OBEER is a wonderfully complex engine that will propel your craft brewery to the next level. It requires focus and attention, but the rewards are well worth the effort. I often tell people that in order to get the most out of the software, you have to make sure that you are on a stable footing.
Accurate Inventory in Your Brewery
The first step in any system-wide implementation is to ensure that your inventory counts are correct on an every-day basis. This is a big growth step for any brewery. It is often the most overlooked and painful part of a system conversion. Once inventory is stabilized, everyone who touches beer and the components of making beer is accountable to a system. I often tell people that you can’t monitor what you can’t measure. Therefore, it is import that the physical world matches the virtual world. That is, the system must be accurate for everyone to trust the system.
Assign People to the Appropriate Roles
OBEER touches every part of the brewery, so it is important to make sure that every part of the company has a seat at the table. In my Optimizing OBEER talk, I define the roles that must be assigned and who should fill what roles. Implementing OBEER is a group task, and it is important that everyone knows what is expected of them.
Remember, you are not done until everyone TRUSTS the data. One of the most frustrating things about an implementation is not getting to the finish line. A lot of breweries may be operational on the system, but they can’t use the system to make business decisions. That next step makes all of the money and time worthwhile.
Management Has a Role Also
Management has a very important role in implementing and maintaining software. It is tempting to hand the project over to a technical person and tell them to “make the system work.” Implementations are hard, and it requires a cultural shift in everyone’s thinking. Therefore, ownership must take a seat at the table and lead your implementation team. I know that there is a lot to understand and that you have tremendous demands on your time and attention.
Create Periodic Goals and Review Progress
I find that most breweries find themselves exhausted by just turning on such a complex system. There are a lot more bells and whistles in OBEER then most people are used to. OBEER has the tools to take a brewery to the next level, but it is important to gauge the energy level of your staff to make sure that you are not exhausting your leaders. Many things may be changing at once, and it is important to space out the implementation in order to grab the time and energy needed to fully implement OBEER. I often set three goals: to go live on the system, to trust the data in the system and finally to rely on the data in the system.
There is no doubt that OBEER has the tools to take a brewery to the next level. The secret behind a successful implementation is focus, setting goals, and periodic review of progress. I promise that you won’t be disappointed once you get the system fully implemented and the brewery is now relying on data instead of walking around to find the right person with the answer. Growing breweries need new ways of achieving efficiency with the same amount of people.