Manufacturing - ERP/MRP

Manufacturing Software News, Case-Study Applications, Product Information, Best-Practice and Thought-Leadership Articles

Epicor Helps Islay Whisky Manufacturer Blend Heritage with Technology to Deliver the Perfect Dram

08-Jun-2017
Epicor Helps Islay Whisky Manufacturer Blend Heritage with Technology to Deliver the Perfect Dram
Company facts

Success highlights 

Challenges

  • Transforming a traditional business with legacy processes and equipment into a modern manufacturer 
  • Reporting excise and duty information effectively and relying on manual processes for order tracking 
  • Inadequate systems to manage the bottling process 

Solution
  • Epicor Tropos 

Benefits
  • Technologically advanced business practice, providing greater availability to accurate data, 
  • Accurate and timely reporting aiding increased employee efficiency 
  • Ability to handle bottling process in-house 

Founded and headquartered on the remote Isle of Islay in the Inner Hebrides in 1881, Bruichladdich is a globally renowned whisky distillery, mainly producing single malt craft Scotch whisky. During its long history the distillery has had a number of owners, but prior to its most recent purchase in 2001 by Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier, it was considered ‘surplus to requirements’ by its bigger establishment whisky manufacturing owners and had been closed since 1994. Simon and Mark were keen to embrace this challenge and embarked on a transformative journey to not only build on Bruichladdich’s heritage in the whisky sector, but also recreate it into the Progressive Hebridean Distillers they are today.

Armed with a passion to innovate what they felt had become an increasingly conformist industry, the owners were especially keen to distil whisky that gave a nod to its Islay heritage and was created with authenticity, but was still a contemporary whisky brand. The owners wanted to move beyond the industrialisation and self-interest that other organisations were exhibiting and focusing on quality, people and provenance.

All of this was achieved by restoring the original Victorian machinery and ensuring that the barley remained 100% Scottish. This is how the owners saw the opportunity to progress within the whisky industry and it remains the pillar of the company’s philosophy as they continue to look to the future.

The challenge
Reinvigorating the business back in 2001 was challenging for Bruichladdich. It was breaking into an industry that had become dominated by a few key players. Despite this, Bruichladdich felt that the market was shifting in terms of what consumers wanted and saw a gap when it came to offering an authentic and craft whisky, one where the people/artisans are involved in every aspect of the production process. The brand boasted the legacy of a whisky distillery and the rejuvenated energy of a company seeking to challenge the market, but was lacking the technological infrastructure to expand the business.

A significant sticking point when starting out was regulatory compliance. As is standard protocol with any company producing goods with duty, there came many additional stringent regulations from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that needed to be adhered to. It was vital that Bruichladdich could show that it could control and track every single litre of alcohol at any one moment throughout the production process—from maturation, to bottling, to dispatching. However, back in 2001, armed with only a basic stock control system and reams of spreadsheets, the relentless task of compiling forms, detailing every alcohol order dispatched and received, became extremely laborious for the small team. Considering that reports had to be filed daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, something that should have been an easy task ended up becoming a mammoth reconciling operation that often lead to the team working nights and weekends to meet deadlines. With timings slipping further and further as the months went on, Bruich laddich began looking for a more effective way to work.

As part of the brand’s ambition to become an entirely Islay-run business, Bruichladdich needed to move the process of bottling from a third-party warehouse based in Glasgow, to managing the entire process in house, on Islay. However, the company’s legacy stock control system, inherited from the previous owners, just wasn’t fit to handle this additional process as it didn’t have the capability to incorporate bottling as a process into the system. Hence, it was essential that a new system had a bottling module integrated from the get-go.

Taking the next steps
In order to meet the company’s plans for growth the business needed to look for a solution that would not only incorporate bottling, but help move financial reporting from single-entry spreadsheets to an automated and reliable system. A big part of the change was prompted by the need to streamline processes. Bruichladdich knew that this needed a significant investment in industry-specific manufacturing software—an investment that seemed out of reach at the time due to the company not feeling large enough to warrant such an advanced technological solution. But it was an investment that could support the business to look forward and grow in line with ambitions. The management had become used to throwing more and more people at the old system but it was time to look at offsetting the escalating labour cost with the cost of investment in a new system.

After searching for a suitable system, one that has UK Customs and Excise approval, Bruichladdich selected Epicor Tropos. The solution was particularly suited to Bruichladdich as it was advanced enough to incorporate bulk stock control as well as bottling functions, so was the stand-out choice to deliver for the business’s needs. This choice was further reinforced after attending a user-group and hearing about the experiences from other distilleries using Tropos, it was evident that the system would alleviate the current challenges facing Bruichladdich and was advanced enough to meet the future plans for the brand’s transformation and growth.

Adjusting to a new way of working
Whilst Bruichladdich realised that it didn’t necessarily need all the features incorporated into Tropos immediately, ambitious plans for future growth meant these features would imminently become very useful. Fundamentally, it was important that the investment was made early in the business’s growth to best prepare its technology and manufacturing processes for its long term goals.

“We were always looking over our shoulder and just about coping to keep on top of things. As soon as Tropos was fully installed and the whole business had become comfortable with using it, we finally had the time and resource to start looking towards growth and how we can push the business forward,” says Simon Coughlin, chief executive officer, Bruichladdich.

Now that all the financial and accounting information is interfaced with the Tropos system, it has become easier for members of staff to pull reports and actionable data at all levels of the business. It tracks every purchase order going through the business, from orders in the distillery, to a bulk order of lids, to keyrings in the gift shop. It also provides greater transparency of business data, equipping managers with real-time information to make informed and accurate decisions as the business develops. The fact that all this information is available in one system not only makes reporting easier, but increases collaboration and unity across all departments at all levels.

