Alcohol manufacturers and distributors face a number of issues. On one hand, there are legal restrictions and regulations that influence production. On the other, there are challenges in managing inventory levels, similar to any other manufacturer of food and beverages. Two situations demonstrate the need for better data collection solutions to ensure alcohol producers are working at maximum efficiency.
Tennessee Whiskey-Makers May Face New Regulations
One of most significant issues facing brands that manufacture distilled spirits is following the precise definition of what constitutes the particular type of alcohol. The Associated Press explained there's currently a discussion underway in the Tennessee legislature about the specific combination of ingredients necessary to qualify a certain liquor as Tennessee whiskey. In 2013, the state ruled that any spirit that's labeled as such needs to contain 51 percent cord, follow particular aging and filtering processes and be bottled with a strength of at least 80 proof.
Jack Daniel's master distiller Jeff Arnett voiced his support of maintaining the existing rules for whiskey-makers, explaining it helps to keep the playing field level as new, small distillers enter the market. However, George Dickel, which is owned by British liquor enterprise Diageo, opposes the restrictions because they force whiskey-makers to adhere to rules that may be difficult to follow in the event of materials shortages.
In either case, effective data capture will need to be part of the equation. Because of the existing regulations governing the types of barrels used and the charcoal used for filtering, Tennessee whiskey producers need to pay strict attention to the suppliers through which they source these items. Manufacturers can take advantage of mobile data collection applications that streamline receiving and transferring of materials. Another key component of ensuring liquor producers follow the regulations is strong inventory management. Using automated data capture to gain real-time visibility into stockpiles for necessary materials, manufacturers have the opportunity to keep on top of materials and production levels and avoid waste or running out of items.
Washington State Winery Demonstrates the Need for Inventory Management
Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the oldest and most acclaimed wineries in Washington with facilities in two locations in the state. One of the main issues for the alcohol producer was the manual process used for tracking bottling production processes. Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery selected RFgen as its partner for mobile data collection software to address this issue. However, the more recent problem was the winery's pick and ship procedures. Because RFgen's software solutions integrated seamlessly with the winery's JD Edwards World ERP system, Chateau Ste. Michelle was able to get real-time data for its multiple standard bottling lines, as well as a mobile system that's portable through the organization's trucking lines.
At the same time, the winery introduced a Pallet ID system to track pallets throughout their production facility. It begins with a barcode that's placed on every pallet, which can be scanned and monitors the movement of all materials throughout the production processes. The winery was also able to customize its license plating solution, helping them to find an alternative process for picking that was more efficient. With every order, RFgen's application devises a pick list that directs facility employees to the precise location in a warehouse where the lot numbers need to be picked. Every transaction is updated in real time and pickers are able to apply pre-printed pallet ID tags to the pallets which then begins the process of mobbing items to the staging area where they're confirmed.
Automated data collection is a resource that any beverage maker should take advantage of to remove risks association with inventory management. This software also helps manufacturers rise to the challenge of any regulatory changes to production processes.