|Danny Wirtz, |
Senior Vice President,
Wirtz Beverage Group
Wirtz Beverage Group executives Danny Wirtz and Glen Hoch explain how Microsoft Dynamics’ integrated, seamless environment eases the burden in the highly-regulated world of alcohol beverage distribution.
Danny Wirtz, Senior Vice President, Wirtz Beverage Group
Danny oversees the company’s core functions of commercial strategy, IT, operations, training and human resources. He also plays a leading role in Wirtz Beverage Group’s supplier relations and strategic initiatives to foster growth and innovation. Additionally, he offers insight and coordination of business strategies to the Wirtz Corporation family of companies. Glen Hoch, Vice President of Business Development, Wirtz Beverage Group
Glen most recently served as interim CIO during Wirtz Beverage Group’s CIO search. He has been ERP project lead for the corporation. Over Glen’s 19-year career with Wirtz Beverage Group, he has filled high-level positions in sales, trade development, finance, strategy and IT. His role will soon shift to focus on the company’s expansion efforts. Tell us about Wirtz and how industry changes have affected growth.
We first got into the alcohol beverage distribution business in the 1940s when there were a lot of small family distributorships. Over the past few years, the industry has consolidated. All of our companies had been named differently, but are now assembled under the Wirtz Beverage banner. Between 2007 and 2012, we nearly doubled our business to around $2 billion and today we move more than 40,000 unique products to more than 45,000 customers each year. Ranked sixth in the industry, we work with some of the largest wine and spirit suppliers in the world.
How does consolidation complicate alcohol beverage distribution?
|Glen Hoch, |
Vice President of
Wirtz Beverage Group
There are a lot of regulations in this industry. First and foremost, we cannot cross state lines with alcohol so all inventory must be held in state. This alone adds a layer of technology and distribution logistics. Also, no two states’ regulations are alike, yet as a wholesaler we must comply with all of them. How does the Microsoft Dynamics platform relieve some of this pressure?
We used to be highly decentralized with each business running its own legacy system. Even if two companies had the same platform, they would customize it differently. Hoch:
Now we’ve converted five companies operating in five states — Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin — with five unique product masters into one Microsoft Dynamics AX implementation for consistent data collection, tracking and reporting. On the finance side, we’ve automated our pricing, our charge-back system with suppliers, and other key processes that ultimately make us more efficient and put more to the bottom line. With all companies on the same chart of accounts, we have realtime visibility of gross profit on all of our transactions. Are there other factors that led you to Microsoft Dynamics AX?
Our sales representatives go into the field and gather orders from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and delivery on those orders starts early the next day. The ordering, pricing, warehouse and delivery logistics must work seamlessly. For instance, some products have mandatory cash-on-delivery rules. We cannot drop off a product if they do not pay so the system has to be up to date and accessible with that information. We’ve integrated our pricing module, purchasing system and warehouse management application into Microsoft Dynamics AX. This hub-and-spoke model, where all data flows through Microsoft Dynamics AX, provides an aggregated view. What’s next?
We are developing a clean and standardized set of data, including more than 50 product attributes, to feed into business intelligence tools. The first 30 to 60 days after a new product launch are critical. With Microsoft Dynamics and the business intelligence it provides, we’ll get hourly updates on how brands are performing so we can quickly adjust orders. Our three year vision is to catapult the company to the forefront of the beverage distribution business. We never could have entertained this idea with our legacy systems. But with Microsoft Dynamics AX as the foundation, we are ready to innovate, develop new competitive advantages and support new partnerships through integration. We also plan to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX across our parent organization, Wirtz Corp., including banking, real estate and insurance. For More Information: