidelines and rules, duty, documentation) and even last mile delivery.