Insights - March 1, 2023
Now multi-warehouse, intelligent and actionable
Last month we made a major change to Vintners.co - we introduced a new inventory management capability. Eric and Bogdan cooked this in record time and we are in awe because of the power and the potential.
Before, Vintners.co had what I’d call a lightweight inventory management capability: it was very simple, it could only deal with one inventory location / warehouse, and was not the best system to deal with inventory changes, synchronization with third-party systems and such. Some marketers might call this inventory management, but in fact, it wasn’t. And we were clear that it was not our intention to dip our feet in the Inventory Management ocean.
However, we changed our minds and decided to dive in. We did so because we keep developing Vintners.co first for our first needs, and because Living Wine and Groupe Tamara are expanding, we realized we needed a strong system to better manage inventory flows for ourselves, between our logistic partners, and our different entities in France, US and Romania as well as some future entities. Instead of going onto the market to find expensive, less than optimal, and probably hard to integrate, rusted software, we just decided to build it into Vintners.co.
Inventory Management is a domain that typically feels simple to the ones not really knowing it - after all, isn’t it just about having a stock associated with a product item, just one more field in your database, no? But once you start to look into it, you realize it’s much more than that, and the business logic can be fairly complex once you start to have a range of different other systems to integrate, involved in moving stock.
"The inventory system is used for our main catalog stock, hold an allocation information"
The framework we developed on top of our Product Information database will enable us to tackle that complexity and do a lot of different things.
The system is based on a core model which supports multiple warehouses, with native support for inter-warehouse inventory transfers and dispatches as well as the possibility to manage inventory adjustments either manually or integrated to a third-party system. In other words, it means that Vintners.co wine database can know where wines are being stored, with ability to support many different locations/warehouses either physical or virtual, and can also orchestrate any movement between these warehouses, as well as all movements related to production, acquisition or damages which also, of course, impact inventory.
"Creating adjustments and transfers with a modern user interface"
The system is quite versatile and can be used by different users of Vintners.co:
For producers who manage their wine information in Vintners.co, our platform can now become a tool where they’ll be able to also manage their entire inventory, whether they sell entirely on Vintners.co or not. When selling through Vintners.co, all inventory updates will of course be automatically taken care of, but when selling by other means, it will just be about adjusting stock and this could be done manually, or simply by integrating other tools.
The virtual warehouse option can be used to allocate or bundle part of the production and make sure it is reserved.
For distributors who can both buy and sell on Vintners.co, the beauty of this built-in inventory management system is that it natively takes care of all the inventory moves that are involved in both the buy and sell side of the operation.
When a Purchase Order to a Supplier is processed, the system can manage, track and update the inventory of the distributor as the purchase order is progressing, first providing ETA and Incoming stock information (that can be shared with internal users as well as with end customers) and automatically be inbounded in the stock ready to be purchased and shipped by customers.
"Creating automated transfer from sourcing POs to inventory for sale, with automatic price calculation"
It can also be very powerful when managing several warehouses and having to proceed to transfer between the warehouses.
Ultimately, it can also be used collaboratively by multiple organizations being on Vintners.co. Assume Producer A, Importer B and Distributor C are all using Vintners and working together. Thanks to this new feature, a customer of Distributor C could see stock information about products that are in Distributor C warehouses, but also about stock information which is not yet available, but that is either at Importer B or Producer A warehouses but available or even allocated to Distributor C. In short: more information about where the product is and how it could flow to its customer.
Finally, we realized the system had also all it takes to become a very powerful solution for wine stores or restaurants to better manage their inventory. This was not the original idea of the platform, but it appeared very clearly that this was a viable and powerful option to explore.
Inventory is a real struggle for small as well as large wine retailers, and there’s a need for a simple solution to integrate. One advantage of using vintners.co for that is that you can use vintners.co for your procurement, regardless if the Seller is on vintners.co or not. That’s the place where you can manage your procurement, store and collaborate on your purchase orders, and once accepted and validated move and track your purchase orders up to when physical goods are received in your store, restaurant or warehouse.
When it comes to managing the outbound flow for wine stores or restaurants, of course, Vintners.co is not the place where this is happening (or not yet…) but still, this outbound flow can simply be loaded from any POS or cashier systems. We can also offer to manage everything manually and will offer features to make this even easier by relying on QR codes scans and our mobile app.
Very clearly, our inventory management system is still young, but that’s also one of its strengths as well as by nature its technical architecture is therefore modern, adaptable, lightweight and extremely fast.
In the coming months, we’ll improve all core customer-facing interactions to make it very smooth and intuitive, but it is already more than usable and understandable.
We will also work on integrating it better with other systems so that it can be the hub where to regroup all information around the product, from accepting orders passed on to other systems to integrating tracking and geolocation of products in transit. Are you looking to improve your inventory management and curious to know how Vintners.co could do this? Please reach out to email@example.com, we’d be delighted to tell you a bit more about how the system works, and where it is going and to discuss your needs and if and how Vintners.co could help solve them.
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