At a glance

Organisation

Spirits Platform

PA Product

Function

Finance, Supply Chain, Sales & Marketing 

Key Points

  • Spirits Platform was a new business start-up in an industry dominated by multinational corporations. It needed to quickly develop a sophisticated technology capability to establish itself within the national liquor distribution business, or stall at birth.
  • Within six months of opening its doors the company deployed BOARD Cloud Business Intelligence (BI) platform with strong budgeting, forecasting and analytic capabilities, and provided staff with mobile access to all systems.
  • The solutions enabled Spirits Platform to analyse company, partner and market data, to anticipate trends and develop appropriate sales, marketing and supply chain strategies.
  • Two years since opening its doors, Spirits Platform has successfully established itself as an agile, innovative competitor in the premium liquor distribution market.

The Company

Spirits Platform is an Australian sales, marketing and distribution platform focused on premium spirits brands. Formed in 2015 by a group of highly experienced industry veterans following the merger of Suntory Australia and Beam, the company is driven by its vision to provide the focus, expertise and brand support necessary for premium spirits to succeed in Australia’s crowded market. Spirits Platform is led by a highly experienced management team with almost 100 years of experience in the liquor industry.

Although it is a small company, capturing a three percent share of the spirits market in Australia, Spirits Platform has established a strong reputation in the liquor market in the two years since its inception. Its impressive brand portfolio includes well-known premium brands such as Cointreau, Licor 43, Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Tia Maria, Sierra Tequila, Chartreuse, Opal Nera, Zubrowka Vodka, Mozart, Remy Martin and Louis XIII Cognac.

The Need

As a newly formed company with strong growth ambitions, Spirits Platform needed to establish scalable systems and processes to enable its operations; systems that needed to support a primary mobile workforce and geographically dispersed teams.
Specifically, Spirits Platform wanted to maintain a lean workforce; it simply did not have the resources for heavily technical solutions or number crunching in inefficient spreadsheet regimes.

“I knew that going back to spreadsheets would have set the new business back. It would have imposed a bottleneck on the businesses ability to change rapidly without reliance on expensive external consulting. I had also witnessed heavily technical solutions like Cognos in a prior business. On this occasion, we selected BOARD and it addressed Excel’s inadequacies, cut the technical reliance, and gave us the self-sufficiency we were seeking. I would even say BOARD contributed to the company’s growth in a then overall falling market. So naturally I wanted a fast start in the new company –it’s survival was at stake.”
– David Moore, Director, Spirits Platform

Additionally, as a distributor with no direct visibility into end customer purchases or trends, Spirits Platform relies on data provided by bottle shops, clubs, hotels and retailers to understand sales, inventory and market trends. Vital market and customer performance data had to be incorporated into the budgeting process. Without this, forecasts were out of touch with market realities. In this context, a robust business intelligence system capable of integrating data from a variety of sources was necessary to achieve accurate forecasting, budgeting and planning. Intelligent planning tools and business analytics were therefore crucial for Spirits Platform to pave a sustainable path towards revenue growth.

Challenges

Spirits Platform immediately set out to implement a business intelligence tool. It needed to achieve integration with this vital sales data and leverage forecasting capabilities if it was to launch successfully into the Australian Market. The company had clear requirements for a fast and cost-effective implementation that was within a suitable price range for a fledgling organisation. Director David Moore approached Professional Advantage for advice and assistance in building the new systems to the company’s requirements.

The Solution

Professional Advantage recommended a corporate performance reporting solution with strong business intelligence capabilities (BOARD) to integrate Spirit Platform’s planning, budgeting, forecasting, analysis and reporting in a single tool.

To meet the imperatives of speed, cost and mobility, Professional Advantage advised a BOARD cloud-based solution. This would ensure the fastest time to deployment and avoid the hardware costs associated with on-premise implementation.

“From the time we got the green light we only had a nine-week period to set the company up and start trading. We spoke to Professional Advantage and outlined the challenge. They got all the basics done in time, and then working together we completed all our core systems within six months.” – David Moore, Director, Spirits Platform.

The BOARD software would be supported by Professional Advantage’s deployment of Microsoft CRM, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365 as the foundation technology components. All solutions were familiar to Spirit Platform’s Management Team, which ensured a high level of confidence that the applications would meet their business needs.

Results

To address this, BOARD was extended in a rapid phase and spreadsheets were removed. BOARD now seamlessly leverages key ERP data, rolls weekly forecasts, and synthesizes predictive forecasts with sales team inputs, generating purchase recommendations and optimising inventory. The automation of the Daily Inventory Report alone allowed Spirits Platform the potential to identify stock issues up to three weeks earlier than previously possible. By combining insights from sales history with the customer demand plans, Spirits Platform is now able to target missing demand, further driving up revenue.

The ability to analyse actuals and forecasts as a live comparison has been revolutionary for the company.