Steele and partners Josh Brox and Michelle White founded Peakaso Partners to bring Crafted ERP, a NetSuite-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to craft breweries with production of about 5,000 barrels or more.
Brewers often cobble together ERP systems from several vendors, and limited integration can cause problems with forecasting and cash flow. "It's kind of a homegrown business, so cash is always top of mind," says Steele.
As Steele, Brox, and White have considerable experience in NetSuite solutions, it follows that Crafted ERP offers a one-stop ERP shop layered on a NetSuite platform. The product is priced at about $30,000 annually.
"As a system, it can help with everything from the green side of the business, fulfillment, all the way to accounting," says Steele. "You can put in all your sales orders and have that drive your production, rather than best guess. A lot of times, [brewers] are guessing on what their brite demand might be." Same goes for forecasting kegging versus packaging, and evaluating self-distributing versus outsourcing distribution, she adds. "It's not that simple."
Steele points to inventory management, production planning, and production management as major pain points for growing craft breweries. The Crafted ERP system "automatically produces your purchase orders and suggesting those based on production," she explains. "It's taking a lot of the thinking and guessing out of it and replacing it with suggested orders."
Crafted ERP "allows you to track everything." Consider that insurance against worst-case scenario. "Heaven forbid a Sierra Nevada incident happens and you have to recall a batch," says Steele, referencing the 36-state recall by the Chico, California-based craft brewery in early 2017 due to chipped glass.
Clients include Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs, Colorado; Bench Brewing in Beamsville, Ontario; Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, Washington; and Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau. "It's really for small to big breweries and really everything in between," touts Steele. "We can help every brewery."
For Iron Horse, "One of the big drivers was demand planning," says Steele. "Everyone was putting data in after the fact."
Elevation "transitioned off of OrchestratedBEER, the incumbent in the space," says Steele. She says Crafted ERP offers several advantages. "Cost of goods sold is hard to get your arms around," she notes.
The Crafted ERP team's NetSuite expertise is paired with firsthand brewing and winemaking experience. Steele owns a vineyard and winery with her family, and Ethan Osborne, former head brewer for Crazy Mountain and Great Divide, is "brewer in residence." "He's really helped round it out on the brewer's side," says Steele.
Crafted ERP is available in brewery, distillery, and non-alcoholic editions, and a winery system is in "alpha," says Steele. "There are so many similarities and overlaps from a manufacturing standpoint."
The common thread for all of the craft beverage ERP solutions? "We try to make it really simple for the user," says Steele.
Favorite beers: "I'm a big stout and sour fan," says Steele. "My partners are IPA and pale ale people."
Challenges: "It's king of the classic sales and delivery dichotomy," says Steele. "You have to focus on sales to have clients to deliver to."
Opportunities: Growth with breweries brewing more than 5,000 barrels annually. "If you have pretty aggressive growth strategies, we'll help you get there," says Steele.
Needs: "We're looking to add a couple more people," says Steele. Crafted ERP is looking for technical and functional consultants with NetSuite and manufacturing experience, but they're difficult to find. "NetSuite is taking off as a production platform so it's hard to find good NetSuite talent."