Case Study: Yards Brewing Company Leverages Connected ERP Software to Gain Data Visibility and Streamline Production Efficiency

“We knew production was being held back with what we had. It just wasn't working for us anymore. That was when we started the search for more sophisticated software.“ - Mauri Bartlett, Quality Assurance Manager, Yards Brewing Company

October 3, 2022

INDUSTRY: Producer   PRIMARY BEVERAGE: Beer   SIZE: 60,000 BBL/Year (2022)

Yards Brewing Company began brewing English-style cask beer 25 years ago, and now they are brewing and serving 20+ brands of beer. Yards has approximately 100 employees, 50 of whom are dedicated to production. They are the proud originators of the ‘Real Ale Fest,’ a cask brewing festival for local brewers in the Philadelphia area. 

Thanks to the people behind the beer, 12 (and increasing!) distribution partnerships, and the power of connected, cloud-native technology, Yards continues to share their beer and the story that comes with it across the Northeastern United States. Yards produced 60,000 Barrels of beer last year and aims to increase production in the future.

Business Situation

Production efficiency was limited by disconnected, disparate systems and a lack of access to insightful inventory data

Yards used to operate with a very basic warehouse logistics software for finished goods inventory and a separate resource-planning application for raw materials. The resource planning application worked great at first, but Yards quickly outgrew the technology. It wasn’t continuously updated to suit their needs, hindering business growth.

We didn't have any kind of cohesive system. We had an app that was custom-built for us but wasn't growing with us anymore. And we had a separate, very basic inventory system that was really just for finished goods. Having a full system that talked to each other and provided really good clarity into our inventory was something we wanted.

Mauri Bartlett

Quality Assurance Manager, Yards Brewing

The primary technological issue was a lack of visibility into raw material inventory. The software prevented them from seeing live raw material inventory data and projecting production with accuracy. The production team’s flexibility to adapt and capitalize on unused tank space became increasingly complicated, often unexpectedly delaying production due to insufficient ingredients on hand.

Additionally, they had some complications tying raw material inventory data to finished goods inventory because their two systems lacked connectivity. As a result, the pricing of finished goods didn’t accurately reflect the cost of production. 

The time investment required for inventory-taking processes became a roadblock for the brewery, and Yards knew they could leverage technology to increase efficiency. The brewery recognized essential pieces were missing from their tech stack. Yards needed a comprehensive  ERP solution to reinvest their time into streamlining their operation, maximizing production efficiency, and improving projections.

Solution

Enhanced visibility through a comprehensive, integrated, cloud-native platform creates a clearer picture of the business as a whole


With flexible production hanging in the balance, Yards Brewing began evaluating full-featured ERP software based on these three attributes: 

  • Data insights to drive decision-making for consistency, growth, and profitability

  • Scalable software to ensure the system could grow at the same pace as the brewery

  • One system that could connect their production schedules, cash flow, inventory, ordering, facility map, analytics, recipe building, and more

We knew production was being held back with what we had. It just wasn't working for us anymore. That was when we started the search for more sophisticated software.

Mauri Bartlett

Quality Assurance Manager, Yards Brewing

Yards Brewing knew their operation could run more smoothly and efficiently with a cloud-native, connected ERP system. That’s when they discovered and began evaluating Orchestra Cloud, an Encompass Technologies solution.

Yards Brewing chose Orchestra Cloud to unite their entire operation through one connected platform. The ERP system streamlined business processes for inventory, production, sales, accounting, finance, planning, purchasing, quality control, and reporting. They knew partnering with Encompass would allow them to utilize additional solutions beyond core ERP functionality to fit their unique business needs. For example, Yards decided to take advantage of Encompass's full-featured Warehouse Management System,  which is fully integrated with Orchestra Cloud. Yards decided to implement Orchestra Cloud because it could solve their issues around inventory, data insights, and scalability in addition to fostering cohesive communication across all parts of their business.

Business Impact

Yards Brewing streamlined standard operating procedures to create production flexibility and plan for the future

Through streamlining their SOPs, Yards Brewing saw an immediate impact. The ease of taking inventory on mobile devices eliminated any need to re-enter counts into the system, saving time. Speeding up inventory gave the brewery knowledge of exactly what they had on hand. In sync with production schedules, Yards Brewing got advanced notification if there was low stock of items they needed for a brew. The power of data access across all aspects of inventory enabled them to save  1.5 hours per day. Their warehouse team reported their end-of-month inventory counting time was down by 2 hours. The Yards team also leveraged reporting tools right away to minimize time spent on data extraction by 3+ hours a week.

We use the reporting tool to pull real-time data during our weekly meetings to have informed discussions. The system also allows us to auto-send inventory reports to our contract partners which has been a big fan favorite and the fact that reports auto-generate for us has been a huge time saver.

Mauri Bartlett

Quality Assurance Manager, Yards Brewing

Additional Results

Since Yards Brewing began using Orchestra Cloud in 2021, they’ve realized a number of other major benefits: 

  • Additional solutions could be utilized to strengthen other areas of their unique business, such as the implementation of the Encompass Warehouse Management System

  • Quality Control through the production process ensures customers had a consistent experience with their favorite Yards beers

  • Data embedded in the platform enables quick, actionable decision-making around inventory ordering, production schedules, cash flow, and quality control 

  • Partnership with Encompass provides access to new processes, modern ideas, and revolutionary technology that can connect Yards to all three tiers of the supply chain 

Yards continues to work within Orchestra Cloud to build and scale the business, resulting in a much clearer vision of continued growth without the frustration of operating on disparate systems.

Future

Yards Brewing envisions new quality control data points and new levels of visibility into production operations


Looking forward, Yards Brewing will continue working with the Encompass team to align their system to their growing needs. Orchestra Cloud is an ERP system Yards can lean on to support their growth, and more importantly, grow with them to achieve long-term business goals.

The better you get at your business, the deeper you have to look to see where you’re failing, and having the right data will help us get there.

Mauri Bartlett

Quality Assurance Manager, Yards Brewing

Want to learn more about Orchestra Cloud ERP? Schedule a discovery call with an Encompass team member or read more about the solution here.

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