A candid interview with Justin Fox and Jarrod Stivala, Colonial Brewing Company.
Colonial Brewing Company has been operating for over 7 years. We started as a small brewery and cellar door in Margaret River, Western Australia. There has been major growth in the last 2-3 years, and we’ve been increasing 200% year on year. Recently we opened a new brewery in Port Melbourne, Victoria, which is triple the size.
Before Qdos we used a spreadsheet to track the weekly keg quantities and sales, and then manually transferred the information into H&L (POS software). Over the last 12-18 months, as the business evolved and we had an increase in warehouses and accounts, we found the spreadsheet impossible to manage. We were doubling up – using the spreadsheet to try and track sales and then invoicing out in H&L . It was also difficult to manage the transfer of kegs from one warehouse to another – it was convoluted and taking up unnecessary time.
We wanted an ERP that would give us more time to do what we love doing – spending time in the brewery making beer – rather than punching in numbers. We were looking for a solution to eradicate the manual processes, and we wanted the support in our time zone and preferably Australian developed and supported.
Qdos has definitely improved our customer experience. Now we’re well on top of invoices and statements. The Sales team use Qdos CRM to track interactions and orders. Being able to dynamically segment customers and know you haven’t forgotten to include anyone, being able to send out a campaign EDM to all contacts and accounts is fantastic. We now give the customer more information so that they can get it right (eg ‘order now for Christmas’). It’s improved our professionalism with regards to how we come across digitally.
Qdos has covered off the major areas for us – it’s covered off the complete accounting side, the complete production, ordering and logistics side, and the legal side of who we’re selling all the beer to.
We spoke to many breweries in the US and looked into a few solutions from over there, and they seemed to be quite pricey. Qdos was an affordable option, It is Australian based which means local support in our time zone, and we could modify it to suit the brewery. There are not many software vendors out there who are able to do that. All the other systems we looked at seemed to be very structured without the flexibility to add more features.
We can now produce a tank, add a recipe, Dry Hop, provide alcohol%, create a partial or full production order, generate Stock Usage (cans, lids, Boxes and 6 pack clips), and give a true costing of stock. It’s a comprehensive sales platform that makes logistics easy in that we can process and batch orders.
Some of the reports and features we required were quite specific and Qdos had the flexibility to adjust these reports and tailor the system. In the first 3-4 weeks, we were constantly adding a whole range of features that have helped us with stock transfers, reports, and viewing snapshots of stock holdings at any one time across all our warehouses. Having that flexibility has been really great and it’s helped our scheduling so it’s been really beneficial for us.
The excise is another feature that’s really saved us. In the past, it would be quite annoying to revisit the paperwork on a weekly basis and figure out how much beer was made and calculate the payable tax. Now with Qdos, it’s all report-driven and we’ve cut 30 minutes at the desk.
Some other reports we have benefitted from are:
The freight process is a huge advantage! There is a weekly consolidated batch of orders for delivery (per warehouse) – with a manifest, delivery docket, and invoices. The manifest is emailed directly to the freight company and I’d say that’s dropped a good 2-3 hours off our week. We’ve been able to really customise that by saying ‘we want batches to roll out on a Thursday each week, we want to self-generate the batch for next week. So for example, if we receive orders after a Thursday it automatically rolls into the next batch.
Justin Fox, Head of Brewing, Colonial Brewing Company