“We can now actually trust all of our reports and numbers. Previously if margins weren’t quite right we couldn’t find what had been missed off and from where. The beauty is that we can now pinpoint any discrepancies in reports quickly and effectively, which reduces the risk of any issues escalating. It’s just reassuring knowing that we have the tools to identify the scale of potential issues, such as if we were to send out an order with the wrong lids. It gives us a level of security and assurance that we previously didn’t have when working from spreadsheets. This in turn has helped inform our business decisions. It’s fundamentally changed the business for the better,” continues Simon.

Looking to the future
With the 15-20 users now able to access the system remotely from a variety of devices, the team at Bruichladdich continues to use Epicor Tropos as the backbone of the distillery operations. Since implementing Tropos, the business has grown drastically. Originally distributing to around 20 countries, the business now distributes to more than 60, and growth shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, the forecast is that in 2017, it will be distributing 320,000 cases around the world, a colossal increase from the 5,000 cases it distributed in 2001. The introduction of Tropos means that there is greater automation in the business’s processes, such as automatic billing and order placements, enabling the company to streamline the way it works and prepare for future technological opportunities like Industry 4.0.

“We’re focussing on growth and with Tropos in place, we are able to continue looking forward, and that is the beauty of it. It’s supported us along the way and it will continue to be a vital resource in our future,” concludes Simon.

SAP Introduces SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud
3 days ago
UNEX Manufacturing Brian C. Neuwirth Named MHI Outstanding Young Professional at MODEX 2018
1 week ago
Lectra’s Cloud Applications take the Fashion World by Storm
2 weeks ago
Brockhouse forges ahead with turnover up a third
2 weeks ago
UNEX Manufacturing Acquires SpeedCell to Expand Company Product Line with Dynamic
2 weeks ago
Optimising productivity at warehouse packing stations
2 weeks ago
SYSPRO's Latest ERP Release Supports Globalization, Growth, and the Digital Economy for Manufacturers
1 month ago
Teamwork Reimagined: Lectra Connected Design and Lectra Connected Development
1 month ago
Subcon partners with Automechanika Birmingham to open doors to all visitors
1 month ago
4 Reasons Robotics Will Continue To Dominate The Manufacturing World
1 month ago
GST Achieves Sustainable Competitive Advantage through Unique Partnership with Lectra
1 month ago
GE Spurs Product Innovation Through Multi-Year Agreement With Ansys
2 months ago
Ansys Discovery Live Enables Real-Time Digital Exploration For Every Engineer
2 months ago
Engineering The Future: Visitor Registration Opens For Subcon
2 months ago
From Single-Task Machines to Backflipping Robots: The Evolution of Robots
2 months ago
Bonlok Invests In Khaos Control Cloud ERP To Centralise And Enhance Business Operations
2 months ago
UNEX Manufacturing Order Picking and Material Handling Solutions to be Showcased at RILA Retail SC Conference
2 months ago
Eurotech and ALTEN Calsoft Labs partner up to provide innovative solutions in the IoT space
2 months ago
Langhammer Presents a Compact Layer Palletizing System
2 months ago
Ansys Tames Product Complexity And Spurs Productivity With Release 19
2 months ago
Epicor Announces Two New Executive Leadership Appointments to Take Company through Next Phase of Growth
2 months ago
Lectra announces the acquisition of Kubix Lab
2 months ago
UK manufacturing sector holds the line as bad debt looms, data from Creditsafe reveals
3 months ago
Russell Roof Tiles Builds in the Cloud with Infor
3 months ago
2017 Marks 2nd Consecutive Year of Record Growth for UNEX Manufacturing, Inc.
3 months ago
Romanita : A Cut Above The Rest With Lectra
3 months ago
Imperial Brands Will Upgrade to QAD Cloud ERP in 21 Facilities
4 months ago
Gartner Says By 2020, Artificial Intelligence Will Create More Jobs Than It Eliminates
4 months ago
Lectra appoints Nathalie Brunel as Vice-President Sales, Fashion & Apparel
4 months ago
Hayward Tyler and Lanner win OR Society’s President’s Award 2017
4 months ago
Evolution of fashion professions at heart of Lectra’s 8th education congress
4 months ago
Reactive Downhole Tools Selects Epicor ERP to Support Ongoing Growth
4 months ago
Business Insights drives productivity in ERP
4 months ago
Armor-Lux selects Lectra Fashion PLM 4.0
5 months ago
TouchPath Launches Cutting Edge IoT Solution For Manufacturers
5 months ago
Maximizing production efficiency with 3D printed tools, jigs, and fixtures
5 months ago
Determining the venting capacity of bags with a mobile unit
5 months ago
OPW cushion manufacturers boost bottom line with Lectra’s newest airbag cutting solution
5 months ago
Total Economic Impact Study Reveals Epicor ERP Customers Can Achieve 264% ROI
5 months ago
London College of Fashion
6 months ago
UNEX Exhibits Lineside Picking and Flow Cell Solutions at The Assembly Show
6 months ago
UK manufacturing sector back in growth, new research reveals
6 months ago
Bmp Invest In Syspro Erp To Deal With Their Diverse Product Ranges And Allow For Future Growth
6 months ago
Hayward Tyler and Lanner win OR Society’s President’s Award 2017
6 months ago
VIA University College, Denmark Fuses Fashion and Function with Infor
6 months ago
Uk’s Largest Stockholders Of Quality Engineering And Advanced Thermoplastics Chooses K3 Syspro Technology
6 months ago
Bromford Iron & Steel invests £50,000 to fuel growth
6 months ago
New Fully - Automated Security Patching for Oracle’s E - Business Suite
6 months ago
Lectra and Faurecia renew their partnership agreement
6 months ago