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“I hope it will be magical,” Justin says. “It should be."

Justin Presents at ekos_con

Ryan’s not the only one at CMBC with a full speaking schedule. Jimmy’s spoken at Villanova, and Mop Man did a presentation at Stockton University a few months ago.

This week, our resident magician, possessor of enviable biceps, and Distribution Manager Justin Vitti presented at ekos_con at the Le Méridien in Charlotte, North Carolina.

And Charlotte may never be the same.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of aspects to running a brewery, and, at CMBC, we try to do things as paperlessly as possible. We’re fans of advances in technology, and ekos_ allows us to manage, well…, just about everything.

“In a nutshell,” Justin tells us, “ekos_ is brewery management software that tracks everything from the ingredients to the sale.”

At CMBC, we use it to manage the inventory of our ingredients, through the production process, to packaging, to the inventory of our products, through to sales invoices to our customers, inventory checks and balances, compliance, and sales reporting.

“Everything,” Justin says.

It’s kind of an important piece of software.

IMG_3904We’ve been using ekos_ since December of 2015. Back in the Stone Age before ekos_, our salesforce would email their orders, someone would receive the order, write it under the day for delivery on a whiteboard, and the sales guys would manually create invoices in QuickBooks. They’d print them out, leave them in a pile for the delivery guys to manually create a pick sheet the next day.

That’s not a bad system, but there’s room for error.

Now, our sales team can enter the order directly on an app on their phone and create an invoice on the fly. This creates a live inventory system, so the guys can take one look and see what we have in stock.

“It’s all-around better efficiency,” Justin says. “It’s made everybody’s life easier.”

Justin exports the next day’s deliveries into his GPS system, and from there it’s easy to see which kegs go on which trucks.

“You can see where they all are on the map,” Justin tells us, “and it’s easy. ‘Oh, these five are going to go on this truck, and these ten are going to go on this truck, and these seventeen are going to go on this truck.’ Then it prints the pick sheets and invoices for each truck individually.”

Unfortunately, at the moment ekos_’s GPS system isn’t sufficient for our needs, but Justin took part in a VIP session this week for ekos_ to find ways to Make it Better.

“On Wednesday, I took a leisurely three-mile stroll through the heat and humidity of Charlotte to get to the VIP session,” he says. “I thought it was a little closer than it was. When I was halfway there, I pulled up Google Maps and realized that I still had twenty-five minutes to go!”

Nonetheless, he made it there in one, sweaty piece and had several brainstorming sessions on how to improve the software for different aspects of a brewery: management, operations, sales and distribution, and science, among others.

“We basically sat and brainstormed: ‘These are the sticking points we have with ekos_. If it could get past this and do this, it would be that much better.

“They want to know from the people who are using it how they can Make It Better. Which is cool for us, since that’s one of our Core Values.”

The good people over at ekos_ chose Justin to present on what their software can do for a self-distributed brewery of our size.

IMG_9324“It’s on the tools that ekos_ has to better manage sales and distribution for your brewery,” he says.

He’s focusing on a self-distribution model since that’s what we do here at CMBC. While a lot of breweries self-distribute, few do it on the level that we do. We distribute to hundreds of accounts throughout the area, almost entirely through ekos_.

This isn’t the first time Justin’s spoken on the wonders that is ekos_. At CBC this year, he sat on a panel with three other breweries to sing its praises.

Justin is hoping that, after his presentation, other breweries will be able to use all of the tools within ekos_ to enhance their self-distribution.

“I’ve done my research for the brewery,” Justin says. “We looked into a number of other, larger software platforms, but ekos_ is growing, and they’re able to do a lot of the things that the bigger guys can do. You just have to be able to use it the right way. You can’t be afraid to run a report wrong, and then go back and figure out what you did wrong. You’ve got to get in there and play with it.”

Justin’s time at ekos_con isn’t the typical hour-long presentation. It’s not 55 minutes of lecture with five minutes of question-and-answer.

“It’s here’s my history, here’s the history of our brewery, here’s what we’re doing, here are the tools,” he says. “Let’s talk. Let’s have a discussion. You’re going to get more out of specific questions from this conversation that you will from me showing you what’s on the slide behind me.”

Justin is “super prepared” for his presentation, and we’d love to be a fly on the wall.

“I hope it will be magical,” Justin says. “It should be. It’s not a fun topic to talk about — sales and distribution. But I’ll make it witty. Jovial. Fun. I want to keep it light. I’m a fun person.”

Well, that’s true.